Matteo R.

" I ended up taking the exam and passed it about three weeks ago and, crazy as it may sound, I feel very sad for passing because I am not going to get the chance to experience another one of your amazing seminars. I think I enjoyed watching your videos as much as an amazing Netflix series. One thing that I will do, however, is become your advocate and strongly encourage all the people that are going to take the exam to take your seminars. As I once said before, they completely changed the way I perceive many subjects in the realm of architecture; they made me a better designer, will make me a better architect, and also taught me how to study for all the exams in general. I believe your methods are just simply phenomenal. I am forever grateful for your contribution to my architectural education."

success stories

“Amber Seminar is the best of all the online videos that I’ve found. Not to mention that the content is great, sharp and easy to understand and memorize. What impressed me the most was actually their attitude towards creating the best online seminar. They are not recording live seminars and just reselling it online. And they spend a lot of time putting together all the graphics, diagrams and small Flash. It’s so much better than just hearing the teacher describing a thing by words only. And the real exam uses graphics too instead of sentences to test the applicant so you get how important it is to get familiar with images. I really appreciate all the experiments that Michael did at the lab to explain the concepts. As a designer who makes video from time to time, I know it takes time and is not easy.”

Lynn Liu

“Amber Team, I just wanted to say thank you for such a great series of videos. I passed the Building Systems exam with no difficulty! I believe the videos were a big part of my success. The production values were far and away fantastic compared to other materials out there. I found I really retained the graphics and animations as a reminder of key concepts during the exam– and in my daily practice. And if the Amber Team is at all considering branching out into merchandising, I’d suggest ‘More cooling, boys…’ emblazoned on t-shirts and coffee mugs. Could be a hit. Thank you once again.”

Erin Gallagher

“I wanted to reach out and compliment the well-organized, well-communicated content of the Amber building systems videos. Just received my passing ARE notification. I basically only had time to study the videos/Amber Book due to work and other life commitments, I’ll be HIGHLY recommending this course to coworkers taking building systems and have already spoken with my office director about reimbursing this course for coworkers taking the building systems exam, and he’s on board. I hope you sell 1,000,000,000 copies! Thanks again.”

Jason Ross

“I passed, thanks to your videos. I had been unsuccessfully studying for months, desperately trying to memorize the concepts of mechanical heating and cooling and electricity to no avail. Then, I spent 28 hours with the Amber videos and book and passed! Whoopie! I thoroughly credit Micheal Ermann and easy-to-comprehend and interesting videos.”

Alexis Knepp

“I passed! Yay! Taking the seminar was really instrumental in me passing. I did not gain the necessary understanding or confidence from simply reading the text. I have and will continue to recommend your seminar to anyone that brings up that fact that they are testing, as it was recommended to me by at least 3 coworkers and I am very happy that I took their advice.”

Sabrina Nunes

“I received my passing grade this morning! This was the final ARE exam I needed to pass. I found the videos (especially the diagrams) to be very useful and easy to understand. I will be sure to pass along my recommendation to peers about your service.”

Chris Nienhueser

“I passed the building systems exam! Your online seminar not only helped my confidence for the test a tremendous amount, but it was also one of the most fascinating classes I have ever taken part in. I will not forget it.”

Gentry Kowall

“I never got a chance to take your courses at Virginia Tech, but I remember you well. I just passed BS after taking your video course and I wanted to let you know how helpful it was. The videos are interesting and fun to watch, but most importantly: they cut down on my study time dramatically! I was able to take and pass this exam in about a quarter of the time it’s taken me on the other four exams I’ve taken in the past. The interludes where you hold and show actual products were especially helpful. Thank you for putting the time and attention into this. It shows.”

Kashuo Bennett

“Just found out today that I passed the BS exam! Your seminar helped me destroy the vignette and understand it far more than what I have been seeing people ask online. It was actually a HUGE confidence boost going into the exam. Thanks again! I have recommended your class to a few people on the ARE forum, and will post something over at ARE Coach as well. Thanks again for the great class!”

Michael Frew

“I passed! Found out Tuesday. I took the exam Friday the 26th (week after the seminar). Thank you again for a great seminar. I thought you covered everything very well in relation to the test questions given. I have already been raving about the seminar to friends/colleagues in Charlotte. A few of which are planning to purchase the online version.”

C. Derek Boesch

“I’m happy to report that with your help I passed my Building Systems exam! This was my last exam; I spent three weeks watching your videos. The videos were super helpful in solidifying concepts for me. Thank you for offering this seminar series.

P.S. – every time my mind started wandering during the exam I played your theme music in my head and that got me back on track.”

Steven Vujeva

“I took your ARE seminar in NYC at the end of May—and then took the exam 3 days later. I just learned that I PASSED! I am thrilled with my “investment” and I know that I couldn’t have done it on my first try without you. Thank you so much for saving me time, money, and heartache. Thank you also for your fantastic abilities as a teacher. It’s always inspiring to work with someone with great skill and a very apparent love for what they’re doing. Many thanks and have a great summer.”

S. L.

“I would like to thank you for all your support. I became a Licensed Architect in the State of New York this past Monday, and I could not have done it without your help. The online seminar was the best option for me as I was able to schedule my studies at my own pace. I also appreciate the fact that you were “behind the screen” when a question arose. I wish I would have done your seminar many years ago. Thanks again.”

Andrea Buchsbaum

“I was in the class you gave in DC earlier this month. Let me first thank you again for taking the time to put together and give this seminar. It was a great refresher class, and the visual aids were very helpful. It is without a doubt the best class I have ever attended and you probably are the best teacher I have ever had.”

Valery Tessier

“I took my exam on March 19th and got my pass result on March 26th. I watched your video once, did the NCARB exam and then watched your video again, pausing a lot and rewinding the videos. I’m a mother to an 11-month-old baby. Without your video, it would have been impossible for me to study for 4 weeks and then pass the exam. So just wanted to say thanks.”

Michelle Asadies

“Enjoyed the videos and found the questions to be very helpful from the workbook. They really require you to analyze the information from the perspective of concepts and organization. I highly recommend the Amber course! It really helps visualize the most important concepts and gives you the confidence you need to succeed in passing this exam!”

Hayley RuthRauff

“Just wanted to say thanks again for all your efforts the past couple days in teaching the seminar. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was incredible what you were able to communicate so quickly and patiently. I am better off as an architect having taken your class. I wish that I could’ve had a chance to have you as a professor.”

Katrina Nguyen

“I just had to write and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the letter I just got from NCARB…I passed!!!!!!!!!!!! This was the last of all my exams and the 3rd time I have taken it. I quit my job the 2nd time to study for it and still failed. This time I was working, had to attend my grandfather’s funeral out of state in the middle of studying, and am 7 months pregnant, but thanks to your course, I finally PASSED!!! To say I am elated is an understatement. Now I can focus on my son who will be arriving shortly and finally call myself a licensed architect!!! And none of that would have been possible without your [online] course and personal guidance. Not only was your seminar interesting and easy to follow, the fact that you personally called me when I had questions blew me away. Thank you again!”

Caty Blake

“Thanks for your great course. I would not have understood all the concepts BS covers had I just studied out of standard prep material. I took the exam on Tuesday. I think the Online Amber Seminar captures around 80% of what we get tested on, coming back from the exam I realized that it’s not just knowing the material, but understanding it at a “curve ball question proof” level. Thanks again.

[One week later. . . .]
I passed! Everything you claim works. Unbelievable.”

J.J. Riestra

“Just wanted to let you know that I got my results back and I am elated to say that I passed. Thank you for getting me there! I have been practicing for almost 6 years now and yesterday I had a meeting with our consulting MEP engineers and it was the first time that I actually fully understood what they were talking about. They were describing the entire heating/cooling strategy for a building we are working on and it all was crystal clear in my head what it was, which is really amazing considering 2 weeks ago it was a total mystery. So, thank you!”

Andrew Lewis

“Thank you again for the videos. The series is GREAT and I will recommend to all of my friends taking the ARE. I really enjoyed the application of concepts to real life (like the double throw switch…comparison to a wedding venue!). That helped me the most. The pausing and answering questions is AWESOME. It keeps me engaged, rather than just sitting back and glazing over as a video is playing. Thank you!”

Kristin Harbert

"I couldn't have passed the last two exams without the Amber Book"

Anthony Principe used the Amber Book for the last two of his exams. Watch Anthony receive some great news after sitting for all 6 tests:

Migena Dilolli

"I wanted to thank you for your help on passing my last test. I am finally done with the ARE and found your course very helpful to pass. I have told other ARE candidates/friends about it too. Even my fiancé (a microbiologist) watched the HVAC section with me, finding it quite interesting."

there's more

“Hey, man. I was in your NoVa group this year. I took the exam about ten days after the class ended. I really should have done it sooner. I passed. I’m a huge systems nerd now. I read MEEB…for fun…it’s just sick. Thanks for everything.”

David den Daas

“Just wanted to write and let you know that I PASSED the BS Exam! Your class was indispensable. Your strategy for the vignette was spot on, and made things go a lot faster in the exam.”

Dave Robertson

“I wanted to let you know that I did pass the exam. Thank you so much!!”

Juan Marmolejo

“I passed! Thank you! Thank you.”

Julie Russell

“Michael, I wanted to let you know that I passed the Building Systems exam on my first try after taking your Houston, Texas seminar. I did not study for it before the seminar and took the exam on the following Monday. I just got my score back this morning. Thanks again. It was a great seminar. I will recommend it to everyone preparing for their exam.”

Rob Bradford

“I just received my PASS results for my building systems exam! I couldn’t have done it without the online seminar. I am forever grateful, thank you for everything! Now onto Structures! This was the exam I was most nervous about and I passed on my first try. I am recommending your course to all of my friends who have failed the exam before, or who have yet to take it.”

Gina Grillo

“Just want to thank you for the excellent seminar you gave us this past weekend. The interactive demonstrations were priceless, it will be hard to forget them for a while.”

Nagib Madi

“A belated thanks for the great seminar. I’m happy to report that I took the exam 5 days after your seminar and passed the test. I very much enjoyed your seminar. Thanks for making this material interesting and enjoyable.”

M. M.

“Thanks for a great seminar. It was awesome and the test now seems a ton less daunting!”

Ryan Campbell

“Just wanted to convey the good news—I passed! The class was invaluable and I’ll recommend it to anyone I can.”

Laura Carter

“Hi! I just wanted to send a quick thank you note – I PASSED the building systems exam on the 26th. I actually failed my first attempt at this exam (darn vignette!). The online course definitely helped me focus and feel much calmer going in to both portions of the exam. Thank you for this service! I will definitely be recommending to any colleagues that have this hurdle left.”

C. S.

“I took the Building Systems test a week ago, and got my Pass notification today. The seminar was very helpful, and I greatly appreciate it! I’m also recommending it to anyone who cares to read my recommendations. The most important thing, though, is that I not only enjoyed the seminars, but they helped me pass. Thanks again.”

Andy Olson

“I appeared for the exam on the 6th of April and found out recently that I passed it—yayyyyyyy!!!!!! SUPER stoked! Overall, I took your advice on not studying any other material—other than the MEEB diagrams and the NCARB guide—and watching the lectures a couple times (picked up a lot more information on the second time) along with taking extensive notes. Your way of teaching and explaining every concept to its basic details really works, along with your way of encouragement where I was able to feel confident about knowing much more than I thought I did—esp. after having failed building systems twice before. I just wanted to send a thank you note as this was my third time appearing for the exam, and this time around I felt like I could really pull from the concepts you had covered in the lectures—and have a logic to follow—this was invaluable to me. Onto BDCS and Schematic design for me! Thanks once again!”

F. H.

“Just want to let you know that I have passed the BS division. The online videos and the Amber Book are all very helpful. Thanks a lot!”

Eddie Chou

“Thank you for making these videos. I just found out I passed the exam on the first try—watched your videos, 2-3x on some, finishing the week of my exam + MEEB diagrams as you suggested. I am glad I took this course, I could not have made it without your videos. You are a blessing!!”

Mark Villasin

“ I just got a pass for Building Systems today. Thank you for the great videos! I watched them and only supplemented them with the Archiflash app. The videos were enjoyable to watch and made studying for the exam a lot easier than if I had tried to read the information. Thank you! I will be recommending your videos to my coworkers!”

Bonny Nichol

“I really like your videos, they are not just good for the exam, but also useful for practice and getting the basic concepts correct. Thank you so much.”

Joice Kuo

“Just wanted to share the good news that I passed my Building Systems test on my first try. I studied mainly from your videos after reading the relevant chapters in the ARE Review Manual. Took me about 14 days to study. Of those 14 days, I spent the last 8 just on your videos. Your videos were extremely helpful and helped me fully understand the concepts. I only have 1 more test to go! Thank you so much!!”

Alexandra Wirshing

“Hi! So I just want to send you an email telling you I PASSED my Building Systems exam! This is such a relief. Your videos were so helpful, I can’t tell you how many times things just clicked and I realized that’s how that works or what is supposed to happen. This is so worth the money and I will tell anyone and everyone to purchase this series, because seriously, in 5 days I understood things I was struggling to last year when I read the book. On to BDCS….you don’t teach a series on that, do you???? Thank you, Thank you!!”


“I passed! I loved the videos, and your graphics are off the chain! THANK YOU! Teachers like you make the world go round. Have a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.”

Lauren Boulier

“Just wanted to let you know building systems was a pass! The videos were very helpful and helped me understand many basic concepts needed. Thanks again.”

Christopher Yeley

Harvey Miller

"I just wanted to inform you and the Amber team that I passed! I am sincerely grateful for your online seminars as I feel they were absolutely critical to my success. I had been previously overwhelmed with the amount of studying/reading required for this exam (after receiving MEEB in the mail)! But your online seminar really broke things down clearly and efficiently. This was my last exam and looking back at the whole experience, your online course was by far THE best study material in terms of scope and depth. I wish I had something similar for all those previous exams! Thank you again!"

. . . and even more

“Took the exam this morning and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Thank you so much for your help and for finding innovative ways to explain BS.

[Then later. . . ]
Just found out I passed the exam. So thank you again for everything.”


Jay Zapata

“I took the exam yesterday, and I think it went well. Thank you for the wonderful sessions this past weekend—your explanations were extremely helpful, and I felt that the class as a whole was fantastic and exactly what I needed. Again, your class was priceless for me. I wish I lived closer to VT so I could sign up for some of your classes, as I find the material extremely interesting, and the way you teach it makes me want to learn more (I am even conducting an experiment with a container of water sitting on top of our refrigerator…measuring how much water evaporates each day—I’m having a blast!)”

Ismini Naos

“I just received my score report back with a PASS. Your videos were essential to my studying. Thank you very much. Have a nice Memorial Day weekend!”

Chris Carson

“I want to let you know that I passed!! So excited! Just have one more exam which is the SD and then I’m done! You were right when you said that your videos and a little bit of MEEB was enough to pass the exam. That’s all I did, plus the Archiflash cards…that’s all. Thank you so much for such a great teaching method. It worked.”

Luciane Maia

“Just wanted to let you know that I took your seminar last fall at the Center for Architecture in NYC. I then took the exam Friday of that same week. Just as you predicted, I passed, so feel free to add me to your statistics of those who passed by taking the exam promptly or right after the seminar. Sincerest thanks.”

Erika Schmitt

“Just wanted to give some feedback after receiving a PASS on the exam. I took the course over a 10 day period, studying for a total of 28-30 hours. On the 10th day, I took the exam. Thank you for an informative study course. Your vignette tips (strategies for laying out, etc.) was especially helpful for completing the vignette in a timely manner. Four more exams to go.”

Sarah Bullock McIntyre

“I would like to thank you again for producing such a “to the point” study series. I believe it to be the reason why I passed my last exam, Building Systems. Reading and trying to understand the concepts was taking me a lot of time and was frustrating. Your series explained things clearly and did not waste time on minor details that would be irrelevant for the exam. I will be recommending your series to all of my colleagues who will be taking this exam.”

Alan Guidera

“THANKS!!!!! Your material was a huge reason I just passed! I followed your directions and took the test soon after completing your videos and the results were positive. Thanks again! What a relief to be over the BS section!!!! More exclamation points!!!!!!”

Bryan West-Whitman

“I would recommend this seminar to any ARE candidate. After reviewing the materials and taking the practice exam I felt very confident. As architects, we are visual people. This seminar broke down the information and delivered it in a clear and concise manner. This was my fifth exam pass and prior to this I had never left the testing center feeling so confident. I appreciate how quickly the materials were delivered. I only had one week to study, I passed.”

Jina Zavala

“Thank you, the videos were excellent! I passed on my first try and am now finished with the ARE! Thank you!”

Douglas Crawford

“Amber Team, I just received my results from the building systems exam section of the ARE and it’s a PASS!!. This was my second try at this exam and with the help of your [online video] course material I was able to understand the concepts of the exam content which made the exam itself a breeze. Thanks again, on to the next exam!”

Romero Chambers

“Good afternoon, I wanted to share the good news — I passed the exam! Thank you so much for coming down to Miami for the seminar, I would not have passed without it!”

David Serra

“I took the Building Systems test a week ago, and got my Pass notification today. The seminar was very helpful, and I greatly appreciate it! I’m also recommending it to anyone who cares to read my recommendations. That was my final test, too. My state board meets next Friday, and I should be getting an application for licensure from them shortly after. I went off to college to become an architect almost 19 years ago, and I’m quite excited that I’ve earned that title and will officially be an architect within the next few weeks. The most important thing, though, is that I not only enjoyed the seminars, but they helped me pass. Thanks again.”

Andy Olson

“I wanted to say thank you for the seminar. It was awesome. It gave me the courage and confidence to take it! 6 people from my office took the seminar and passed with your seminar plus a week or two of study time.”

Gia Zapattini

“Just want to let you know that I have passed the BS division. The online videos and the Amber Book are all very helpful. Thanks a lot!”

Eddie Chou

“I just wanted to say thanks, I got my pass today. Your videos are very informative and easy to grasp. Wish you had them for all of the exams, but I thank you for putting this one together. Thanks again.”

Chris Taglich

“I just wanted to let you know I found out today that I passed my BS ARE! Only Schematics left! Thank you so much for holding the prep course, it helped so much!”

Nathan Williams

“PASS!!! Thanks, your seminar was awesome!!!”

Yoosook Lee

“Just wanted to write and let you know that I PASSED the BS Exam! Your class was indispensable. Your strategy for the vignette was spot on, and made things go a lot faster in the exam. If all of the classes had that level of quality that you put into it, life would be a lot better!”

