Frequently Asked Questions

NCARB Organization

My NCARB Record

  • NCARB is upgrading its systems in order to streamline our services under one login. This upgrade will immediately provide additional security to each account. In the future, it will allow us to create personalized web pages for each user and the ability to add more tools to make interacting with us even easier.
  • The first time you try to log into one of our secure sections, you will be asked to update all accounts you may have with us. This will combine services under one new username, password, and security question.
  • An account is a set of login credentials that allow you to access a secure section of NCARB’s website.
  • There are three types of accounts.

    My NCARB Record: You have access to this section if you have an NCARB Record or an NCARB Certificate.

    AXP Supervisors and Mentors: You have access to this section if you are an AXP supervisor or mentor who approves experience through the online reporting system.

    Member Registration Boards: You have access to this section if you are currently serving on or work for one of the 54 U.S. architectural registration boards or are a volunteer on one of NCARB's committees.

  • A major component of this system upgrade is adding additional security to each account. For data security purposes, each individual must update his or her own accounts.
  • You must update your account even if you currently only have access to one of our secure sections. The upgrade to our system includes additional security for each account, which is why every user of our system must update their username, password, and security question—even if you only have one account.
  • You may easily update your accounts online.

    1. Click “Login” on NCARB’s homepage.
    2. Select “Update Accounts.”
    3. Check the accounts that you currently have with NCARB, and enter your current username and password for each account. You must do this even if you only have one account.
    4. Click “Continue.”
    5. Enter your new account information (a new username, password, and security question), and click “Update.”
    6. Check your e-mail to verify your new account information.
    7. Once your new account information is verified, log in with your new username and password information.
    For additional assistance, please watch "How to update existing accounts."
  • Once you have updated one of your accounts, you will have the opportunity to update or add other accounts through the My NCARB homepage as needed.
  • No, you must update your account(s) and select a new username, password, and security question before you may access any of your accounts with NCARB. You will no longer be able to log in with your e-mail address or Record number. Click here to update your account(s).
  • If you have an e-mail address on file with us, you may still update your account. Select “Forgot Password” under the My NCARB Record option, and then enter your e-mail or Record number. You will receive an e-mail with credentials to update your account and gain access. If you do not have an e-mail address on file, please e-mail NCARB Customer Service or call us at 202/879-0520.
  • You may only select one supervisor or mentor account through the update process. To update the additional supervisor/mentor accounts, you must contact NCARB Customer Service. DO NOT update your additional accounts separately.
  • To start a new account:

    1. Click “Establish Record” on the login page.
    2. Skip the combine existing accounts page.
    3. Fill out the “create a new account” information.
    4. Verify your email address, and log in with your new account information.
    5. Once logged in, select the service you would like to access. You can either establish an NCARB Record or, if you are an AXP supervisor or mentor, you can access the e-EVR to review and approve AXP experience reports.
  • To recover your saved application:

    1. Click “Establish Record” on the login page.
    2. Skip the combine existing accounts page.
    3. Fill out the “create a new account” information. Make sure you use the same e-mail address you entered on your previously started application.
    4. Under “NCARB Record,” click “Add.” If you have used the same e-mail, you will be linked to the section you left off on in your application.

  • NCARB’s only members are the 54 U.S. architectural registration boards. Those that receive access to Registration Board section will require additional verification.
  • The monograph ordering section of the website will remain a separate entity and will not be included in this upgrade. Therefore, your username and password for this section only will not change. If you have questions about the NCARB monograph series, please contact NCARB Customer Service.
  • Licensure candidates and architects can establish an NCARB Record here.
  • An account is a set of login credentials that allow you to access a secure section of NCARB’s website.
  • You must update your account even if you currently only have access to one of our secure sections. The upgrade to our system includes additional security for each account, which is why every user of our system must update their username, password, and security question—even if you only have one account.

  • Fees associated with all NCARB programs and services can be found here.
  • No.  NCARB will not extend the expiration date on an NCARB Record if you are enrolled full time in a NAAB-accredited master's degree program.

  • A licensure candidate's NCARB Record expires one year from the date of initial application. After that, you must renew your Record every year to keep it active.

  • If you have established access to your online records then you may update through My NCARB.

    If you have not yet established access to your online Record, contact customer service at 202/879-0520..


Architectural Experience Program

Architect Registration Examination

  • Once you have been made eligible to test, you can schedule to sit for individual divisions via My Examination.
  • You need to present one form of identification. The primary form of identification, current and non-expired, must bear your signature and a recent photograph of you. The name on the identification must be exactly the same as the name in your My NCARB account. If your ID does not match your My NCARB account, you will not be allowed to test. For further details, please refer to the ARE Guidelines.
  • Please refer to the ARE Guidelines for the policy and fees associated with rescheduling existing appointments. Cancellation of an appointment is not permitted. If you cancel an exam, regardless of the reason, your testing fee is non-transferrable and non-refundable.
  • If you attempt to schedule an exam and find that your eligibility is not in the system, you need to contact your board of architecture (or NCARB if your jurisdiction participates in Direct Eligibility or Direct Registration). Each individual board of architecture (or NCARB for Direct Registration) is responsible for approving your testing eligibility information.
  • It may be possible to extend or change your eligibility to take an exam. Your board of architecture is responsible for establishing eligibility periods. You must call your board (or NCARB for Direct Registration candidates) for any changes.
  • When your board of architecture approves your eligibility, authorization to take divisions of the ARE are added to your My Examination. If you feel that you should have received notification of your elgibilties, please contact your board of architecture or NCARB for jurisdictions participating in Direct Registration.

