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An Interview with Ben Norkin - Hyperfine Architecture

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

We at Archizam are excited to be writing a guidebook on “all the things we wish we knew before starting the Architecture Registration Exams”. We wanted to include some interviews that highlight other professionals insight and exams experiences.

Ben, Thank you for speaking with us. Both (Archizam) Ben and I used Hyperfine Study guides and other materials in our process of studying for PPD and PDD, and found them extremely valuable.

You are a Registered Architect with your own firm, amongst other businesses.

Why become licensed?

For me it was always the goal. I think it opens doors. It can give you confidence and more quickly convey to clients and other professionals that you know what you’re doing. And it’s easier and more guilt-free to just tell people you’re an architect.

At what point in your career did you start testing?

I worked for about three years before I started my exams. Took me 11 months to get through it.

Which Exam did you start with and Why?

Contract Documents & Services. That was the 4.0 exam which had the most content that was similar to my professional experience at the time.

(NOTE: I would venture that 4.0 CDs is closest to 5.0 CE - but will also put out there that CDs was taken and scattered amongst more or less ALL the 5.0 Exams)

Was the order in which you took the exams important or helpful?

I don’t think it matters. Just do the PPD/PDD combo and the PCM/PJM combo.

Did you fail any exams, and if so how do you regroup after failing?

I didn’t have to go through that myself.

Pass or fail, take yourself out to lunch after and celebrate getting through it. Just getting in position to sit for the exam is an accomplishment, so feel good about that. If you failed, think about everything you saw on the exam and then go learn those things! Trust yourself and trust your process and you’ll get through it.

Which exam was the most interesting?

I liked PPD and PDD. These covered all the structures, MEP and code stuff I didn’t learn in school. And I looked at it like, if I can learn all this stuff I’ll feel a lot more legitimate than I do now.

What strange study habits or routines helped you through the exams?

I don’t think it was anything strange, I just mixed it up every night. Did a little reading, a little watching, a little bit of practice quizzes. Spent a lot of nights watching YouTube, that’s a really easy way to study. And I slept with the IBC under my pillow. Don’t go too hard the night before, what’s done is done. Get a good night’s sleep and eat eggs and avocados for breakfast.

What was the single most useful thing you learned during your studies?

Try to have fun. Don’t stress about the exam, enjoy the fact that you’re learning things that will make you a better designer.

Thanks again Ben!

In case you have not checked out Ben Norkin's Hyperfine - I strongly recommend it as one of the best study tools available - and its affordable!

Ben Norkin also has other teaching tools, including Revit tutorials and Entrepreneurship Training we highly recommend.

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