ARE Exam

The Architect Registration Examination, commonly known as the ARE, is a challenging assessment for prospective architects finishing architecture school. The exam has seven divisions: programming, planning, and practice; site planning and design; building design and construction systems; schematic design; structural systems; building systems; and construction documents and services.

The programming, planning, and practice division of the ARE consists of 85 multiple-choice questions and one graphic vignette. It covers the following topics: programming and analysis; environmental, social, and economic issues; codes and regulations; and project and practice management. The graphic vignette used in the programming, planning, and practice section relates to site zoning. The site planning and design division of the ARE consists of 65 multiple-choice questions and two graphic vignettes. The following topics are covered in this division: principles, environmental issues, codes and regulations, materials and technology, and project and practice management. The vignettes in this section relate to site grading and site design. The building design and construction systems division of the ARE consists of 85 multiple-choice questions and three graphic vignettes. The topics covered in this section include basic principles; environmental issues; codes and regulations; materials and technology (masonry, metals, wood, concrete, specialties, and other); and project and practice management. The vignettes for the building design and construction systems division relate to accessibility/ramp, stair design, and roof plan. The ARE was developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

ARE Practice Questions

1. What is the maximum deflection for the single point load shown below? Assume a modulus of elasticity of 400,000 pounds per square foot and a moment of inertia of 10 feet4?


A. 0.26 feet
B. 0.03 feet
C. 0.13 feet
D. 2.6 feet

2. Which of the following types of concrete would be most likely to have the lowest density?

A. Plain concrete with stone aggregate
B. Reinforced concrete with stone aggregate
C. Plain lightweight concrete with expanded clay aggregate
D. Plain lightweight aggregate with pumice aggregate

3. What is the reason that control joints are usually added to large areas of concrete?

A. They prevent cracks from forming in the concrete.
B. They allow sections of concrete to expand and contract freely.
C. They provide a line of weakened material for the concrete to crack along.
D. They provide a place where one pour of concrete can stop and the next pour can start.

4. In which of the situations below is wood the weakest, relative to the other choices?

A. When a compressive force is applied parallel to the grain of the wood.
B. When a tensile force is applied parallel to the grain of the wood.
C. When a shear force is applied perpendicular to the grain of the wood.
D. When a shear force is applied parallel to the grain of the wood.

5. What is a potential danger of using a master specification as the basis for the specifications on a project?

I. Information may be left in the specification that was supposed to have been removed.
II. Information may be missing from the specification that should have been added.
III. The information contained in the specification may not be specific enough.
IV. The master specification may contain outdated information.
V. It will take longer to write the specifications using a master specification than writing them from scratch.

A. I, III, IV, V
C. I, IV

6. Which of the following shading devices would be most effective at shading glazing on the west side of a building in the United States?

A. A horizontal louver mounted at the window head that protrudes three feet past the window.
B. A set of horizontal louvers spaced two feet apart that each protrude one foot past the window.
C. A vertical louver mounted on the south vertical mullion that protrudes one foot past the window.
D. A set of vertical louvers spaced two feet apart that protrude two feet past the window.

7. How much water pressure is required in a water line in order to lift the water 25 feet?

A. About five pounds per square inch
B. About 10 pounds per square inch
C. About 25 pounds per square inch
About 50 pounds per square inch

8. If a wall assembly consisting of a two-by-six stud wall filled with batt insulation with sheathing and brick on the exterior has a U value of 0.10, what is the R value of the wall assembly?

A. 0.10 h*ft2*°F/BTU
B. 1 h*ft2*°F/BTU
C. 5 h*ft2*°F/BTU
D. 10 h*ft2*°F/BTU

9. Which of the following is the mathematical expression of the Golden Ratio?

A. a/b = b/a
B. (a+b)/a = a/b
C. a/b = b2/a
D. a2 + b2 = c2

10. A building in the United States has outdoor seating areas on both the north and south sides of the building. Which of the following is NOT a way that the microclimate of each area will probably be different?

A. The area on the south side will receive more direct sun during the day.
B. If the prevailing wind is from the south, the north side will often have lower wind speeds than the south side.
C. The area on the north side will receive more precipitation.
D. If the prevailing wind is from the south, evaporative cooling strategies will probably be more effective on the south side of the building.

11. Which of the choices below is NOT a factor that determines the minimum radius of a curve in a road?

A. Coefficient of friction of the road surface
B. Bank of the roadway
C. Speed required through the curve
D. Traffic capacity of the roadway

12. If one were designing a heating system for a building in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which of the following should be used for the design temperature for the system?

A. The record daily low temperature for the year
B. The average daily low temperature for the winter
C. The average daily temperature in the winter
D. The lowest daily low temperature for the year


1. A: The equation ∆ = PL3/(48EI) can be used because the point load is in the middle of the beam. Because P = 50,000 pounds, L = 10 feet, E = 400,000 pounds per square foot, and I = 10 feet4, ∆ can be calculated to equal 0.26 feet.

2. D: Based on Table 27.2 in Structural Design: A Practical Guide for Architects, answer A has a density of 145 pounds per cubic foot. Option B has a density of 150 pounds per cubic foot, option C a density of 85-100 pounds per cubic foot, and option D a density of 60-90 pounds per cubic foot. This makes sense because concrete is made of cement, water, and aggregates. A significant percentage of concrete is made of aggregate, so if a light aggregate is used (such as pumice or even expanded polystyrene beads) then the density of the concrete will be much less. It is important to note that a wide range of aggregate sizes must be present in order for concrete to reach its fullest strength because having different-sized particles means that more of the gaps in the concrete will be filled. The cement will not have to bridge large gaps.

