Black Spectacles was very clearly the resource I needed to pass my ARE’s. The practice tests are a mostly accurate representation of the real test, and it is great that there are 3 tests from each division. I didn’t make much use of the flash cards or games, but they were available had I wanted to. I had a few qualms with some formatting and content: The calculator was a little different, some of the resources were images, not searchable text, autocorrect made “sf” “Sq. Ft.” So they had “tranSq. Ft.er” when they meant “Transfer”. There were also a few content errors (the minimum tread depth is 11” not 7”—that’s max. riser height, folks!) I would absolutely recommend Black Spectacles to anyone who is taking the ARE’s—I did pass all 6 divisions in 41 days, so that result speaks to its success!
Review by Limeblossom3 weeks ago
Most comprehensive and easy to digest materials out there. Excellent customer service.
Review by BethanyAlice Ssekibaamu1 month ago
I think the lecture and the tests are excellent. Although it took almost twice as long for me to really understand the contents because English is my second language, the lectures helped me understand the concept well and taught me how to deal with the problems as an architect. I believe I could pass the ARE because I took the lectures and the tests very seriously and thoroughly.
Review by SarahGisborne1 month ago
Excellent resource for candidates studying for Architectural Licensing Exams. Highly recommend!
Review by Marielee1 month ago
My experience with Black Spectacles has run the gamut, from first being an ARE candidate and using Black Spectacles to help me pass my exams to now being a coach in the ARE prep groups. On both sides, Black Spectacles has been an invaluable resource to me - from the initial studying to the now constant reinforcing of the information I now get from being a coach. It is a great resource and highly recommended.
Review by MsDime1 month ago
Real content written by real architects. Video learning approaches learning at a whole new level. It’s self-guided and accessible anywhere. The exams mimic the real ones and have lots of questions to pull from so you’re not studying from the same exam. Customer service is willing to listen and wants to help. It’s an engaged pro-YOU company.
Review by Autophix Kopean1 month ago
I used Black Spectacle and passed all the tests so it’s good but I also had some good experience that helped. Felt like there is definitely a good bit that can be improved and even some that was incorrect that I emailed about but never got a response. There’s a lot of redundant flash cards and some other info but it was overall a decent study program.
Review by Hakaim2 months ago
Black Spectacles has been an invaluable resource in my career development. I have experience using the Software Learning and ARE Prep Materials (student and coach) and would highly recommend both for their breadth and depth.
Review by LisaAnn Zakurzewski2 months ago
The Black Spectacles practice exams provide those studying for their AREs with an exam format that matches the format of the actual exam helping them to better prepare for for test day. The video lectures provide a classroom like learning experience and the flash cards are great for on the go studying. Black Spectacles also provides coaching for those looking for accountability and additional guidance while studying.
Review by Wurzer Tombacco2 months ago
Black Spectacles provides some of the best supplemental study material for the ARE that I have seen. The videos are very informative and help candidates get understanding of the topics. The flash cards are great to review when you only have a short time (like lunch break). And the practice tests show you exactly what the exam will look like and test your knowledge. Their coaching program takes it to the next step with a licensed architect to answer questions and give advice in a group setting. Well done Black Spectacles. You’re program is phenomenal!
Review by Wealdstone Benady2 months ago
Essential component for any ARE candidate’s study material arsenal. Taking the sample test using this software and computer interface simulates a much better testing environment than book format sample tests; particularly where the case studies are concerned. This is where Black Specs surpasses all competitors. The fact that they have live customer service is also a huge plus! This should not be your only study guide/resource, but it most definitely should count as one of your study resources.
Review by Khot2 months ago
Black Spectacles is a great resource for content and peer support through their coaching program for taking the ARE. It's helped me stay organized, motivated and establish a plan that is executable in order to be successful in passing my exams. The practice exams are very helpful in preparing for the real exam. It' provides an experience that is as close to taking the real exam as possible and gives a great summary to understand what areas to study.
Review by Hetmaniuk2 months ago
In general I was missing the visual content. I would have liked to receive and/or see more visual documents/content of the lectures. (Diagrams, sketches, etc.) Also a summary of some sort (list of most important items or similar) would be helpful at each section.
Review by Deackoff3 months ago
Best ARE test prep available! We've only been using Black Spectacles for 2 months and and 6 staff members have passed test sections, The practice exams and progress detail have been a huge help.
Review by Yachyn3 months ago
There is some good content and support in the PPD and PDD modules, but they are sorely lacking in enough detail and specifics.
I had taken both of these two tests twice previously and passed all the sections - just not all in the same test.
After 4 months of 20-30 hours of studying using Black Spectacles - I actually did much WORSE on the tests than I did on my two previous tries, and consequently lost three of my four passes due to the five year rule. I attribute this to general mental fatigue and increased distance from specifics in NCARB recommended resources - particularly IBC.
The content of the videos is mostly a review of everything you should have learned in college or your first internship. Nicely done, but too vague and general to be useful during testing.
Content of Flashcards is better.
The practice tests are helpful, but don't compare in difficulty to the real tests. I was finishing the practice tests in 2.5 hours and scoring well, whereas on the real test I finished with only 10 minutes to spare (3 hours 50 minutes), and not enough time to check all the code items I had jotted down. They do help one to feel more prepared, but falsely so...
I'd recommend Hyperfine and NCARB listed resources over Black Spectacles. And, if you do elect to utilize Black Spectacles - do so judiciously.
One up side - I was I able to connect with great study buddy via Black Spectacles and that is pretty invaluable! And, Black Spectacles did help me keep moving forward when I was feeling pretty discouraged.
Onward and upward!
Review by Woodster4 months ago
Comprehensive program following actual ARE 5 exam formats. Multiple practice exams on each Section, including Case Studies. Coaches are licensed architects and assist in walking step-by-step through exam content with candidates.
Review by Pmae4 months ago
The practice tests are extremely helpful. The lectures do a great job at emphasizing the concepts as well as diving in to the details so the ideas are applicable to most test questions one may come across.
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