  • If you need to change your name, you must contact NCARB Customer Relations at 202/879-0520. It is imperative that this be done so that your name in My Examination matches the identification you will provide at the testing center. If you need to change your address, this can be done via My Examination.

    (NOTE: If you have made your appointment prior to changing your name and/or address, your new information will not appear on the check-in screen at the test center.)

  • If you have any comments or questions concerning your examination, direct your comments in writing to the following email within 15 days following your test administration:

    A copy of this correspondence should be forwarded to your board of architecture. You will receive a reply from NCARB, or your board of architecture as appropriate.

    If you have any type of problem or a concern regarding your ARE testing experience, please send report your concerns immediately to DO NOT wait to receive your test results before expressing your concerns. NCARB policy does not allow for response to complaints received more than 15 days following your test date and does not allow for response to complaints sent to anywhere other than The filing of a report by the test center administrator does NOT satisfy the requirements of notifying directly.

  • On behalf of its Member Boards, NCARB develops and maintains the ARE and owns all copyrights to the exam and its content. The content of the exam is developed, tested, and administered at great expense to the Council. The Confidentiality Agreement is in place to protect that investment and to ensure the ARE remains a valid and reliable process by which NCARB and jurisdictional boards ensure that those who practice architecture are qualified to do so. There are serious consequences that can result from disclosing exam content. Those consequences may include cancellation of test scores, suspension of test taking privileges, exposure to civil damages in a court of law, and additional disciplinary action by your board of architecture. For more information about the Confidentiality Agreement, please visit the exam security section of our web site.
  • Results for all divisions are typically processed within four weeks of your test date. When your score is processed and available, you will receive an automated email notification. At that time, you will be able to access your score report online via My Examination. Test results are not released at the test center.

  • The vignettes are scored by computer scoring engines, which have been programmed to objectively evaluate each solution for compliance to the specific vignette’s requirement.

  • No. The computer-delivered vignettes are developed to allow for more than one correct solution. With the exception of very specific criteria such as site setbacks in the Site Zoning vignette, there is no one right answer. The vignette scoring procedures allow for errors to occur without automatically assigning a failing score. The scoring engines evaluate the solutions to the vignettes in a holistic manner where minor errors are compensated for by overall compliance with the programmatic, code, and technical aspects of each vignette. Committees of volunteer practicing architects have determined the objective grading criteria.
  • It is important to spend the time between test administrations gaining additional knowledge and experience in the particular areas being tested prior to retaking a division.
  • No. If you wish to become certified by NCARB, you must apply for the NCARB Certificate after you have received your initial license. Your jurisdictional board will not notify NCARB. For more information on the certification process, contact NCARB Customer Relations at 202/879-0520. You can also get more information or request an application by visiting the Certification & Reciprocity section of the NCARB’s web site.
  • There are a total of seven divisions in ARE 4.0. Six of the divisions include both multiple-choice questions AND graphic vignettes. These divisions are: Programming, Planning & Practice, Site Planning & Design, Building Design & Construction Systems, Structural Systems, Building Systems, and Construction Documents & Services. One division, Schematic Design, includes only graphic vignettes. For further information, please refer to the ARE 4.0 Guidelines.
  • The Site Grading vignette and the Mechanical & Electrical Plan vignette have slightly different content than ARE 3.1. The updated Site Grading vignette requires candidates to re-grade the site and create a level pad on which a given object must be placed. There are new lighting requirements in the revised Mechanical & Electrical Plan vignette. Additionally, the test specification used for multiple-choice items has been updated to contain content noted in the 2001 Practice Analysis of Architecture.
  • The software used to solve the vignettes is proprietary to the examination and is not commercially available. NCARB did this for two reasons. First, it ensures that the exam does not unfairly advantage one group of candidates. Second, the software NCARB developed is specifically designed for testing, not for development of construction documents.

  • The software includes tutorials on how to use the various tools, plus one sample of each vignette to practice. The practice programs can be downloaded free of charge, and will run on an IBM PC or compatible computer running Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows NT or Windows Vista 32-bit.

    Additionally, because the practice programs are designed to run on 32-bit machines, NCARB offers a cloud-based, subscription service that allows those with 64-bit Windows operating systems and Macs to access the programs. For just $10 per year, My NCARB account holders can subscribe to the new service by logging into My NCARB and clicking the "Add" button for the ARE practice programs service.

  • All divisions include an on-screen scientific calculator for your use.

  • The vignette calculator tool is included in the downloadable practice software. The calculator used in the multiple-choice sections of each exam is very similar to the Windows scientific calculator.

  • Yes. You are able to stop working on one vignette, move to a second or third vignette, come back to the first, etc., within each section of vignettes. However, once you choose to exit that section of vignettes, you cannot return to them. You do not need to save your work, as it is automatically saved approximately every minute. Each time you leave a vignette to move to another vignette your work also is saved.

