The LARE is a critical element in the registration process for Landscape Architects, but often a very daunting one. In talking about professionals who took the LARE 10+ years ago, I am thankful that the test is now digitized. I have heard many horror stories about the countless hours spent in a gymnasium with drafting supplies in hand trying to conquer the 5 part test.
When the test was revamped in 2012, it was condensed into 4 sections and converted to a digital format -- yes, that means even the design vignettes and grading exercises are all on the computer now. Right after the shift occurred, all of the existing study materials suddenly became out of date. It has taken a few years for companies and individuals to revamp their study materials from sections A-E to sections 1-4. When I began the journey to study for the LARE, I was very overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information out there. There's so much to study, so many topics to review, so many practice tests and study guides, but so much of that was geared toward Sections A-E prior to 2012.
In starting a LARE Prep Study Group in Hawaii, it was my goal to connect with other emerging professionals and help guide each other on the path toward licensure. The group has met in person and online for various webinars and collaboration events. The most recent event was hosted as a webinar with another young professional who recently passed all four of the new digital sections of the LARE.
In trying to find advice and testing guidance, I turned to the internet. There's an existing Google Group with over 1,700 members specifically geared toward LARE prep information. While this is a helpful resource, it is also overwhelming because there's so much information out there. On a whim, I posted in the google group looking to form a study group for Sections 2 & 3. I now have a separate Google Group with 20 members from all across the country who are studying together to take Sections 2 & 3 in December 2016. We meet weekly (via Google Hangouts) to discuss topics and ask each other questions.
If there's one thing I've realized as I've started studying for the LARE, it's that this is one big opportunity to connect and collaborate. Not only have I met new emerging professionals in Hawaii who are working toward the same goal, but I've connected with professionals all across the country. We've swapped test advice we've heard from others, we've discussed topics, and some of us have even met up to borrow books from each other locally. It's pretty amazing how a test can bring people together and give us an opportunity to connect. It's wonderful to have a network for professionals to study together, encourage each other, and celebrate one another when we finally do pass!
But for now, back to studying!