Building Systems Video Seminar

Purchasing Information

For most people, these courses are intended to replace studying (rather than initiate it), even if you study no other content.

Take the online course within three weeks of receiving it (it expires after that), and take the exam right away.

Tuition is $395 for the Building Systems video (which includes a digital copy and mailed hardcopy book)

To enroll, email Let us know you want the Building Systems course, your mailing address, and the date you want to start.

The Building Systems course includes about 15 hours of video, which should take you about 30 hours to complete, including the assignments that come with the course. You can watch as many times as you like in that three-week window, and if you watch it twice, it’ll take you about 45 hours to complete. Tuition includes a digital copy and a mailed hard copy of my book, The Amber Book (ARE Building Systems Exam Study Guide and Practice Exam).

Know that you will not be able to share or copy this video. The license is only for one user on one computer. We customize each video with a watermark of your name (one frame only, in several different locations in the video, so too fast and too small to find it.) If you share the video, you’ll be charged for each person you share it with. If you receive a bootlegged copy, let us know. We’ll give you half of the net legal damages we recover.

There is a $100 discount per video for all orders of two or more so if you have a friend or friends who are interested, you EACH receive $100 off, and you don’t need to start your three-week video access window simultaneously. You and your friend will also be billed separately so you won’t have to gather the money for everyone.

There is no discount for signing up for both this seminar and another one of our seminars.

Because we customize each video with your name, you can typically expect the link to the video and digital copy of the book to arrive with an email within 48 hours of when you purchase it. If you are in a hurry, let us know and we’ll do our best to do a quick turn-around.

“I want to enroll, but don’t want the three-week window to start just yet.” If you order the video now, just tell us when you want the video link delivered to your inbox (it needn’t be right away). Ordering the Building Systems video early is not a bad idea because it allows enough time for the mail to deliver a paper copy of the Amber Book before you start the video. If you want to start right away, that’s fine too. You’ll just use the digital copy of the book while the paper copy works its way to your house.

To purchase either online course, send an email to

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my partner and I want to pay separately and start at different times?
No problem. Just send the addresses of everyone interested to and we’ll work out the details and contact each of you separately.

You say that people can pass these exams with these videos, even if they don’t study other material. Can this be?
Given that there are seven exams in ARE 4.0, I don’t believe that studying more content will get most people licensed faster, because every redundant hour you spend studying Building Systems (when you already have a good chance of passing the exam because you’ve already studied a lot) is one less hour that you have to study for the next exam. So will studying additional content, beyond my videos, make it more likely that you’ll pass this exam? Maybe . . . maybe not. But for most people, I don’t think that studying additional content will, on average, get them licensed as quickly as going through my course and taking the exam without additional studying. It is natural to feel that failing an exam is a setback, but so is spending 50 extra unnecessary hours more than was needed for one of the exams. In the latter case, you just never receive confirmation of the error because you got the pass from NCARB and didn’t know you over-studied.

I don’t understand the previous paragraph. Can you explain it more clearly?
I think this course allows for the highest likelihood of passing the exam in the least amount of study time.

Do you really think I should schedule the exam for right after I’m finished with the video?
Yes. This suggestion isn’t based on a deep-held conviction, but rather sprouted organically from the emails I’ve received from folks who took the test right away and from emails of those who waited.

How quickly can I go through the Building Systems videos?
I think three days is the fastest you’d go through them.

Should I take the full three weeks to go through them?
I’d do it in less than a week and then take the exam a day later if you have the time during the day to put into it. Three weeks is fine if you are studying after work.

I’m signing up with a friend, but he is not taking the exam for a while. Is it okay if I take the seminar now and he takes it later?
Sure, but he’ll need to pay for the seminar within 30 days of you so you can each receive the $100 discount, otherwise you’ll be charged the additional $100. He can start the seminar any time after he has paid.

What is the discount if there are three of us signing up together?
$100 off each one.

What is the discount if I take multiple seminars?
There is no discount for that.

What is the discount if I take the BS seminar and my friend takes another seminar?
There is no discount for that. The $100 discount is for two or more different people taking the same course.

I’ve scheduled my Building Systems exam in a month and want to begin the video in a week. What should I study in the meantime, while I’m waiting to watch the video?
Practice the vignette. Then move onto Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings (MEEB). Familiarize yourself with the images. You needn’t memorize them, but get to a point where you understand what the graphs, charts, photos, illustrations, and diagrams in that book are trying to tell you. Don’t be intimidated by its size. Start with the plumbing and electricity chapters, then move onto, in order, security systems and acoustics. If you still have time, go to the thermal and HVAC chapters. I think Amazon will allow you to rent that book.

But MEEB is so big, what about the other study guides, shouldn’t I read them?
Most of you will be fine with just my video, but if you want to study more, I’d spend the time with MEEB. On the forum, “I should have spent more time with the images in MEEB” is the among the most common regrets. Look over the NCARB practice exam, too. I think that source is underutilized and I find it to be surprisingly similar to the “real” exam you’ll see in the testing center. We’ll go over those questions in the video.

How old is the video?
I’m always adding content and editing what I’ve made based on my understanding of the exams’ priorities. I won’t let this series of videos become outdated.

Any suggestions for those taking the online seminar?
Yes, spend at least 45 minutes (90 minutes is better) practicing the vignette on your own BEFORE viewing the vignette portion of the video.

How many questions do I need to get right on the practice exams?
Every question has the same weight on your score and there is no partial credit for a question (like if you correctly identify some but not all of a check-all-that-apply item). Your pass or fail is based on your overall score, so if you fail every code item, you might still be able to pass the exam. (Currently, the format of the exam report that shows up when you fail a division might make you think otherwise.) For this reason, you should spend the most time studying the topics that comprise the largest portion of the exam. The video has that weighting built in. Stop determining whether you are ready for an exam based on the number of exam prep questions you answered correctly and stop guessing if you passed a division when you leave the testing center. The ARE does not have a fixed percentage of correct items you need to achieve a pass across all the divisions. In fact, currently in ARE 4.0, a multiple choice score as low as 59% can be a pass in Structural Systems and a score of 76% might be a fail in Site Planning & Design.

Then how do I know if I am ready to take the exam?
If you are not sure, but you think you may be ready, my advice is to take the exam as soon as possible.

Good luck to everyone.

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