ARE 4.0 – Building Systems


This morning, at 8am, I took my fourth exam – Building Systems. That’s 4 down and 3 to go. But, honestly, with this exam and having taken it twice before, I still really don’t know how I did. I know I aced the graphic. It was, quite frankly, a cake walk. I mean, seriously…if you’ve been practicing for more than 2 years you know how to do a reflected ceiling plan and basic duct layout. If not….well, you really need to start paying more attention to your job.

The multiple choice, however, was a completely different story. I studied this time, which was something of a break from the last time I took it. And I still felt unprepared and under read. Some of the questions on the exam were so out in left field and specific that I’m not sure I could reasonably FIND the answer even now. Hopefully those were the questions that don’t count.

So, it’s going to be a waiting game on this one. Fingers crossed that I passed. Just have to wait and see. And for those of you out there getting set to take this one, below is what I studied and what I feel is most important to know to pass:

What I studied:

Ballast Building Systems Sample Problems and Practice Exam
Kaplan Flash Cards for the iPhone (it’s totally worth the $50)
ARE Forums – there are several posts with additional study materials including alternate graphic vignettes and links to some youtube videos that are incredibly helpful.

NOTE: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FORUMS and post your own knowledge and experience once you’re thru. It’s in all our best interests to help each other pass these )&*(^*&%%^%*& exams.

What I needed to know (if I failed):

Electrical – know wiring diagrams, load diagrams, phasing, voltage, current, resistance, etc. Just know the basics contained in the notes and study guides.
Mechanical – have a good understanding of the various types of HVAC systems including geothermal. There’s a emphasis on sustainability and life cycle stuff, so know what systems are best and worst for which applications.
Plumbing – not a ton of plumbing stuff. If you understand how water is supplied, soiled and removed, you’re mostly good. Understand components of multi-story buildings
Elevators – know them, love them, learn them.
Acoustics – know your friggin acoustics. This I wasn’t so sure on and may have cost me the exam (fingers crossed). Second only to lighting.
Lighting – There were a lot of lighting questions. Types of lights, types of light, daylighting, loading, glare, etc etc etc. Know your lighting.

Ok, that’s my brain dump for the day. I’ll update this post when I get my results.

Good luck!

4 thoughts on “ARE 4.0 – Building Systems

    • I did pass BS. It was not nearly as difficult as it seems. My biggest piece of advice is to read the graphic program and instructions CAREFULLY. And do NOTHING that is not expressly called for.
      Good luck!

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