Free 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.

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%), and 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%), and 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%), and 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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Practice Questions

1. A builder agrees in a contract to use a certain kind of interior paint. However, he delays purchasing the paint until absolutely necessary, hoping the price will go down. When the building is nearly completed and is ready to be painted, he discovers that the paint is no longer being manufactured. He then uses a lower-cost brand of paint without notifying the client. This builder has committed:

  1. nonfeasance
  2. misfeasance
  3. malfeasance
  4. disfeasance

2. Which of these are required in order for a change order to be valid?

  1. a signature from the contractor or an authorized agent
  2. a signature from the client or an authorized agent
  3. signatures from both parties or their authorized agents
  4. signatures from both parties or their authorized agents and from the local building authority

3. Which one of the following is NOT a primary concern addressed by LEED?

  1. energy efficiency
  2. fire hazard reduction
  3. indoor environmental quality
  4. material selection

4. In 2012, the USDA introduced a new Plant Hardiness Zone map. How many zones does the new USDA map include?

  1. 12
  2. 13
  3. 14
  4. 15

5. Which of the following is NOT an OSHA standard that applies to landscaping and horticulture?

  1. SIC Code 0781
  2. SIC Code 0782
  3. SIC Code 0783
  4. SIC Code 0784


1. B: The contractor has committed misfeasance. Nonfeasance occurs when a party agrees to do something, but never follows through at all. If the builder and his crew simply stopped showing up halfway through the project's completion that would be nonfeasance. Misfeasance consists of performing agreed upon work, but in an improper way, which is what this case falls under. Malfeasance is to commit acts clearly intended to harm the other party's interests. If the builder had set fire to the building in order to get out of paying a penalty for not using the agreed upon paint, that would be malfeasance.

2. C: A change order represents a substantial change to the contract, unlike a field order, which covers minor changes. Because of this, both parties must give their signature showing their approval of the change order, which then becomes the operative contract.

3. B: Fire hazard reduction is not one of the primary reasons for following LEED guidelines. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in these key areas of human and environmental health: Sustainable site development | Water savings/Energy efficiency | Materials selection | Indoor environmental quality.

4. B: The new Plant Hardiness Zone map from the United States Department of Agriculture contains 13 zones. The map is used to determine which plants are best able to survive and thrive in a particular location, based on the temperature extremes of the area.

5. D: Landscape and horticultural services encompass a wide range of services. Included in this category are companies engaged in landscape design and architecture; soil preparation and grading; irrigation systems; tree, shrub and lawn planting; hardscape construction including: retaining walls, pathways and patios; lawn care and landscape maintenance; arborist services including tree trimming and line clearance.

Landscape and horticultural services can be separated into three main segments:

  • SIC Code 0781 - Landscape Counseling and Planning (Landscape Design and Consultation)
  • SIC Code 0782 - Lawn and Garden Services (Landscape Installation and Maintenance)
  • SIC Code 0783 - Ornamental Shrub and Tree Services (Tree Pruning and Arboriculture)
  • Each area must comply with the general industry standards (29 CFR 1910) and Construction industry standards (29 CFR 1926).

    Landscape Architect Registration Exam Blueprint and Breakdown


    Last Updated: 07/05/2018

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