Changes to the LARE exam coming 2012- all computerized and only 4 sections…

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Changes to the LARE exam coming 2012- all computerized and only 4 sections…

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    Ray Freeman

    With regard to losing credits for what you have already passed, I completely sympathize. There would not be a problem if CLARB stayed with a 5 section exam. Why go to 4 sections?  And why split D? Admittedly, D currently requires a huge knowledge base. It is really unwieldly, so perhaps I’ve answered my own question, but I’d make D into 2 sections and not combine parts of it with C and E.


    Same testing, different methods? With respect, I don’t think so. Critical thinking and complex problem solving is being eliminated. Any semblance of actual site planning and landform manipulation in the context of an entire site is being eliminated. IMO, this does not speak well for our profession.


    More in line with the current profession? They aren’t going to use autocad, or vectorworks, or photoshop, or acrobat, or indesign, or sketchup, or word, or excel. As for hand drafting being irrelevant, how hard is it to use a pencil and a straightedge?


    My thinking is this….multiple choice formats encourage rote memorization and regurgitation. Critical thinking gets shoved aside. This has been demonstrated over and over in our public school systems where all the emphasis is on preparing the students for standardized testing. Problem solving skills…ie thinking globally, logically, working methodically, learning to conceptualize and refine a concept…those things don’t get tested in an MC format.


    Sorry about the rant, but I think we’re being sold a bill of not-goods.



    Jordan Lockman

    I don’t know about the change in content, but I do support getting out of the hand drafting test business. I know that my study group had to pretty much learn to draw, scale, layout by hand all over again. I know that many of the older people in the profession feel comfortable with hand drawing fast, most younger people that are taking the tests are proficient with laying out designs on a computer. In theory you would be able to draw the whole design and if you notice in the last 5 minutes that you need to move a series of elements over 5 feet, you will be able to without erasing and redrawing. This happened to me on Section C, thank goodness I was able to do it, but time is what kills most of the really smart test takers that do fail.





    While there are valid arguments on both sides, but I can’t think of any good reason to start designs, any design, on a computer. Maybe this is the reason for an over abundance of cookie cutter designs seen today. Those younger people you refer to are usually getting drawn up designs on paper to place in Cad. Also, there’s no way they can put the LARE on some cad system to draw up plans. Everybody has different set of skills on Autocad. It not only becomes a design test, but cad as well. And what if you use another Cad program opposite of what the LARE test uses? Either the designs are already drawn up and you give the correct answer or no drawing of any type to complete.

    Jason T. Radice

    With the site section of the ARE, they have a kind of built-in CAD function specific for that question. Say, for grading, they have contours there, you have to slide them around and make a proper swale and terminated them correctly. I, however, am sad to see the hand-drawn part of the exam go, and I would be fine with just one section of it that had both design and grading/drainage. You still need to know how to do this stuff manually, sans computer.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    I could not find any mention of plant material or planting design on the LARE….

    did I miss something? Are you freaking kidding me? Is this true? Did I just miss the info. on this?

    Please someone let me know…and if true when/why was it deleted for goodness sake….

    Dotty Daly

    There are a number of plant related and plant design related question on Section D, but its not like a hort exam by any means…Q=CiA/pipe sizing is also still on Section D…

    Alan Ray, RLA

    …and we wonder why we have never made any progress in the a/e world……

    Lola N

    Hi all,

    I’ve already posted about my situation on the facebook discussion wall, so I apologize if you’re reading it again, but I’m wondering if anyone on this forum will have insight. 

    I’ve passed A, B, C, and D.  I took E once and didn’t pass.  I still have four years, I believe, to pass, and there haven’t been any jobs in my area (Sacramento) since before ’08.  Thought this would be a good time to start a family.  Now that I’m pregnant, I’m told that I’ll have to pass E either this December when I’ll be 7 months pregnant, or else in June, after I’ve been sleeping in three-hour increments with a new baby for months.  Neither of these dates are going to work for me — I can’t afford to take it without being in decent mental and physical shape. 

    For those who’ve posted that everyone needs to stop whining and just focus on passing in the next two administrations, what about those of us who are in the middle of starting families?  There’s absolutely no way I can take E in the next two sessions.  I’ll have to pay for D again ($350 plus another $75 reg fee — I’m really sick of those), AND study for one more exam while I have a new baby on my hands.  Not why I planned it this way.  I was told I had one exam left.  There’s not enough time, energy, or money in my future to study and pay for something I’ve already passed. 


    I don’t think that CLARB is out to get me at all.  I’m intrigued by a new type of Section E test in the works.  There was a lot of stress involved in the test because of trying to trace, erase, start over, etc. in a very tight time frame.  This might be a change for the better, and I’m interested.  But I sincerely hope they can try to do something like, say, modify the new exam 4 for those of us who’ve already passed and paid for D to only include E questions.  Same for those who’ve passed D but not C for exam 3. 


    Ugh.  Feel like I’m being kicked while I’m down (and nauseated and otherwise miserable).  About $3,000 already spent on this — I can’t just give up.  Thoughts?

