California Supplemental Exam (CSE)

P.O. Box 154         Blue Jay,  CA.           92317
O# (949) 208 – 2979      or      (909) 689 – 6286
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Seminars, Workshops, Tele-Seminars, Tutoring, 
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Architectural Energy Assessments
Walk through assessments & recommendations for a savings for up to a
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The Importance of Exam Momentum
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An Introduction to the “CSE”

click on video below
(anonymous comments from anonymous individuals!!!???)
Professor Boardway has experienced that individuals with a good sense of self don’t
need chat rooms and forum web sites.  In fact individuals that know what they want don’t even
know what chat rooms or forum web sites are.
Everybody has a different experience
Call us if you need direction or suggestions.  Thank you.


 3 Individual Exam Sections:  

(Reference Material – Test Plan & Category Lecture – Written Exam w/ answers)

CSE – Live In-Person Seminar / Workshop Schedules
Weekend Seminar Series

CSE – Live – Tele-Seminars – Schedule

CSE – (3 – 2 hr) Recorded Tele-Seminars

CSE – Tutoring / Coaching Services – Specials (skype or phone)

“Free” – CSE Recorded Tele-Seminar

CSE – Course Descriptions

CSE – Practice Exams w/ Answer Keys

CSE Booklets

CSE  Common Mistakes (e-mail MBA for Code #)

CSE Exam Video Tips

   CSE Exam Seminars for: Co’s & AIA

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Small Workshop

Small Workshop











Typical Workshop (5 – 10 Candidates Only)


In addition to the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), the California Architects Board (Board) requires the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) for licensure. The CSE ensures that candidates are able to demonstrate minimum standards of competency and necessary architectural knowledge and skills to respond to the unique requirements and conditions in California.

The setting for architectural practice in California is distinct from that of other states in terms of the breadth, magnitude, and complexity of the individual circumstances that create its context. California’s large physical size, large and diverse population, varied landscape and climate, high seismicity, regulations and entitlements, and massive economy create an unusually demanding context for architectural practice. Additionally, the varying interplay of these conditions for specific projects gives rise to even more complicated settings for the conduct of architectural practice in the state.

The CSE is a computer-delivered, multiple-choice examination. Candidates are required to demonstrate entry-level competence in the areas outlined in the CSE Test Plan. A competent entry-level architect is able to perform the responsibilities incumbent upon him or her in providing professional architectural services to the public. Additionally, a competent entry-level architect must understand the integration of architectural practice and the architect’s responsibilities as they relate to practice in California.

Candidates do not need any computer experience or typing skills in order to take the CSE. All response keys on the computer keyboard are colored and have prominent characters. Before a candidate starts their examination, an introductory tutorial to the computer and keyboard is provided on the computer screen. The time the candidate spends on this tutorial, up to 15 minutes, DOES NOT count as part of the examination time. Sample questions are included as part of the tutorial so that the candidate may practice using the keys, answering questions, and reviewing answers. One question appears on the screen at a time. During the examination, minutes remaining will be displayed at the top of the screen and updated as the candidate records his or her answers.

Current policy allows one test attempt per application. Candidates must submit a new application and payment to the Board in order to retake the CSE; however, a candidate cannot retake the examination for at least 180 days from the date he or she took the examination that he or she failed.


Prior to taking the CSE, candidates must:

  • Provide verification of five years of education equivalents and three years of architectural practice experience for a total of eight years of experience as evaluated by the Board;
  • This includes a minimum of one year of work experience must be under the direct supervision of an architect licensed in a US jurisdiction or two years of experience under the direct supervision of an architect registered in a Canadian province;
  • If applicable, complete the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Intern Development Program (IDP) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board’s (CACB) Internship in Architecture Program (IAP); and
  • Successfully complete all divisions of the ARE.

A CSE application is mailed to the candidate by the Board once these requirements have been met. The application is not available on the website and is only provided to eligible candidates directly by the Board.

When the completed application and $100 payment have been returned and processed by the Board, the candidate’s eligibility information will be sent to the Board’s examination vendor, Psychological Services, LLC (PSI) PSI will then mail the candidate a CSE Handbook, which also serves as the candidate’s official Notice of Eligibility. The CSE Handbook provides information found on this site, as well as PSI-specific information and procedures (i.e., scheduling an examination by telephone or online, reporting to the examination site, acceptable forms of identification, etc.).

