ARE Do’s AND Don’ts


As a newly licensed architect, I feel it is only right that I share what I have learned over the 3 years I have been testing. I wrote a short list. Use this as you see fit.


  1. DO research your state requirements including fees, now and ongoing.
  2. DO apply for eligibility as soon as you can and start studying.
  3. DO create a line item in your personal budget for test fees, study materials, state registration fee, NCARB fee…. (If your firm pays, great, but still put something in your savings, just in case. Consider this your prize money at the end of your journey if you don’t need it.)
  4. DON’T move across the country in the middle of the process. Not only does it interrupt the process, now you have to think about reciprocity or applying in a new state.
  5. DON’T wait a year between tests. Momentum. Gone.
  6. DO figure out your best time to study and stick to schedule.
  7. DON’T have a kid or other dependent. They will monopolize your study time. They will want you to play/watch movies/blow bubbles instead of study. If you must have a dependent, do find good babysitters /spouse /partner /friends /grandma who will support you while you study.
  8. DO have a chart/picture that you look at frequently to remind you of your progress or motivate you to keep going.
  9. DO have people who hold you accountable, ie: study group /other like minded professionals /family members who keep asking you if you are done.
  10. DO use all of the free resources you can find:
    1. see if your library has study material – or your library may be linked with university libraries that have study material.
    2. Convince your firm to buy resources or to at least give a draft/dummy copy of the AIA docs to study.
    3. Borrow from friends.
    4. Read material online. (MEEB has online quizzes. Wikipedia is good for definition. How Stuff Works is also great.)
    5. Set up camp at friends’ firms who have access to materials like Dorf online videos.
    6. You don’t have to have the most recent study material. (Rules of thumb for steel frames are the same from 5 years ago.)
  11. DO study even if you don’t want to.