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Architect Education

Architectural Registration Exam Tutoring vs. Online Test Prep

We're highlighting some of the advantages of online test prep as opposed to a “traditional” tutoring service option.

Preparing for the ARE exam can be overwhelming — with six sections and the occasional ARE 5.0 test updates, there is no guesswork behind why the rolling clock for the exam is five years. However, there are several resources available to help guide you through your test-taking journey. 

Maybe you have considered hiring a tutor to help you study, but what about online test prep material? We will highlight some of the advantages of online test prep as opposed to a “traditional” tutoring service option.

Pace of Learning

Learning With a Tutor

Hiring a tutor means that you commit to a preset schedule with your tutor either online or in person. Unfortunately, most study plans are divided into a set number of tutoring sessions. This means you could be moving on to study the next division of the ARE 5.0, even if you have more questions. 

Granted, most tutors would be willing to give you additional help during your architecture exam preparation marathon. Of course, you would be charged per additional tutoring session, and adding additional sessions may not be easy to schedule.

Learning With Online Test Prep

There is a wealth of resources and support available to you that you can utilize on your time and at your pace. You could go for a jog while listening to a breakdown of a tricky practice test question via the ARE Live podcast instead of waiting for your tutor to get back to you. Online resources will address questions that you may have about recent changes or updates to the ARE 5.0, allowing you to take your prep one step at a time.

Cost in the Long Run

Cost of an Architecture Tutor

According to Wyzant, architecture tutors cost $40 to $65 an hour. If you're studying for at least 10 hours a month for your exam, fees from architectural registration exam tutoring could be anywhere between $400 to $650 per month. This is a hefty cost, even if your firm is footing the bill, that only covers your tutoring time.

Cost of Online Prep

Pricing of the Black Spectacles Individual Test Prep Membership options range from $149 to $279 a month. We also offer group licenses to firms who wish to support their team on the ARE 5.0 prep journey. Whether  you have an individual or firm membership, your access to the test prep material is unlimited.

Both types of membership include resources for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0 exam, with no hidden fee surprises. If you use the prep material alongside your colleagues, you have the bonus of a built-in study group. 

The Best ARE 5.0 Study Materials

Architecture Tutor Prep Materials

Even if you have a tutor who provides the study materials, you may find those materials lacking or out of date. These materials may not be anything like NCARB’s process, and you could find yourself searching for more resources.

Black Spectacles Prep Materials

With a Black Spectacles ARE Membership, you aren’t just getting one tutor a few hours a month. 

Black Spectacles Gives You Access To:

  • Online videos. This includes webinars and other resources that tackle the tough questions about the ARE 5.0. We don’t feel that someone talking at you is effective at all. That’s why our videos were designed to address you respectfully and with compassion in the form of the respected architect and teacher, Mike Newman. 
  • Practice tests that mimic NCARB’s process. With the advent of virtual proctoring, online test-taking further imitates the test day experience should one choose to take the exam in that format. 
  • Digital flashcards. To help with retention, you can practice with these flashcards at your convenience.

Your online resources can be accessed anywhere anytime, which means you can review digital flashcards on the go, or make a dedicated study corner to watch Video Lectures at your Airbnb.

Additionally, Black Spectacles Expert Membership includes access to Virtual Workshops. In these Virtual Workshops, you can work through the toughest exam topics in a group setting led by a licensed architect coach.

Expert Insights

Knowing that you are getting your information from a reliable source is a good way to boost your confidence going into your ARE 5.0 exam. 

Tutor Expert Insight

With architectural registration exam tutoring, you probably will have an expert in the field. Of course, there is no guarantee that they have the latest material and knowledge. 

Online Test Prep Experts’ Insight

Online test prep membership gives you information provided by many experienced architect experts at one time. The Virtual Workshop coaches specialize in the division they teach, so you get perspectives from experts in each division. 

You can also connect with experts and individuals in your field who are on the same ARE journey as you through the ARE Community. This valuable resource is available to you 24/7.

Why Choose Black Spectacles As Your Go-To Online Test Prep Provider?

With the new option of taking the ARE 5.0 online, on top of a better all-around test prep experience, it makes sense to use online test materials for your architecture exam preparation. 

Black Spectacles is your go-to online test provider for the ARE 5.0 exam

  • Black Spectacles is the only NCARB approved online test prep for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0.
  • Students who use Black Spectacles memberships pass the ARE at higher rates than the NCARB national average across all six divisions.
  • Both Expert Memberships for individuals and for firms include a Pass-the-ARE Guarantee so you can have peace of mind that you are getting the best test prep available.
  • You can take advantage of all resources offered such as blogs, the ARE Community, webinars, practice tests, and more, all in one place.


It may be time to leave architectural registration exam tutoring behind and focus on your future with the ARE 5.0 test prep designed to work with you to reach your goals. 

Start preparing for your ARE exam today by choosing the right test prep plan for you.


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