2015 Edition, Issue 2

CSE Preparation

The mission of the Board is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. To that end, the Board requires every candidate for licensure to successfully complete the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) prior to receiving an architect license. The CSE examines on content that is California-specific or not adequately tested by the Architect Registration Examination. Because the CSE is the capstone of the licensure process in California, it is important to understand how to be prepared.

The Board suggests candidates prepare for the CSE by doing the following:

  • Thoroughly reading the CSE Handbook - Candidates should become thoroughly knowledgeable of the valuable information contained within the CSE Handbook . Information relative to examination scheduling procedures, security and administrative processes, a general description of the CSE, and more is contained within the CSE Handbook.
  • Studying the CSE Test Plan - The CSE Test Plan (which is included within the CSE Handbook) is used in the development of the exam. All of the items on the CSE are derived from the knowledge and ability statements found on the CSE Test Plan. Candidates may find it helpful to compare their own experience and knowledge to each statement on the CSE Test Plan. This comparison may assist a candidate in assessing what additional knowledge may be necessary prior to taking the exam.
  • Reviewing the CSE reference material - The Board provides a list of the reference materials on its website that candidates may use in preparing for the CSE. The CSE Reference Materials page informs candidates of which reference materials require familiarity versus those that require more detailed knowledge of or understanding.
  • Engaging in self-directed or group studying - Depending on personal preference, a candidate may choose to study independently or as a member of a group. Study groups can be beneficial in several ways, such as accelerating the learning pace, filling in learning gaps, and even gaining new knowledge. The Board suggests candidates interested in preparing for the CSE through a study group check whether their local AIA chapter has one.

Optionally, candidates may also consider CSE preparation course/seminars or study guides. However, it should be noted the Board does not contribute to or endorse any specific CSE preparation course/seminars or study guides.

Important Note Regarding Examination Confidentiality/Security

The Board also reminds candidates (whatever methodology they use for preparation) that disclosing test content with the intent to subvert the examination is a violation of Business and Professions Code section 123 and may result in the denial of licensure.