in the beginning…

Yesterday I woke up ready.

I can’t explain it…the overwhelming sense of calm confidence…it’s almost as if God himself leaned over and quietly whispered in my ear:

“Hey, take the damn tests already.”

So I am.

The Tests:
Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Seven of them, covering the issues that architects face in professional practice. Important concerns like how design decisions impact the health, safety, and wellbeing of people. Also, contracts…and other legal stuff they never teach you in school. Administered via Prometric as computer based multiple choice and vignette drawing examinations, sweaty palmed test takers can at least rejoice that days of smudging scan-trons are over.

The Intern:
Jenny, age 25, another obsessively creative northwest native who has wanted to be an architect since age 7. Youthful fascination of legos, blocks, and poster board sized drawings (plain 8 1/2×11 paper would never do) paved the way for high school drafting classes, followed by a BS in Architectural Studies degree and a Master in Architecture degree. Summer internships during school and now nearly two years of full time employment with a firm have not deterred her yet. She wants it more than ever.

The Goal:
To be licensed at age 27. 20 years after the initial spark of interest that has since developed into a dream, it’s time to make it happen. Armed with a family and boyfriend who offer a mind-boggling amount of unconditional love and support (and for that do not deserve to be inundated with incessant archi-babble and code speak) this blog hopes to become a place to document the entire process from day one. Good and Bad. WTF’s and Woohoos.


I’ve been halfheartedly studying for this thing for months now. I got the flashcards, the study guides, and have been reading AREForum.org. The only thing missing was an official go ahead…the fire under my feet.

I submitted my request for the Authorization to Test from NCARB/Prometric in April. Nearly two months later I began to wonder why I hadn’t heard back. A quick email turned into an hour on the phone chasing things around. Also, a wrong number dialed to a used car lot somewhere in the south. I’ll admit the cherry red Mustang did sound nice. I finally got the authorization I was looking for, took a deep breath and signed up for my first exam.

Exam 1: Construction Documents + Services – July 30.

Here we go.

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5 thoughts on “in the beginning…

  1. […] I’d rather have another test under my belt before I get a year older.  27 is, after all, the goal age to have my license.  Time is ticking!  From what I’ve gathered on the forum and from conversations with […]

  2. archetect says:

    Hey Jenny,
    Wanted to know if you had an email where we could send you particular questions (so as not to post on the blog)?
    I had a particular question I wanted to ask, so let me know.
    Thanks

  3. Anna says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Just found out that I passed PPP!
    You’re study guide was a great addition to my studies. Will be reading you’re BD+CS notes prior to retaking that test here shortly, hoping for a pass this time! I wanted to thank you for your generosity!!!! Cheers!

    • jennypdx says:

      Hey Anna, Congrats on the PPPASS! Glad to hear the study guide helped you out and thrilled to know you’ll be able to use use another. Best of luck on BDCS!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Jenny,

    You are absolutely correct that this is an incredible personal journey. After reading your first post I find my career path is similar to yours, though from the other side of the US. Thank God for technology that lends itself to collaborate through forums and connect with fellow archi-nerds such as yourself. This is truly encouraging for newbie test takers and makes me more comfortable knowing there are plenty of people feeling the same way in the past, present, and for tests to come. My biggest question for you is how did you balance work and study? I work on a very challenging and demanding project and primarily focus on taking care of myself mentally and physically before even thinking about studying.

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