Dave Robertson

“Michael, wanted to let you know that I passed the test. Even if I hadn’t, the clarity that the seminar provided on electricity and mechanical systems would have been worth it alone. Thanks again! I had a coordination meeting this week where we were talking about all the available power in the building, and how a new 4000 amp circuit is half allocated before we’ve even touched the new project. It was great to follow and understand the conversation!”

Whitney Ludvik

“I wanted to share that with the help of your online seminar, I passed my Building Systems Exam. With the overwhelming amount of info to study for this exam, the videos do a great job of conveying the right amount of info to pass. I would recommend anyone taking the exam to take the online seminar. Thanks again for putting these videos together. The production value was solid and they were great at keeping your attention. I wish there were videos like this for every section of the ARE.”

Josh Johnson

Claire Dickey

"Michael, I recently took your seminar in Arlington. I just sat for the exam on April 3 and PASSED! Thank you for teaching a very helpful seminar—this was a great refresher considering I hadn’t looked at much of this material in fifteen years. I will sing your praises to everyone I know; I’ve already recommended your online version to a colleague who is just starting to study for the exam. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge, and have a great day!"

“First, I wanted to say thanks for continuing to offer this seminar. I’ve been working in the field for 6 years, and while I’ve coordinated with MEP consultants quite a bit, I never felt fully confident sitting at their table. Your seminar gave me a much better understanding of core concepts that will now allow me to be a part of the conversation.”

Kimberly Coca

“ I passed! I just wanted to let you know. :) This was my last ARE exam and now I am all done. Your [online video] class I think was just the ticket I needed to get me the Pass. I ended up going through your videos 2x since the first time I paused a lot to jot down notes and sketches. I learn better with sketching. The second time I just listened. I reviewed all my notes and your book 3x. I think you showing images, experiments, and sample questions helped me formulate the concepts in 360. In addition your graphics were much more relatable to what is on the test versus what is in the other books. Especially for mechanical systems. Thanks again!”

Danielle Meyers

“Hi, just want to say thank you for the Building Systems seminar. I know you get a lot of these emails, but feel that I should make sure I express my gratitude for the online seminar. I took the exam immediately after the course and passed. Had struggled with the material for months so I can honestly say I don’t think I would have passed without it. Thank you!”

Andrea J.

“Alright…I got my PASS today! You have a proven system, I took a leap and trusted it against my better judgement and saved weeks of studying and stressful worry! Thanks!!!”

Rachel Johnson

“I got my PASS! The Amber videos are fun to watch and they cut study time in half. The videos are very well organized and make understanding the study materials and concepts a LOT easier. I recommend anybody studying for the Building Systems exam to watch these videos. You’ll feel a lot more confident going into the exam after watching these videos and working the problems. Two thumbs up!”

E. Martinez

“A very many thanks to the Amber Team for the excellent study material. I took the test on the 23rd, and received my pass results a few hours ago. Prior to seeking out the online seminar, I read through Ballast section for Building Systems, and was confident that I was NOT going to be able to understand all the MEP content without a bit more explanation. I’d say a third of the test was covered in the seminar, a third I was able to use work experience and deductive reasoning based on the seminar to answer, and the other third I just guessed. I was definitely over-prepared for the math portions, and that made me feel good. I’m glad to now have a much better understanding. Thank you again for everything. It’s so hard to find good study material for the ARE, and I hope others continue to benefit from your work!”

Jessica Hughes Bennett

“…And it’s a “big fat PASS!!” Thank you so much Mr. Ermann for making the awesome AMBER videos. You cut straight into the topics very smoothly and precisely. This was my retake and I should say your videos helped me to approach the multiple choice questions differently this time (well, I actually was able to answer the question before even looking at the choices). These videos have not only helped me to pass this division but also develop an interest in building systems. I highly recommend your seminar for all those who would like to pass this division on their first try without stressing out.”

Sujeetha Bharath

“Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I passed with flying colors. It was the exam I felt the most confident taking. This online video course was invaluable, especially with all of the animations. I am recommending it to all of my friends who haven’t taken BS yet!”

Anita Hsieh

“I was so upset after I finished my exam; it was so hard and the vignette was kind of difficult as well. Today I received my pass on the exam, thank you so much for putting together such good videos that helped me to better understand my buildings—not only for the exam, but for my professional life.”

Ivan Heredia

“Hello, I would like to say thank you for helping me pass my building systems exam! The videos were very helpful and reinforced the knowledge I would need to pass the exam. I also found the videos very helpful for my practice of architecture in general. The videos also made me excited about learning about the building science. I am much more confident when talking with MEP engineers and I hope to apply some of the principles that I learned in the videos to daily practice. Thanks!!!”

Joshua Hogan

“Thanks for the videos, I got my pass today. I watched them twice and took notes, very helpful! I doubt I could have absorbed that much information from a book.”

Daniel McNamara

“Michael, I took your advice, my exam was Sunday and I just got my results today and it’s a PASS! You are a genius and do a great job of breaking down concepts, making them simple. I recommend your ONLINE CLASS to everyone, as I pressed rewind when I did not grasp certain concepts. This was my re-take but your class took me to the next level. Thanks. This is a proud moment for both of us and your work has not gone in vain. Please continue the good work because we—the ARE Building Systems Candidates—need you. THANKS!”

Aaron Saunders

“I wanted to let you know that I took the exam and passed! I followed your advice and took it two weeks after your course and a lot stuck. Thank you for the success. One more test for me. You gave me a great basis for understanding the different systems that were on the test. The group diagrams outside stuck in my mind clearly and still do.”

Michael Finley

“Just wanted to drop a line about my PASS!!!!!!! Thank you very much for your guidance and encouragement. This was the third time around, but I do believe using your online seminar helped tremendously in finally passing BS. You covered all the content areas, and actually made it so fun and engrossing that I forgot I was studying for an ARE test. I took the test on January 23rd, found out the following Friday, the 30th, that I passed…and then had my 3rd child later that day too! It was my final ARE to officially make me a RA. It was an exciting Friday to say the least! Baby 3 is doing well and we are getting back to a normal schedule. Best wishes with your continued teaching. I think many of us are ever so grateful for your seminar. Thank you again!!!”

Lana Smelley

“I passed my Building Systems exam! Thanks so much for the wonderful [online] course. I wish something like this was available for all of the exam sections – it made studying so much easier and enjoyable, compared to pouring through stacks of books, not knowing if you’re focusing your energy in the right direction. I took your course, peeked at a few notes on communications/security systems, and read over the ADA bathroom dimensions. That was pretty much it. Thanks again for the hard work you’ve put into this resource. I will definitely recommend it to my friends and colleagues who are testing. I’ve got a full time job and a couple of little kids – I’m trying to be efficient with this process! I know I’m not the only one. The two week intensive study plan was exactly what worked for me. Only one left, Building Design and Construction Systems!”

Michelle Campbell

“I received my pass notification today for Building Systems. Thanks for the excellent [online] seminar—I learned so much.”

K. V.

“I just found out yesterday that I passed! I’m very excited about this and wanted to thank you guys for all of your help. I could not have done it without the [online] seminar.”

Matthew Vargas

“I wanted to let you know that I passed the Building Systems exam; received my score results this past Friday. It was my last exam and I have officially completed the ARE process! Thank you for providing the Amber Seminar videos on such short notice, essentially two weeks prior to my exam. I got through each video twice and do not think I would have been able to pass without the videos. Thank you!”

Yvonne Kolozsvary

“I passed! I had failed it once before I bought your class, so I wanted to do everything I could to pass it the second time around. Thank you so much for such an entertaining and educational seminar!”

Stephen Taul

“I have raved about your seminar. The fact I passed on the first try was all because of you and your course. I had a professor who was shocked I took it first and passed. He said it is the most difficult.”

Teressa Merck

“I took your Amber Seminar this past November in NYC, took my exam 3 weeks later and passed!!! This was my first ARE exam and I did not study anything prior to your seminar. I really enjoyed your class and would recommend it to future Building Systems exam takers. Hope you enjoyed the holidays! Thanks!”

F. H.

"I appeared for the exam on the 6th of April and found out recently that I passed it—yayyyyyyy!!!!!! SUPER stoked! Overall, I took your advice on not studying any other material—other than the MEEB diagrams and the NCARB guide—and watching the lectures a couple times (picked up a lot more information on the second time) along with taking extensive notes. Your way of teaching and explaining every concept to its basic details really works, along with your way of encouragement where I was able to feel confident about knowing much more than I thought I did—esp. after having failed twice before. I just wanted to send a thank you note as this was my third time appearing for the exam, and this time around I felt like I could really pull from the concepts you had covered in the lectures—and have a logic to follow—this was invaluable to me. I am an over-studier and I feel that this is not the correct approach for building systems. From my experience, what I have noticed is that studying one particular source—in my case the Amber course—is MUCH better than pouring over Kaplan + Ballast + MEEB + any other resource out there—as this just ended up confusing me on the day of the exam the first two times. Thanks once again! Hope others see my post and are able to turn to your course for much needed understanding of the concepts behind building systems—as I am sure that this has not only helped me pass my exam (which was the priority for me), but also that I’ll be able to utilize all this information in practice too."

“ I took my exam this past Saturday, and I just received an email notification from NCARB today (literally 30 minutes ago) stating that my exam score has been posted. I passed. I will highly recommend your seminar to my fellow ARE takers, as I felt it really helped to boost my confidence, fortify my weak points, and push me to be an even better architect. Thank you again, your seminar was well worth the invested time and money!”

Emily Chen

“First of all, Happy New Year! Second, I have two friends who are also taking the ARE and I have highly recommended your videos for them to study off of. I passed my exam after watching your videos and they are by far the best study videos I have seen for the ARE. Thank you again for making them.”

Wayne Lin

“Just wanted to share the good news that I passed the Building Systems exam, thanks in great part to your online course. This was my last exam, so I have submitted all of my IDP and should be licensed by the end of the year. Thanks to your course, I was able to focus on the things I needed to study in order to pass the exam. Thanks again for providing this course as a study tool, it really helped!”

Shawna Hammon

“Thank you! I just received my pass letter, I’m sure you get this from everyone, but you truly helped me with this exam. I am now done with the ARE and am eligible to take the CSE. If you are ever in Santa Barbara or Ventura, Ca. I would love to buy you lunch or a beer.”

Daniel Saltee

“I took the exam on the 9th, about two weeks after taking your seminar in NYC. I passed!!! It was a really tough exam. I felt very prepared going into the exam. Your course helped A TON!! I didn’t study hardly at all beforehand, so with your seminar and two additional weeks of studying I was able to make it happen! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Eva Pederson

“I recently signed up for your online A.R.E. Building Systems Prep Seminar. I took my Building Systems exam last Saturday. I am happy to report that I have PASSED, and this was my final test! Thank you for offering this course online! It was extremely informative not only for the A.R.E. exam but also for everyday practice.”

Eric Edwards

“Hello, I received my PASS letter this morning! I took this exam last spring and failed (obviously, since I was in your Nov. seminar). Honestly, looking back on the spring exam, I was not prepared even though I studied for 6 weeks. I just didn’t know the material well enough. You made everything crystal clear. For the first time during my final ‘skim’ review of notes, I passed over the HVAC and electricity sections because I felt completely confident in those areas. Your interactive teaching (using students as molecules) was unbelievably helpful and I pictured those examples in my mind many times. I would say that the Specialties review might need a bit more attention. Your method of laying out the lights for the vignette was great, too! …. It’s so simple! Thank you, again. I have already told friends to take your spring seminar in NYC. This was my final exam, too.”

Jaclyn Thomforde

“First and foremost, thanks for a great class here in NY several weeks ago. It was very informative and I really believe it helped me to understand building systems in a meaningful way that will carry through my career. I will recommend your course to colleagues that aren’t even taking the exam just because it is so clear and informative. I didn’t study before your class and I flipped through MEEB after your class the day before the exam on Dec. 1st. I also ran through the Kaplan practice exam. Got my results today and I passed the exam. Thanks again for the great class, your students are very lucky to have you as their teacher.”

Hedi Allameh

“I just received the result of the Building Systems exam, and I passed!! Thank you for all your help, and thank you for creating such a great video series to watch. Not only did I pass the exam with flying colors (the first try!), but I learned A LOT from your video.”

Wesley Azzouz

“I am happy to share that I passed the Building Systems exam–my final ARE exam! Thanks for your help in getting past this hurdle!”

Tessa Kelly

“I recently took your seminar in New York a few weekends ago. Per your suggestion, I took the test the day after the seminar. I just received my results and I passed! This is a big win since it was my last exam. Having failed it twice after passing all of my other exams, it is an especially big win. I’m really glad I took your seminar. I found it quite helpful and actually pretty interesting. I look at buildings and mechanical rooms (especially our pipe-clad stairwell) in a whole new light. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget the principles of refrigeration now. Thanks again.”

Megan Mills

“In case you were wondering, A.R.E. 4.0 Building Systems is history for me! I got the pass! Thank you so much for your seminar. Of course, it was money well spent! Again, thank you for your time and the production of this resource. This was a scary retest for me, but you helped a great deal in my understanding of key concepts. Keep up the good work.”

Verna James

“I wanted to let you know that a few days ago I found out that I PASSED!!!! Your seminar truly was enjoyable and it did a wonderful job of laying down a great foundation for the major topics. I finished your seminar in about a week. Then I spent a week scanning all the diagrams in MEEB and re-working through the Amber Book and studying all the awesome matrix charts in the Amber Book. Great job on the seminar! This is going to help A LOT of people!!!!”

Megan Tegethoff

“Thank you for making these videos. Your online seminar was crucial to understanding the material needed to pass the exam, and also essential for practice after the exam. They were a breeze to get through, informative, and thorough. I was burnt out from months of studying for all of the exams, and not sure I could get through this last one. I am happy to report that I have now completed the ARE! Thanks again.”

Jennifer Birks

“I wanted to let you know that I PASSED the Building Systems exam. This was my last ARE test so I am done. Thanks so much for your seminar! I think it definitely gave me the edge on concepts and facilitated a pass result.”

Jacob Lauderdale

“I’m pleased to inform you that I passed the 4.0 BS ARE! Thank you so much for coming up to Anchorage to provide us with your instruction and insights, it was a huge help!”

Michael Henricks

“I passsedddd, all thanks to you!!!! Thank you so much for encouraging me to take the exam so soon!!!”

John Porretto

“The results came in this morning and I passed! Just wanted to say Thank You for the info you provided me with. The content was pretty clear and concise and obviously had me prepared for a pass. Thanks again, and rest assured I will be referring your seminar in the future! I already referred 2 people to your seminar in November.”

Kenneth Long

“Hi from Canada. I passed the exam! I took it within three weeks of the course. I followed your recommended study chart and was able to review the Amber Book and slides a couple of times and review many of the MEEB diagrams. Finally, I’m now done all the NCARB exams! Thanks so much.”

Vicky Couture

“I PASSED! It’s such a massive relief to never revisit this exam again. When I first started studying, I found that it was so easy to get bogged down in all the things I didn’t know. A lot of the information is stuff hardly discussed in the day-to-day grind at a firm that I felt anxious and weighed down trying to memorize terms of concepts I didn’t really understand to begin with. But that’s where you changed everything! After your seminar, it was like a fog lifted and I understood everything (well, maybe not everything) but a lot of things! MEEB actually seems like a handy resource now and not a scary paperweight. Going through review questions in Kaplan and Ballast seemed almost easy and even if I didn’t know the answer, I could at least figure out what was being asked and go from there. Out of all the exams I have taken so far, BS is one I’ve felt most prepared for. It was as if I finally started speaking NCARB’s language and could break down their questions into things I had learned. I’m so glad I made the trek up to Dallas to attend your seminar. It was SOOO worth it! Thanks for being a fun professor and not cramming our heads until we popped. I assumed that I would be drained after 3 days of BS, but I always walked out feeling refreshed. The way you teach actually sticks. Keep up the amazing work, us architects-to-be are eternally grateful. In those few short days, I was able to learn so much about Building Systems that months of studying alone wouldn’t have prepared me for. I feel incredibly prepared and am without a doubt recommending you to everyone who will listen.”

Maria Valdes

“I took your Building Systems seminar at UCLA a couple weeks ago. I just wanted to let you know that I took the exam last Saturday and got the results today…a PASS! I wanted to thank you for coming to LA and teaching this seminar, it was well worth the investment. The test was tough, but I believe the information you provided was enough to boost me over the wall and get through the exam in one try. This was the shortest amount of time I’ve studied for any ARE, so that was an uncomfortable fact at first but the seminar was a great foundation to just do it. I actually recommended your seminar to several of the people who were in attendance at UCLA, so I hope they pass too, and I’ll continue to recommend it to anyone preparing for the Building Systems exam. Only one test left for me! Thanks again.”

Mario Quesada

now Miss Licensed Architect, :-)
Andrea Henderson

"Michael Er-“THE”-mann – thank you! Your videos…priceless. I must admit I compared the price at first to that nice spring coach bag in Macy’s, but finding out I just passed my last exam couldn’t compare. :-) When I first took this exam I used the same materials that have been suggested—MEEB, this study guide, that study guide—which lead me to a place of being overwhelmed, and as a result I failed with flying colors. That’s when I purchased the Amber online seminar. If you are looking for a concise, straight to the point, organized study session THIS IS IT! The videos and explanations were on point. As a visual person, there were several times in the exam I would mentally just recall the animated pictures. The videos are professionally made and top notch. There are times in the videos where you use live examples to explain how things work. Like one instance you show what each light does to a colored sheet, and after seeing it I was able to understand and get it. I would recommend this seminar to anyone who wants to study and pass in 3 weeks. I did exactly what he said—watch the videos for three weeks and take the exam right away. I took my exam day 22! And now I have my license number and NCARB certificate. :-) I’m not sure how long it took you to make those videos (and the Mech one was super effective), but I thank you!"

“Michael! I took my exam last Saturday and it was a BREEZE! It was so easy, I started to feel a little bad for the guys who designed the test! Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to take your seminar—it was a good refresher and a huge help! You are the “Tesla of Building Systems Pedagogy.” I hope all is well in Blacksburg! Enjoy your summer!”

Stephen Bergeron

“I just received my results for the BS exam and I did in fact pass. Notes from the class and the resources you provided were very helpful. Thanks again for a great class and solid resources! I would recommend taking your class to anyone taking the ARE. There is valuable information in those three days that you will not find in a Kaplan or Ballast study program. Thanks again and good luck with future classes!”

Joseph Caputo

“I have to give you a HUGE thank you for the Building Systems seminar and for encouraging us to take the exam as soon as possible. I tested on July 25, within 2 weeks of taking the class and I just found out that I PASSED!! This is an enormous boost to my testing confidence level. I’ve procrastinated taking this exam, and I’ve been dreading it for many many years. I can’t thank you enough for your method of teaching, it was exactly what I needed to truly understand and remember this material. It felt wrong ending the vignette with 7 minutes left, but I had time to finish and review everything twice. Unbelievable! Thanks again for doing what you do. I hope you know how much you are appreciated!”

Amanda Sandburg

“Just got my exam result today – I passed! I really enjoyed the Amber seminar, and am very glad I took it. Thanks again for your guidance, and keep up the good work with the Amber Book.”

Helen Cheuk

“I wanted to let you know that I passed! Thank you for your time and knowledge. Even if I had not passed, your seminar got me interested in the subject and was what I needed to really understand the concepts.”

Kelsey Vusich

“Thanks again for the very helpful Building Systems course a couple weeks ago. I saw “Passed” when it posted yesterday! Not bad for 8 days total study time.”

Travis Mahoney

“ I took your seminar at UCLA last month (I asked if you would sign my book). I took my test on July 28 and received my happy results on August 7th. You have no idea what a relief this is for me. I struggled with this test for more than a year and now I’m finally done with the ARE’s! I had a major breakthrough after your class. I used to be focused on knowing the answers to all questions and didn’t really understand the systems. Your class really helped everything I had read about click and helped me understand how the systems work, and knowing this I was able to answer any question by thinking it through. I am truly grateful that I took your class and I admire your dedication and passion for teaching. Enjoy the rest of the summer!”

Reyna Ramirez

“I took the Building Systems test on Monday, August 4th and found out today that I PASSED! Thank you so much for coming to Alaska and sharing your wisdom and time with us, I know at least three of us are eternally grateful. Best wishes on your new school year.”

Melanie Mangione

“Thanks again for making the trip to Anchorage this summer. I can already say that I’ve had a few engineer encounters that have made a little more sense since taking your class. Checked my results this morning to find a PASS! So, thank you for your class! It made learning/refreshing that material way easier than reading all the study guides for it. And I think/hope it has given me some new insights into how to approach my studying for my remaining exams. Have a good school year.”

Ryann Swalling

“Mike, I passed. I followed your vinette instructions to the letter and felt very comfortable with my solution. You are an extremely talented professor and the Amber seminar helped me grasp difficult concepts that otherwise would have taken me weeks to understand. The seminar reduced my study time immensely. I was skeptical at first, but by the end felt very confident that I was going to pass the exam. A million thank you’s.”

Jorge Perez

“I passed the test. Like I told you during your class, I think you’re a great teacher and enjoyed every minute of the class. Thank you.”

Jason Villoria

“I took your seminar in DC and finally had the chance to take the test. I am glad I passed and a million thanks to you. I had quite a few questions from the content that you showed/taught and it was very, very helpful. But again, very sincerely, thank you very much!”

Deepa Joshi-Gole

“I just received notice that I passed the exam! Thanks for your help. You are a great teacher.”

Ben Salling

“I wanted to let you know that I passed the BS test last week which also happened to be my last ARE test. : ) Thank you very much for the great class, I know I wouldn’t have done as well if I hadn’t taken it. I also found your YouTube videos were very informative and very helpful. I have spread the word about your class to other colleagues of mine who are taking the exams. Thanks again and enjoy the summer!”

Lyuba Bakalova

“After your seminar, I studied for about 16 hours. I passed! Thank you for the intense download of information and helpful hints.”

James Ramil

“ I just got my pass letter today and thanks again for your NYC class. Really wanna say thank you for the class & the Amber Book. The class really helped me tremendously to understand the topics. Anyway, thanks again and will promote your class to my colleagues. Woohoo, so happy.”

Evan Chan

“Thanks for the great class. It was very informative and engaging and I passed my exam! As you suggested, I scheduled the exam within two weeks of the course which was the perfect amount of time to review and practice the vignette. Thanks again! I’ve recommended your course to all of my peers and colleagues.”

Alpna Gupta

“DUDE!!! I passed! You’re seriously like the best teacher ever. Most Architects are visual learners, and you got that down! I mean I’ve had what, over 50 professors, and not one of them have been able to get me to understand something better than you did. I’m just so happy. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the fact that matter can change from a liquid to a gas or vice versa because of a pressure change blew my mind, helping me understand so many more things, especially AC. Same with 3-phase power, never understood that, and now I do. Thanks again for coming all the way to Alaska and helping us out. Keep being awesome!”

Anne Wellner

“Just a quick note to let you know I PASSED! Thank you so much for all your creative efforts in helping us understand the crazy world of energy, electricity, and HVAC systems. I don’t think I could have passed without your seminar. Thank you so much!”

Julie Moore

“I PASSED!!! I took the test one week after the class. I definitely felt like I had a solid foundation, thanks to your class. Thank you soooo much for the class!!! I am sure I would have failed without it.”

Erin Holdenried

“I want to say THANK YOU! Your course was the winning ticket! I finally passed Building systems after multiple tries and am convinced your course helped immensely this time around—I wish I had found it sooner. You are a great professor, and it really helped to do all the class participation exercises and having the visuals was key. This was my very last exam, so now on to licensure! I took the exam last Friday and found out last night that I had passed. I’m telling anyone I know taking exams about your course. I can’t thank you enough! Nor can I stop smiling. Have a great summer.”

Ninette Paradiso

Sarah H.

"I can’t tell you how helpful it is to have thoughtfully-designed study aids. I don’t think my BS class in university was nearly this good. I will be sure to recommend the [online] course to my peers. I passed! Another mark for your score card! Will recommend you to my peers!"

it just keeps going

“Michael, I Passed! The seminar prepared me with a good foundation for the exam. I finished both sections with around 30% of my time left to review my answers. I felt that the approach to solving the exam questions was supported by your study method and content. I am especially grateful for the “Amber Protocol” approach to the vignette. I practiced using your system several times to get a handle on how to most quickly solve the vignette and streamline my process, and to develop a sort of muscle memory with the software. The methods used for solving the vignette efficiently with the Amber protocol can also be applied to a certain extent in everyday practice. I’m glad I took your seminar. Thank You!”

Michele McIntosh

“ I received my PASS yesterday. I took the exam last Friday and felt very confident when I left the seminar. Thanks again for holding the seminar in New Orleans. It definitely was what I needed to pass this test!”

Mike Oliver

“Thought the seminar this past weekend was very beneficial!! I feel much more confident going into the exam. Thank you.”

Yvonne Kolozsvary

“Thank you so much for the seminar this past weekend. I am exhausted but very happy, and my head is full of valuable information. Anyway, after your fantastic seminar I feel really good and prepared. I will tell all my friends and colleagues who are in this process to DEFINITELY take the seminar because it is priceless…Thank you one more time and all the best.”

Veronica Blanco

“I am so thrilled to be attending this seminar that you are presenting with such passion, ease and sincere concern to those taking the ARE. Most importantly, you’ve managed to keep our attention for 8 hours each day and it’s exciting! Immense gratitude! Amazing!”

Grace Muniu

“Writing to let you know I passed the building systems exam—I took it the Wednesday following the weekend seminar. Your class was great. I do think I was able to answer many of the questions because I actually understood the concept/system in question. I will be sure to pass your info along to anyone I know in need. Thanks for your help and good luck in the future.”

John Sage

“Just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the seminar this weekend. While my head is spinning from everything that was crammed into it over the past 3 days (as is likely a lot of people), I feel substantially more confident going into the exam! Thanks again.”

Ken Long

“Wanted to let you know that I received my passing score notification today for the BS exam I took three days after taking your course in DC. I really appreciate all of the assistance you provided and breaking down the material not only in an understandable manner, but in a practical application method. I wish there was such an informative and interactive prep course for all of the exams! Thank you again for coming to DC!”

W. Trael Webb

“Got my results today. It’s a Pass! Thank you very much for your excellent seminar. I will be recommending it to every ARE test-taker I meet. In fact, a friend of mine is taking your NY seminar this weekend.”

Seth Murray

“I just wanted to let you know that I took the ARE on building systems this past Tuesday. After taking your bootcamp in early May, I felt really prepared going into the exam and felt confident leaving the exam as well. I read and re-read the Amber Book, went through the slides, and did a few practice exams before the exam and did the vignette a few more times. . . . .I Passed. Thank you again for everything.”

Carlos Gamez

“Thank you for a fantastic class this past weekend. I really appreciated the way you explained everything. Well taught!”

Washington DC seminar

B. C.

“I am so glad I attended your seminar! Very motivated to study and hope to take the exam soon.”

Deepa Joshi-Gole

“Just knocked out the exam. Felt like I was overly prepared on at least 75 of the questions. That was fun.”

Everald Colas

“I took your course one year ago and by your advice I took the exam 3 days later, and I PASSSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you very much.”

Felix Serrano

“This is Jose from the Washington DC seminar a month ago. I just want to thank you for all your help. And yes! I passed! Thanks a lot.”

Jose Fortuno

“I was a part of your recent weekend seminar in March and just wanted to thank you for helping me pass the BS exam. Much of the material felt overly dense and complicated for me, but you do such a great job of breaking down the concepts, and keeping three 10-hour days stimulating and fun. Wouldn’t have passed without your class.”

