More candidates than ever are taking the ARE online, but many still prefer testing in person. Determining which delivery method is right for you can depend on a variety of factors—including internet bandwidth, home and/or office environment, computer and display capability, and your personal testing style! If you’re unsure which type of appointment to schedule, check out our checklist below to choose the exam delivery method that’ll set you up for success.
Do you have a private home or office space that you could test in?
To take an online proctored exam, you’ll need a space where you can test uninterrupted (including pets and children) for several hours. If you don’t have access to a private space, there’s no need to read on—you should consider taking the exam at a test center.
Do you have a stable internet connection with more than 3 mbps of dedicated bandwidth?
One of the most common technical issues for candidates testing online is internet connection. You’ll need a stable, consistent ethernet connection that doesn’t lapse during the time of day when you’ll be taking the ARE. This one is a dealbreaker, so if you aren’t sure your internet service provider is up to the task, we recommend testing in person.
Does your computer setup meet the requirements?
We recommend testing on a desktop or laptop that are plugged directly into a power source (no docking stations) with a single external monitor that’s at least 19”. While you can test on a slightly smaller screen, we don’t encourage it, as it’ll impact image clarity, text readability, and the amount of scrolling needed during your exam.
Do you have an external webcam with autofocus?
You’ll need an external webcam even if your computer has an integrated webcam, but NCARB does offer a $50 prepaid card for candidates taking their first online proctored appointment to help offset the cost of purchasing a webcam. The autofocus capability is especially important for the check-in process, as your proctor will need to be able to clearly view your ID.
Are you comfortable troubleshooting your own technical issues?
If you meet the above requirements, it’s time to consider your personal comfort levels. At a test center, Prometric staff are readily available to help you troubleshoot any technical issues. But if you’re testing at home, depending on where you are in the appointment process, you may have to handle some troubleshooting on your own (though you can contact Prometric’s tech support online).
Are you more comfortable testing in a space you're familiar with, or a space you don’t have to be responsible for?
This one is a matter of preference. If taking the exam in a space you’re already comfortable in will reduce your test-day stress, you might want to take an online-proctored exam! But if you’d rather not have to worry about setting up your testing environment or being responsible for ensuring it meets the requirements, testing a Prometric test center might suit your needs better.
Whichever delivery method you choose, we recommend taking the Demo Exam to become familiar with the tools and navigation you’ll see during your appointment. And if you decide to test online, be sure to schedule a test run appointment to make sure you meet the requirements for online proctoring before your real exam appointment.