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ARE / CSE Study Materials and Resources

A growing list of available resources for the ARE / CSE, along with some descriptions.



JKAE Exam Study Sessions/Q&A Request


Study Guides / Programs

ARE Architects Exam Prep (NCARB Approved) (PDF - 2020) Seems to be preferred study material in our firm. They have options for group coaching sessions, which may be useful especially for the first test, continued use would depend on the individual. Alan Hayes can talk more about the group coaching.



Black Spectacles (NCARB Approved) Good practice exams! Study material is questionable on usefulness, it works for some people and not others. Can be described as dry.


Young Architect Academy Both study material and group coaching sessions


Amber Book ARE Course Beneficial for visual learners. It is a fast paced program where they try to have you study for all exams at the same time and then take the exams within a short period of each other. It is a subscription based program that tends to be on the more expensive side.

PPI ARE 5.0 Exam Review Manual (Book) – David Kent Ballast, Steven E. O’Hara (PDF)


PPI ARE 5.0 Mock Exams (Book) – David Kent Ballast, Holly Williams Leppo, and Rima Taher (PDF)

CSE Prep (Same company that made Architects Exam Prep) (PDF - 2017)



AIA California ARE Study Hub (Zoom Sessions and Slack Channel)

The AIA California Academy for Emerging Professionals (AEP) is creating an Statewide ARE/CSE Study program. These are FREE study sessions, bi-weekly on Mondays at 6PM, with exceptions for holidays. Each session will be hosted by a different professional and exam divisions change every two months. This is not meant to replace other study materials, private programs, or resources you may have at your disposal, rather it is meant to supplement them, allow for collaboration between EPs and chapters across California and create a network for further success after examination.


Suggested / Useful Books + References

Architect’s Studio Companion – Edward Allen and Joseph Iano (PDF) Kevin Marer has a copy of the 6th edition in the Auburn Office


Building Codes Illustrated – Francis D. K. Ching (PDF) Kevin Marer has a copy in the Auburn Office


Building Construction Illustrated – Francis D. K. Ching (PDF) Kevin Marer has a copy in the Auburn Office


Architectural Graphic Standards – The American Institute of Architect, Dennis J. Hall, and Nina N. Giglio


Heating, Cooling, Lighting – Norbert M. Lechner and Patricia Andrasik


Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice – American Institute of Architects and Linda C. Reeder (PDF)


Professional Practice – Paul Segal Kevin Marer has a copy in the Auburn Office

Karin’s PPD & PDD Summary Sheets She did a great job on summarizing a lot of information on this 17 page pdf!



The ARE Facebook Group A lot of great discussions about the exams, study material, practice questions, etc.


NCARB ARE Forums Great place to get study/exam tips and tricks from people nationwide

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