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ARE 5.0 FAQ:

Is there a fixed percentage of candidates who pass the ARE exams?

No, there is not a fixed percentage of passing or failing. If you meet the minimum competency required to practice as an architect, you pass. The passing scores are the same for all Boards of Architecture.

How much time do I need to prepare for each ARE division?

Every person is different, but on average you need about forty to eighty hours to prepare for each ARE division. You need to set a realistic study schedule and stick with it. Make sure you allow time for personal and recreational commitments. If you are working full time, my suggestion is that you allow no less than two weeks but NOT more than two months to prepare for each ARE division. You should NOT drag out the exam prep process too long and risk losing your momentum.

How Many Questions Do I Need Correct to Pass?

Each division of the ARE measures different content knowledge areas. The difference in knowledge areas and the relative difficulty of the questions that make up that content area vary between divisions; therefore, expectations around how many questions you will need to answer correctly also changes from division to division.


  • Project Development & Documentation and Construction & Evaluation require the lowest percentage of scored items to be answered correctly to pass. You need to answer between 57 – 62 percent of scored items correctly on these divisions to pass.

  • Practice Management and Project Management require a slightly higher percentage of questions to be answered correctly to pass. You need to answer between 62 – 68 percent of scored items correctly on these divisions to pass.

  • Programming & Analysis and Project Planning & Design require the highest percentage of questions to be answered correctly to pass. You need to answer between 65 – 71 percent of scored items correctly on these divisions to pass.”

Do I need to pass all sections within an ARE division to pass an ARE exam?

No, you can fail one section and still pass if you get high scores on other sections. The TOTAL number of correct questions is the ONLY thing counts. This was discussed and confirmed by NCARB:

Who is responsible for coordinating owner's consultants?

Let me use this example to explain so you can understand:

In a traditional project, the architect is responsible for coordination of the CLSEMP consultants of his own team, but these consultants also need to coordinate their portion of work with other architect’s consultants. The architect is looking at the overall picture and coordinating all the consultants.

If the owner hires his/her own consultants and separate contractors, so the owner is responsible for the coordination of the owner’s consultants’ and contractors’ work. The architect is just one of the owner’s consultant. However, the architect still has the obligation to coordinate his portion of the work with other owner’s consultants. The owner is looking at the overall picture and coordinate all consultants (including the architect) and contractors.

In one sentence, if the owner is hiring owner’s consultants, the owner is the team leader and is responsible for coordinating the owner’s consultants, and the architect. The architect is responsible for coordinating the owner’s consultants work, but only for the portion related to the architect’s team’s work. This is part of the basic service for the architect. Just like a structural engineer still needs to coordinate with EMP consultant for the portion of the EMP work related to structural work, even though the architect is the leader of the architect’s team, including SEMP consultants.

B101 lists coordination of the Owner's consultants, please pay attention to the blank after this item. Owner should be filled in this blank as the responsible party for this item for a typical project. If the owner wants the architect to act as the team leader and do this work, it will become a supplemental service, and the architect can charge extra fees.



What are LEED exam preparation strategies and scheduling?

Spend about 60% of your effort on the most important and fundamental LEED material, about 30% of your effort on sample exams, and the remaining 10% on improving your weakest areas, i.e., reading and reviewing the questions that you answered incorrectly, reinforcing the portions that you have a hard time memorizing, etc.


Do NOT spend too much time looking for LEED information because the GBCI will HAVE to test you on the most common LEED information. At least 80% to 90% of the LEED exam content will have to be the most common, important and fundamental LEED information. The exam writers can word their questions to be tricky or confusing, but they have to limit themselves to the important content; otherwise, their tests will NOT be legally defensible. At most, 10% of the test content can be obscure information. You only need to answer about 60% of all the questions correctly. So, if you master the common LEED knowledge (applicable to 90% of the questions) and use the guess technique for the remaining 10% of the questions on the obscure LEED content, you will do well and pass the exam.