  • You must be as accurate as possible when creating your solutions since more accurate information will result in more accurate scoring. Use the “zoom” tool and the “full-screen cursor” to make it easier to create more accurate solutions. A “check” tool is provided in several vignettes to help you identify problem areas such as overlapping elements. Tolerances are built into each scoring program that allow for slight inaccuracies. These tolerances vary from vignette to vignette based on the importance of the feature being evaluated.

  • No, you are not able to print out your work. In order to offer the ARE six days a week, year-round, NCARB has developed a library of equivalent vignettes. These vignettes must remain secure, thus printouts are not allowed.
  • The ARE Guidelines provide an outline of exam content for each division. The exam guides for each division also list many of the reference books used in development of that particular examination.
  • The ARE is developed by NCARB and is a high-stakes licensing examination in which you are required to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and ability. The ARE is not a teaching tool to prepare one for licensure. As such, the materials produced by NCARB serve a different purpose than those provided for college classes or admissions exams. NCARB provides exam information to candidates for the sole purpose of allowing them to become familiar with the format of multiple-choice and vignette items.
  • A brief tutorial is delivered before each division to explain how to move from one question to the next. Each multiple-choice section consists of a fixed number of questions delivered within a maximum time limit. Within each multiple-choice section, some questions are being pretested and do not affect your actual test score. These pretest questions are being evaluated and may be included as scored items in future editions of the test.

  • You will only see one question at a time; however, you can go back to review and/or change answers. It is possible to look at each question, answer it, and move on without going back. It is also possible to answer a question and mark it for later review. Additionally, you will have the option to skip a question and come back to it later.

  • Yes, all unanswered questions are counted wrong.

  • A “regular” multiple-choice question has four options from which you may select your answer. AIT questions include both “Check-All-That-Apply” and “Quantitative-Fill-in-the-Blank” items. In the new “Check-All-That-Apply” items, the question will have six options to choose from and the candidate must select all that are correct. In each item, it is noted how many options you need to select. In the “Quantitative-Fill-in-the-Blank” questions, a candidate must input the correct numeric answer and no options are given. Sample “Check-All-That-Apply” and “Quantitative-Fill-in-the-Blank” questions may be reviewed here.
  • Approximately 10-15 percent of each division will be AIT questions.

  • The maximum time allowed for each division includes adequate time to answer these questions.

  • No, all questions are scored equally.

  • No partial credit is given.

  • Contact the registration board in the jurisdiction in which you wish to become licensed in to apply to take the exam. Your board will provide you with all application requirements. Although NCARB develops the ARE, it does not register candidates to take the exam, unless their jurisdiction participates in NCARB's Direct Registration or Direct Eligibility programs. For jurisdictions that participate in the Direct Registration or Direct Eligibility programs, NCARB does process candidate exam eligibilities based upon their jurisdiction’s requirements.

  • At NCARB's 2007 Annual Business Meeting, registration boards voted to allow licensure candidates to sit for the ARE while participating in the AXP. Currently, 50 of the 54 registration boards allow this overlap. The approved resolution also requires all candidates to establish an NCARB Record prior to being made eligible for the exam (regardless of allowing the ARE during the AXP). Contact your board to determine the status of this eligibility rule for your jurisdiction.

  • You have the opportunity to test in any order at any time you choose once you have been approved to take the exam. Test centers are open Monday through Saturday, but hours may vary from test center to test center. Contact the test center of your choice to determine their hours of operation. Visit Prometric's website to find a test center near you.
  • The ARE is administered at approximately 300 standardized test centers across the United States, Canada, and select International locations (Fall 2013). Test location information and options will be displayed when you schedule your exam divisions via My Examination.
  • No. NCARB’s computer-based format removes geographical barriers. For instance, a candidate who started taking the exam in Texas, and now lives in New York, will be able to take the exam at any conveniently located test center, rather than having to return to Texas. Scores will be forwarded to the initial jurisdiction where you are seeking registration.

  • The development of the ARE is a lengthy process that involves thousands of hours of work by hundreds of volunteer architects from all over the United States and Canada. Several times a year, the various exam committees meet to write questions, evaluate scoring engines, and make recommendations related to the long-term future of the ARE.

  • NCARB's exam committees research the proposed changes and make recommendations to NCARB's Board of Directors. All changes to the ARE are approved by the NCARB Board of Directors.
  • Architecture is a continuously evolving profession and the practice of architecture has changed considerably since NCARB launched the first registration exam in 1965. Exam content and format goes through deliberate, studied, and controlled evaluation on a regular basis. Content is updated to reflect current architectural practices and technological changes are incorporated to more accurately assess the abilities of today’s candidate. Throughout all versions of the ARE and its predecessors, the goal of the exam has remained the same: to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by providing a psychometrically justifiable and legally defensible examination that measures the level of competency necessary to practice architecture independently.

  • No, the opposite is actually true. The ARE is heavily subsidized by NCARB. The income generated by the administration of the ARE covers only a portion of the expenses related to the development and administration of the examination. The remainder of the expenses is covered by income generated by other programs operated by the Council.

  • Before a vignette or multiple-choice item is added to the exam it must be written, reviewed, edited, and thoroughly pretested. NCARB’s test consultant, evaluates the psychometric data on each pretested item to determine if it meets established requirements to be included on the exam. Any item—multiple-choice question or vignette—that isn’t performing as expected is revised or thrown out. The rewritten items go back for another round of pretesting. Only items that perform acceptably during pretesting are included as a scored item in an actual exam. This process takes a minimum of two years from concept to becoming a scored item.

