Anthony McLin

Screencast: Run the ARE Practice Exams on your Mac

In this screencast, I show you how to install and run the ARE Practice Exam software on your Mac in under 20 minutes. No extra software to buy. No old copies of Windows to dig up. No need to run Windows at all.

The ARE practice software only works on 32 bit versions of Windows Vista or earlier. NCARB has not updated the software in years, and seems to show no interest on helping people practice on modern computers. But you don't have a PC, or your PC is too new to run the old versions of Windows. What to do?

Run it on your Mac!

There's a few ways of running the software on your Mac

  1. Bootcamp - Lets you reboot your computer between your Windows and Mac desktops. Requires a legitimate copy of Windows XP or Vista which are no longer available for sale.
  2. Parallels - Lets you run a Windows and Mac desktop simultatenously. $70 and requires a legitimate copy of Windows XP or Vista which are no longer available for sale.
  3. A completely free solution using Wine. This screencast shows you how.

In this screencast I show you how to install XCode, X11 and WineBottler, and then how to package up the ARE Practice exam software so it will run on your Mac.

What you need:

Follow the screencast and soon you too can practice for your exams!

Note for Lion and Snow Lion Users - X11 is already installed on your computer, and you can download XCode through the Mac App Store


How do I see the info for mac ARE practice software?

- Patrick (not verified)

Patrick, there is no Mac version of the ARE practice software. If you watch my tutorial above, I show you a way to get the PC software running on a Mac.

If you are asking specifically about the overview of tools that's part of the ARE practice software package, unfortunately those components just won't work via this method. Only the actual vignette piece of the software works.

There are 3 pieces to each of the practice exams: 1) An overview of the common tools between all exams. 2) An overview of the tools for that specific exam, and 3) The practice vignette for that exam. For whatever reason, only part #3 will run, but that is the most important part.

- Anthony McLin

I get the following error message when installing the .exe file.

###ERROR### Command '/Applications/ /Users/eharrold/Desktop/A.R.E./CDSsetup.exe' returned status 2.

Task returned with status 15.

Any suggestions?

- Emily Harrold (not verified)

Emily, as far as I can determine, that's a missing file error. Make sure that you have installed (not just, reboot and try again.

- Anthony McLin

Hi Anthony,

Everything was working great until I created a custom prefix - while I'm installing, it gets stuck on "coreaudio" and I get a noice that says that an error occured during creation of the prefix. The log reads:

###BOTTLING### Create .app...

###BOTTLING### Turn on Coreaudio...

err:process:__wine_kernel_init boot event wait timed out

###BOTTLING### Sandboxing...

find: /Users/computer/Desktop/Schematic No such file or directory

### LOG ### Command 'find /Users/computer/Desktop/Schematic -name * -type l -exec sh -c rm "{}"; mkdir -p "{}" ;' returned status 1.

###ERROR### Command 'find /Users/computer/Desktop/Schematic -name * -type l -exec sh -c rm "{}"; mkdir -p "{}" ;' returned status 1.

Task returned with status 15.


- Alice (not verified)

Emily, it looks like Wine didn't properly launch during the build process. Try starting the manually first to make sure it runs.

- Anthony McLin

Thanks for this informative video...Just got myself a 2011 iMac with Lion pre-installed and I know I can download xcode from the Mac App Store but but what about X11?

Not sure if I can get my hands on this piece of software since Lion is not a packaged software.

- Edwin (not verified)

Edwin that's a great question! Lion has X11 built-in (as does Snow Leopard actually) so as long as you don't specifically exclude it during a custom install of Lion, then you should be good to go!

- Anthony McLin

WOW - just followed the step by step video in preparation for ARE. It's working wonderfully - your tutorial is perfect - thank you so much!

- Andrew (not verified)

Anthony - you rule! I have my first exam in a week. This tutorial was super clear and easy to follow. Seems to be working with no problems. Thanks so much!

- ALT (not verified)

Thank you so much! I wish I could buy you a real bottle of wine! This has been a life saver. Leave it to NCARB to make something difficult.

- Lilliana (not verified)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This was so easy by just following your tutorial. Who knows when NCARB is going to update their systems and become more universal...but until then, thank goodness there are people like you out there!!

- Sarah (not verified)

very good screen cast sir. Very very helpful, worked like a charm, i followed all your steps running an imac 2.8 core 2 duo with Leopard and have had no issues. Thanks again for the thorough walk thru.

- Patrick (not verified)

Thank you Anthony and Pearl for figuring out how to do this!! I was dreading not being able to practice the vignettes, but now thanks to you I have it on my Mac! I'm passing on this page to my other archi friends. I def. donated to Mike of Winebottler in thanks; how can I send you guys a nice gift card as well? :)

- Jennifer Lee (not verified)

Just perfect, thanks for the detailled step by step explanation.

many thanks, anthony!

Thanks! You are my hero!

- James (not verified)

I've just downloaded the schematic design practice program. It all installed with no issues, but now that I've opened it, I can't seem to actually do anything in it. None of my tools do anything. Did I miss something?



Hi Anthony - thanks for screen cast! Have you figured out how to install alternate vignettes for the Mac version? I've attempted to replace the .DWG file with the alternate .DWG file, but the plan never seems to change in the program. Thanks.

- Ben (not verified)

Thank you so much for posting this video. Makes studying that much easier here at home.

Great video!

- Damien (not verified)

Thanks so much for this. I'm so tired of using my barely functional old laptop to run this software.

