Preparing to take the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®)? Be sure to use the latest version of our ARE 5.0 Guidelines, which features new updates related to exam security policies and the ARE 5.0 Reference Guide. The updated Guidelines also includes changes related to the shift in building code references and retirement of quantitative-fill-in-the-blank (QFIB) items, which were announced in December 2023.

Download the Guidelines

The updated ARE 5.0 Guidelines is effective as of February 27, 2024. To learn about the changes, download the new Guidelines and read about the policy updates below.

Exam Security

To protect the integrity of exam scores, NCARB has implemented new exam data forensics protocols to enhance our existing data analysis. You won’t notice a difference during your exam administration, but this will impact the timing for releasing official score reports. While you can still view fully accurate, provisional test results at the end of your exam administration, official score reports will take seven to 10 days to process.

In addition, the updated ARE 5.0 Guidelines include updated exam security and candidate misconduct policies. These policies provide more details on what is and isn’t acceptable before, during, and after your appointment. The ARE Candidate Agreement, which all ARE candidates are required to agree to prior to testing, has also been revised to align with the exam security and candidate misconduct policies.

ARE 5.0 Reference Guide

You’ve asked, and we’ve answered. We’ve shortened our list of recommended study resources into a new ARE 5.0 Reference Guide (previously the Reference Matrix). The updated list provides a much more focused list of recommended references for each ARE 5.0 division, so you can streamline your test prep process.

In addition, the reference guide no longer lists version or edition numbers for most reference materials, as relevant information in older editions is still a valuable resource for test preparation. Keep in mind, version/edition information is still noted for building codes, contract documents, and professional standards.

Item Types

NCARB is retiring quantitative-fill-in-the-blank (QFIB) item types. Starting February 27, 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. The exam objectives covered by each division, as well as the tools and resources available to you during the exam, remain the same. For a detailed review of each item type, visit our YouTube channel. Learn more.

Building Code References

Starting February 27, 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. 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.

Exam Objectives

No changes have been made to the exam objectives. We’ve updated the overview page for each division to provide you with an at-a-glance summary of that division’s content. Detailed information about each division can be found on the pages that follow, and hasn’t changed from the previous version of the Guidelines.

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