On the other hand, if you focus on the obscure LEED knowledge, you may answer the entire 10% portion of the exam correctly, but only answer half of the remaining 90% of the LEED knowledge questions correctly, and you will fail the exam. That is why we have seen many smart people who can answer very difficult LEED questions correctly because they are able to look them up and do quality research. However, they often end up failing the LEED exam because they cannot memorize the common LEED knowledge needed on the day of the exam. The LEED exam is NOT an open-book exam, and you cannot look up information during the exam.


The is like : You need to fill it than the water leaks out at the bottom, and you need to fill it; otherwise, it will quickly be empty.


Once you memorize something, your brain has already started the process of forgetting it. It is natural. That is how we have enough space left in our brain to remember the really important things.

It is tough to fight against your brain's natural tendency to forget things. Acknowledging this truth and the fact that you cannot memorize everything you read, you need to focus your limited time, energy and brain power on the most important issues.


The biggest danger for most people is that they memorize the information in the early stages of their LEED exam preparation, but forget it before or on the day of the exam. The danger is that they still THINK they remember the information.

Most people fail the exam NOT because they cannot answer the few "advanced" questions on the exam, but because they have read the information but can NOT recall it on the day of the exam. They spend too much time preparing for the exam, drag the preparation process on too long, seek too much information, go to too many websites, do too many practice questions and too many mock exams (one or two sets of mock exams can be good for you), and spread themselves too thin. They end up missing out on the most important information of the LEED exam, and they fail.

The LEED Exam Guide Series along with the tips and methodology in each of the books will help you MEMORIZE the most important aspects of the test to pass the exam ON THE FIRST TRY.


So, if you have a lot of time to prepare for the LEED exam, you should plan your effort accordingly. You want your LEED knowledge to peak at the time of the exam, not before or after.


For example, , you may want to spend the first month focused on all of the study materials you can find as your . Also during this first month, you can start after you understand the materials as long as you know you HAVE to review the materials again later to them. If you have memorized something once, it is easier to memorize it again later.


Next, you can spend two weeks focused on the material. You need to review the material at least three times. You can then spend one week on . The last week before the exam, focus on retaining your knowledge and reinforcing your weakest areas. Read the mistakes that you have made and think about how to avoid them during the real exam. Set aside a mock exam that you have not taken and take it seven days before test day. This will alert you to your weaknesses and provide direction for the remainder of your studies.


If you have one week to prepare for the exam, you can spend two days reading and understanding the study material, two days repeating and memorizing the material, two days on mock exams, and one day retaining the knowledge and enforcing your weakest areas.


The last one to two weeks before the LEED exam is critical. You need to have the “do or die” mentality and be ready to study hard to pass the exam on your first try. That is how some people are able to pass the LEED exam with only one week of preparation.

How are LEED credits allocated and weighted?

Credits that can contribute to LEED's "Impact Categories" are given more points. These impact categories are weighted through a consensus driven process:

  • Global Climate Change (35%)

  • Social Equity, Environmental Justice, and Community Quality of Life (5%)

  • Individual Human Health and well-being (20%)

  • Greener Economy (5%)

  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem (10%)

  • Water Resources (15%)

  • Sustainable and Regenerative Material Resources Cycles (10%)


The USGBC uses three association factors to measure and scale credit outcome to a given Impact Category component:

  • Relative Efficacy: It measures whether a credit outcome has a positive or negative association with a given Impact Category component, and how strong that association is.

  • No association

  • Low association

  • Medium association

  • High association

  • Negative association


  • Benefit Duration: How long will the benefits or consequences of the credit outcome last?

  • 1-3 Years

  • 4-10 Years

  • 11-30 Years

  • 30+ Years (Building/Community Lifetime)


  • Controllability of Effect: It indicates which individual is most directly responsible for achieving the expected credit outcome. The more a credit outcome depends on active human effort, the less likely it will be achieved with certainty, and the credit will have fewer pints, vice versa.


The USGBC simplifies the weighting process of points into a score card:

  • 100 base points for the base LEED Rating System

  • 1 point minimum for each credit

  • Whole points and no fractions for LEED points.

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