NCARB works regularly with our psychometricians and hundreds of volunteer architects to ensure the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) aligns with exam best practices and current architectural practice. As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the ARE, we are implementing two updates that will go into effect on February 27, 2024:

  1. All code-related items on the ARE will reference the 2021 International Code Council (ICC) family of codes and related standards, rather than the 2018 family. When necessary, NCARB will provide excerpts from the 2021 ICC family of codes as references on case studies. You can view a summary of significant code changes from IBC 2018 to IBC 2021 in the ICC I-Codes. If you are interested in a deeper explanation of the changes, watch the American Wood Council’s two-part video series: Part 1 | Part 2
  2. NCARB is retiring quantitative-fill-in-the-blank (QFIB) item types from the exam. NCARB strives to align with evolving testing best practices, which indicate that other item types used on the ARE assess candidates’ qualifications more effectively. Going forward, the exam will continue to include questions that require numerical responses—however, they will now be formatted as one of the exam’s other four item types rather than as quantitative-fill-in-the-blank questions. The format and scoring of the remaining item types will not change.

The exam objectives covered by each division, as well as the tools and resources available to you during the exam, will otherwise remain the same. These changes will go into effect on February 27, 2024. NCARB will release an updated version of the ARE Guidelines and updated practice exams in February to reflect both the code reference and QFIB changes.

How This Impacts You

If you are testing between now and February 26, 2024, you should continue preparing for your ARE division as planned. If you are testing on or after February 27, be sure to prepare using the 2021 family of ICC codes and standards, rather than the 2018 version.

Item Types

After February 27, 2024, you should only expect to see four item types on the exam: multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, hotspot, and drag-and-place. All items are worth one point and there is no partial credit. For a detailed review of each item type, visit our YouTube channel or explore the ARE 5.0 Guidelines. NCARB’s exam prep content related to QFIB items will remain available until February 27, and if you are testing between now and February 26, 2024, you should still anticipate encountering some QFIB items.

NCARB Live Webinar – December 19

Questions about how these changes will impact you? Join our experts for a live webinar on Tuesday, December 19 at 3 p.m. (ET). We’ll explain the changes and answer any questions you have. Register online.