The Best Books to Help You Study for the ARE 5.0


There are countless resources that you can tap into when studying for the ARE. However, there are certain books that undeniably more useful than others.

It is always best to spend time with the books that will give you the most bang for your buck while studying.

Here are our top twelve picks for the ARE 5.0 Study Resources:


First up is “Mechanical & Electrical Equipment for Buildings” (you may see people refer to it as MEEB.) This one is a must have when studying for these two tests. It covers everything from electrical and plumbing to HVAC and fire protection systems and everything in between.

Best for: PPD, PDD

Next up is “Building Construction Illustrated”, which most of you probably own from your architecture school days. This Ching favorite is a good resource to have around when reviewing assemblies and how certain construction systems work.

Best for: PPD, PDD

Next we have “Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods” ( you may see people call this one FBC for short)…another biggie that takes you through the steps of construction from foundation to framing to waterproofing to finishes and helps you understand each phase clearly.

Best for : PPD, PDD

Next is “The Architects Studio Companion: Rules of Thumb for Preliminary Design”. This is a good one to have on hand as well. It goes over the reasoning behind selecting major structural and mechanical systems and the differences between them.

Best for: PPD, PDD

And then there is “Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Sustainable Design Methods for Architects” which is another good book to have when you’re going over HVAC and lighting systems.

Best for: PPD, PDD

The book “Sun, Wind, and Light: Architectural Design Strategies” discusses ways to create an energy efficient building that responds to the sun, wind, and light.

Best for: PPD, PA

Law for Architects: What You Need to Know” reviews the important legal concepts involved in the practice of architecture.

Best for: PcM

Both the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and the The NCARB Rules of Conduct contain valuable information you should review before the exam. Good news: you can get these two for free online! (Click our links to get there.)

Best for: PcM

The AIA Contracts play a part throughout the entire testing process. You can download samples of these online to read yourself. Keep in mind the exam is now using the 2017 AIA Documents.

NOTE: Many offices may have a copy of “AIA Official guide to the AIA Contract Documents”. This book has been known to help ARE candidates break down and digest much of the contract lingo. If you see this book, please be aware that it was written for the 2007 AIA Documents, so pay careful attention to any differences between these and the new 2017 Documents if you are reading through it.

Best for: PcM, PjM, PA, PPD, PDD, CA

“The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice” is another tried and true resource that will help you throughout all of the exams. .

Best for: PcM, PjM, PA, PPD, PDD, CA

So there you have it…some of our top favorite resources for studying. Of course the list can go on and on. But we suggest that at the very least you invest in these to help you grasp the information completely and help you conquer the exams.

For more tips on getting through the ARE, download our free ARE Playbook: a step-by-step guide to pass the ARE faster!

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