On Study Groups

I got a heads-up on twitter this morning about monthly ARE4 study sessions put on by @yafphilly.  Now before you disregard that link because you don’t live anywhere within the greater Philadelphia area, note that you’re able to remotely login to the talk with a quick RSVP before the 2/12/13 date.  Obviously this is awesome news for those with AIA chapters that don’t have ARE programs and are looking for some help.  But could it also mean something more?

"You've just stopped being a study group. You've become something unstoppable. I hereby pronounce you a community"

“You’ve just stopped being a study group. You’ve become something unstoppable. I hereby pronounce you a community”

This tweet got me thinking about ways that we study and how groups will be shaped in the future of ARE preparation.  Do we really have to meet around one large table with books and flashcards anymore?  Are we stuck waiting for lectures to happen in our city?  Given the multiple ways to connect online, skype and google+ instantly come to mind, it would seem that we no longer have to rely on those in our actual location to learn.  Perhaps our study communities are becoming global, and with a standard exam across the country, is there any reason why they shouldn’t be?  I think we’re already heading away from localized learning.  For example, posting vignette attempts on areforum is a way to reach out and get feedback on our process from others almost instantly.  That being said, I’ve never felt the same level of connectivity from forum members when it comes to discussing concepts on the multiple choice portion, so maybe we’re not entirely digital yet, at least on that website.

Personally I’m a solo studier so I’ve never given ARE study sessions a try, digitally or physically.  That being said, in Portland the Center for Architecture has an ARE lecture series underway, and coincidentally this month is on Building Systems.  I’m wondering if I should give it a go, but I’m hesitating based on how I know I learn best.  Study sessions are an opportunity to come together to discuss topics and struggles and it’s exciting to think that the possibilities to connect are limitless for our generation of emerging architects.   Still, at the end of the day it ultimately comes down to how we learn, and the amount or type of actual face to face time or online conversation is meaningless if we don’t process new information in that manner.  I guess I’m still undecided.

So how about you? Do you benefit from study groups or are you a go it alone type?   Have you found any good study sessions that have helped you pass the various divisions of the ARE?


Tagged , , , , ,

5 thoughts on “On Study Groups

  1. idp_pa_coord says:

    Personally, I found it helpful to attend review sessions (like the ones offered by YAF Philly and YAF Pittsburgh) to reinforce what I was studying. A formal lecture format, like these sessions often follow, was a good opportunity to test my knowledge and make sure that I was actually learning something from my I dependent study. There’s also something to be said for having someone explain a concept to you, versus staring at a diagram. I understood the galvanic series, and the difference between those pesky stack vents and vent stacks, by attending formal review sessions. I feel that I owe my registration to those reviews.

  2. Cam says:

    I find that I benefit from having a group to reinforce what I’ve been studying. The bonus with a group is that there may be a study guide that is developed so you have help in breaking the material into more manageable pieces. Of course with a group you tend to be more disciplined too, you know you have this group meeting so you keep at it in order to “save face” =)
    I also like the idea of being able to ask other people for help in explaining things I may not understand quite well. At times responses on the forum take too long and you know how some people can be on there as well, if you catch my drift.
    No matter what though I definitely have to do work on my own as well. It doesn’t work for me if I only do a study group for a couple hours a week.

  3. Raine says:

    I think this is an awesome idea for people who need support and guidance. I am glad they have resources out here like this. Personally, I am a lone wolf when it comes to studying. I can’t study with other people because I have a different pace of learning as do others. I have my own techniques and I know what works and doesn’t. I also found in my past experiences that every time I tried to form a study group, people got lazy and/or they don’t study as frequent as I do.
    However, being able to see people via web/in-person and bounce questions and ideas can be very productive and encouraging.

  4. Jen says:


    I’ve just stumbled upon your blog. I am trying to wrap my head around the idea of starting the AREs. Do you have any posts summarizing your approach to studying – i.e. the resources you like and how you use them? I’m tempted to buy some materials to help me get started, but I’m afraid I’ll end up wasting money on the wrong stuff. Thanks!

  5. Anjana says:

    Great to see that you’re still posting. I did my last exam over a year ago when I was following close on your heels, but here I am after a year of “other priorities” having taken over. Anyway, I’m back, and I have to admit that while groups would be great for the discipline and the motivation, with a young child, a newborn and a demanding job, I have to squeeze my study time in dribs and drabs, between nursing, story time and peer reviews. Which explains why I am here, leaving this comment at 4:20am. Sigh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: