How To Prepare For The ABAR Exam

The Architect Registration Examination, also known as the AS Examination, is a thorough and challenging test for prospective architects. The exam consists of seven parts: building site analysis; drafting and drawing; mechanical drafting and calculation; framing and bracing; electrical and mechanical drafting; and wood structural and architectural construction. Part three of the exam measures knowledge in connection with environmentally friendly building practices. This part focuses on special building features, such as energy efficient systems, rain gardens, and storm water management. There are two parts to the test: one is a written test and the second is a practice exam.


Before an individual can begin preparation for the exam, they must first become a licensed professional architect with a CAA. Once licensed, they will be able to take the examinations that are required for becoming a qualified architect. Taking these exams is the only way to raise one’s professional level to the next level. These professional architectural examinations measure an individual’s knowledge level in a variety of areas. The following is a brief description of what is required in each of the seven sections of the examination.

In the site planning section of the exam, candidates will need to demonstrate their ability to draft plans of buildings and structures that are in compliance with local, state, and federal building codes. The site planning portion of the exam includes both drafting and designing the structure as well as any location that require building placement. The exam builder will be responsible for the entire life cycle of the project, from conception to completion, including maintenance and repair work. Site planning includes the physical layout of the site, including any existing infrastructure and utilities, the planned facilities, as well as parking, loading, and discharging points.

Architectural drawings and blueprint design are the second two sections that will be tested in the exam. Candidates will need to design and build new structures that incorporate the prescribed technical specifications. Building designs include the method of construction, materials, dimensions, and the ultimate architectural style. Graphic vignettes complete the section, measuring the completed project against the given specifications. The graphic vignette test consists of multiple-choice questions answering basic architectural information and drafting skills.

Architects must pass both the written and analytical portions of the exam before earning a Professional Architect Registration with the American Board of Architectural Registration and Licensing (ABAR). To prepare for the exam, prospective candidates may choose to take a College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or participate in an ABAR study guide. The CLEP exam measures the student’s knowledge by testing topics in basic architectural practice, drafting fundamentals, architectural terminology, and perspective concepts. A student may earn up to seventy-five points if they successfully pass the CLEP exam. The ABAR study guide covers all of the sections of the exam and includes multiple-choice and writing sections.

The use of ABAR review materials enables future architects to learn from the mistakes that others have made. Students can use the review guides as a reference and preparation tool. In addition, ABAR instructors may assign students specific areas of focus during classroom sessions. Exams are administered regularly, providing students with another opportunity to succeed. Students may also be permitted to utilize ABAR study strategies, including the use of ABAR review guides.