You’ve Got Questions…

We know you’re excited to start studying, but you’ve got some questions. Look below for the top questions we get all of the time.

Still have more questions? Drop us a line.

View our full Terms + Conditions here.

General Questions

1. Q. Your materials look awesome, but I only want to purchase the Audio Companion, can I do that?  OR: I love your Exam Simulator, can I purchase that separately?

A. In short:  no!  We designed this as a comprehensive package.  Our goal is to give candidates the best chance to pass the ARE, so we set out to create the most comprehensive program covering BOTH the multiple-choice sections and graphic portions of the exams. As a result, we created the Ultimate Whole Enchilada and when used in its complete form, i.e. the entire package together, it greatly increases a candidate’s understanding of the material required by NCARB. For that reason, we only offer the materials as a complete package because we want you to pass! Plus the entire package is less expensive than many of the individual components sold by others.  Stop trying to shortcut the process and just give in and study!

2. Q. What is the format of the files? How do I access the files?

A. The Ultimate Whole Enchilada consists of .pdf files (guides and flashcards) and .mp3 files (audio companion). Once you complete your purchase, you will be sent an email with a link to a special download page. You will then see the files to download as well as special passwords that you will need to open the files. The audio companion files are High Quality .MP3 files playable on any .MP3 player.

3. Q. What are the sizes of the files? Is it going to take a long time to download?

A. The file size of the Ultimate Whole Enchilada varies based upon Division. In general, the total file size will be around 500 Megabytes (MB). These files are large and you will need to allow 5-20 minutes to download all of the files.

4. Q. How many attempts do I get to download the material. Can I download on my home computer, office computer, and laptop?

A. You are allowed 3 attempts to download the material and have 24 hours to complete your download once your purchase has been made. Yes, you can download to any computer you choose. Once downloaded you can transfer the files to another computer using a portable hard drive, google drive, or dropbox. The best way to transfer to another computer is via portable hard drive because of the large file size.

5. Q. Can I share these files with my study partner or co-worker?

A. In short, No. The Ultimate Whole Enchilada is 100% digital content. Candidates are granted a limited, non-transferable, revocable license to access and make personal, non-commercial, use of the Digital Content provided by including the Ultimate Whole Enchilada and its related files. You are allowed to print one copy of the material for your own personal use.  Read our full Terms + Conditions here.

6. Q. Do you provide hardcopies of the material?

A. No. The Ultimate Whole Enchilada is only available in 100% digital content form. Luckily, we designed the guides for easy printing (in black and white or color) and you are allowed to print a copy of the material for your own personal use.

7. Q. My firm wants to buy your materials for everyone; is there a multi-package discount?

A. Yes! We offer a sliding scale of discounts (up to 35% off) based on the number of licenses you need.  Simply contact us and we can discuss what’s best for you, or look at our firm pricing here.

8. Q. Do you give discounts for Active Duty Military?

A. Yes! Thank you for your service.  Simply contact us and we will arrange a special discount just for you.

9. Q. What is the difference between the Gen1 Study Packages and the Gen2 Study Packages?

A. Well…  the short answer is Gen2 is $50 more!  (joking)  We are continually updating the materials based on the feedback we get from you, and the conversations we have with you each day.  The Gen2 Package includes everything in Gen1, PLUS:  the new 3 Case Study Guide, additional flashcards and additional exam simulator questions.  The Study Guide content is the same, but we add in more of our cool diagrams and more of the Mindset Matters tools at the end of each chapter.  

Don’t wait for Gen2.  You can purchase the Gen1 products now and you can purchase the digital update when we release the Gen2 version.  Just start studying!

10. Q. I purchased your guides back for ARE4.0.  Can I still use them to study for ARE5.0?

A. NCARB officially switched over to ARE5.0 in November 2017.  Yes, of course you can still study with the older materials, but keep a few things in mind.  First, we completely revamped our study materials for ARE5.0, including all new flashcards, all new exam simulator, and all new case studies.  We also re-wrote the entire Study Guide for each division and added information on how you should apply this information.

