With the launch of ARE 5.0 just months away I have heard differing opinions from friends, the workplace, and online forums about strategies to testing. Some have advised waiting until more experience and knowledge is gained in the workplace that can apply to the tests. Others have suggested I get the tests over with as fast as possible.
I’ve opted to go the later route. Just out of school my study habits are still with me and I am much more willing to sit down and study for a couple hours a night than I believe I will be in a couple years. I also believe that you never know what life is going to throw at you. One day in the distant future I would like to be a mom and while studying with kids is possible (I admire those that do!) it certainly adds another level of difficulty.
However, testing strategy is a very personal thing and everyone has to find a method that works best for them.
In the current ARE 4.0 test series there are 7 divisions. In ARE 5.0 there will be 6 divisions. However, in the transition it is possible to take only five tests if you follow this strategy.
My personal strategy is to begin testing in ARE 4.0 with CDS, move on to PPP, and then SPD. While I plan on taking all of the tests in ARE 4.0, this strategy will allow me to reevaluate my decision allowing me the opportunity to transition to ARE 5.0 if I desire to do so. I plan on testing completely in ARE 4.0 because the support available for the current ARE 4.0 is pretty substantial. Although I could save a couple hundred dollars and hours of my life studying by self-transitioning, many people are experienced with the testing format and routine and are able to offer advice on how to best tackle it. There are also loads of study materials available for purchase through the current series. While the topics probably will not change much on future tests it certainly makes it easier to find information that is applicable to each division.
Just beware if you plan on testing all in ARE 4.0 you must be done testing by June 30th, 2018 as ARE 4.0 will not be offered past that date.