Hello and I welcome you to my second blog post on my new website. My first post was linked to a much needed discussion on Equality in Architecture. You can read it here: Architecture: Open to ALL. Moving on- I felt this post I wrote for NCARB was ideal to refresh with some new information for new test takers. I am an architect and also a husband and father. This post touches on important factors of my life and advice to encourage others. Please enjoy.
Whether you’re called an architectural intern, architect in training, designer, or just intern, tackling the ARE requires sacrifice. Even more so when you have a family of your own. According to National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, pass rates for 2014 were between 62% and 77%. Here are a few tips to help you master the ARE while still maintaining your sanity—and allowing time to enjoy the nuances of marriage and parenthood.
Make It Count
NCARB's five-year Rolling Clock can approach very quickly. When you have a family, it may not be feasible to test every month or even two months. So make your study time count. Only schedule and attempt exams when you feel fully prepared. The new 60-day retake policy is far better than the previous six-month rule, but can still be detrimental to your plan if procrastination sets in. Set a schedule and try to stick to it. But don't kill yourself if you have to reschedule an exam.
Don't Let Work Get You Down
Generally speaking, architectural staff members work long hours, leaving little time for family before the nightly bedtime routines commence. Sometimes reviewing enough material to keep the topics and concepts fresh in your mind will suffice. Going long periods of time without studying can sometimes mean starting over. Remember, a little at a time can add up.
Be a Weekend Warrior
Weekends are usually spent out as a family, and you probably won’t get to sleep in. This means the weekends can end up being just as busy as the work week. Setting aside large blocks of time to study can be difficult. Similar to weekdays, dedicate an evening or morning to studying. A quiet hour or two can make a difference.
Embrace “Free Time”
Free time and children, young children especially, seem to be an oxymoron. When that precious time does pop up, use it wisely. Though you'd rather catch up on sleep, watch television, or take on a hobby, you may be better off reviewing study materials. As written by Amy Spencer at RealSimple.com, you have to outsmart procrastination. You will never get done if you do! Remember, these scarifies won’t last forever—the length of time it takes you to complete the exams is ultimately up to you.
In the above image you can see my exam order as well as the time between each exam. My approach was slow and steady. After a rocky start with one failure, I hoped back on the horse with 7 exam passes straight. We all know that person or have heard of the person that finished in a year or less. Don't be forced into thinking you have to follow this route. According to NCARB by the Numbers, 2.5 years is the average time to complete the ARE. I came in just under this length of time while fathering two children in the process.
Discover Your Study Style
Generally, each person has a study style that works best for him or her. There are basically three learning styles: Visual (by eye), Auditory (by ear) or Kinesthetic (by hands on). Think back to how you completed assignments and aced exams in college. Audiobooks are great for multitasking; listen to a few chapters while you drive to work. Flash cards are another great tool for parents on-the-go, especially if you take public transportation.
In the end, family is irreplaceable. The moments shared among those close to you are indescribable.
Attend Life Events
Everyone has important family events like birthdays, weddings, or graduations. Take the time to go, be present, and enjoy these events. Life's irreplaceable events cannot be relived. After the confetti has settled, the cake has been cut, and the last congratulation has been given, make sure to get back on your study schedule. Just don't let these celebrations turn into more procrastination.
It may sound obvious, but this needs to be repeated often. Thinking negatively can impact everything from study habits to your performance on test day. You must overcome your Negative Bias. Prepare accordingly and stay optimistic.
In the end, family is irreplaceable. The moments shared among those close to you are indescribable. Navigating the path to licensure requires sacrifice. Perseverance, persistence, and patience are just some of the qualities you’ll need to embrace. Nothing is impossible as long as you try.
Originally posted on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' Blog here: http://blog.ncarb.org/2014/October/ARE-Family.aspx
Jared W. Smith
My life as an architect, photographer and family man trying to stay positive in a negative world.
BLOGS I FOLLOW:
1. Life of an Architect
3. Young Architect
5. Little Miss Architect
7. Coffee with an Architect
8. Architecture Career Guide
9. Equity by Design
10. Defragging Architecture
11. Emily Grandstaff-Rice
12. L2 Design
Click the image below to see the archive from my old blog.