Finally, after making the decision of taking the ARE, the idea of taking the first exam to break the ice persisted in my mind for months before I scheduled the appointment. Deciding which one was going to be the first one was somewhat easy as I chose the one where I thought I had acquire the most knowledge in my short years of experience. Waiting for the right time in my life was very unsuccessful. There were always family reunions and compromises that would limit the studying time. Studying with no deadline was not enough, distractions were there all the time, and it wasn’t serious enough. I realized I just had to schedule the appointment in order to bring a sense of responsibly and trap myself in a deadline. It was comparable to ripping off a band aid. I can’t deny it was not only my “motivation” (see previous post) what made me schedule an exam appointment, it was the environment where I work as well. My coworkers were literally making me click. After all, being surrounded by great people does impact your life. As soon as I got the appointment confirmation my anxiety levels increased but I knew I could do it, at least take it. I did have a lot of experience in studying and taking exams, I had done from kinder garden to college graduation.
So there were family reunions and compromises I had to cancel or shorten or adjust. I studied as much as I could while trying to avoid getting overwhelmed with the great amount of information and payed more attention to the testing scheme. I tried to comprehend more how the examination system works. I was able to figure out answers by inferring and not exactly by memorizing. Also, I came up with an efficient sequence of steps for the vignette exercise, as I believe this is the key to pass it. The day before the exam I hadn’t been able to cover all the material, I knew I didn’t know everything, but I stopped studying at a point where I had gained enough confidence and had enough time to rest. The next day, being positive but ready for both outcomes,I went to examination center, which by the way was very intimidating. The tense atmosphere and my purpose there made me feel almost like when you are in a dangerous or stressful situation where you can only focus on one unique priority, like in ancient times when the only aim was to survive. The rigidity of the testing center rules helped me understand the significance of the following three hours of my life.
The first fifteen questions were none sense for my frightened brain. The sixteenth saved me. It was the first one that I actually understood and knew the answer, the first one of others that made me gain my confidence back. Thinking as fast as I could was my strength, which made me gain ten extra minutes to go back to the first fifteen questions. It was my regained self-assurance what let me understand this time. At least, I was able to relate the questions and connect them to some knowledge in my mind. I was very calmed and cold minded during those three hours.
Two weeks after, I found out that I had passed. The misconception of being an almost impossible task was officially broken. Passing this exam officially opened a new chapter in my life personal and professional. It brought me one step closer to becoming a “real architect” for society and closer to realizing my professional goals. It brought not only a very exciting the sense of accomplishment, but the hope that someday I will be able to perform as per my beliefs, and pass them on to society.