3. C: Control joints are added to large areas of concrete to provide a path along which cracks can occur. The cracks will naturally happen along the control joint because this area is weaker than the surrounding concrete. Concrete will inevitably crack due to shrinkage as the water leaves it. The idea is that, by adding a path for cracks to follow, the line of the crack can be controlled and located in a place that makes sense aesthetically. Joints that allow concrete to expand and contract are called expansion joints, and they go all the way through the concrete, whereas control joints do not necessarily have to be very deep.

4. D: Wood is strong whenever a force is acting in such a way that the wood will not fail along the grain. For example, in answers A and B, the force is acting parallel to the grain, but if the wood were to fail, it would fail perpendicular to the grain. The wood would buckle or be torn apart across the grain. The same is true for C. For D, when shear force is applied parallel to the grain, the wood will fail along the grain, where it is the weakest.

5. C: Choices I and IV are potential dangers, while the other choices are not necessarily issues. When using a master specification, all possible information is included in the specification from the outset. It is the architect’s responsibility to go through the master specification and delete information that is not relevant. Because of this, it is less likely that something will be missing (unless it was deleted by accident) than it is that too much information and too many choices will be left in the specification. Also, because every possible scenario is covered, it is unlikely that the specification will not be specific enough. Care should be taken that updated master specification sections are utilized because technology is always changing. The idea of master specifications is to make specification writing go more quickly. Therefore, it is unlikely that using them would be slower than writing them from scratch.

6. D: Because the sun is low in the sky when it is shining on the western façade in the afternoon, horizontal louvers are ineffective for shading. The sun is low enough that the louver does not cast much of a shadow on the window. A vertical louver is more effective because it shades the window based on the horizontal position of the sun rather than the vertical position of the sun. Choice D is much more effective than choice C both because the louvers are longer (so they cast more of a shadow) and because there are multiple louvers that will shade the window before the sun reaches the window in the early afternoon and after the sun has passed the window in the late afternoon. Choice C would not shade the window at all once the sun has passed by the window.

7. B: In order to determine this answer, one must know that it takes one pound per square inch of pressure to lift water 2.3 feet. Using that information, 25 feet divided by 2.3 equals 10.87 pounds per square inch, or approximately 10 pounds per square inch. This is especially important in a building that is 10 or more stories high, because then it becomes a question of whether there is enough pressure in the water line to get the water to fixtures at the top of the building and operate them. A booster pump or pressurized tank system may be needed in order to ensure that the water system of the building has enough pressure.

8. D: The R value of a material or an assembly is the inverse of the U value. Both of these values refer to the material’s resistance to heat flow, or ability to insulate. Essentially, anything that has the ability to trap air in small air pockets will perform better as insulation than something without air. For example, batt insulation performs well as insulation because it has billions of air cells in it. It is relatively difficult to change the temperature of air compared to other materials because the molecules that make up air are so far apart. By the same token, concrete is a very poor insulator because it has little air in it.

9. B: This ratio describes how the ratio of two segments of a line can be related in the most geometrically pleasing fashion, according to many. This is accomplished if the ratio of one segment of the line to the other segment is the same as the ratio of the whole line to the longer segment. This proportion describes the human body when it is divided at the belly button, as well as numerous examples in nature. Using this ratio in architecture can lead to spaces that feel more comfortable than those that are squarer or more rectangular in shape. Choice D is the mathematical relationship of the sides of a right triangle, as described by the Pythagorean Theorem.

10. C: All of the other choices are ways that the two microclimates will be different, but each side of the building will receive generally the same amount of precipitation, all things being equal. The area on the south side will receive more direct sun than one on the north side because the sun is located in the southern sky. The building will shade the north area during the day. This shading will be less significant in the summer when the sun is high in the sky, but there will still be more shading on the north side than on the south side. If the wind is from the south, the south side will receive the full brunt of the wind, while the north side will be shielded somewhat. Wind can still come over the building and down or around the edges, but this will likely result in weaker winds. For this reason, evaporative cooling would be more effective on the south side.

11. D: The equation for determining the minimum allowable radius of a curve on a roadway is radius = velocity2/(gravity*(coefficient of friction + curve superelevation)). “Superelevation” is another name for the angle of banking that a road has. With this in mind, velocity is really the most important property because its value is squared. When the curve is designed, it is helpful for the design speed to be the same as the road leading into and out of the curve, as this will minimize unexpected changes in speed. And, of course, the higher the design velocity, the larger the minimum radius of the curve allowed.

12. D: When one is designing a heating system, it makes sense to design for the lowest typical temperature that occurs during the year or every couple of years. This will result in the system being able to sufficiently heat the building for all but the most frigid days. Most years, this design will be sufficient, but there may be a couple of days every few years where the building cannot be adequately heated. It makes sense to design for this case rather than the worst-case scenario because this would result in the system being quite oversized. For example, the design temperature for Minneapolis is -20 degrees Fahrenheit, while the record low is -41 degrees Fahrenheit. If one only designs for the average low, the design will be sufficient 50 percent of the time, but will be inadequate the other 50 perfect of the time.


Last Updated: June 3, 2019