We’ve been sharing updates about ARE 5.0 for a while now with tips for planning ahead, explanations of new question types, and a live Q&A with our exam experts. And if you haven’t checked out the Transition Calculator, give it a try to create your own testing strategy.

Now we’re here to help you understand the structure of ARE 5.0 with a four-part blog series that will compare and contrast the six divisions of ARE 5.0:

  • Practice Management
  • Project Management
  • Programming & Analysis
  • Project Planning & Design
  • Project Development & Documentation
  • Construction & Evaluation

Two of the divisions are about management, and the remaining four divisions follow the typical progression of an architecture project. This is a big change from ARE 4.0 where each division covers a specific content area. Why the big switch? We’ve been working hard to design an exam that more closely follows current architectural practice—and when architects work on a project, they consider code, structure, site, and other issues throughout all phases of the project. It’s the specifics of those issues that change as the project progresses.

While a lot of the ARE is changing, some parts are staying the same:

  • You can take the divisions in any order. You may want to follow the order listed above, or you can create your own strategy based on your strengths and experience. For example, if your job has you spending lots of time on construction sites, you might want to start with Construction & Evaluation while those experiences are fresh in your mind.
  • Every question is worth one point. Not answering a question is the same as answering it incorrectly, so we recommend attempting every question. There will be no partial credit for any questions.
  • If you fail a division, you can retake that same division in as soon as 60 days. And if needed, you can take one division up to three times in a 12-month period.
  • Your rolling clock still applies. You’ll need to complete all divisions within five years, starting from the date you took your first passed division. It’s important to remember that even if you transition from ARE 4.0, the expiration dates of those credits will still apply.

When will ARE 5.0 study materials be available?

Whether you’ve already begun testing in ARE 4.0 and want to finish in ARE 5.0 or you’re brand new to the ARE, reviewing the ARE 5.0 Test Specification is a great place to start. You’ll find information about content areas, measurement objectives, and relative weighting of each content area within a division. It is the same guidelines our volunteer architects use when they write new questions—called items—for the exam.

We will also be releasing new ARE 5.0 exam guides this summer with an updated list of recommended references—ARE 5.0 will be launching using the 2007 AIA Contract Documents and ICC 2012.

Watch for the rest of this series in the next few weeks, as we look in greater detail at the differences between Practice Management and Project Management, compare Project Planning & Design to Project Development & Documentation, and focus on Programming & Analysis and Construction & Evaluation. Stay tuned!