NCARB offers a list of study materials for each exam in the ARE 5.0 Handbook (downloadable as a PDF on its site). However, if you add up the costs of all the resources and time it would take to read through them all, it becomes daunting and costly! One resource for selecting materials would be those recommended by the ARE 5.0 community forum. There is a lot of insight as to what worked best for those who took the exam. In addition, my two cents follow:
● The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP). The content of this book spans all exams, but it is also essential for practice. Full of case studies and dense with information, no matter what, it should be on every architect’s bookshelf.
● AIA Contract Documents (www.aiacontracts.org). This resource offers full, sample contracts for free (along with other documents such as applications for payment), and is useful when reviewing specific contracts for exam divisions.
For the project planning and design (PPD) and project development and documentation (PDD) divisions:
● Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2015 International Building Code. This book translates the codes into drawings, aiding the visual learner in understanding how the code affects building design.
● Building Construction Illustrated. Again, a resource heavy in drawing, this book illustrates building assemblies and construction details.
● IBC Codes. The International Building Code is a significant part of the PPD and PDD exams. It is necessary to know how to navigate the IBC and where to find relevant information for questions on occupancies, allowable building heights, fire ratings, and so on. A free version is available through the International Code Council on its site: https://codes.iccsafe.org/
This is hardly an exhaustive list, nor is this the tip of the iceberg. However, know that you can still be successful even if you don’t buy all of the resources listed in the ARE 5.0 Handbook.