This paper demonstrates how architectural representations can be used to identify both differences and commonalities in the way first-year architecture students - as freshmen - and fourth-year architecture students - as pre-architects - perceive the discipline of architecture. It is believed that, depending on the subjects' level of learning, the meaning given to architectural appearances can differ. Using multiple sorting techniques, respondents were asked to sort 21 examples of contemporary architecture according to their own criteria. The multi-dimensional scaling analysis has shown that both the freshmen and the pre-architects were homogeneous in their thinking, showing high inter-individual agreement within the group. However, some individuals in the freshman group were closer to those of pre-architects than other freshmen. By indicating the possibility of having students who are more interested than their classmates, the research points out the risk of treating first year students as strictly unknowledgeable laypersons.