    Jason T. Radice

    You (and anybody else in the middle of taking the tests) might want to contact CLARB and tell them the new timeframe just doesn’t work. If you already have the exam substantially completed, and the previous set of exams gave you a set time in which to complete them once started, I would hold them to that agreement. NCARB gave architects several YEARS to complete their tests after they had already started (lots of my archietct friends had gotten started just so they were able to take the old tests, rather than start over). They made any NEW applicants take the NEW exams with the new structure, but gave those that started by a certain date the ability to finish under the old system. CLARB did no such thing.


    I think they should give anybody who already started at least another 2 years (4 chances) to take the exams, but make any new applicants take the new exams…but you have to give notice so those studying can start the old structure. People have invested a lot of time and money into these exams, and you can’t just say “we’re doing it THIS way now.” You have to give people notice, and a chance to finish what they had started (and payed for).  The whole transition should have taken 3-5 years after it was annouced and adopted.

    BZ Girl

    Hi Lola! I am in  the EXACT same situation as you. I have passed every section except E. I had a good 4 years left to get this one section taken care of, so when i found out i was pregnant, i figured i would just take the next year off and start up again once the baby madness calmed down a bit. I’m with you- being forced to take the test in December when i’m 7 months pregnant or June when i’m running off 2 hours of sleep for months just absolutely is NOT going to work. I would be wasting my time and money frantically trying to pass a test i’m not physically/mentally prepared for.


     One year (and thus only 2 graphic exam administrations) simply isn’t enough time to accomodate the changeover. The dismal failure rate of section E has proven that MOST candidates have to take this section 2, 3, even 4 times before they pass. I refuse to believe that 70% of the section E test takers are woefully inept, underprepared, incompetent landscape architects who pose a grave danger to society. I think both section C and E are riddled with inconsistencies and grader-judgement-errors, and thus test takers are subject to having to take the test several times before passing. 


    CLARB ‘claims’ they are willing to work with individuals on a need-by-need basis. Maybe if enough ‘individuals’ petition them to extend the transition period they will get the message. The transition period needs to be AT LEAST two years. 

    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    Jason, I agree with your assessment. I am waiting on results from E, and assuming I passed, I will only have D left to take. As others have mentioned, that puts me in an interesting predicament. I started the tests a little over one year ago. Had I known section D was going to be such a lynch pin I would have taken it first, rather than starting with A and B. I can see CLARB’s point that there are two sessions left to take the current exam, and theoretically that should be enough to pass. Unfortunately since people are involved in this process, that may not work out. As if the stress of the tests aren’t enough by themselves, we now have an artificially imposed (or accelerated) deadline on top of it. Like Lola, I am not at all opposed to CLARB updating the tests or setting a timeframe; I only wish they had been more forthcoming about the potential changes, opened a larger window for those who stand to lose credit for one or more of the CDE tests, or structured the tests so credit for previously passed exams would not be lost in the transition.

    Lola N

    It sounds like those who’ve contacted CLARB directly are all met with the same rote response: “you should be able to pass a section in two administrations,” which doesn’t take into account real life.  I’ll call my state board tomorrow, but I’m not sure what power they’ll have. 


    Its funny that we graduated together what 5, 6 years ago? and here we are in the exact same position with the LARE regarding tests yet to take.


    Regarding CLARB, I have tried contacting Rebecca Moden. To put it bluntly, she could care less what people’s issues with the transition are. You might think about posting on the CLARB discussion board (though everyone is getting stonewalled there as well). 


    I’m probably going to contact the LATC here in California to see if they will listen.

    Jason T. Radice

    I looked up the ARE transition plan to make sure I had the fact correctly…after such a date and you had taken at least ONE 3.1 level exam, you had ONE YEAR to complete the remainder 3.1 tests. If you did not, you had to refer to a chart to see which test(s) you had to take which 4.0 level exams were the equivalent. However, they gave notification more than a year in advance of the pending change BEFORE they fianlized it, essentially giving the candidate in excess of two years to complete the ARE 3.1 before they were forced to transition to ARE 4.0 by taking parts of 4.0 the candidate had either not passed or taken yet.


    Keep in mind, you can take ANY part of the ARE whenever you want to…there are no specific dates when the exam is given. The only rule os that if you take one and fail, you must wait six months before you can retake that section. For the ARE, that gave you at most 4 chances to take an exam, comapred with the 2 for the LARE. I’m not sure when exactly they announced this, but fgrom what I could find on their facebook post, it wasn’t that long ago (certainly not a year warning before the implementation (2+ year total for the AREs)


    You might want to contact your state licensing boards with regards to how long your tests are valid for, and if CLARB’s changing the format has any effect on their acceptance by the state, or if they can force CLARB to administer the old accepted exam format for a longer period of time. Remember, it is legislation by the state that allows the CLARB exam to be the official testing method for your state. If the test is easier which it sounds like it might be (there is no longer drawing, not even CAD, I still remember the hell that was two days of C&E back to back), your state may no longer accept it. Also, contact your local chapter of ASLA to see if any inquiries had been made as to the legality of the exam change, or if it will have to be recertified by your state. I will bring this up with my chapter at our next board meeting.


    Another question to ask CLARB is, if these are computer administered exams, why are they still sticking with the two date a year format? I would have loved to take C&E a few months apart instead of over two days.

    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    Great minds think alike I guess. It doesn’t sound like there’s going to be much leeway with CLARB so I’m going to spend my time studying for D. It will likely be more productive.

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