frequently asked questions

  • Does the course come with a hardcopy book?

    Yes, the course comes with a mailed copy of our 375-page illustrated book and searchable digital case study materials. It also comes with digital flash cards and a last-minute "Panic Notes" study guide.

  • What if my partners and I want to pay separately and start at different times? Will I still get the discount if my partners finish before me?

    Everyone pays separately, everyone can start and stop when they want, and if you have a group discount, you retain that monthly tuition rate, even if your partner stops.

  • I’m signing up with a group, but some of them are not taking the exam for a while. Is it okay if I take the seminar now and they take it later?

    Sure, but they’ll need to pay for the seminar now so you can each receive the $150 per month discount. Paying now and setting a start date for later is no problem.

  • What is the discount if there are six of us signing up together?

    $150 off for each of you, each month (the course will be $240/month per person).

  • Do you have videos for all of ARE 5.0?

    Yes. The Amber Book course covers all of ARE 5.0. We recommend you schedule all of your remaining exams now for a block in about 2.5 months. Take the full course, take the remaining exams, and retake any you fail as soon as possible, before you forget what you learned.

  • You say that I can pass these exams with these videos, even if I don’t study other material. Can this be?

    Yes. . . . and no. Bear with me, here.

    I believe that this video series gets you the highest likelihood of passing in the least amount of time. With the ARE 5.0 for instance, if you have a 90% chance of passing each of the six exams, that means you have only about a 50% chance of passing all six exams on the first try. Most of the exams have pass rates about 55%, So the goal for most of you isn’t to pass this next exam, but rather to get licensed as quickly as possible. That may involve some division re-takes.

    For most people, I don’t think that studying additional content will, on average, get them licensed as quickly as going through my course and taking the exams without additional studying (then retaking any exams that you don’t pass as soon as possible). It is natural to feel that failing an exam is a setback, but so is spending 50 extra unnecessary hours to pass one of the exam divisions. In the latter case, you just never receive confirmation of the error because you got the pass from NCARB and didn’t know you over-studied.

  • I don’t understand the previous paragraph. Can you explain it more clearly?

    I think this course allows for the highest likelihood of passing the most exams in the least amount of study time.

  • Do you really think I should schedule the exam for right after I’m finished with the videos?

    Yes! This suggestion isn’t based on a deep-held conviction, but rather sprouted organically from the emails I’ve received from folks who took the test right away–and from sad emails from those who waited.

  • What are the pass rates for these divisions?

    NCARB reports pass rates online; search "ARE 5.0 pass rates.” Most of the divisions have pass rates between 50% and 60%. That means that failing an exam is more of a feature than a bug. If you fail an exam, reschedule it right away, for as soon as possible (unless you fail it miserably).

  • Do you offer firm licenses?

    Yes! Click on the “firm licenses” link near the top of this page. Have your company call me with questions: 540.558.8279.

  • How quickly can I go through these videos?

    I think one week is the fastest you’d go through all of them, though that would be an intense week. A month is a difficult, but achievable, goal if you are in a hurry; our average enrollment lasts about 2.25 months in duration.

  • How do you decide what to cover in your videos?

    I prioritize content based on “yield.” To calculate the yield, I not only consider the content of the exam, but also how much time it would take you to study that content, how familiar practicing architects are likely to be with that content already, and how many questions related to that content are actually on the exam (every question in a division is worth one point).

  • How old is the video?

    We're always adding content. We won’t let this series of videos become outdated.

  • What is the difference between the book and the video?

    Our ARE 5.0 workbook includes about half the practice questions in the videos and a small portion of the overall content that is in the videos. The hard copy book is intended to act as a companion to the videos, and I recommend watching the videos with the book (the book, which is almost 400 pages and is heavily illustrated, comes free with the videos), but the book can serve as a stand-alone study guide too. If you are interested in purchasing the book alone, without the videos, let us know and give us your mailing address at online@amber-book.com. The cost is $90 (free shipping) and if you decide to enroll in the videos later, there is a $30 discount for those who have already purchased the book.

  • But I only have two exams left. Why do I need to purchase access to all the videos?

    Each of the exam divisions, with the exception of Project Management and Practice Management, requires access to all, or almost all, of the videos, so having fewer exams doesn’t typically mean that you need access to less content. That is the nature of the extreme content overlap between divisions in ARE 5.0. Of course if you have fewer exams, you may require access to the course for fewer months.

  • Can I watch the videos when I am not connected to the internet?

    No, these videos can only be streamed with an internet connection.

  • Do you have content on case studies?

    Yes, we send you a case study to practice with.

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