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What is ARE 5.0?

In early 2013, the NCARB Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the development of ARE 5.0, the next version of the examination. As part of ARE 5.0 development, NCARB is investigating the incorporation of dramatic new breakthroughs in graphic testing methods and the use of case studies. The new performance item type questions, along with other refinements and enhancements to the examination, will allow the determination of a candidate’s competency while not requiring the present outdated CAD software system.

Why is NCARB developing a new version of the exam?

The ARE is in a constant state of evolution, and NCARB makes significant annual investments in research and development to ensure that the exam remains relevant to current practice, psychometrically justifiable, and legally defensible. NCARB and its volunteer committees are committed to using and implementing effective testing methodologies in order to test a candidate’s ability to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare.

Why is the division structure different from ARE 4.0?

These divisions are a change from the current seven division structure in an effort to align the divisions of the ARE with the more commonly defined professional architecture activities of practice management, project management, and project design. The Test Specification was strongly informed by the results of the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture. This comprehensive study included multiple surveys designed to engage architects—the most appropriate representatives of the profession—in the evaluation of tasks and knowledge/skills required of an independent practitioner.

    Will there still be graphic vignettes on the exam?

    ARE 5.0 divisions do not include a vignette section. Instead, the exam will incorporate two new item types (Hot Spots and Drag-and-Place) and also a Case Study. There are examples of these new item types in the ARE 5.0 Handbook as well as on the Demonstration Exam.

      Are there other new item (question) types in the exam?

      In addition to the new performance item types under consideration, case studies are also anticipated to be implemented. These consist of a scenario with a related set of resource documents (e.g., drawings, specifications, code resources). Case studies require candidates to assess multiple pieces of information and make evaluative judgments, a better reflection of the practice of architecture, as often no one decision is made in isolation of other factors.

        How is the transition to ARE 5.0 different from the transition to ARE 4.0?

        For the transition to ARE 5.0, dual delivery of both ARE 4.0 and ARE 5.0 last longer—at least 18 months. Additionally, candidates have the ability to self transition to ARE 5.0 when it is most convenient for them during the dual delivery. There are more interactive tools available for candidates to help determine their individual path forward.

        What does dual delivery mean?

        Dual delivery means that both ARE 4.0 and ARE 5.0 is offered at the same time. Candidates who started in ARE 4.0 will have at least 18 months after the launch of ARE 5.0 to finish in that version before they are transition to ARE 5.0. However, candidates who started in ARE 4.0 will have the option to choose to start testing in ARE 5.0 anytime after it launches.

        What does self-transition mean?

        ARE 4.0 candidates are be able to make the individual choice as to whether to keep testing in ARE 4.0 or transition their eligibilities to ARE 5.0. The ability to self-transition will allow candidates to control how they strategically complete the ARE. Once you transition to ARE 5.0, however, you must finish the exam in ARE 5.0.

        If I don’t self-transition, how long can I keep testing in ARE 4.0?

        The last day ARE 4.0 will be available in test centers is 30 June 2018. After this day, any remaining ARE 4.0 candidate will be transitioned to ARE 5.0.

        How was ARE 4.0 mapped to ARE 5.0?

        NCARB’s Examination Committee, consisting of subject matter expert, architects, and psychometricians from our test development consultant, mapped the content in ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0. Grounded in the science of testing, they used the 2012 Practice Analysis of Architecture as a guide to compare ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0 to look for a reasonable level of alignment. You can view the credit model.

        How much does each ARE 5.0 division cost?

        The cost of each ARE 5.0 division is $210. In July 2018, the cost per division will increase to $235.

        Does NCARB have any suggested strategies for preparing for ARE 5.0?

        NCARB Study Materials Information

        Yes. A good strategy for any candidate who thinks they may transition to ARE 5.0 is to focus on passing three critical divisions in ARE 4.0, which will maximize credits in ARE 5.0:

        • Construction Documents & Services
        • Programming, Planning, & Practice
        • Site Planning & Design

        If you pass these three divisions in ARE 4.0, you will only need to take two additional divisions in ARE 5.0—Project Planning & Design and Project Development & Documentation. If you take this path, you could finish the ARE in only five divisions!

        When determining your testing strategy to prepare for ARE 5.0, it is important to know your Rolling Clock dates. It may be in your best interest to finish the exam now to ensure exam credits do not expire.

        Is ARE 5.0 harder?

        No. ARE 5.0 is not easier or harder than ARE 4.0. It is different in that NCARB uses different question types to assess a candidate’s understanding of the knowledge and skills being tested through the ARE.

        How many questions are there in each section?
        Practice Management: 80
        Project Management: 95
        Programming & Analysis: 95
        Project Planning & Design: 120
        Project Development & Documentation: 120
        Construction & Evaluation: 95
        What is the retake policy for ARE 5.0?
        Candidates can retake a failed division of the ARE as soon as 60 days after the previous attempt of that division. A candidate may only take the same division of the ARE three (3) times within any 12-month time frame.
        When will I get my score in ARE 5.0?
        Test Results are not released at the test center. Results for all divisions are typically processed within one week of your test date.
        Who are the volunteers that helped develop the ARE?
        ARE 5.0 was developed by practitioner volunteers from across the United States, ranging from recently licensed to experienced architects, from large firms to small firms, from education to private practice, all of which allow the future exam to reflect the broad aspects of current practice. These architects voluntarily serve on ARE-related committees that fulfill critical functions such as: setting standards for the exam; development and implementation of the practice analysis; exam research and development; writing, editing, and pretesting items; developing and applying grading criteria; and updating the test specification.