Understanding the Biometric Check-In Requirement

Since September, NCARB has required that all candidates testing on the ARE submit biometric information as part of the check-in process. Some candidates have questioned why such information is necessary. Other candidates have expressed concerns over providing information as they want to be assured of their personal privacy.

Security around high-stakes exams, such as the ARE, are of the utmost importance. The biometric check-in is the best assurance to state boards that a proxy tester (one individual taking a division for another) was not used as part of one’s examination process. Since a candidate must test at least seven times to complete the ARE, biometric check-in is the most secure way to ensure that the same individual is completing all divisions of his or her exam.

On your first visit, Prometric will scan one fingertip on each hand three times to ensure a quality result for later comparison. The use of two fingers allows Prometric to secure enough data so upon return visits, either hand can be used. The data around the fingertip is linked to the candidate’s name and photo inside of Prometric’s database. The data is kept internal to Prometric and is not compared against any national database. Once the data is stored, if someone other than the original person attempts to check-in under that name, a security flag would be raised and the person would not be allowed to test. All data is encrypted when being transferred, and security of stored information is maintained at all times.

The quality of the fingertip pattern template collected at the Prometric site, for admittance in and out of the testing room, is not associated with the FBI (14-point print) or matched against any other government database of prints. The prints taken at the test sites create a two-point template image, stored to track movement within the test center—while increasing the level of security at the test site to prevent one candidate from attempting to test on behalf of another.

The information from the identification documents, the digitized photo image from the identification, and the fingertip pattern template are retained for a reasonable period of time required for potential legal or fraud investigations. That period will not exceed five (5) years, and in some cases according to local privacy laws, may be retained for a shorter period of time.

To reiterate, the fingertip scan you provide and the data around your biometric information is never exchanged or distributed; this data resides only at Prometric and is never disclosed to other third parties or even with NCARB.

NCARB understands candidates’ concerns over personal privacy and wants to ensure you that biometric check-in was implemented only after NCARB was assured that each candidate’s personal privacy will be maintained while improving the security of the examination process.