  • Prior to taking any division of the ARE and seeing any questions on the exam, candidates are required to agree to the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement. NCARB’s efforts to inform candidates of the consequences of breaking this agreement have included postcards, e-mails, a podcast, and articles in the ARE e-news and Direct Connection. NCARB staff members have spoken at many student and intern events, and warning messages have been posted on the internet. In addition, NCARB is in the process of hiring two full-time staff members to monitor and investigate exam disclosures and copyright violations.
  • Fees associated with NCARB programs and services can be found here.

  • Once you schedule an appointment, your test fee cannot be refunded or transferred to another division of the ARE. As outlined in the ARE Guidelines, if you attempt to reschedule an appointment according to the stipulated timeframes & deadlines, you can reschedule an existing appointment via My Examination. At that time, you must reschedule the appointment for a later date. A rescheduling fee will be charged to your credit card.

    For more information about rescheduling an appointment, please refer to the ARE Guidelines, which can be downloaded from the NCARB website.

  • The candidates who expose exam content are sanctioned by having exam scores canceled and testing privileges suspended. While further action against candidates who violate the Confidentiality Agreement to recover a portion of the financial losses is an option, the high cost of pursuing legal action would likely negate any amount that could be recovered from an exam candidate. In the meantime, NCARB has a responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by providing a psychometrically justifiable and legally defensible examination that measures the level of competence necessary to practice architecture independently.

  • The Direct Eligibility Program is a program for NCARB Member Boards. For participating boards, NCARB creates the testing eligibilities for an ARE candidate and then sends the Record to the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction then manages the eligibilities and score reports for that candidate. Click here for more information.
  • The Direct Registration Program is a program for NCARB Member Boards. For participating boards, NCARB creates the testing eligibilities for an ARE candidate and sends score reports to candidates. Once testing is complete, the Council sends the entire NCARB Record to the jurisdiction in support of licensure. Click here for more information.
  • The passing standard (i.e., the number of questions you have to get right) is the same for every registration board. It is not affected by the number of candidates who pass or fail each examination. There is no fixed percentage of candidates who pass or fail the ARE.

  • NCARB doesn't have a retake quota or profit margin it has to meet. The ARE is heavily subsidized by other NCARB operations. The income generated by candidate fees only covers a portion (about half) of the actual expense necessary to support the development and administration of the exam.

  • Your exam is not graded at the test center where you test. Your workstation at the test center only records your answers and solutions. The actual scoring of your exam is implemented by our testing consultant and is subject to rigorous quality control processes to ensure the accuracy of the score.

    Your examination is for licensure. As such, it is a high-stakes examination required by all U.S. jurisdictions and accepted by select Canadian provinces as part of their licensure process. To protect the security of the exam, exam content must remain separate from the scoring engine. 
  • Your answers and vignette solutions are transferred electronically from the test center to NCARB's testing consultant's system for processing. There, your multiple-choice questions and vignette solutions are separated for scoring. Computerized scoring engines score all components of the exam with multiple layers of quality control checks to ensure accuracy and reliability of scores being reported to the registration boards and candidates. Multiple-choice questions can be scored rather quickly, but vignettes take additional time to process.

  • Multiple-choice questions (including "check-all-that-apply" and "fill-in-the-blank" questions) are scored with each correct answer receiving one point and each incorrect or unanswered question receiving zero points.

    Graphic vignettes are scored through a computer-based analysis of your solution to evaluate it against many predetermined requirements that are weighted based on its importance or significance. Based on your overall performance for each requirement, your solution is reported as acceptable, indeterminate (moderate deficiencies), or unacceptable (major deficiencies).

    NCARB utilizes a process called "conjunctive scoring" in ARE 4.0 to combine your performance on the multiple-choice section and the graphic vignette section into a single score. In this scoring model, you have the opportunity to compensate for a poor vignette performance if you performed well on the multiple-choice section and vice versa.
  • You receive limited diagnostic information for each failed division because the ARE is a licensing examination developed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public—as such, you are required to demonstrate your knowledge, skill, and ability. The ARE is not intended to be a teaching tool nor is it designed as a placement or certification examination.

  • As a high stakes licensure exam, the ARE is designed to measure the minimum competence of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that architects must possess in order to safely practice architecture independently. The disclosure of content tested by the ARE diminishes the reliability and defensibility of the exam and ultimately undermines the integrity of the process. If someone passes the ARE because they were exposed to exam content prior to taking the test, they could become licensed even if they are not competent. This could endanger the health, safety, and welfare of the public, which is not good for the public or our profession.

  • Before you start taking any division of the ARE, you are required to agree to a Confidentiality Agreement. By accepting this agreement, you agree that you will not disclose any content contained in your examination to anyone else.

    “Disclosure” means sharing the substance or details of any test questions, vignettes or other graphics and/or alleged answers with anyone via electronic, written, or verbal means. This includes any attempt to reproduce, paraphrase, summarize, or describe any test content from memory after leaving the testing room.

