Our most commonly asked questions, answered

Jessica Ritter avatar
Written by Jessica Ritter
Updated over a week ago

In this article:

Preparing for the ARE

Q: Which ARE division should I start with?

A: We advise you to become familiar with the NCARB Guidelines and to listen to our ARE Live episode on ARE testing order and strategy.

Q: Does Black Spectacles cover exactly what I’ll be tested on during exam day?

A: Our study content is built around the objectives of each division as shared in the NCARB Guidelines. The same as candidates registered for the exams, Black Spectacles is not privy to any actual exam questions or content outside of the documented objectives of each exam.

Q: Is there direct 1-1 help available? Private tutors?

A: While we do not offer individual tutoring, we invite all member to utilize the ARE Community for additional study help. https://community.blackspectacles.com/
Our ARE Community is designed for members and architects to respond to each other organically on all things ARE.

Q: Do you offer in person classes?

A: All of our ARE 5.0 prep content is available online only. We do not have any in-person programs.
Virtual Workshops are live, online workshops with a post-workshop Q & A held every Sunday at 2pm Central for each division of the ARE.
Virtual Workshops are available with an ARE 5.0 Expert subscription.


Q: Do you offer a free trial?

A: While we do not have a free trial for our ARE 5.0 prep, you can watch select Video Lectures for free in the Preview Dashboard.

Q: Can I buy a subscription for a single ARE division?

A: Subscription tiers always include access to study content for all 6 divisions at no extra cost. We do not sell subscriptions for a single ARE division.

Q: Can I pause my subscription?

A: No. Our monthly subscriptions allow the most flexibility to start and stop access on a monthly basis. Our subscriptions cannot be paused or stopped before your renewal date.

Q: Can I opt out of auto-renewal?

A: Yes - see how to cancel the next auto renewal after your purchase is complete.

Q: Can I delay access?

A: No. Access begins immediately after purchase and cannot be delayed or paused.

Q: Can I upgrade my subscription after trying it out for a few weeks?

A: Yes! You can upgrade at any time through your member profile. You’ll only be charged for upgraded access for the days remaining in the current billing period.

Q: How many Pass the ARE Guarantee seat credits can I apply for while subscribed?

A: While there is not a limit on how many claims you can make, our system will automatically approve or deny your claim based on the completion of Guarantee requirements and that it all lines up within the 60 days before your registered exam date.

Q: Will my study history be saved if I cancel my subscription and come back later?

A: Yes! All of your study progress and account information is saved. When you’re ready to tackle your next exam, sign in and purchase a new subscription. You’ll be able to continue where you left off.

Q: Will I receive any printed study materials?

A: No. Our subscriptions offer online learning tools only. The learning tools are only available while logged in with an active subscription and are not printable.

Learning Tools

Q: Can I download Videos to watch offline, later?

A: Videos are not able to be downloaded or available to watch offline.

Q: Can I use my subscription on my phone or tablet?

A: Yes, you can access our site on your phone or tablet on any mobile browser. Keep in mind that Practice Exams are best experienced on a computer due to detailed graphics contained in questions.

Q: Can I pause a Practice Exam if I don't have enough time for a complete session?

A: Practice Exams cannot be paused outside of the allotted break period. You can take each Practice Exam as many times as you'd like. If you do not finish a Practice Exam or you allow the timer to run out, the score will be automatically registered on your Dashboard.

Q: Can I reset my Practice Exam score history for a division?

A: No, Practice Exam scores cannot be reset.

Virtual Workshops

Q: What if I miss a Virtual Workshop, are there recordings available?

A: Virtual Workshops are held as live interactive workshops and require participation from each member attending. Recordings of each Virtual Workshop are not available.

Q: How long do you recommend attending Virtual Workshops before being ready to take an exam?
A: We recommend completing 4 Virtual Workshops, consecutively, to complete a cycle of all 4 topics. If you attend for a second cycle, you’ll review the same topics but with a different exercise.
Each Virtual Workshop is independent and does not build off one another, so you can truly join at any time.

Q: Can I attend multiple Virtual Workshops on the same day?

A: All Workshops are held live, every Sunday at 2pm Central. Expert members have the ability to attend one Workshop each week for the exam of their choice. You will get access to content for all six divisions with your subscription, so you can switch over to a different exam’s workshops from week to week but cannot attend 2 meetings on the same day.

Q: What system requirements are needed for the Virtual Workshops?

A: Before your first Virtual Workshop, ensure you’re setup for success with the following:

  • Strong internet connection - 5 Mbps and above

  • Computer with the most updated version of your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)

  • Working computer microphone

  • Pencil and paper

  • Zoom installed on your computer and have tested ability to use Zoom on this device

  • Plan to be ready to join the meeting 5 minutes before start time.
    To join the meeting, you must RSVP ahead of time and then click the Launch button in your Dashboard. The Launch button will appear no more than 5 minutes before 2pm CST.

Didn't find the answers you're looking for?

Feel free to chat with us using the blue chat box in the bottom right corner or send us an email at hello@blackspectacles.com.

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