Seven exams in seven days: No problem

Submitted by scimino on Mon, 07/25/2016 - 14:00
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If anyone passed all seven and completed the AIA ARE 7in7 Challenge, they would be reimbursed for AIA ARE Prep Powered by Black Spectacles subscription and receive a free one-year subscription to Black Spectacles Software Tutorials."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"The response was immediate, as numerous emerging professionals pledged to take the 2016 #AIA7in7 challenge on "],[0,[1,0],2,"social media"],[0,[0],1,". When the smoke cleared, however, only one person passed all seven: Ben Edwards of "],[0,[2,0],2,"FFKR Architects"],[0,[0],1," in Salt Lake City, Utah."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"Ben knew at a young age that he had architecture in his blood, despite the complication of being deaf. The disability required a different learning process but never once slowed down his attempts to fulfill his dream. We spoke to Ben via email about the AIA ARE 7in7 Challenge, how he studied for such an endeavor, and where he hopes to end up in the profession."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[3],1,"What led you to sign up for the AIA ARE 7in7 Challenge?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"As part of a New Year\u0027s Resolution to progress towards being licensed, I had decided at the beginning of 2016 to start taking the ARE. I planned to take them one at a time, beginning in late spring, with the goal of finishing at the end of the year or early next year. Then, as I was getting ready, everyone at FFKR Architects was presented with the AIA 7in7 Challenge. My firm was offering support so, with a little thought, I decided to go for it and see if I couldn\u0027t get it all done at once."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"After all, many architects used to do just that in the past, with limited annual testing, before computers were available. And the fact that it was being supported by my firm meant I\u2019d have an easier time scheduling, working out the logistics, and getting access to study materials."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[3],1,"Did you use any specific study tools to prepare for the tests?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"I used "],[0,[4],1,"AIA ARE Prep Powered by Black Spectacles"],[0,[],0," as a starting point, along with their well-organized "],[0,[5],1,"course library of online video tutorials"],[0,[],0,". I also took advantage of the library at FFKR Architects, and started using flashcards to review vocabulary and concepts on the bus while commuting to work. Every week or so, I\u0027d take a practice exam to see how I was progressing and identify areas where I needed to improve."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[3],1,"How has being deaf factored into your quest to become an architect?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"It does bring a different perspective to both architecture and my career path. There\u0027s a deeper visual dynamic involved, especially in having a more developed spatial sense through communicating in a three-dimensional language. But there\u2019s also an emphasis on practical relationships where I notice what others might take for granted, like the complications in being unable to hear where others are in a space or talk to each other without a direct line of sight."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"My interest in architecture, however, grew out of enjoying the process of building things, much like any other kid might. I was very interested in home remodel projects or just rearranging the furniture around the house, often to the chagrin of my very patient parents. There was a desire to make things or change my surroundings to meet certain goals."]]],[1,"blockquote",[[0,[],0,"\u0022There is so much I can imagine doing; a lifetime isn\u2019t enough.\u0022 - Ben Edwards"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Of course, there are difficulties when it comes to being deaf; despite all the technological advances in communications, so much information still gets exchanged informally, in casual conversations or as something you inadvertently overheard. I try to be proactive in learning or initiating conversation when needed, but the challenge is knowing who and what to ask."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[3],1,"Were your studying methods also impacted by being deaf?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Being deaf does limit some of my options on study materials, such as audiotapes, podcasts, and videos without captions or transcripts, leaving me to rely on visuals. The forums are great, since I can read through them and often both questions and answers are posted, which I am able to utilize quickly without having to wait. One thing about being deaf that has made me more successful is that I have to work a bit harder to find certain bits of information, and those things seem to stick better in my memory because I actively worked to learn them. So it\u0027s more a part of me than what others might learn by casually hearing it, where it\u0027s absorbed so easily that it just as easily slips from memory."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[3],1,"Now that you\u0027ve flown through the exams, what\u0027s next for you?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"I won\u0027t be fully licensed for a while, as I still have to finish up my work experience requirements. I had planned to complete those requirements alongside with the exams, so suffice it to say I am way ahead of schedule. My current goal is to complete work experience hours within the year, and FFKR has been extremely supportive so far in that process: making study materials available, being flexible with scheduling, and helping to create an intern group that gets together to discuss issues with an associate who answers any questions."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[3],1,"What\u0027s your dream job in architecture?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"To just design and work on a variety of projects. Isn\u2019t that why a lot of us got into architecture: to design and build the spaces we envision in our minds? I\u2019m particularly interested in exploring the possibilities of mixed-use and passive building design, though I feel like I have a lot more to learn about the more practical side of architecture. There are also technological upgrades for smart buildings, environmental and sustainable design, infrastructure integration, urban farming concepts. There is so much I can imagine doing; a lifetime isn\u2019t enough."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"Steve Cimino is the digital content manager at the AIA."]]]]}
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An aspiring deaf architect explains how he passed the ARE in a week.
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Ben Edwards of FFKR Architects in Salt Lake City, Utah, was the sole candidate to pass all exams in the AIA ARE 7in7 Challenge.
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