    Disclosure includes both the initial disclosure by a test taker and any further dissemination of ARE content by others. These prohibitions on disclosure also apply to forwarding, re-posting, or other distribution of ARE content that others have disclosed.

  • The biggest difference is that “cheating” occurs during the course of your examination. Disclosure typically occurs after your exam.

  • Unauthorized access to devices or materials outside the testing room during any scheduled or unscheduled break.

    Presence of unauthorized devices (whether on or off) or unauthorized materials in the testing room. Prohibited devices include, but are not limited to, calculators, cell phones, pagers, personal digital assistants, text messaging devices, audio or video recording devices, scanners, language translators, and other devices. Prohibited written materials include, but are not limited to, any notes, books or written material whatsoever, whether or not related to the ARE.

    Use of unauthorized devices or materials in the testing room. The use of or reference to any device or any written materials in the testing room is strictly prohibited and will be presumed to be for purposes of assistance on the ARE.
  • 1. A warning letter
    2. OR any or all of the following

    • Cancellation of score(s) for the division(s) disseminated and any subsequent division(s) taken prior to the end of any period of test authorization suspension.
    • Suspension of test taking privileges for all divisions for up to five years, or such longer period as may be warranted in exceptional circumstances.
    • Prohibit granting of an NCARB Certificate for up to three years from date of initial registration, or such longer period as may be warranted in exceptional circumstances.
  • Previously, the NCARB Board acted upon eight different disclosure cases. The consequences for these candidates ranged from one year of testing privileges suspended and two exam scores cancelled to five years of testing privileges suspended.
  • Disclosure includes “forwarding, re-posting, or other distribution of ARE content that others have disclosed.” Actively seeking exam content or forwarding it once you acquire it is also a violation. While you may not have agreed to this confidentiality Agreement yet, you are still in violation of U.S. copyright protection. Every question and vignette included on the ARE is copyrighted.

  • After taking an exam, you are welcome to tell people about your experience when scheduling, at the test center, your score report, or how you prepared for the exam. When you are sharing your preparation experience, you may tell others what books, classes, or other resources you used. But do not attempt to paraphrase or describe any of the questions or vignettes on your exam.

  • If you come back from your test and want to share your experience, but don’t want to go too far, call NCARB and ask to speak to the ARE directorate. Someone there will be able to help you determine what you are and are not allowed to share.


    It is probably hard for most people to prevent other candidates from exposing exam content. But, as long as you aren’t asking for the information or passing it on once you find it, you are doing as much as you can.


    Discouraging inappropriate sharing of information by posting comments on known forums is also an option.

  • NCARB has never asked candidates to report findings, but some have in the past. If you find what you suspect is exam content, please feel free to forward the information to Customer Relations at so we can ask the web site to remove the content.
  • Listings of general information are usually fine. If someone says “I just got back from my test” or “I had a vignette and I solved it like this” they are likely crossing the line.

  • Feel free to share with them how you prepared for your exam, but remind them that you agreed to the Confidentiality Agreement and are going to abide by it.
  • Sometimes. If we learn that you have posted something that may be exam content, we will evaluate it against your actual exam. If we determine that it wasn’t actual exam content, you will likely get a warning letter. We would do this in hopes of preventing you from crossing the line in the future.

    If we determine that it does contain exam content, your case will be forwarded to the NCARB Committee on Professional Conduct (PCC) for review and action. If your first post on a web site crosses the line, the first letter will be the notice that your case is being forwarded to PCC.

  • If we determine that you have disclosed content, we make every effort to notify you as soon as possible. Typically, this will occur within a few weeks of our discovery.

  • You will have the opportunity to respond in writing to defend your actions. Your response will be provided to the PCC for review when they discuss your case.

  • Once the PCC reviews a given situation, they will make a recommendation to the NCARB Board of Directors. The Board will then review the case and take final action. Action by the NCARB Board is final.

  • When candidates disclose information, NCARB works with its testing consultants to determine the impact on the exam. If NCARB needs to turn exam content off, this impacts all candidates now and in the future. If we find that we need to turn off substantial amounts of content, our ability to continuously deliver the ARE is jeopardized.

    • We may be forced to extend the mandatory waiting period following a failed exam.
    • Our development cycle takes two years from a vignette or multiple-choice item to become “live” in an exam. This process is considerably expensive. To replace lost content, we will need to modify our development cycle. To do this, we may have to increase exam fees for all candidates in all divisions.
  • Yes. This has been a requirement for all new candidates since May 2008 and will now be a requirement for all candidates.
  • You will need to pay the renewal fee to renew your NCARB Record.

  • If you do not have an NCARB Record, you will have to establish access post-blackout. The application fee will be waived if you enter your Candidate ID number when prompted on the application. You can find this information on your old score reports. After one year, you will need to pay a $75 renewal fee to maintain access to My Examination.
  • The service is “cloud-based,” which means the ARE practice programs are hosted on a virtual server, accessible via free Citrix Receiver software. The cloud service is intended to allow customers with 64-bit Windows operating systems and Macs to access the practice programs, which are designed to run on 32-bit Windows systems.
  • The ARE practice programs remain available on the Preparing for the ARE page for free download and will run on an IBM PC or compatible computer running Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows NT or Windows Vista 32-bit. If you are using a 64-bit Windows system or a Mac, you now have the option to subscribe to the new cloud-based service to access the programs.
  • PC users should follow these instructions.
  • On a 64-bit machine running the Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions, you should be able to create a virtual machine to install the various practice programs. To do so, go to the Microsoft website to download and install the Windows XP Mode with Virtual PC. After this is done, you will be able launch the XP mode, and install the free NCARB practice programs (available here) inside the XP mode.
  • The Council offered a free trial of the service from 22 January – 30 April 2013, and in a survey of beta test users, 75 percent strongly agreed or agreed that the service would be a valuable resource. Based on this data and the success of the beta test, the Council decided to launch the cloud-based practice programs service. In addition to the paid service, the practice programs remain available for free download.