Brent Locey

“Good news! I was scheduled to take the BS ARE exam soon after your seminar. During the exam, and even after exiting the Prometric Testing Center, I felt very calm. ….I passed this exam! I want to thank you very much for your seminar. Thanks again, Michael. Without question, I will strongly recommend your seminar to my colleagues pursuing their ARE’s going forward.”

Mario Perez

“PASSED! Thanks for your awesome seminar! Definitely helped me to pass. I did not study any material before your seminar. I took the exam 13 days after the seminar and passed. Nuff said! I could not have understood the building systems by just reading about them in books. I am a visual person, so the way you took us outside and made us parts of the system will forever stay with me. I understand the process! I will continue to tell everyone I know that is studying for this exam about your seminars!”

Sheila Beach

“I just got my results. I passed the exam. That was my last exam. Once I took your seminar a couple weeks ago, I took the exam three days after and felt well prepared. Thank you for teaching a great seminar. I’ll recommend your seminar to any future Building Systems examinee that crosses my path.”

Ranses Galindo

“Students are so lucky to have you, your seminar is second to none! I am so glad I came.”

Sarit Finkelstein

“I hope this message finds you well, it is my great satisfaction to inform you that after taking your class on January in the center for architecture NY, I PASSED! I didn’t study as much as I have for other exams. Thank you so much for your amazing class. And, again, THANK YOU! This was my last exam, I passed it the first time, and now I am a NY RA.”

Isabel Bank

Nicholas Robinson

"Wanted to let you know that I PASSED the Building Systems exam! Your videos should be the standard studying material for the BS exam. Puts everything into perspective and gives you the background knowledge necessary to take on any question on the exam. I was able to strategically navigate through questions on aspects in which I was not readily familiar. I walked out of the exam feeling like I had done exceptionally well, which scared me (haha). The results confirmed my initial notions. Four individuals at the firm I work for will be beginning to take their exams this upcoming year. I have strongly recommended your videos as the base study material for the BS exam. Thank you for making this invaluable resource available to us emerging architects. We are very appreciative."

“Thank you for taking the time and effort to come to Dallas. I will recommend your seminar to ANYBODY that I hear is preparing for this section of the ARE. It’s a must! We need more teachers like you, people that are not only brilliant on their fields, but that are also committed to pass along knowledge in innovative ways. Can’t thank you enough.”

Mauricio Rojas

“Michael, I wanted to drop you a follow-up email for the exam. I found out a couple weeks ago I passed. This was also my last exam, so receiving the final pass email from NCARB was a great feeling! Thanks for your help. The seminar proved to be wonderful.”

Stan Gray

“I passed. Thanks for the seminar; it helped focus me just enough to make it relatively painless.”

Jeremy Alford

“I passed my exam! Thank you so much for creating such a great seminar! It really helped me understand the concepts not just for the exam, but for work as well. I’ve already told a lot of people about the class. I know of at least two that signed up from my office for your DC Seminar.”

Emilie Rottman

“First, thank you so much for the seminar—I really appreciate all the work you put into making such an amazing seminar. I have no idea how I would have gotten through it otherwise. Second, I PASSED!!!!!!!! Thank you.”

Jennifer Atallah

“Just got the email and it is a PASS; thank you so much for the course because I would not have made it without it. After taking the seminar the Amber Book means a lot because you understand the concept behind every question, and then you understand how to answer the question.”

Hany Demetry

“I just received my PASS notification!!! Thank you so much for all of your great instruction. I felt as prepared as I could have been walking into the exam. I enjoyed the seminar so much and really absorbed the information. It made studying on my own afterwards very successful. Thanks again, and I’ve already been giving out recommendations about the seminar to my colleagues and classmates!”

Courtney Scheffler

“I PASSED!!! Hi Michael, I want to let you know that I got my results this afternoon. I took your class in NYC 2 weeks ago and took the test on Friday the 10th. I went into your course without doing any studying ahead of time, and I felt good coming out the exam.

P.S. I’ve been recommending your course to all my friends/colleagues who are testing right now.”

Matthew Martino

“I want to say thank you for the fundamentals that I learned in the last two days; it is unbelievable that I can pick up so much and comprehend the MEP in such a compact window. You are definitely superb in teaching the know-how in a very easy-to-understand fashion. I learned so much and just want to say Kudos to your great seminar.”

Sam Lin

“I found your ‘crash course’ seminar to be extremely helpful in that it helped me focus on what material was important, get the concepts quickly, and in a way that is very easy to remember! I just took the test on Tuesday. I finished the first half with 15 minutes to spare for reviewing. Hope all is well back in Blacksburg.”

Layla Safiani

“After 6 attempts at BS I received my PASS letter today. Your seminar and all of the friends I met through the seminar were key to finally passing. Best Christmas present ever! No more testing!!! Thank you for your encouragement.”

Kari McPhillips

“Good news to report, I passed BS which was my final exam. I tested 9/27 and received my results the following Thursday. Thanks to your seminar—I believe this was the reason for my pass. My license was processed by the state of Florida this past week. Thank you for a great seminar!”

Jon Bonita

“Morning! Wanted to let you know that at 5:45 this morning I finally saw a pass for Building Systems on my NCARB record a month after the seminar. Thank you so much for your seminar and the Amber Book. I was terrified of this test, and I didn’t need to be after the seminar—passed on my first try! More importantly, I can be a whole lot more competent talking to my engineers. Definitely worth traveling from Pittsburgh to NYC for the weekend!”

Nicole Greycar

“I wanted to let you know—I passed Building Systems!! I just found out. Thank you so very much for making me understand so much more than I did before. I think it really helped not only for the exam, but for my practice in general!”

Ruth Mandl

“I got my results today and it’s a pass! I wish you taught review for another exam, your seminar was truly a pleasure and I had a great weekend reviewing in NYC. Thanks again!”

Regina Lento

“I would like to personally thank you for the informative ARE Building Systems Seminar last month in NYC. After hearing great things about your seminar I made the call to travel from Kansas City for your course in NYC. After taking your advice on scheduling the test as soon as possible I was able to take my Building Systems test on September 6th. I just found out last Thursday that I passed (6 day NCARB turnaround!). This was my last ARE test and it had been giving me trouble (taken 2 times). I’m now a licensed Architect in Kansas. Once again, thank you so much for the informative seminar. You teach the course in a way that allows all of the information that could be on the test to stay with you. I really enjoy how you presented the seminar and will recommend it to the other staff members in our firm. Hope your school year goes well at VT.”

Travis Palangi

“Hi, Professor Ermann! I’m the girl who came from Dallas to the NYC seminar. Wanted to let you know I took the exam this past Tuesday and found out I passed it today! Thank you for all of your help! It was my last exam and now I’m finishing up all the paperwork for licensure! Thanks again for all of your help!”

Morgan Newman

“I was one of the lucky souls who attended your seminar a few months ago in New Orleans. I just wanted to follow up and thank you. About five years ago I had taken all the sections and passed all but one. I had been putting off retaking Building Systems for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t until I saw that you were coming to New Orleans that I realized it was time to get back on the horse. Your seminar restored my confidence and your recommendation to take the exam immediately was the right call. I passed. I’m certain I would have not passed without your guidance and advice. I can’t thank you enough. Keep up the exceptional work. Your students are in excellent hands.”

Steven Arroyo

“I took and PASSED the Building Systems exam just prior to the ARE black-out period. Thank you so much! (I took your weekend seminar in NYC.) Your seminar was a real inspiration, and a pleasure to sit through on a summer weekend. From that day forward, I will always begin all design work with a passive strategy in mind. I really appreciated the “questions to ask your engineer” portion of your lectures. After working in this field for over 20 years and feeling jaded, your seminar refreshed my batteries and inspired me to keep pursuing new design knowledge. Hope all is well, and thanks again!”

Manny Machado

“Hi, Michael! Hope you are doing well and enjoying summer. I just wanted to thank you again for teaching the BS seminar! I passed the exam, and know it was largely because of your amazing seminar and the Amber Book! I really can’t thank you enough.”

Chloe Csadenyi-Benson

“I received the PASS letter a few days ago. The AMBER Book and your seminar were EXTREMELY helpful. Looking back, I really enjoyed your seminar. Your explanations and enthusiasm (and skillful teaching) on these so-called “mundane” MEP topics was infectious. I never thought Building Systems would have any lasting impression, but I truly have a newfound appreciation for it. Thank you for your dedication to teaching.”

Margaret Kim

Diogo Santos

"Hey Michael. Just wanted to write that I passed the exam. I was in your NY AIA class a couple weeks ago. Great class, and you kept me awake the entire time. I am a civil engineer who is now turning architect (since my firm does both) and I could not have passed this exam without your class. Also, I am an adjunct professor. Your teaching style inspires me. Loved how you brought us outside and had some real life experience or research study to support everything you taught."

“A [“How Air Conditioning Works” Youtube] video that explains it in layman’s terms, then expands upon that as it goes. Genius really.”

Youtube User


“I attended your BS class in New Orleans in early June. I am happy to let you know that I passed the BS exam. I received my letter yesterday. I want to thank you for all your help. Your class helped me out immensely. I will definitely pass on the information regarding your class to my colleagues who are in the process of the exam. Again, thank you.”

