Earlier this year, NCARB released free practice exams for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). The practice exams are free to all candidates via their NCARB Record.

Take the Practice Exams

Impact on Pass Rates

Since launching the practice exams, we’ve been monitoring candidate usage of the practice exams and comparing performance on the exam for those who have and have not taken advantage of NCARB’s practice exams—and we’re thrilled to see that candidates who use the practice exams have seen a dramatic increase in pass rates compared to those who don’t use the practice exams.

Candidates who used NCARB’s free practice exams have seen a 12 percentage point increase in pass rates across all six divisions. That increase is even higher for some demographic groups: Asian or Asian American, Black or African American, and Hispanic or Latino candidates using the practice exams have seen a larger impact on pass rates compared to white candidates. Asian or Asian American and Black or African American candidates have seen a 17 percentage point increase in pass rates compared to those who don’t use the practice exams—the largest average increase seen across all racial and ethnic groups.

Candidates who use the practice exams outperform those who don’t across all six divisions

Demographic Group 2022 Pass Rates w/ Practice Exams 2022 Pass Rates w/out Practice Exams Pass Rate Difference Between Candidates Who Use the Practice Exams and Those Who Don't
Asian or Asian American 59.5% 42.2% 17.3 Percentage Points
Another Group 50.7% 37.3% 13.4 Percentage Points
Black or African American 41.7% 24.8% 16.9 Percentage Points
Hispanic or Latino 49.1% 32.8% 16.3 Percentage Points
White 67.1% 56.9% 10.2 Percentage Points
Men 64.7% 51.5% 13.2 Percentage Points
Women 58.9% 46.2% 12.7 Percentage Points

Why the Practice Exams Work

Many test prep providers offer practice exams for the ARE, but NCARB’s offer two key differences:

  1. They’re free.
  2. They’re created just like the actual ARE.

Developed by volunteer architects following the same process used to create the real exam—following the same item writing process and based on the same exam objectives—the practice exams can help you get a feel for the types of questions you might see on test day.

And with the rationale explained for each correct answer, you can become more familiar with how to approach the questions. Exploring NCARB’s rationale can help you know how to choose the best answer when you’re sitting for the real exam.

Making the ARE Accessible

Findings from our joint Baseline on Belonging study with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), show that candidates of color are more likely to spend over $500 on study materials and less likely to pass the exam.

As part of the migration to PSI, NCARB wanted to ensure that all candidates have access to affordable, high-quality study materials. NCARB’s release of free practice exams for each division was a key step in making the exam more accessible—and our early data shows that it’s having an impact on lessening racial and ethnic disparities in pass rates.

You can access the exams through your Record if you’re a licensure candidate with an NCARB Record. And if you’re anyone else, you can access a PDF version of the practice exams on our website. Learn how to access the practice exams.