Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 88 total)
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    Albert C

    The process is the absolute worse, I’ve been stuck on grading and drainage for years. I have done every practice test problem out there 3 or 4 times each, went to two different intensive study courses, red line reviewed, studied all of CLARB recommended study material. Now, with in the past two administrations of the test they have introduced a new type of problem w/ no study problems that resemble those, I checked w/ CLARB and those type of study tests wont be out for a year or so. I don’t understand why this process is stuck in the the early 1990’s, the architects have a far better process. Why is it easier to pass the BAR Exam(50% Pass rate) than it is the LA exam(+/-30%for G&D)? Why do I have to wait 6 months between tests? Has anyone ever went to red line review and asked that a problem be re-graded and have it overturned? I could go on and on but the more I dwell on this the madder I get. The worse part is I do Grading plans at work and they work, LARE has no relation to the real work world, the limits and structure of the actual vignettes is not a test in grading and drainage but a test on how good you can take a LARE test. Another thing, why do they nickel and dime us for everything, practice vignettes,test, review, redline review, re-review, yea yea I know its already subsidized, I would like to see this breakdown as financial statement of CLARB, money is being made I can find nothing that says they are a non-profit.


    I could not agree more with both of you…..I am so fed up with the LARE experts that decide to give try a new testing problem with us as the guinea pigs and on our dime……Any test that consistently only has a 30% passing rate should be majorly reevaluated to increase the passing rate to some extent…….I truly feel that the low passing rate is not a reflection on the test takers as much as it is a reflection on the poor grading vignette problems that are being made up…….I have studied for years, taken every study course possible, done hundreds of vignettes, taken redline reviews(which don’t truly help anyone but CLARBS pocket book), had a test score verified after a redline review(only to receive a stupid piece of paper with one line stating that I failed, with no other explanations on it but that……all that for my 2-300 dollars)…….what is the deal?

    I have really been motivated to start an appeal with getting a petition signed by all the disgruntled test takers out there which I know there are soooooooo many…….What do you think about this…..would you sign a petition to get CLARB to pull their heads out of the clouds and increase the pasing rates and stop nickel and diming us for everything…….? If this is something you would like to see happen send this to everyone you know and get me contacts of other disgruntled LARE test takers so I can contact them and get something going……..

    Jason Steidel

    I am registered to take sections C & E in December. A few days ago I received a letter advising me that CLARB had increased the cost of these sections and that I was required to send in a check for an additional $20. What other organization retroactively increases fees and sends you a bill after you have already paid? I could understand increasing the cost for future offerings of the exam sections… but to charge people who have already registered (and paid) seems riduculous to me!


    After sitting for the very first administration of the LARE in the early 1990’s, it was obvious that there were problems with the initial conversion from the old UNE to the new LARE test format. Yet, it is obvious that CLARB has continually improved the overall examination process as the number of registered landscape architects has grown exponentially, especially since the UNE was phased out. Failure occurs when candidates do not consider all possible solutions in accordance with the directions as provided.


    I’m moving to canadia.


    Regardless of whether or not the current test is “easier” than the old and stuff like that, any test that has a 30% passing rate is flawed to some degree. Break out any instrument you want, 30% passing rates are rediculous.

    Joe Vickers

    I think the 30% pass rate is more a reflection of how weak many of the University programs are with teaching construction courses, most notably grading and drainage since we all know this is the section that seems to be most struggled with. It also reflects poorly on many firms out there that don’t even provide grading/drainage plans as part of their scope and depend on engineers to provide such plans.

    Remember, the LARE is designed to test the minimum skills necessary, not whether or not one is the greatest grader on earth. I think the one element that has the most affect on he results is the time constraints in the testing environment. The exam is designed to not only see how well one can follow directions and problem solve, but to to see how well one makes decisions under pressure. If that has no relation to the real work world, then I want to come work where you do.

    What does that say about the industry and/or qualifications to practice if the exam is somehow made “easier” for no other reason than to have more people pass it? I would even argue that the exam has been made easier in recent years with the lowering of the number of vignettes to complete in the same window of time.

    Perhaps this is not what anyone is suggesting by saying it is “flawed”, maybe there other aspects of the test that do add to the lower pass rate.

