School’s Out? What?

School’s out for summer! This may be true for kids (and Alice Cooper) but not for BRW interns. Just when everyone is kicking up their heels and headed for vacation, they’re buckling down for the annual Architectural Registration Exams.

And it’s not easy.

“When I get home from work and have to start studying, all I hear in my head is the Metallica song ‘My Friend of Misery,’ quipped Igor Draskovic, Assoc. AIA.

If prep wasn’t hard enough, this test is a grueling seven-part exam that takes a total of 33 hours to complete.

“It feels like a hazing ritual,” lamented Amelia Nguyen, Assoc. AIA, LEED Green Associate. “We’re locked in a freezing room for 3 to 4 hours, without food or water and no restroom breaks. It feels like a test to our ability to follow directions on a computer program that hasn’t been updated since the invention of the internet.”

Sounds tough but Steve Elliott, AIA likes to remind interns that it could always be worse. “We had to bring our own papyrus and quills!” laughed Elliott. “Really though, I had to bring my own draft board – and we took all parts of the test in one weekend. By the third day, everyone was exhausted – one guy had an anxiety attack and passed out with 5 minutes left in the test. A few stopped to help, but the other 690 of us just kept on testing.”



All joking aside, the AREs focus on services that most affect the public health, safety, and welfare. They determine a candidate’s ability to exercise skills and judgement and are most importantly a major stepping stone in becoming a great architect. So for all of you out there still studying amidst the sounds of pool splashing and the smells of backyard barbeques, take comfort in knowing this: you are not alone.

Good luck!


PS – big ‘thank you’ to Google Images and Roger Penwell for the cool cartoons!

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