Francis Sun

“I am happy to report to you that I passed the Building Systems exam. I took the exam 3 weeks after your seminar in Dallas. I am positive that your Building Systems seminar played a huge role in that success. Thank you very much for traveling around the country and teaching the Building Systems topics in such a simple and fun, but eye-opening way. I also thoroughly enjoyed your brief presentations at the beginning of each class and to start the afternoon sessions after lunch. Even though the seminar is described as an exam prep course, your thorough knowledge on the subjects and excellent teaching skills have ingrained the topics and concepts to where I feel like I will never forget them. I have recommended your seminar to 2 other colleagues and will do the same to anyone needing the take to Building Systems Exam.
With Genuine Appreciation,”

David McMillin

“I passed my test. Thanks for a great seminar. I mentally walked through some of our stand-up exercises at least once when answering the questions. It helped.”

Christie Echols

“I attended your lecture in SoCal a few weeks back and just found out that I passed the exam! Your lecture was very helpful!”

Jason Herber

“I took my exam on 6/14/13 and just found out that I passed!!!! Thank you for the seminar. I found your lectures to be full of relevant content delivered in an interesting and entertaining way. I appreciate all you do for us prospective architects. I now have the California Supplemental Exam to tackle. Thanks again.”

Ben Packard

“I just returned from the BS exam: Your seminar helped me immensely to understand the concepts of HVAC, Electrical, and Lighting. It is unfortunate that there are so many strategies expressed out there for the vignette. Yours is time efficient and limits confusion. Very helpful—Thanks!”

Kait Gish

“I passed my BS exam!!! I had failed it three times before, and your class gave me the confidence and knowledge to pass! I want to thank you very much, for all the words of advice you gave. Taking the exam as soon as possible is instrumental. I took it two weeks after the course, and if I could have, I would have scheduled it sooner. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!”

Bruno Santos

“I finished both parts of the exam (questions and vignette) with time to spare. I am happy to let you know that I PASSED this section. I do not think this would have been possible without your very thorough review course. Thank you so much for all of your help.”

Robyn Johnston

“Just got my results and I passed it! 2 exams left. Thanks for the great seminar, really felt like it gave me confidence in how to approach the exam and not get obsessed with all the millions of things that we have to be prepared for.”

Natalia Ikemiya

“Hi, Mike! I PASSED!!! To your credit and the proof of the seminar, my additional studying was even limited because I had to retake, due to a power outage, the Schematic Design Exam between the seminar and the Building Systems Exam, and I STILL PASSED!! It was a tough exam but I am glad to have it behind me now. Two-down & Five-to-go. Thanks again!!”

Louie Barbieri

“I passed the Building Systems ARE! I am so happy, and you really helped a lot! I cried when I found out, I couldn’t believe it. Thank you once again!”

Lauren Fries

“Wanted to let you know that Aaron and I both passed the BS exam. Thanks again for all of your help and for being such a great teacher. Hopefully we will meet again sometime in the future. We will be referring you to people out here for sure.”

Harper Halprin

“Well… the seminar was a month ago and today, not even 2 [days] after taking the exam… PASS!! Wow! This is number five that I passed. Thank you for your seminar in Dallas! You made the content really easy to own by focusing on the concepts.”

Paul Pyfferoen

“I just got the news that I passed the Building Systems exam! That was my last one, so it’s all over… or is this just the beginning? I tested within 3 weeks of the seminar (could have been two, but there were no spots left). Thank you very much Michael, couldn’t have done it without your help! Anytime I hear about a peer testing for this section of the ARE, I know where to send them.”

Mauricio Rojas

“I took your seminar in VA back in May, took my exam on June 1st and got my result today. It is a PASS! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I actually thought this exam was the easiest, ALL because of your seminar. Your Amber vignette strategy rocks and your seminar rocks! Thank you again!”

C. Kim

“I passed the BS exam due to your seminar in Northern Virginia. Your seminar made everything click and come together, making the items easy to grasp. Thanks for what you do! I truly believe I couldn’t have done it without your seminar and especially the lighting chart!”

Chris Hillegas

“I took your course in January in New York and finally took the exam and got the results that I passed. I am so thankful to have taken the class and enjoyed every lesson. I’ve passed on your name to all my friends and know they will benefit the same. Thanks again.”

Christine Sheridan

“So you’re the first person to find out, but I passed the Systems Exam. It also comes a week after passing the PPP Exam, so now I’m done. Thanks a bunch for all the help. The money is well worth it.”

Justin Hasbrouck

“I really enjoyed your lecture last weekend. It was extremely informative, and I am recommending it to all my friends for next year when you come.”

Stephen Darre

“Just wanted to let you know that I think I did great on my exam on Monday. I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I will be shocked and devastated if I didn’t pass. Thank you so much for your fantastic seminar. It was not only an enjoyable experience, it ingrained the concepts and fundamentals to where I feel like I’ll never forget them. I’m having our ARE coordinator send out a firm-wide email highly recommending your seminar.”

Will Clinton

Celina Rostam

"Hi Michael, I took the exam on January 31st and I have to say that it was the first time in a very long time that I have taken an exam and felt extremely confident throughout. There were so many questions that popped up and I knew the answer right away. No worries, no second guesses. I have you to thank for that because you helped me get my confidence up and stable throughout the exam. I did pass, and I am very thankful. I will definitely recommend your seminar to anyone I know taking the exam. You were a wonderful teacher. I really appreciated it. You helped me get one step closer to my professional goal. That means a lot and I can’t thank you enough."

“Your class was, for me, certainly the key to passing. I think your explanations of the refrigeration cycle, heat loss and gain, and electrical matters generally (lamp types specifically) were breakthroughs for me in a mass of material that – of all the sections – was least familiar. I also appreciated your insistent emphasis on energy efficiency and new technologies/approaches across all of the disciplines. I taught (history of architecture) for some years and have a special appreciation for what it takes—you are an exceptional teacher.”

Derek Moore

“Michael, I have no words to thank you . . . This seminar is really energizing and full of useful information for the students. I’ll definitely let you know how it goes and I will definitely spread the news of your seminar…it is OUTSTANDING!!! Thanks again, it was a real pleasure to have met such a creative mind.”

Roxana O’Rourke

“I was a student in your seminar in March and couldn’t be more happy to tell you that I passed the Building Systems exam. After taking your seminar I truly felt 100% confident that I was ready to sit for the exam. I practiced the tricks for the vignette and reviewed the topics you told us to review in class, but other than that I didn’t study day and night. When I sat for the exam I visualized some of the concepts you showed us in the seminar and it really helped me…I even drew some of them on the scratch paper. I want to thank you for encouraging me to take your seminar. I truly believe that it cut my studying time, the stress of studying, and the anxiety of sitting for this exam in half. I had 100% confidence going into this exam, which I have never felt on any of the other exams I have taken. This was my last exam, so I was thrilled to receive the PASS letter and receive notification from the state that I am officially licensed. Thank you for helping me complete that chapter in my career and start the next one as a licensed architect.”

Casey Dowgiert

“I just got my BS result and it is a PASS and I am done! I just want to thank you for a great seminar. I will definitely recommend you to others. You are simply awesome!”

Karin Yang

“I just wanted to drop you a note and say that I passed. I hadn’t studied at all for Bldg Sys before your seminar on March 8-10. But I felt so confident coming out of it that I scheduled the exam for March 18. Your class was extremely helpful. Anyway, thank you for your help. I’m studying for the last exam right now. Almost done!”

Pete Garofalo

“I took my exam 2 weeks after your course and just got my results that I passed. Your course covered 70% of my questions. I thought I could have failed this part, but passed. Thank you again for your course and assistance in passing my exam.”

Tammy Davis

“Michael, I just took the exam yesterday and I am happy because I didn’t think it was that bad compared to when I first took it. The exam was very straightforward, and your class definitely helped me tremendously!! Your class was extremely valuable and it seemed like some of the discussions we focused on were directly on the test! The calculations on the PowerPoint presentation were very helpful to prepare me for the type of calculations on the test. The first time I took the test I couldn’t finish the exam, and this time I had a little time to check things over.”

Dena Spiro-Penna

“I just wanted to let you know I passed the BS ARE exam. I really enjoyed the seminar and just wanted to say thank you for providing such an exceptional learning experience. I think this was actually my favorite exam to study for, in particular the heat transfer and air infiltration aspects, as I do a lot of envelope detailing in my office. Your seminar helped boil down a large amount of material into clear and concise concepts which was a massive help when undertaking this particular test.”

David Moore

“I just received my pass letter in the mail last night. Your seminar was a huge help, and demystified a lot of topics for me. Beyond the test, it’s been a real professional benefit. I’m already recommending your next seminar to all of my coworkers! Thanks so much!”

Scott Hines

“I just received my Building Systems score today, and I passed! Looking back, I think your seminar gave me a solid understanding of the fundamentals for HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing, and also basically everything I needed to know for the exam about Lighting. Thanks for a great class. I can tell you really love teaching, and I’ve been recommending the class to anyone who will listen.”

Alanna Talty

“This [YouTube “how air conditioning works” animation series] is SOOO GOOD, exponentially better than anything else I’ve seen. Amazing, this is how great teaching is done. Beautiful!”

YouTube user

“I took your Building Systems review course and just got my pass letter today. This was a retake for me; after taking your course I realized why I failed it the first time around. The class was beyond helpful, and the Amber Book a fantastic study tool; can’t thank you enough! I’ll be sure to continue to recommend your course to my friends and colleagues. Thanks again!”