If you want to use your old ARE4.0 study materials, we suggest two things:  one, while studying try to understand the reasons why we do the things we do; two, remember that both Project Management and Practice Management are all new exams, and you should probably purchase those two to add to your reading.  Also note, we no longer maintain the ARE4.0 exam simulator.

If you’re still unsure, schedule a free call with Eric to discuss it.  Better yet, maybe what you need is some one on one or some group coaching to help you finish.

11. Q. Do your study materials expire or have a time limit on them?

A. No!  This is not a monthly subscription.  The Study Package consists of digital PDF and MP3 files that are yours to use for as long as you wish.  We know that some of you like to procrastinate and put off taking your exam for as long as possible.  While we’d rather see you just take the exam and pass, we know that doesn’t always happen!  These files never expire. Read our full Terms + Conditions here.

12. Q. But what about that part where it says “30 days of access”?

A. You need to read the website better!  You get 30 days of access to our online exam simulator, and those 30 days start whenever you are ready.  You tell us when to activate your 30 days.  The other materials (Study Guide, Case Studies, Flashcards, Audio, et al.) are yours to use for as long as you like.  

13. Q. Do you offer payment plans or financing?

A. Yes!  Just select PayPal at checkout.  After you log into your PayPal account, select PayPal Credit.  If you pay within 6 months, you pay zero interest too! Full terms and conditions here.

14. Q. Do you also have study guides for the California Supplemental Exam?

A. Yes!  We have the perfect study package for you to confidently pass the California Supplemental Exam (CSE).  We have all of that over at

Questions About the .PDF Files

Q. How do I access the .PDF files?

The .pdf files are secured and password protected and can be opened with the latest version of free Adobe Acrobat Reader. We’ve been told that the files also work in Bluebeam, but we only guarantee the files will work with the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Be sure to open all of the files through Adobe Acrobat Reader, opposed to just double clicking them.

Q. Can I access the .PDF files on my iPad or other mobile device?

Yes. You will need to use Adobe Acrobat Reader. Other apps such as Preview or Goodreader will not work because of the password security associated with the files. You must use Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available for free in the App Store.

Questions About Audio Files

Q. What is the format of the audio files?

The audio files are .mp3 format and can be played in any .mp3 player.

Q. Can I “burn” the audio files to a CD so I can listen in the car?

Yes. You can use whatever software you use to normally burn .mp3 to a CD and enjoy David’s voice in the comfort of your car or boom box.

Questions About the 30 Day Access to OMCES

Q. How do I obtain 30 Day access to OMCES?

When you are ready, please send an email to requesting access to our Online Multiple Choice Exam Simulator (OMCES) and be sure to indicate which Division. Your account will be setup within 24 hours.

Q. How long will it take before my account is set up?

Please ALLOW 24 Hours for ALL requests to activate OMCES.

Q. Does the 30 day access begin when I purchase the product?

No. 30 day access only begins AFTER you have emailed to request your account to be setup.

Q. Does access begin when I LOG IN for the first time?

No. 30 day access begins as soon as your account is SET UP (within 24 hours of you sending an email) so only request access when YOU ARE READY for it.

Q. Can I just purchase 30 day access to OMCES only and nothing else?

Well, no!  Our Online Multiple Choice Exam Simulator (OMCES) is designed to work hand in hand with with our study materials.  When you’re ready, simply email to setup your 30 day access.

Q. Does the 30 day access mean I can log in 30 times or do I have 30 days of access?

Once your account is setup (within 24 hours of you requesting access), you’ll have 30 continuous days to access either OMCES. You can access it as many times as you would like in that 30 days, for as many times as you’d like.  Go nuts!

Q. Is the 30 day access continuous?

Yes. Once your account is setup, you will have a continuous 30 day access.