  • You can subscribe by logging into My NCARB, clicking the “Add” button for the ARE practice programs, and following the instructions on the next page to purchase the service.

    My NCARB Dashboard with ARE Practice Program Service

    Once your payment has been submitted, you’ll be directed to the ARE Practice Programs Access page, which provides launch instructions. You will always launch the Practice Programs from this Access page in My NCARB.

    If you subscribed to the service when it was offered through Remote Desktop, you will now need to access the Practice Programs through a free Citrix Receiver. Follow the instructions on the ARE Practice Programs Access page for installing the Receiver in order to launch the Practice Programs.

  • Yes, you will need to install a free Citrix Receiver in order to remotely access the programs, because they are hosted on a virtual server.
  • Once you have submitted payment for the service in My NCARB, you will be directed to the ARE Practice Programs Access page. There, you will find instructions for installing the free Citrix Receiver. The installation process varies slightly, depending on your browser and operating system type. Short video tutorials are available below, and on the Access page in My NCARB, to guide you through the installation process.

    Click the link below for your browser/operating system to view a short video tutorial on how to download and install the Citrix Receiver:

    Mac Firefox

    Mac Chrome

    Mac Safari

    PC Internet Explorer

    PC Firefox

    PC Chrome

  • No, Remote Desktop software is no longer necessary for accessing the programs. Instead, you will need to follow the instructions above for installing the free Citrix Receiver.

  • The first time you install the Citrix Receiver, the Practice Programs will either open automatically or you will see a launch button to open them, depending on your browser type. On all subsequent visits, you will need to log into My NCARB, click the GO button for the ARE Practice Programs, and then click the launch button on the ARE Practice Programs Access page to get to the Practice Programs.

    Access Page for ARE PP Citrix Launch

  • We make a best effort to retain your progress in the practice programs, even after you exit the application; however, we cannot guarantee that it will be saved. As an extra measure of protection, you may wish to capture screen shots of your work for offline reference and review.

  • You will need to click to open the downloaded file. Depending on your operating system/browser type, it may ask you to save or run the file – you should run the file. Once the file opens/runs, it will open up a Citrix installer window. Click to install the Citrix Receiver.

    Note for Mac users: The Citrix installer window may pop up behind your browser window – if you don’t see it, try moving the browser window.

    Once the Citrix Receiver is installed, the Practice Programs window will open automatically—or, depending on your browser, you will need to click the ARE Practice Programs launch button that appears after the Receiver is installed.

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.

  • Yes—if you already have your eligibilities to test in ARE 4.0. You will be able to maintain ARE 4.0 eligibilities until you finish the ARE or until June 30, 2018 (whichever comes first). If you request your eligibility to test now, you will receive ARE 5.0 eligibilities only.

  • 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.

  • The exam structure includes six divisions:

    1. Practice Management
    2. Project Management
    3. Programming & Analysis
    4. Project Planning & Design
    5. Project Development & Documentation
    6. Construction & Evaluation

    Each of the divisions will be standalone, single test administrations. The new Test Specification approved by the NCARB Board of Directors is available here.

  • 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.

  • ARE 5.0 is expected to take advantage of new tools and technology in the testing industry. The division structure for ARE 5.0 incorporates graphics throughout the exam through new performance item types like hot spots (candidates are presented a question asking them to identify the correct location, or “hot spot,” on a response image) instead of through the current graphic vignettes. These new item types allow for testing at higher levels of cognition through analytical, synthetic, and evaluative exercises—which will be more like what an architect does as part of regular practice. 

  • In addition to the new performance item types under consideration, case studies are also anticipated to be implemented. These will 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.

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

  • Dual delivery means that both ARE 4.0 and ARE 5.0 will be 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 November 1, 2016.

  • ARE 4.0 candidates can make the individual choice to keep testing in ARE 4.0 or transition their eligibilities to ARE 5.0. The ability to self-transition allows 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.

  • 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.

  • NCARB’s Examination Committee, consisting of subjectmatter 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 here.

  • Each division costs $210.

  • NCARB has released a number of ARE 5.0 study materials, which you can find here.

    • Keep testing in ARE 4.0! The average candidate finishes the ARE in two years—meaning most candidates currently testing will be done with ARE 4.0 before ARE 5.0 even launches.

    • 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:

      1. Construction Documents & Services
      2. Programming, Planning, & Practice
      3. 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.

      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.

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

    • Details about ARE 5.0’s division structure can be found here.

    • Initial ARE 5.0 score reports will be delayed by approximately 6-10 weeks. Read more about the ARE 5.0 cut score process.

