ARE

Tuned Mass Damper by Michelle Linden






If you are like me, then you probably don't work with tuned mass dampers on a regular basis. In fact, my only experience would be in structures classes and when I was studying for the ARE. So, its really cool to see a tuned mass damper, not just in a building, but actually working during an earthquake. The Taipei 101 is currently the world's second tallest building and because it is located only 600 feet from a fault line, it required a ginormous tuned mass damper. During the Sichuan Earthquake, this four story 730 ton ball kept the building from tipping over. Not bad for something that spends most of its time as a tourist destination.
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Via Gizmodo
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ARE - Materials and Methods by Michelle Linden

I've suddenly realized that I never finished writing up my experiences from the ARE... How can I talk about the 9 tests if I only write about 8? Although at this point its probably a waste of time - has the ARE moved to the 7 test format?- since I can barely remember my experience. Still... since I'm a bit of an obsessive compulsive, I wanted to at least share what I could remember.
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I started studying for the materials and methods exam after the mechanical and electrical building systems test. I was very nervous about this test, mainly because I didn't want to screw up the last one, so I postponed taking the test much longer than I needed. I felt like there was a fair amount of overlap between pre-design and materials and methods... so they worked as great bookends for me. Really, I've heard different schools of thought about the M&M test... some people think its good to take it early, as the range of material covered is so broad... I on the other hand, opted to take it last, hoping that I would have covered the majority of the material in previous tests. In fact, I think it would have worked out fine either way.
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As far as the actually studying went... I spent about 8 weeks preparing (way more than needed) and just like with the other multiple choice exams, I used the Kaplan Book and CD as well as the Archiflash cards as my main study materials. I also supplemented the Kaplan with Building Construction Illustrated by Ching. As with the other exams, the simple diagrams and drawings in the Ching book really helped me to better understand the systems and methods.
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I feel like if you've already studied for the rest of the exam, this should be a fairly simple subject... There aren't really any calculations and the test is based on an understanding of materials that hopefully we should all have by this point in our education/careers. Still, I realize that all the exams are different, and I should consider myself lucky that I got a fairly easy version.
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I apologize for not writing about this exam earlier, when my memory could have better served us all... But, hopefully this little bit will help (even if it only helps ease your worries).
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Good Luck!
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ARE - Mechanical and Electrical Building Systems by Michelle Linden

After my structural exams, I set my mind to studying for the mechanical and electrical building systems test. I was lucky to sneak into the old format, scheduling my test before they changed the format. Although, in all honesty, I'm not sure that the fill in the blanks would have been any more difficult... the only thing you'd be losing out on is the guess factor. Because at least for me, most of the questions that I really struggled with required calculations...
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Just like with the other multiple choice exams, I used the Kaplan Mechanical & Electrical Systems Book and CD as well as the Archiflash cards as my main study materials. Per many recommendations, I also supplemented the Kaplan with Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings, 10th Edition by Stein Reynolds and Building Construction Illustrated by Ching. Both were helpful, although MEEB was a bit overwhelming... I much preferred the simple diagrams and drawings in the Ching book, which really helped me to better understand the systems.
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For me, this was by far the hardest exam and I had wished that I had been better prepared for the subject. There is just so much material to cover, including having a good understanding of green building systems. Studying systems diagrams proved to be more beneficial than anything else, however I still spent most of the exam rereading the questions for clues.
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I'm afraid that I don't have a lot of good advice for this exam, partly because its been quite a while since I took the test, but also partly because I was so overwhelmed and confused when I took the exam. So the best advice I can give, is to review Ching's systems diagrams and review the green building sections of the MEEB book.

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Good Luck!

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ARE - Lateral Forces by Michelle Linden

As I mentioned before, I had decided to combine studying efforts for the general structures exam and the lateral forces exam. I was extremely nervous about the exam because I did not feel good at all about the general structures exam I had taken only 10 days prior. Still, I knew that I needed to focus on the exam at hand and not worry about the previous test.
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Like all of the other tests, I used the Kaplan General Structures/Lateral Forces Book and CD as well as the Archiflash cards as my main study materials. Also, make sure that if you use the Kaplan books, that you realize that the lateral forces portion is combined with one of the general structures book. I thought that this Kaplan book was the most lacking of all of the books, as there were only 3 small chapters devoted to lateral forces. Luckily, I felt like the cd and archiflash cards really made up for what was lacking in the book. I also decided to go over a few of the concepts with one of the structural engineers that my office works with, which was quite helpful.
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I can imagine that the lateral forces exam can be a bit daunting if you have never dealt with lateral forces. However, in the pacific northwest, this is an issue all of our structures must address, so I felt pretty comfortable with the material. Compared to the general structures exam, lateral forces is actually much more generalized. The lateral forces section focuses much more on concepts and ideas, rather than calculations. If you get a good understanding of the concepts, you should be able to deduce any mathematical problems using the formulas they give you. Although the formulas are given to you, so you don't need to memorize them... if you can, it will only make your life easier. It can be a waste of time to go back and forth from the formula page to the questions.
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All in all, I thought that this was one of the simplest (if not the simplest) exam of the bunch. I realize that everyone takes a different test and therefore you can never guarantee that your exam will be easy... the breadth of material for this exam is much less than others, which makes it much easier to study.
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Good Luck!
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More Study Materials by Michelle Linden

I just listed a bunch more Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) study materials for sale on ebay. Personally, if I were to only get a few materials, then I would definetly buy the Archiflash flash cards and the graphic exam practice vignettes. But that's just me... So, feel free to click through if you're interested. Click here to see more posts on the ARE's individual sections.