    Rob Rosner

    The LARE is simply a test to ensure that landscape architects know how to protect the public health and welfare. The vignette portions are designed to be done in a short time with a limited pool of possible answers. I took the LARE in 1994 and passed 6 out of 7 tests on the first try. Was it magic? Am I a true whiz at this? No, I spent about $150 going to a LARE test prep course. It made all of the difference in the world in getting my mind ready for the test. Before that prep course, I was worried about what was on the test and not sure what to expect. The test prep course showed me very clearly that you need to know how to read the problem, pick out the primary requirements for the design, and follow the instructions to the letter know matter how silly or different they seem to the way you are used to doing it. It also made it clear that you are not trying to impress the grader with your graphic ability or how “cool” your design is. You need to simply solve the problem by meeting all of the requirements on the test problem, and do it in a certain amount of time.

    I ended up retaking the site design section over twice. The first retake, I didn’t prepare well and waited until the last minute to cram, ended up working late at the night before. Not a good idea. Since I scored just one point short of passing, I paid $75 to review my test. It was worth every penny. It showed me that I was not following the instructions of the exam to the letter. That is why I didn’t pass. On the next try, I passed with a 92. I was done.

    No matter what, I didn’t give up. I encourage all of you taking the exam to not give up, and keep trying those example problems. Find out how many problems you have to do in however much time and divide it out. Figure how much time you have for each problem and keep track of your time. Time yourself when you doing your practice problems. During the real test, keep track of your time for each vignette.

    I am training a young landcsape architect right now and helping him with his test prep. I am acting as his grader and giving him advice of how to pass. Find some professional who has passed to do the same for you.

    Daniel Miller

    My only “real complaint” about the process is that neither LARE nor CLARB seem to be on the same page as anyone else who is administering practice material or study courses. I bought the PPI books, took the UCLA prep courses for C & E, came across piles of study material from colleagues and past test takers…and really studied it. A lot. For months. Then I took all 5 sections and realized that 90% of what I had studied wasn’t tested on the exam. Not that it was the end of the world, after all I had learned a lot in the previous months even though I had nothing tangible to show for it.

    While taking the UCLA course, the professor even stated that LARE frowned upon the prep courses because they didn’t want other courses offering up tests which were similar to those that are administered in the exam. So, my question is…why doesn’t CLARB or LARE or ASLA…or someone with “authority” in the matter not step in and regulate the prep courses? Why can’t LARE offer prep courses for these exams, where they could teach and demonstrate practical knowledge needed for the exams? I would take a LARE prep course over a 3rd-party course, if they were offered. Plus, it could be another avenue for them to take our money…it’s win-win!!

    Rob Rosner

    Let me tell you about a test prep course coming up in May. Here is the link: Give it a close look. It should be worth it.

    Jim Del Carpio

    Someone who shares most of your frustrations(grading inadequacy) and financial pinch CLARB put us thru, I would gladly signed an Appeal to CLARB.


    Canada uses the LARE so no relief there!


    The LARE is a test that measures your abilities technically and intellectually. It doesn’ matter if you perform a surgery and it is 99% correct if you leave a sponge in a body. You have a critical fail. Any test that concerns public health SAFETY and welfare is a critical fail test. Percentals are not what matters. If you create a wall that fails, you fail. I don’t care how beautiful it is or how great a drafter you are, or if you have everything there except the right calculations. If it fails it is a critical fail, and not a cumulation of points. I think that every candidate needs to realise this for the begining and stop using the numbers to justify their perceptions. This is not a “test,” it is a measure of compentancy.

    If you take the test understanding the reason the test exisits, then you can prepare better. It is important to take prep classes because practice and speed and understanding the problem are key to passing.

    Good luck and hopefully you will find a good prep class and the right mindset and move through the complaint period. As a licensed landscape architect the “complaint” period is called a “lawsuit.”

    Ray Freeman


    Perhaps you took the wrong prep course. ­čÖé I offer three (3-day) classes covering the LARE, and have been teaching reviews for 10 years. And I stay CURRENT with the exam (to the extent possible). If you want a brochure, e-mail me at

    LARE is a test, not an entity. The entities involved in the process are CLARB, the ASLA, state ASLA chapters, and universities or extension programs. There are 3 (to my knowledge) “private” entities….PPI, Morrison Media, and Freeman & Jewell. I’m the latter. Morrison can’t help you with the performance sections. The PPI book on Section E is out of date….it doesn’t really touch on pond design and grading.

    Right now there is no “authority”. In fact, most people involved in the process outside of CLARB staff and State Licensing Board staff are volunteer professionals.

    I do what I do because:
    1. I like it.
    2. I’m good at it. and
    3. I care about my students.


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