Some of the major challenges I’ve faced while studying for the ARE 5.0:
- Soooo much reading, from so many different types of resources, it’s hard to keep track of it all.
- No study group, and since everyone is taking a different test on a different day, it’s hard to create one with the people around you.
- It’s hard to stay motivated, and the materials seem like they’ll never end.
- It’s easy to get distracted by the minutia of the materials, and lose sight of the big picture.
To help myself and others experiencing these problems, I’ve created the #ARE100Challenge to bring together the ARE 5.0 test taking community, whether studying solo or with a group.
How to Participate
The main objective of the challenge is to complete 100 hours of studying in 60 days, regardless of which exam you’re taking.
For some this may seem like an easy target and will just provide an additional boost. However, for some test takers, this may be a serious challenge in terms of finding time to fit in studying. Wherever you are in your study plan, let’s challenge and push each other to make the most of the time we have!
The Ground Rules
1. Read all your required textbooks first! Minimum 30 Hours.
Check the NCARB Reference Matrix, NCARB ARE 5.0 Community, or the ARE Facebook Group for recommended study amterials for each test.
2. Take Practice Tests (Timed or Untimed). Minimum 5 Hours.
There are so many resources and content creators for practice tests and questions, again the forums are a great resource for recommendaitons on what will work best for the test you’re taking..
3. Take a Timed Mock Exam at least 3 times.
This can be one testing resource that you think works really well, or many different tests. The idea is that you take the completed, timed tests, review your answers, and identify the content you need to focus on.
4. Get familiar with the ARE Demo Exam provided by NCARB.
Even if you’ve taken the exam already, it is always a good idea to reaffirm the interface before you head back into your next exam. If you’ve never taken the exam, you should have an understanding of how answering all the question types work, as well as the tools available within the testing software. Did you know you can search documents?
5. Use the Study Objectives & Problems in the ARE 5.0 Handbook.
Make sure that you are covering topics within your study plan that align with the provided exam objectives within the NCARB ARE 5.0 Handbook for that specific test. Some practice tests can let you know which areas you’re weak on, so you should take the opportunity to review them.
6. Read 5 Exam Pass posts in the NCARB ARE 5.0 Community.
It’s always good to keep a positive mindset in these exams, which can have a large mental toll. A great way to do this is by reading the stories of other people who have passed the same exam recently. This has multiple benefits:
- You can see what study materials and methods other successful test takers used.
- It lets you know that other people are passing these tests, and that they’re not impossible.
- You can ask those people questions about specific problems you are having within that same exam, while it’s fresh in their minds.
7. Study financial and mathematical formulas. Minimum 5 Hours
The math and financial portions can be very challenging for people who may not have a lot of familiarity with it within their offices. Make sure to dedicate time to memorizing the concepts relevant to your exam, so when you step into the exam, you know exactly what the question is asking for.
8. Study terminology using flashcards or Quizlet.com.
The terminology needed to pass each exam section can vary widely, which is why some prefer to study using a separate flash card deck for each exam. Flash cards are also available as physical copies. I personally like to use Quizlet.com, as it allows me to check my familiarity with each card, turn the card decks into quizzes and games, and update definitions to make them clearer. A lot of people have used Quizlet in the past to study for these exams, so you can easily find premade decks that you can use for each exam section.
Track Your Progress!
I love using Clockify.com to keep track of my studying hours, mostly because of how simple their tracking and timekeeping system is.
Another great app for tracking your time while you study on the go is the Productivity Challenge Timer App, for another layer of gamification and fun. The free version is a bit limited, which is why I normally prefer to use Clockify to track everything.
Post Your Progress!
Share your progress using the #ARE100Challenge hashtag on Facebook or Instagram, and let us know when you pass a milestone! We’re all in this together, so let’s celebrate the wins, both big and small!