    • All of the proposed item types for ARE 5.0 have been judged by outside testing experts to be psychometrically justifiable for purposes of the program. The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999) requires test developers to collect evidence that supports the intended interpretations and uses of test scores. Such evidence is typically collected to ensure that the test is measuring the intended knowledge and skills (validity), in a consistent manner (reliability) that is
      appropriate for all examinees (fairness).

      The proposed direction for ARE 5.0 was informed by:

      • Multi-year efforts by the Research & Development Subcommittee with additional support from the Graphics Grading Subcommittee
      • Expert psychometric advice
      • Research conducted by a multi-disciplinary staff project team
      • Emerging technology, including interviews of industry leaders
      • Results of the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture
    • ARE 5.0 is being 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.

    • Leading up to the launch of ARE 5.0 on November 1, 2016, NCARB will provide ongoing updates to candidates about the development of ARE 5.0 as well as tips and resources to help prepare for the transition to the future exam.

      In the coming months, updates will include invitations to webinars, announcements about preparation resources, and more. Subscribe to ARE Updates to receive notification when new information is available. Subscribe now!

    Certification and Reciprocity

    Continuing Education

    NCARB Award

    Tri-National Agreement

    • U.S. architects, please contact:

      Michelle Lynn Dixson
      Assistant Director, Internship + Education
      1801 K Street NW, Suite 700 K
      Washington DC 20006
      Phone: 202/461-3946

      Mexican architects, please contact:

      Arq. Armando Reyes Oliver
      Executive Coordinator
      Calle Emiliano Zapata 37
      Centro, Area 1
      Distrito Federal 06000

      Canadian architects, please contact:

      Kristi Doyle
      Executive Director
      c/o Ontario Association of Architects
      111 Moatfield Drive
      Toronto, ON M3B 3L6
      Phone: 416/449-6898




    • IDP 2.0 updated the Intern Development Program (IDP) requirements to more closely align with the practice of architecture today. The changes, which were rolled out in phases, help ensure that interns acquire the comprehensive experience that is essential for competent practice. The changes also offer many benefits to interns by allowing them to complete some of the IDP experience requirements whether or not employed, expanding the definition of “direct supervision,” and simplifying the reporting process.

    • NCARB invited over 50,000 architects from across the United States and Canada to participate in the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture. A record 9,835 practicing architects completed this extensive electronic survey to identify the tasks, knowledge, and skills that recently licensed architects, practicing independently, need to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The results of this study were used as a basis for IDP 2.0, the most significant update of IDP since its inception over 30 years ago.

    • All changes to the IDP require system updates to ensure that each intern's experience can be accurately reported and verified. NCARB is aware that IDP 2.0 offers many benefits to interns, and has worked to phase in the changes as quickly as possible. In fact, some of the program updates were fast-tracked to allow interns—whether or not they are employed—to earn experience for qualified certification and continuing education programs. [Timeline]
    • The final phase of IDP 2.0 was implemented in April 2012. At noon EDT 3 April 2012, the e-EVR was shut down to implement the final phase of IDP 2.0. All experience submitted or approved by noon EDT on 3 April 2012 was rolled over as per the rollover rules. Details on the rollover rules are available in the Rollover section.

    • The core minimum hours in IDP 2.0 were derived from the Practice Analysis. Through the Practice Analysis, each experience area was weighted to how important it is for the independent practice of architecture. As a result of this analysis, interns must meet new minimum core hour requirements in 17 experience areas. The new core minimum hours incorporate the previous elective hour requirement per category. In IDP 2.0 there is an overall elective hour requirement of 1,860.

      The total number of hours to complete IDP 2.0 is still 5,600.

    • Yes, all approved hours earned over an experience area's core minimum hour requirement will be credited toward the elective requirement of 1,860 elective hours.

    • In IDP 2.0, if you are in experience settings A or O, you can earn hours in all experience areas. Certain opportunities to earn core hours within experience setting S also allow you to earn experience in all areas.

    • Yes. The old work setting A required that the organization be engaged in the comprehensive practice of architecture. Experience setting A does not require the comprehensive practice of architecture, but does require that the organization be engaged in the “lawful” practice of architecture. Each jurisdiction determines what is the “lawful” practice of architecture in their jurisdiction. There may be situations where experience did not qualify as work setting A, but may qualify for experience setting A.
    • If you are at a school that offers an academic internship, please have the IDP educator coordinator contact for further information.

      If you are not sure who your IDP educator coordinator is, you can look up your contact [here].
    • In order for an academic internship to qualify for IDP, the institution sponsoring the program must document their understanding of and compliance with the requirements to NCARB annually.

      However, as long as the internship meets the requirements for an acceptable academic internship, including the reporting requirements, you will be able to submit it for IDP hours through our online reporting system.

      If you are at a school that offers an academic internship, please have the IDP educator coordinator contact for further information. 
    • The opportunities to earn hours through supplemental experience are split into two types–supplemental experience for core hours, and supplemental experience for elective hours.

      Through supplemental experience for core hours, you may earn core hours in specific IDP categories and areas. Each opportunity for core hours has limitations in terms of maximum allowable hours.

      A maximum of 1,860 elective hours can be earned through supplemental experience for elective hours.
    • Forty elective hours may be earned by passing the LEED AP exam. A copy of your LEED AP certificate must accompany your experience report. Please review the IDP Guidelines for more information.