Q. Can I put the 30 day access on hold after it has been set up?

No. Unfortunately we cannot put a hold on the 30 day access once the account is set up. Only request access when YOU ARE READY for it because once it is set up, it will run for 30 continuous days.

Q. What if I need more time, can I get it?

Yes. You can purchase an additional 30 day access to either OMCES for $39.95. Simply send an email to requesting a special link be sent to you for purchasing additional time. Please specify which Division you would like an additional 30 day access to.

Q. Does the 30 day access mean that the other study materials expire?

OMG NO!  The Study Package consists of digital PDF and MP3 files that never expire.  Use them for years.  Show them to your grandchildren in the year 2052.  But it still doesn’t change that you get 30 days access to the online exam simulator which starts when you tell us to start it.


Q. I just downloaded the Ultimate Whole Enchilada and the Study Guide will not open. I receive an error message after I enter the password “bad encrypt dictionary.” What should I do?

A. Ah, the dreaded “bad encrypt dictionary.” All that means is you have an older version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Please download the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader Once you download and install it, you will be able to open the .pdf files with the password provided when you originally purchased the Ultimate Whole Enchilada.  It’s easy!

Q. I tried to download the material on the download page but it says the link expired. Please Help!

A. Breathe! You are allowed three attempts to download the material. In most instances, you will be successful on the first attempt. However, technology can be fussy, so if you do get the “link expired” message, send  an email to and we will send you a link within 24 hours. Also please let us know if you have made any attempts or what had occurred prior to getting the “link expired” message.

Q. I have a problem but I don’t see an answer here. What should I do?

A. Breathe again. Please send an email to and we will respond within 24 Hours. Remember technology is awesome when it works but hiccups do occur and we will do our best to resolve any issue you are having.

Coaching Questions

Q. Who leads the coaching?
A. The Co-Founders of Architect Exam Prep, David and Eric, lead the coaching. You won’t get passed off to some weird strangers!

Q. How many people per group?

A. We try to limit the number of people to around 25 per group, but it really depends on the people.  We’ve found that working in a group has numerous benefits for the candidates, such as sharing of their concerns, fears, and anxieties.  Working in our groups will help you not feel so alone in this process.

Q. Why Zoom?

A. We use Zoom for our weekly calls with the webcam video on. It lets us all see & hear each other clearly, allows for screen sharing, and always just works. The software is free for you, and if you can’t join by computer, you just dial a typical phone number.

Q. Why Slack?

A. Slack is so awesome that we predict you might get addicted to it. Some of our candidates already use it at work anyway. Plus, David and Eric are on it every day to answer your questions.  You can also search past comments and questions.

Q. Can I take two sessions at the same time?

A. We’ve had a lot of folks do both coaching groups together. You can do it, but be warned it’s a lot of work. Our typical study plans assign you about 60-90 minutes of work during the workweek, and 3x that on the weekends. If you can handle that, great! We’ve had lots of people do it and pass both exams at the end of the 6 weeks.

Q. Can I do another coaching group back to back?

A. Yes! In fact, we designed this so you can take one group at a time and get through all six exams within a year.  You’d be taking an exam every two months.

Q. What if I am in Platinum and I want to skip a month?
A. No problem.  Since we have new groups starting every month, if you need a break you can skip a month and start back up the following month.  We’ve designed it to be flexible but keep you on track to finish.

Q. Why no refunds for coaching?
A. We offer a money-back/risk-free guarantee on our individual study packages so that you can buy them with confidence and take them for a test drive. But, if you are committing to coaching, then there is no test drive. We obviously can’t guarantee that you’ll pass the exam, as people only get out of our coaching what they put into it. We can tell you that the coaching works.

Q. Does your coaching work?
A. Yes!  Our pass rates are much higher than the national ARE average and higher than those published by our competitors.  In addition, we see a 95% score improvement rate among our coaching candidates.

