Tips, Tricks, & What to Expect When Signing Up for the L.A.R.E.

AquaTerra is committed to furthering the education of our employees and investing in the next generation of Landscape Architects. Recently, Kylee Sims, Designer and Assistant Project Manager, took the Landscape Architect Registration Exam (better known as the L.A.R.E.) and wanted to share what she learned about the test taking process. We are so proud of Kylee and her dedication to continuing education! Here are her top tips and tricks. 

So, you’ve decided to take the L.A.R.E. Congratulations! Get ready for a hectic few weeks. What started as an overwhelming process turned into something I am so proud of myself for accomplishing. To save you some of the trouble I went through, I wanted to share a streamlined overview of what it looks like to take the test, and how to manage your life during the studying process.

Getting your Ducks in a Row: 

Before signing up for the exam, there are a few steps you need to double check:

  • Did you graduate from an Accredited Landscape Architecture Program?
  • have you worked under a Registered Landscape Architect for 2 years?

If so, you’re eligible! Now, you must register with CLARB, Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. You’ll need:

  • A proof of employment
  • An official college transcript
  • Two forms of ID
  • Next, register with the TBAE (The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners)

Once you’ve completed the registration process you are ready to sign up for the exam at a testing center.  There are 4 sections, which you can take in any order, and once you’ve started the first test you have 5 years to pass all 4. The exam is offered 3 times a year over a two-week period.

You know it so well you could teach it: 

  • ASLA and CLARB websites both have a suggested reading list of books for each section of the exam and subjects that will likely appear on the exam. The list of subjects is crucial to review so you don’t waste brainpower reading each book cover to cover.
  • Take as many practice tests as you can! The first one should be before you crack open any study material to gage where to focus your studies. There are paper tests as well as online tests, please keep in mind where you are getting your study material, make sure it is a reputable source!
  • Sign up for the test as soon as the dates are released (spots fill up fast) and start studying early!  Do not just start studying without signing up for a test. Having an end date in mind helps create an organized study schedule.
  • Most importantly do not let studying take over your life. Keeping a balanced life is equally as important as studying. If you find yourself becoming reclusive from normal life or anxious anytime you aren’t studying, it’s a sign that you need to take a break. Find what will fuel your spirit; spend time outside, go to the gym, practice your favorite hobbies and include your friends and family in this season to help keep you accountable. Your brain will thank you for taking much-needed short breaks!

It’s Go Time:  

  • Staying calm the night before and day of the test is always easier said than done.  If you have studied hard and feel confident, don’t let any form of test anxiety get in the way.  Get a good night sleep, have a good breakfast, and sit in the confidence of your hard work over the last few weeks / months.
  • Do not second guess yourself! This test is meant to be hard, go with your gut choice.
  • When you signed up for the exam a few months back make sure you consider the time and day of the week. If you’re not a morning person then a 7:30 slot on a Monday morning might not be the best idea.
  • Once you’ve finished the exam and you walk out of the testing center, rejoice! You’ll feel 50 lbs lighter and you can celebrate the discipline and dedication over the last few weeks. Take some time for yourself, because you have earned it! Go see that movie or get that drink – it’s time to relax.
  • In 4-6 weeks, you will have your results back and can move on to the next, and if not you now have a better idea of what to study for the retake!