- waterbug (not verified)

Awesome - I can't thank you enough for having figured this out for the MAC. Now I can practice at home vs. being stuck at work.

Much thanks!

- SSL (not verified)


This is amazing, thanks so much! just FYI, on the new Lion machines, X11 is already on the computer, and I think XCode is too, but you can go to the AppStore for XCode.

Thanks again, I was getting worried about how I was going to study!

- Jyoti (not verified)

Thats correct Jyoti. OSX Lion has X11 pre-installed, and XCode is available for free through the App Store.

- Anthony McLin

Thanks Anthony, brilliant tutorial. Now that I got the NCARB software running on my mac I would like to find out how to get the alternate vignettes installed. I know Ben asked this already 2 month ago but I don't see an answer. I assume your wife is licensed now and you moved on........(?)

Thanks again


- seka (not verified)

I would like to follow up with #19 Ben's comment and see if there is a way to install alternate vignettes using Wine and X11. Any and all help would be great. Thanks

- Mike (not verified)

Thanks so much. I can't believe all the hoops we jump through to be architects. At least you made it easier with this video. Much appreciated!

- Josh L (not verified)

Finding your tutorial today was such a relief. I had everything up and running in no time. Much appreciated!

- Rachel (not verified)


- CHOIMTL (not verified)

Anthony you rock! Thanks bro! I got a iMac with Lion... I just bought Windows 7 Ultimate for bootcamp to run these vignettes... and never read the NCARB website... DOH! Works like a charm. Wishing your wife best of luck on the exams! Thanks again!

- PeteA (not verified)

Anthony, I tried this a while ago and worked great. Thank you very much. However after a few months of not using it or studying, I came back to the softwares (all of them) and when I opened it, all the text was replace by square boxes. The commands and program still seems to work but all the fonts are gone, including the command fonts at the bottom of the screen. Which makes it virtually unusable since you don't know what distances you are entering. I tried reinstalling them and it's the same issue. Any thoughts? Thanks for you time. Highly appreciated.

- Will (not verified)

I've been looking for a solution and ran across your wife's post on the HOK blog site and followed the link to here. Just followed your instructions. OMG!!!!! Needless to say, it worked as easily as you made it look! I'll me sharing this with all my fellow MAC users. Thank you, the architecture community thanks you!

- Manuel

Thank you so much for the tutorial. Successfully launched it on a macbook air with Mountain Lion. 3 notes: the wine bottler installer does not go through the install wizard-just skips that step. The practice program icon on the desktop is non existent-only the text with a transparent icon box. Lastly, I had to open X11 (Xquartz) before I could open the program, otherwise the program will not actually launch.

But again, thank you so much for your time and effort in this!

- Philip (not verified)

Anthony, SO incredibly helpful. Very thankful to benefit from the work you did for your wife. Hope her tests went well. Thank you very much for sharing.

- Jeremy (not verified)

- Jeremy (not verified)

Thank you for posting! Grateful for people like you who are willing to take the time to help those of us architects who are mac-centric, yet not well enough versed to have figured out the PC v. Mac issues our for ourselves.

- Nancy (not verified)

Very grateful for people like you who take the time to help us out! best of luck to your wife and all of us out there who are going through the exams!

- Julie (not verified)

This is tremendous! Thanks so much for putting this together. NCARB needs to hire you.

- jopaga (not verified)

Thanks for this awesome tutorial ! i just installed Wine Bottler and everything works fine ! i'm going to start practicing my vignettes today !!

- Clem (not verified)

Thank you so much. It works wonder! Question, how do you install alternate practice graphic?

- Lerler (not verified)


I got the same error as Alice did but I didn't see any response or solution to this. My install got stuck on "turn on coreaudio" and it times out. I'm not sure what the problem could be, I followed every step exactly.

Any ideas?

I'll post the error message separately
- mjporto (not verified)

BOTTLING Create .app...
BOTTLING Turn on Coreaudio...
err:process:__wine_kernel_init boot event wait timed out
###BOTTLING### Sandboxing...
find: /Users/Home/Documents/Mike/Practice Vignettes/SPD Practice No such file or directory
LOG Command 'find /Users/Home/Documents/Mike/Practice Vignettes/SPD Practice -name * -type l -exec sh -c rm "{}"; mkdir -p "{}" ;' returned status 1.

ERROR Command 'find /Users/Home/Documents/Mike/Practice Vignettes/SPD Practice -name * -type l -exec sh -c rm "{}"; mkdir -p "{}" ;' returned status 1.
Task returned with status 15.
- mjporto (not verified)


The advice I gave Alice is that it looks like Wine didn't launch properly during the Winebottler build process. Try launching the application first to make sure that it runs properly.
- Anthony McLin

Beautiful! Thank you so much. It works now!
- mjporto (not verified)

fantastic, thank you very much
- Adam (not verified)

how do you make the alt vignettes work? or can they?

- mollie (not verified)

Hey Anthony - great video post! The standard practice problems work great. Can you lend some advice on how to make Wine navigate to the substitute alternative problems available on the forum?


- Andrew (not verified)

Just wondering if you have seen/know of the new version of WineBottler and how to get it to work with your directions in your screencast.

I have been trying but to no avail. The new version does not run the install sequence automatically. Any help would be amazing.

- Jeremy (not verified)

I hadn't seen the new version of WineBottler. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. In the advanced options for WineBottler, try the "default prefix" option along with "This is an installer" and see if that works.

- Anthony McLin

Alternatively if that doesn't work, try downloading the older 1.4 version of WineBottler instead.

- Anthony McLin


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