Landscape Architect Registration Exam Review

The L.A.R.E., Landscape Architect Registration Examination, is an exam that has been developed by the CLARB, or The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. The exam is used to determine if applicants for a landscape architectural license have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to be a landscape architect without endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The L.A.R.E. is required in 46 states, two Canadian provinces, and one United States territory for licensure as a landscape architect.

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There are two parts to the L.A.R.E.: graphic sections and computer-based multiple choice sections. Registration for these sections must be completed separately, and the graphic sections and multiple choice sections are given on different dates in any given year. The exam schedule can be found online at the CLARB website. Registration can be completed online for both examinations at the CLARB website as well.

First, an online account with CLARB must be created, and then the application can be filled out online. Once the application has been completed, applicants need to print a confirmation receipt that they will receive at the end of the application. For the multiple choice examination, a testing appointment with Thomson Prometric may be made. Information about making this appointment can be found online as well. It is recommended to make the testing appointment as soon as possible so as to have a greater choice of testing dates and times.

When registering for the graphic sections of the exam, the online L.A.R.E. advisor on the CLARB website can aid in registration. All fees must be paid when applying to take any part of the L.A.R.E. These fees are outline on the CLARB website. All applicable application deadlines must also be followed. Information about application deadlines for both the graphic sections and the computer-based multiple choice sections of the L.A.R.E. can also be found online.

There are five sections on the L.A.R.E. Three of these sections (sections A, B, and D) are computer-based and consist of multiple choice questions, and two of these sections (sections C and E) are graphic-based and consist of several vignette problems. These vignette problems require drafted solutions. Test takers have one hour and 45 minutes to complete section A, two hours to complete section B, three hours to complete section D, five hours to complete section C, and five hours to complete section E.

Sections A, B, and D also have a 15 minute computer tutorial as well. Section A of the L.A.R.E., Project and Construction Administration, contains 70 multiple choice questions. These questions deal with:

  • Project Administration (22%)
  • Construction Administration (52%)
  • Assessment and Review (26%)

Section B of the L.A.R.E., Inventory, Analysis, and program Development, contains 90 multiple choice questions. These questions deal with:

  • Problem Definition (17%)
  • Inventory (23%)
  • Analysis (36%)
  • Programming (24%)

Section C of the L.A.R.E. contains four vignette problems, and these problems are on the topic of Site Design.

Section D of the L.A.R.E., Design and Construction Documentation, contains 120 multiple choice questions. These questions deal with:

  • Design Principles (16%)
  • Resource Conservation and Management (18%)
  • Graphic Communication (8%)
  • Construction Documentation (20%)
  • Materials and Methods of Construction (38%)

Section E of the L.A.R.E contains four vignette problems, and these problems are on the topic of Grading, Drainage, and Stormwater Management. Further details about the content of each section of the L.A.R.E. can be found online on the CLARB website.

The five sections of the L.A.R.E are graded by CLARB, and each section is graded independently of the other sections. Test-takers must pass all five sections to pass the L.A.R.E. The three multiple choice sections are scored based on the number of questions that are answered correctly. All questions have equal weight, and no points are subtracted for answering a question incorrectly.

Any test questions left blank will be marked as incorrect, so it is advantageous to attempt to answer all questions. A raw score (the number of questions answered incorrectly) is calculated immediately after completing this portion of the exam. Scores can also be found online on the CLARB website four weeks after the end of the exam administration. The scores will be noted as pass or fail only, and no paper copy will be mailed to test-takers.

The two graphic sections of the L.A.R.E. are graded during a special grading session that CLARB conducts. In this grading session, each vignette solution is graded independently by two graders. If the scores given by each of the two graders are not identical, the vignette is rescored. Approximately two weeks after this grading session, the CLARB Cut Score Committee meets. This committee will set the cut score (the minimum passing level) for each graphic section, sections C and E, of the L.A.R.E. When setting this cut score, the difficulty of each vignette as well as the clarity of the graphics and instructions are considered. Scores (pass or fail) can then be viewed on the CLARB website.

To prepare for the L.A.R.E. it is first imperative that one understands the structure and the content of the examination. Taking practice tests can also be of use. During the multiple choice portion of the exam, it is important to answer all questions. Therefore, if an answer is not known, it is advised to make a best guess. In addition, since all questions must be answered, pacing during the three multiple choice sections is very important.

Also, taking advantage of the 15 minute computer tutorial before each multiple choice section of the L.A.R.E. is also useful. For the graphics sections of the L.A.R.E., review of materials and textbooks is also advised. Also, it is important to be sure to bring the necessary materials to the graphic sections of the L.A.R.E. These materials include a calculator, scratch paper, and a smooth drawing surface. Not having these materials can adversely impact one’s ability to perform well on these sections. Further details about these materials can be found online on the CLARB website.

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