Q. Are the calls recorded?
A. Yes, and shared on the Slack channel so you can watch/listen anytime. We know that sometimes life gets in the way, so if you have to miss one of the weekly group calls, at least you can not miss out. We ask that no one misses more than one call in the 6 week period. If you know you are going to miss it, we also ask that you submit your questions so we can answer them on the calls.

Q. Are the study materials included?

A. No! You can add on coaching to any single package for $200/division.  In order to coach you properly, we require our Ultimate Whole Enchilada study materials for that division so you have the best tools available to prepare you for your exam.

Q. What if I take the group coaching and I fail anyway?

A. We ask that everyone in the group schedule their exam for the end of the six-week coaching period. If you take your exam in that period, yet fail, we’ll let you re-join the next group for that division for free! We want you to pass so join our coaching group without fear of failure.

Q. What if I already purchased your materials?

A. No problem!  Group coaching is sold as an add-on.  If you already have our study package, just buy the coaching.  No need to buy the package again.

Q. How do I choose whether to take group coaching or one-on-one coaching?

A. Well, that’s really up to you. If you like the structure of a daily study plan, weekly calls, and posting regularly to Slack, then the group is for you. If you really are stuck and don’t get these exams, or if your schedule doesn’t work with the group sessions, then one-on-one is perfect for you. Most people schedule their one-on-one coaching on evenings and weekends.

Q. Are the free coaching calls really free?
A. Yes!  You can schedule a free 15-minute coaching call with Eric.  We can actually cover a lot of ground in those 15 minutes!  Spots for the free calls are limited so we ask that you not schedule more than one a month.  If you want to get coaching immediately, then you can pay for coaching and get a spot within 24 hours.  

Q. Is there a difference between the free coaching calls and paid coaching calls?
Free coaching calls are not recorded and are only held over the phone.  Free coaching calls are limited to select times of the week.  Paid one on one coaching can be done by phone or Zoom and is recorded and shared.  Paid calls are available in longer time slots and on evenings and weekends.

Our Worry-Free, Risk-Free, Money-Back Guarantee

We know that buying things online can be scary. We know you’ll love our study materials so much that we stand behind our products 100% and offer a risk-free guarantee on our study packages.  Here’s how it works:

  • 30-day risk-free guarantee on any one of our single division packages ($189.00 or less) of the Ultimate Whole Enchilada Exam Package
  • This does not apply to our Platinum, Buy All 6, or the coaching packages (sorry), but that’s why you can try a single package first, or schedule a free coaching call and take us for a spin.
  • For the All 6 Package, we offer the 8-month challenge (Take and Pass all 6 in 8 months and get a full refund!)
  • For the Platinum Package, we offer our Platinum Pass Guarantee (Take and Pass all 6 in a year, guaranteed!)
*** Please note the Risk-Free Guarantee does not apply towards the purchase of the Platinum, ALL 6 Divisions Ultimate While Enchilada Discount Package or for any Coaching Packages ***
*** Maximum refund amount is $189.00 for any single customer. ***

Buy our materials with confidence. Take a package for a test drive for 30 days. If you feel your purchase of our Ultimate Whole Enchilada is not worth your hard-earned money, simply let us know within that trial period by sending us an email and we’ll issue a full refund. No questions, no hassles. That’s how we roll.

Read our full Terms + Conditions here.

Our Platinum Pass Guarantee™

If you commit to us, we’re going to commit to you!  With our Platinum Pass Guarantee, we’ll guarantee you pass in a year using our incredible program.  Here’s how it works:

  • Join our Platinum Program for one year
  • Take 8 exams within 1 year (You most likely won’t pass them all on first try)
  • If you take 8 exams, we’ll give you another 6 months of access for free and get you over that finish line
  • You commit to us, and we’ll commit to you until you’re done! If you’re working the program, you shouldn’t have to pay another dime!
*** Please note the Platinum Pass Guarantee only applies for those purchasing the Platinum Package for an entire year ***

Read our full Terms + Conditions here.