NCARB has finalized the adjusted cut scores for the following Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) divisions: Practice Management. Learn more about what that means for your score report, when NCARB expects to finalize the remaining cut scores, and what score you need to pass an ARE division. Editor’s note: this article will be updated as cut scores are finalized.

What is a cut score?
A cut score is the minimum passing standard for exam performance. It identifies the number of items you need to answer correctly in order to receive a “Pass” on an ARE 5.0 division. If you score at or above the cut score on a division, you will receive a “Pass.”

The changes to the exam that launched December 14, 2020, created the need for adjusted cut scores for each division in order to account for the reduced number of items, exam timing, tools, and more. Learn about the process for establishing updated cut scores.

When will I receive my score report?
If you have took the Practice Management exam between December 14, 2020, and yesterday, your score report will be processed per your jurisdiction’s requirements and may already be viewable in your NCARB Record. If you have tested since January 27 or have a Practice Management exam scheduled in the future, you will be able to receive provisional feedback at the end of your administration and can expect to receive your score report within a few business days of testing.

Score reports for the remaining divisions will continue to be held until the adjusted cut scores for those divisions has been finalized. Currently, we expect to release those exam scores by early-February. If you take any of the remaining five divisions before the cut scores are finalized, you will not have the option to view provisional feedback at the end of your exam appointment.  

What score do I need to pass?
When you sit down to take an ARE 5.0 division, you’ll see one of several versions, or forms, of that division. Because each form—and each division—has a different level of difficulty, the exact passing score varies. Historically, the minimum percentage of items you must have correct to pass ranges between 57 – 68 percent. As the updates to the cut scores are completed, NCARB will release a new blog outlining the results of the entire cut score effort.

Why use forms?
Creating multiple forms of each division ensures that candidates can retest in a division several times without being over-exposed to specific test questions. This safeguards the security and validity of the exam.

Having several sets of questions also means that one form may be slightly harder or easier than another form. To ensure fairness across all forms, NCARB’s testing consultants use candidate data to assemble forms to similar levels of difficulty—so a form that’s slightly easier than another form has a cut score that’s slightly higher.

As new forms are assembled in the future, NCARB’s testing consultants will continue to evaluate each form’s level of difficulty compared to the established performance standard set during the cut score process. As a candidate, you can be confident that you’re being assessed to the same level of performance as all other candidates.