"...but at that moment I set it in stone that I'd finish all seven exams before I announce anything to anyone!"
These words ran through my mind the moment I received my first and thankfully my only exam failure letter. The Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) already has a mental exhaustion characteristic associated with it. There's no sense adding to your misery. My advice is think a minute on who you announce your ARE journey to. The below is a synopsis of my pledge of secrecy during my testing period.
In June of 2010 I embarked on a major step in my professional career: The ARE. I was uneasy about how the experience would be. From the Prometric facility, the difficult multiple choice questions or the lack of user-friendly CAD program, I knew this was going to be a tough battle. After two months of studying, I scheduled and took my first exam. At the time, there were no digital exam results so my uneasiness only continued further following the exam with a 4 week minimum wait period.
After weeks of pacing the door awaiting the snail mail, it came. With shaky fingers I opened it. Reading the words "FAIL" almost brought me to tears. I didn't know what my next step would be but at that moment I set it in stone that I'd finish all seven exams before I announce anything to anyone!
It is a personal journey therefore no persons path will be exactly the same.
Well not really. As my good friend said in a recent post, Failing the ARE is not the end of the world. I just had to be strategic but honest with myself at the same time. how I'd handle each group I encountered played out as follows: A. Family. I planned to be open with them whom I desperately needed for inspiration, encouragement and genuine care & love. B. Close college friends. They've always been in the loop of my career and my professional development, therefore it wasn't far reaching to show my progress but limit what information I revealed. C. Colleagues & Acquaintances. I thought about how to approach this group of people. Other than my family, these are the only other people I'd see daily at the office during good and bad times.
I came to conclude that I'd keep the exams to myself for the duration, cutting all communications on the topic with current colleagues and co-workers. At my completion I'd announce my accomplishment in the wave of excitement. The following four benefits I inherited with this route:
Okay. Are you convinced? Take my poll and tell me. However... you may say.. wait that doesn't apply to everyone or even most. It is a personal journey therefore no persons path will be exactly the same. Of course there are also circumstances where you don't want to nor is it beneficial to keep your testing to yourself. Such as if you work best playing off others in study groups or if your firm reimburses exam cost. Yes having others aware of your exam process keeps you accountable but making it front page news has its own drawbacks.
Bottom line: Life happens. It is almost a prerequisite to have to alter your life during the ARE exam process. 1- Do what you know works best for you. 2- Negative thoughts breed negative & doubtful actions. 3- Only keep positive people around you.
Architectural Registration Exam Resources:
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
American Institute of Architects (AIA)
ARE Coach Forum
Sbyrktct ARE Help
REMEMBER NCARB'S CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Jared W. Smith
My life as an architect, photographer and family man trying to stay positive in a negative world.
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