The Best Architect Exam Prep Resources

Architect Exam Prep

Architect Exam Prep

Since I am often speaking about the importance of becoming a licensed architect, I have put together a list of the best architect exam prep resources.

For my international readers, The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is a multi-division exam used to assess your knowledge and skills regarding the practice of architecture. Developed by NCARB, the exam is accepted by all U.S. jurisdictions and is a key step on the path to earning a license.

Source: NCARB.

The best architect exam prep resources for 2017. 

ARE 5.0 Study Guide: New Edition

The ARE 5 Review Manual (often referred to as simply the "Ballast" study guide) is an 860 page behemoth of a book that contains all you need to know to pass the exams. It also happens to be the book I personally used to pass all of the ARE's.

New Edition: Updated for ARE 5.0

Successful exam preparation requires the best resources, and ARE 5 Review Manual gives you the power to pass all six divisions of ARE 5.0. This one book provides you with a complete and comprehensive review of the content areas covered on ARE 5.0 divisions. It includes subjects that are new to ARE 5.0 and covers recent developments in project delivery, sustainable design, pre-construction activities, and many other areas of architectural practice.

Prepare to pass all six divisions of ARE 5.0 with

  • a thorough review of the content areas covered
  • hundreds of tables and figures
  • advice, tips, and strategies on how to take the exams 
  • exam preparation guidelines

ARE 5.0 Divisions Covered

  • Practice Management
  • Project Management
  • Programming & Services
  • Project Planning & Design
  • Project Development & Documentation
  • Construction & Evaluation

The ARE 5 Review Manual and its companion products are published by PPI. PPI is recognized as the leading publisher of professional licensing exam review materials. More than 3 million professionals have relied on PPI to help them prepare for their licensing exams.

I have since partnered with the publishers so that my readers now get 15% off any order (excluding the bundles).

Enter the Promo Code ARG15 at checkout to get the immediate discount.

Check it out here:

The ARE 5 Review Manual


NALSA Archiflash - ARE Flashcard Prep


For over 20 years Archiflash has helped candidates, like you, pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). Archiflash is the most comprehensive, concise, and effective ARE study system, brought to you in a flashcard format. The alternative to hitting the books, this dynamic and interactive study tool will dramatically increase your understanding and retention of what you really need to know to PASS THE ARE.

What previous NALSA Archiflash users have to say:

"Archiflash is awesome and totally worth the price, in my opinion. You can look through them based on division, but it also will pull from other divisions, illustrating how some of the exams overlap. I bought this app (if I remember correctly, the app is cheaper than the hardcopies) before my first exam and I have been very pleased with it."

"I agree, the NALSA app is definitely worth it."

"NALSA is worth it! I think the iPhone apps are definitely worthwhile and much more convenient (and greener) than paper cards. I find myself studying all the time on my phone - waiting in line for lunch, walking to work, at the gym, etc." 


To optimize your valuable study time, Archiflash is designed to help you learn relevant exam content in manageable bites. Archiflash contains over 1,160 flashcards and covers each multiple-choice section of the ARE. Packed with more information than you ever thought possible in an easy to use flashcard format.

Download now on the App Store for instant access. 

Archiflash is active learning, not passive reading! 
Questions & Answers
Diagrams & Drawings
Multiple-Choice Questions
Equations & Formulas
Terms & Definitions
Time Saving Charts
Fill in the Blank
And more…

Archiflash Features:
• Study by ARE division
• Study by Question Type: diagrams, definitions, multiple-choice, equations, etc.
• Study by Content Area: codes & regulations, materials & technology, wind forces, etc.
• Search Keywords and Phrases – study specific concepts
• Shuffle Deck – learn the information, avoid memorizing based on card order
• Bookmark Cards – group cards into your own deck for easy reference
• Study Front to Back, Back to Front – challenge yourself to determine the question/topic
• Save Your Place - pick up where you left off

Download now on the App Store for instant access. 

I hope this list of the best architect exam prep resources has been helpful. If there is a particular product you found useful, let me know in the comments below.

Want to find your dream architecture job?
Check out The Architect's Guide Resources.

To help you with your architecture job search, I've created a mega-pack of free resources that includes architecture resumes, cover letters, and an extensive collection of application documents. Click for a free download:

I hope this list of the best architect exam prep resources has been helpful. If I left something out that you have found particularly useful please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, see also my posts on:

88% Of Supervisors Say Architecture Licensure Is Very Important. Only 27% Of Employees Agree

Good luck!

Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C