ARE 5.0 Transition Plan: Five Takeaways

Today, NCARB announced its transition plan and credit model for ARE 5.0. 

Don't panic. Take a deep breath.

For those of you who experienced the transition to ARE 4.0 from ARE 3.1, "transition" may not be your favorite word. We learned a lot from that experience and have applied it to our plan for ARE 5.0. There is a lot of good news, so lets go over five important takeaways:

1. ARE 5.0 is launching in late 2016, but ARE 4.0 will still be around until 30 June 2018.

There isn't an official launch date yet for ARE 5.0—we expect to know that sometime in 2015—but, we do know that we will be offering ARE 4.0 for at least 18 months after ARE 5.0's launch. As of today, you have over four years to complete ARE 4.0 before it is retired.

2. The credit model just looks scary—if you test strategically, the transition could work out in your favor.

The ARE 5.0 credit model presents the transition as a matrix. ARE 5.0 divisions are along the top and ARE 4.0 divisions are along the left. The first good news is that the credit model allows you the ability to earn credit for every possible division of ARE 5.0.

But the really good news is that you could actually complete the ARE in only five divisions using a combination of ARE 4.0 and ARE 5.0. There are three important divisions to pass in ARE 4.0 (Construction Documents & Services; Programming, Planning & Practice; Site Planning & Design) that will set you up nicely for the transition. If you pass them, you can "self-transition" to ARE 5.0 after it launches and only need to complete two additional divisions.

3. Don't forget about the Rolling Clock.

Your Rolling Clock is still ticking. Be sure to review all of your expiration dates in My Examination before you make your plan to finish the exam. While the idea of only taking five divisions may be awesome, it isn’t in your best interest to wait for ARE 5.0. Be strategic in how you approach your ARE 4.0 divisions and keep testing.

4. ARE 5.0 is still in development. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we will let you know when we do.

If you have read our Demystifying the ARE series, you know that there are several parties involved and it takes a while to develop an exam. While we know the division structure and what each division will cover for ARE 5.0, our committees are still working on how many questions each division will have, how long you will have in the test center, how much each division will cost, and how the new question types that will replace the vignettes will be implemented. We’ve put together a timeline of when we expect to know some of these answers as well as when you can expect study materials and other transition resources.

Sign up for ARE Updates and follow us on social media—you will be among the first to know when we have major announcements related to the exam.

5. We are over two years away from ARE 5.0—don’t worry about ARE 5.0 and finish in ARE 4.0.

The average ARE candidate finishes the exam in about two years. Meaning someone who starts the exam tomorrow (or really anytime in 2014) will likely be done with ARE 4.0 before ARE 5.0 even launches. Make a plan, and be one of them!

For a lot of you, the ARE is the last requirement you complete before you get your license. Getting a license is a major step in your career, and will give you some freedom with what you decided to do next. Don’t hold off achieving this major milestone just because the test is changing.

Check out our FAQs, and join us on May 14 for NCARB Live. Examination Director Jared Zurn and Examination Research Assistant Director Ryan Misner will be discussing the transition and answering your questions about the transition and ARE 5.0.