Preparing for the Examination

To prepare for the CSE, the Board recommends the following:

  • Thoroughly Read the CSE Handbook. In addition to the CSE Test Plan, the CSE Handbook (PDF, 413K) contains valuable information on examination procedures; administrative processes; etc. Candidates should take time to read all available material and contact the Board well in advance of the examination appointment if they have questions.
  • Study the CSE Test Plan. The CSE Test Plan is made up of four areas of architectural knowledge and abilities statements and was used by the Board to develop the examination questions. No questions will be asked that are not based upon the material found in the CSE Test Plan. Candidates may find it helpful to compare their experience and knowledge with each area of the CSE Test Plan.
  • Use the CSE Reference Material. The Board provides a list of Reference Material. It is strongly recommended that candidates thoroughly review these materials and check the list regularly, as it is updated when necessary. The list details the resources with which to be familiar and how they may be obtained. Some of the materials are available for a nominal cost, and others are free. Candidates should check with the source agency of each publication for availability and current pricing.
  • Engage in Self-Directed Study. For areas of the CSE Test Plan for which candidates may have limited knowledge or experience, they should engage in self-directed study (e.g., Intern Development Program training areas, continuing education, The American Institute of Architects Handbook of Professional Practice, Emerging Professional’s Companion, etc.).
  • Examination Seminars or Study Guides. The Board does not contribute to nor endorse any other examination seminars or study guides for the CSE. The Board’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) may not contribute to or participate in any examination seminars or study guides. In addition, individuals and organizations that offer examination seminars or study guides are not given any information beyond what is available or referenced on the Board’s website or in the CSE Handbook.

Per Civil Code section 1798.61(b), individuals and organizations that provide educational information regarding examinations are provided with a list of the Board’s candidates’ names and addresses upon request (unless a candidate indicates on the examination application that he or she wishes to not have this information shared).

Taking the Exam

The CSE consists of multiple-choice items. The examination may contain items for the purpose of pre-testing (non-scorable items). Pre-testing allows performance data to be gathered and evaluated before the items are scorable in a future examination. These pre-test items, distributed throughout the examination are not identified or used in calculating the examination score.

All of the items in the CSE have been written and reviewed by multiple teams of California-licensed architects. The items are based on the knowledge and ability statements contained in the CSE Test Plan and are written at a level to assess minimum standards of competency necessary for practice in California. The items are supported by the CSE Reference Material and have been pre-tested to ensure statistical performance standards are met.

There is only one correct answer for each item. The “incorrect” answers are typically common errors and misconceptions, true but not relevant statements, or incorrect statements. There are no “trick” questions in the examination. Scores are based solely on the number of correct answers. It is to the candidate’s advantage to answer every question.

The CSE consists of individually timed sections that may include general multiple-choice items and project scenario related items pertaining to the content within the CSE Test Plan and applicable knowledge and ability statements. Each section of the exam will have a designated time limit displayed on the computer monitor. If a section is completed before the designated time has expired, the remaining time may not be carried over to another section. Once a section is complete, a candidate must proceed forward to the next section of the examination and may not go back or review answers from a prior completed section.

The project scenario related questions pertain to hypothetical project(s) (i.e., small- or moderate- scale or a portion of a larger project) and related documents. The exam proctor will provide the candidate with a handout at check-in, which may include: a) written information, such as the project program, site description, and architect and client profiles; b) graphics, such as a site plan, floor plan, elevations, sections, and/or details; and c) other project-related information, such as a letter from the client, a transmittal from the contractor, a memo from the planning department, etc. for each project. The project name(s) on the cover of the handout should match the project name on the computer screen for the Project Scenario items. The handout must be returned to the proctor upon completion of the project scenario items of the exam.



Release of CSE Results

Examination results for the CSE are provided to candidates at examination sites upon completion of their examination.

Candidates who pass the CSE are provided with an Application for Licensure and fee chart along with their passing score letter. Candidates who are unsuccessful receive a score report and a CSE application so they can reapply. Candidates must submit a new application and payment to the Board for each CSE attempt. A candidate cannot schedule or retake the CSE for at least 180 days from the date they last took the examination.


Retaking the CSE

Candidates who are unsuccessful with the CSE must wait a mandatory 180 days before they can retake the exam. This mandatory waiting period allows candidates the necessary preparation time for their future retake. Candidates who reapply within the 180 day waiting period will not receive their eligibility notification or CSE Handbook until the end of the waiting period.





CSE – Live In-Person Seminar / Workshop Schedules

        MBA ARCHITECTURAL P.O. Box 154         Blue Jay,  CA.           92317 O# (949) 208 – 2979      or      (909) 689 – 6286 Talk live if you have any questions (9am – 5pm – Pacific Time) E-MAIL: URL: Skype  Handle:  MICHAELBOARDWAY – MBA …

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