ARE Day 025: Just Can't Stop Studying?!

Wow! Has it really been 25 days already? I lost count of the days while studying EVERYDAY! I still haven't set a day for my CDS exam yet, but it will probably be some time next month. So I have been studying for about six weeks now, and I have developed a strategy to tackle all these readings we have to do (seriously it's a lot!). I will share it with you here and I want to know how you study for the ARE too!


I study when I get home from work almost every night after dinner, and a couple hours on the weekends. Probably since I don't have much experience with contract documents, I spent most of my time reading through them.

One quick tip: I find it easier to understand from reading the actual AIA contract documents with the commentary than reading Kaplan abstractly talking about the contracts.


I am kinda of crazy about rainbow colored I made a different color label for each section in my folder. The folder contains all my study materials, and I divided them into 5 categories:

  1. Exam guide: the NCARB exam guides that you can download for free online. 

  2. Documents: all the AIA contract documents that I printed from their website.
  3. Kaplan: a copy of the book.
  4. Notes: the famous Jennifer's and Caroline's notes that are circulating around online and some quick notes that I write down.
  5. Sample: some sample questions / mock exams that I can get my hands on.

Plus the FLASHCARDS! They are extremely useful (and colorful) when I just want a light read in my bed. AIA contracts are actually pretty easy to read in bed too...


I read, use my favorite pencil to high light things that are important, then type it up in word. Sometimes I make little diagrams so I can understand the super complicated concepts graphically (you can probably see it on my screen in the picture). I will share them once I am done taking notes for this exam.

Now I will go back to studying. But share with me your study strategy! It would be interesting to see what everyone does when they are studying.

Thanks for reading!


Aspiring architect and graphic designer. I design buildings and write about it. My interests revolve around urban architecture, people, graphics, arts and culture.