Earlier this summer, the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) migrated delivery from Prometric to PSI. Plus, NCARB began offering English as a Second Language (ESL) accommodations for ARE candidates in addition to our existing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations. Here are answers to your frequently asked questions about those recent changes. If you've previously tested with Prometric, keep in mind that PSI's standard operating procedures may be different than Prometric's. 


What should I do if I have questions or concerns about my experience taking the ARE with PSI?
NCARB staff meet regularly with PSI to address any new or recurring issues, and we are committed to ensuring that your exam experience is up to our standards for quality, security, and accessibility. If you have questions or concerns about your experience testing with PSI, please contact our Customer Relations team in writing as soon as possible via our Contact Us form, and we will follow up with you and PSI as necessary to address your concern.

What size computer screen should I expect at a PSI test center?
Monitors at PSI test centers are 19” in size and have the proper resolution necessary for ARE delivery. All ARE exam items have been formatted for this sized monitor. When NCARB began offering the exam online and in advance of delivery with PSI, we adjusted all exam items to display on 19” monitors to better support a variety of candidate workstations. We do understand that many architectural candidates are quite used to large-format monitors at their workstations, which can make a 19” monitor feel very small. However, this size is appropriate for the ARE.

The whiteboard tool can cover up the entire screen when expanded—why?
The whiteboard can be resized and, yes, could be made large enough to cover up most of the screen. The default size is about one-third of the screen, which allows candidates to reposition and resize as they prefer. Flexibility in size and position on screen was made possible for candidates to have more flexibility in using the built-in tool.

The security check process with PSI seems reduced compared to Prometric. Is this a problem?
With PSI, no photo is taken of the candidate as part of the check-in process to address a variety of data privacy concerns. PSI staff will verify that the candidate’s photo ID does match the person presenting to test, but PSI does not record a copy of the ID.

Will there be ear muffs at the test center to block out other noise?
PSI provides foam disposable ear protection to each candidate at the test center. Over-ear earmuffs are not provided.

How can I best use the tools related to navigating case studies?
The toolset available while testing is the same toolset available on the demonstration exam and in the free practice tests. NCARB provides these resources in an effort to allow every candidate to be very comfortable with all aspects of exam delivery. Please spend as much time as needed to become comfortable with all exam delivery tools prior to test day.

How did non-ESL accommodations migrate from Prometric to PSI? How do candidates with accommodations schedule exams with PSI?
If you had approved accommodations for testing with Prometric, those accommodations were automatically migrated to PSI. Approved accommodations should appear at the bottom of the “Exams” tab in your NCARB Record.

If you are scheduling an online-proctored appointment with accommodations (whether ESL or ADA), you can complete the scheduling process yourself through your NCARB Record. Note: Not all accommodations are available for online-proctored exams, such as the word-to-word translation dictionary accommodation.

If you are scheduling an in-person appointment with accommodations, you can start the scheduling process through your NCARB Record. You will be asked to submit a contact phone number during the scheduling process, and a PSI representative will reach out to you within 48 hours to provide assistance with scheduling your exam. If PSI is unable to reach you by phone, they will also email you at the address listed in your NCARB Record. Be on the lookout for an email from an @psionline.com domain, and if possible, add them to your safe senders list. You might need to check your junk or spam.

What can I do if I don’t see a PSI test center in a major city near me, and I’m not able to use online proctoring?
We regularly work with PSI to open up more availability for ARE candidates in areas where candidates have difficulty finding exam appointments. If this is the case for you, please get in touch with us and let us know, and we will try to create more availability in your area if possible.

Can I use my company laptop to take an online proctored exam with PSI?
If your computer otherwise meets the requirements for online proctoring, yes! You can review those requirements in the ARE 5.0 Guidelines. Keep in mind that you will need administrator privileges on your computer to disable some of the security settings that are required to run PSI’s Bridge. You should work with your company’s IT team to ensure you have the necessary permissions before your appointment.

ESL Accommodations

How do I apply for an ESL accommodation? Do I need to apply every time I test?
To apply for an ESL accommodation, log in to My NCARB and navigate to the Exams tab to review and complete the ESL Accommodations Request Form. Allow 7-10 days to process your request. Applying for ESL accommodations is a one-time process; once approved, any future exam appointments you schedule will include your accommodation(s).

Can the ESL accommodation be added to an exam appointment that I have scheduled already?
No, accommodations (whether ESL or ADA) cannot be added to existing exam appointments. You can either sit for those scheduled appointments without the accommodation, or you can cancel your existing appointment and schedule a new appointment with your approved accommodations.

Note: If you choose to cancel your appointment, you will have to pay a $100 fee. This fee allows you to keep your exam seat (previously called a seat credit), which you can use to schedule a new appointment.  

Will the use of ESL accommodations be included on my NCARB Record when it’s transmitted to a jurisdiction for licensure?
No. While NCARB documents your accommodations in your NCARB Record for the purpose of exam scheduling, they are not included in any part of your official NCARB transcript or score reports and will not be shared with licensing boards when you transmit your Record to apply for licensure. This is the case for both ESL and ADA accommodations.

Can I receive an ESL time extension if I already have an ADA time extension?
Yes, you can receive an ESL time extension if you already have an ADA time extension. However, additional testing time can only be added up to a maximum of 50% additional testing time combined for all approved testing accommodations.


Can I take NCARB’s free ARE practice exams more than one time?
Yes, you can take the free practice exams as many times as you want. The questions on the practice exams will be the same each time you take them, though, so keep in mind that you may become more familiar with the questions and memorize some of the answers, which could lessen their usefulness as a study resource for you.

What is the best way to get ready for an online proctored exam?
If you are taking an online proctored exam, be sure to schedule a free test run appointment before your actual exam appointment. Your test run will allow you to go through the PSI check-in process for online appointments and ensure that your computer and testing space meet the requirements to run PSI’s Bridge and satisfy exam security standards.

Can I use earplugs for online proctored testing?
No, you cannot wear earplugs or headphones during an online proctored exam. We recommend testing in a quiet location that is free from distractions.

Where can I find the rolling clock since the switch to PSI?
To find the rolling clock information for your passed divisions, click the “Exams” tab in your NCARB Record and scroll down to your passed divisions. Then click on each division to see its rolling clock information, including the date you passed the division, when the division expires, and your score report(s) for that division.

Can I test at my job if my employer sets up a testing area for staff?
Yes, you can test at your office, as long as the space meets the requirements for online proctoring. Keep in mind, no one else may be in the testing space with you when you take an online proctored exam. Be sure to log into the computer as an administrator as that level of user privilege is necessary to run PSI’s Bridge application.