Harriet Andronikides

“I wanted to thank you and let you know that I passed the BS test. I am really glad I [flew in from California and] attended the course in NY, it was very helpful. The “live” explanations about current and the refrigeration cycle were huge, and I think that helped me understand the concepts. In general, I thought that most of the concepts [covered in the exam] were covered during the workshop.”

Katia McClain

“I finally took the Building Systems Test and ended up passing on the first try. Thanks a bunch. I think your course was great.”

John Prather

“I have to tell you, your course was instrumental in passing, and not just for BS. I am not a good test taker, never have been, and your course helped me get past the “impending” test and focus the material we were covering. Once I stopped trying to pass a test and started trying to be a competent architect, I started retaining the information. I am grateful . . . and the 2 other guys in our office who are not licensed yet will be hounded by me until they take your course.”

Ben Jones

“Thank you very much for the past weekend’s instruction and entertaining lectures. I’ve not been exposed to such an engaging speaker to-date and especially under such conditions—teaching architects what engineers took 4, 5, 6 years to understand in 3 days. Thanks again, and I will keep you updated on my test experience.”

Marisa Schaffer

“I wanted to let you know I did pass my exam after taking your seminar in NYC. Thank you for the help! The class was very beneficial!”

Danielle Haynay Cerone

“Thank you so much for giving the seminar this weekend. You are really a phenomenal teacher and cleared up a lot of what I thought would be tough material. I wish I had you for Building Systems in school! I am feeling very confident about the test, so thanks again.”

Sara Murray

“Wanted to let you know that thanks to you I passed Building Systems!!! I passed on the first attempt after your seminar, and a colleague did too on his third attempt for his last exam, nearing the 5 yr. limit. So great job! I honestly felt like it was a fabulous class. The way you explained the exam material made it easy for me to understand concepts I was having trouble comprehending.”


“I am happy to report that I just received my pass letter for the building systems exam. I took the exam three weeks after taking your seminar in New Orleans. Just wanted to thank you for all your help! It was a great seminar. I think your seminar was the one thing I did different that allowed me to pass this exam!”

Erik Singman

“Fantastic [animation]! And the slow-paced narration gives me just enough time to absorb whatever you have explained before introducing the next point! Thank you!”

YouTube user


Daniel Puzak

"Just wanted to say thank you for getting me through my last test! Michael, your course was right on in respect to the questions and topics that you went over. I am having a hard time remembering any questions where the concepts were not covered in your course. Thanks again for your help and keep in touch!"

“I wanted to follow up and let you know that I PASSED!! Thank you for taking the time to teach your course. You really helped me to understand what is actually happening with electricity and HVAC systems and not just memorize facts. The conceptual understanding was instrumental! I will absolutely recommend your course to my colleagues.”

A. D.

“Thank you for hosting a great seminar. I really enjoyed your class. Your format of focused ARE content and variety of teaching methods has helped a great deal in allowing me better understand difficult topics. In addition, the analysis and photos of your recent projects provided visual context for grasping building system principles.”

Tim Cruz

“I took the exam on the 23rd July and received the letter yesterday. It’s a PASS!! I am so happy and relieved. This was a retake for me. Your Prep Seminar in NYC helped immensely in this PASS. Thank you so much for all your help and guidance. I have posted a thread on the forum:—Passed!!”

Saurabh Govekar

“I just received my pass letter! Thanks to Michael and to all at the seminar!”

Yildiz Duransoy

“Thanks for the amazing seminar. I really had no clue where to start studying for that exam, and your class made a world of a difference. Not only was I prepared enough to pass the exam, but I feel better as a design professional with the building systems information learned. The refresher from this course will really help me make smarter design decisions moving forward.”

Julia Ellrod

“I just received the good news and am very giddy. PASS! Thanks so much for you informative class and one-of-a-kind teaching style. I’ll recommend your class to anyone who will listen.”

Shannon Brown

“Many thanks for your insightful, engaging, confidence-building, and not to mention, informative, seminar. Using real-world examples for context and the role-playing we did to understand the counter-intuitive concepts of HVAC and electrical was key. Things finally “clicked.” I wish I could go back to school and take one of your courses for a semester!”

Jennifer Gurney

“Thank you, Michael, and everyone at the seminar. This was actually my 4th try and you guys made it possible for me to pass!”

E. S.

“I have passed and it was my final exam!!! It took me 4 years, while working full time and having two children in the meantime. So the feeling is great, as you can imagine! I found your course to be extremely helpful and pretty much fundamental to my passing. I enjoyed it very much and felt confident when I went in.”

Clementina Ruggieri

“I received the results from my BS exam yesterday. I feel that the exam prep class and good participation by all of the students greatly helped me achieve my PASS-ing grade. Thanks Michael and everyone.”

Brett Hutchinson

“I attended the class in NYC. My results were a pass, so you can put another one on the board. Thanks again, and I will recommend your class to colleagues.”

Daniel Rogers

“I really enjoyed your class! I took the exam this Monday. I felt really confident on the electrical, plumbing, acoustic, lighting, and HVAC questions.”

Christian Ricci

“Your seminar ROCKS! It’s amazing how you can explain everything in such a simple way. I highly recommended it to all my friends and colleagues that are going through the same process. [Then one month later. . . ] Just got my pass letter yesterday. I am glad that I took your seminar, which really was the best thing I did to prepare for this exam.”

Fang Kuei-Chen

“I just wanted to send you a quick email and let you know that I took the Building Systems Exam on March 5th and just recently heard back that I passed it!! I’m pretty excited about this and so glad that I don’t have to take that beast of an exam over again. I took your seminar in NYC in early January, so I simply wanted to say “Thank you!!””

Deanna Buckman

“I took your ARE Building Systems Seminar in New York early this year. I took the test in mid-February—my third try and the last exam. I received the pass letter this week. I couldn’t have put things together without attending your class. Thank you very much.”

T. L.

“I took your Building Systems class in January at the Center for Architecture and I wanted to drop you a quick line and let you know that I passed! Thank you again for coming to NYC to teach. I really learned a lot in the class, and I feel that I have a much better understanding of Building Systems overall (not just in relation to the ARE).”

Jessica Sheridan

“After failing the Building Systems code section I felt I needed to boost my confidence before a second attempt. Michael’s seminar was a great review on the major topics of the exam. Two weeks after the seminar I retook the exam and this time I passed! Thanks for coming to New York City!”

Carolyn M.

“I passed!!!! Thanks for the great course.”

Rosa Maria Colina

“I did PASS!! This was my 4th time taking BS—what a relief—as it was my last exam. I am now licensed in New York! In my opinion, your seminar was excellent in that it focused on drilling the main concepts behind BS and not the misc. details of the very broad subject matter. I only wish I was fortunate enough to have studied BS from your perspective as a student. Many thanks again for your seminar! I left feeling empowered to do better work and push the boundaries that so much of the industry seems “stuck” in.”

Andrea Zaff

“I took the exam not too long after the seminar and passed it. The class was great—I think you had the balance just right. The diagrams you sketched were incredibly useful.”

Elizabeth Emerson

“Just wanted to inform you that I passed the B.S. portion of the ARE. I could not have done it without your seminar. Thanks so much.”

Selma Antoine

Brad Evans

"I would like to thank you for the seminar and for the presentation of an enormous volume of material in a clear, concise, and engaging manner. Your explanations of the compression/refrigeration cycle, HVAC system types, and the differences between single-phase and three-phase electrical services explained these processes more clearly than any other presentation or illustration I have come across, both in my education and in almost 20 years of construction project management and architecture. The vignette tutorial was most helpful in avoiding the very simple mistakes that can cause an otherwise qualified individual from passing the exam. I have, and will continue to recommend your seminar to everyone preparing for the exam."

“Thanks again for the 3 day seminar. I have to compliment you on your teaching style. I’ve been working 13 hour days for the past week and going to work after your class as well. And I didn’t fall asleep. I think that says a lot.”

Andrew Williams

“We love these [air conditioning animations]!”

Manager of Membership and Member Contact Center
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE)

Ashley Pruett, CAE

“Excellent. Thank you. I’ve grasped more on this subject in 20 minutes from these [air conditioning] animations than I have from hours spent trying to understand the same concepts in textbooks and study guides.”

Sean Narcum

“Darn fine job—and very helpful for my A.R.E.”

Michael Johnson

“Just wanted to let you know I’m taking the Building Systems test Thursday; I feel prepared, especially with the seminar Michael taught (it would have taken me waaayyyy longer to get through study material had I needed to re-learn everything again!).

[After passing the exam]:
I can attest to Michael’s class directly helping me pass the exam. ”

Rachel Islin

“After a couple of failed attempts at passing the ARE Building Systems exam, I took Michael Ermann’s seminar and passed the exam a week later. There were several questions that I know I got correct because of the seminar. Michael was very thorough and made the material very understandable. I highly recommend Professor Ermann’s course. . .I just received the results from my final section of the ARE (Structural Systems) and I passed! I’m a registered architect! Thank you again for your Building Systems seminar in NYC. You definitely played a huge part in my success in completing these exams.”

Ross Weinreb

Joseph Enciso

"I can’t thank you enough for putting together a great program to prepare for the A.R.E. The presentation style and your teaching style made it really easy to learn what you were teaching. Without your program, I don’t think I would have passed. You provided me with a clear understanding of concept and theory that made discerning the test questions easy. I can’t say enough great things about you and what you have provided the community. Thanks so much!"