    • NCARB's Member Boards passed a rule requiring interns to submit their experience in reporting periods of no longer than six months and within two months of completion of each reporting period. In order to document your experience most effectively, it must be done continuously throughout your time as an intern.
    • NCARB monographs—except the Professional Conduct monograph—and mini-monographs are reported in the same way as other AIA-approved learning units. In order to receive credit for these submissions, they must be indicated on an official AIA transcript and submitted online.
    • Review your experience hour details in the experience summary section of the online reporting system. Verify that you have met the minimum requirements in each area and that you have met the overall 5,600 total hours. If you are not able to rectify the difference in these hour totals, please contact NCARB Customer Service.

    • No. You do not need to wait for NCARB to receive your transcript or eligibility form before submitting experience reports.
    • The was e-EVR shut down on 3 April 2011, and replaced with the online reporting system. You can learn more about the new system here.
    • If the experience you earned through existing work settings exceeds the maximum allowable hours that can be earned in the corresponding IDP 2.0 experience setting, you may be granted a one-time waiver to the maximum allowable hours. If you are granted a one-time waiver, you will keep all hours earned; however, you will not be allowed to earn any additional hours in the new experience setting after the rollover.

      To be considered for a one-time waiver, experience must be in the “submitted” or “approved” status in the e-EVR by noon EDT 3 April 2012. Experience must be subsequently validated and approved by NCARB to finalize a waiver.
    • If you have earned the required core minimum hours in an existing training area or category prior to the implementation of the final phase of IDP 2.0, you may be exempt from having to satisfy the new core minimum hours requirements in the corresponding experience area or category for IDP 2.0—even if the new experience area minimum has increased.

      Even if you are exempt from a category or area minimum, you must earn a total of 3,740 core minimum hours.

      To be considered for an exemption, experience must be in the “submitted” or “approved” status in the e-EVR by noon EDT 3 April 2012. Experience must be subsequently validated and approved by NCARB to finalize an exemption.
    • Architects documenting IDP for the purposes of seeking an NCARB Certificate are required to document IDP 2.0 after 5 April 2012. If your application was in process, any submitted or approved experience was roll over to the new system as identified in the [Intern’s IDP 2.0 Rollover Guide]. Registered architects are also able to satisfy the experience requirement through an alternative to the IDP. Please review the [Handbook for Interns and Architects] or contact NCARB customer service for more detail on this alternative.

    • NCARB has historically conducted an analysis of the profession every five to seven years as a basis for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). The 2001 Architecture Practice Analysis Study resulted in the development and release of ARE 4.0 in July 2008. The 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture  resulted in modifications and updates to the ARE test specification, and, for the first time, formed the foundation for the evolution of the Intern Development Program (IDP) and the development of IDP 2.0, and strengthened NCARB’s response to the National Architectural Accrediting Board’s (NAAB) Accreditation Review Conference (ARC). Data collected from the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture Survey will help: drive the ARE, inform the IDP, and guide NCARB’s response to the 2013 NAAB ARC. The results will also be used to inform the Council’s continuing education policies.
    • Not immediately, but the results will drive the future development of the ARE, just as it has done in the past. NCARB conducted comprehensive practice analysis studies in 2001 and 2007 that led to improvements to the ARE. These improvements have been rolled out in phases in ARE 3.0, ARE 3.1, and ARE 4.0. The information gathered from these surveys is critical to the work of the ARE subcommittees in developing new questions for the ARE and modifying the format in accordance with the needs of today’s practice. Throughout all versions of the ARE, the goal of the exam has remained the same: to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by providing a psychometrically justifiable and legally defensible exam that measures the level of competency necessary to practice architecture independently.
    • A key decision in designing the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture Survey was to broaden the audience of survey recipients from architects to also include interns and educators. With an expanded reach, the data collected will have greater depth and relevance across the profession. The number of architects, interns, and educators that complete the survey directly impacts and improves the quality of the decisions made—a rare example in architecture where more is better. Participating in the survey is an important way to share expertise and give back to the profession.
    • The 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture  formed the foundation for the evolution of the IDP and the development of IDP 2.0, which updated program requirements to more closely align with the current practice of architecture. IDP 2.0 will be fully implemented as of April 2012 and offers many benefits to interns, including simplified experience settings, the inclusion of academic internships, and other improvements. NCARB expects the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis Survey to provide essential insights that will help inform future updates to the IDP, with the goal of ensuring that the program continues to identify the experience needed for the independent practice of architecture.
    • Design and development of the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture Survey has been underway since August 2010, beginning with the formation of the Practice Analysis Steering Committee (PASC), which was charged with the task of overseeing the design and implementation of the 2012 Practice Analysis Survey. For the first time, the committee included representatives from all of NCARB’s collateral organizations—the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). As a result of this collaboration, NCARB has been able to develop a survey that integrates insight and knowledge from across the profession—from senior professionals and educators, to mid-career and young professionals.
    • The 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture can be found online in the Publications and Resources area of NCARB’s website, under Special Papers. Once the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture Survey has been conducted, the consultant (PSI) will analyze the data and submit a report with recommendations based on the data collected to the NCARB Board of Directors for acceptance. The findings will be posted as individual reports on the NCARB website when finalized.