What Does ARE Exam Security Mean for You as a Candidate?

You’ve spent countless hours studying for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), as well as discussing your study materials and methods with colleagues and friends. Anxious to get to the test questions, you race through those first few pages of text as you sit in front of the monitor at your Prometric test center. But wait, did you read the Candidate Agreement you’re required to acknowledge? While it’s true you can’t get to the exam itself until you agree to abide by the terms of the ARE Candidate Agreement, do you understand its contents?

Here’s an overview of what you, as a licensure candidate, are expected to abide by before, during, and after you sit for the ARE:

  1. You may not attempt to gain access to ARE content disclosed by others. If you are unwillingly exposed to exam content by others, you shall report the incident to NCARB.

You reach out to a colleague who you know has recently tested for some tips on how to prepare. It’s fine to discuss the general topics that were covered on the division they took, but, as an ARE candidate, you agree NOT to ask your colleague for specific test questions. If your colleague starts to offer up specifics about exam questions they saw, stop them for their benefit and yours. If someone shares with you the content of questions they saw, you are to report this to NCARB’s Customer Relations team so you're not complicit in candidate misconduct.

  1. You are always required to conduct yourself professionally and civilly and follow instructions given by the test center staff.

You show up at the test center and are ready to start testing. You will have to follow check-in procedures and listen to various instructions by the test center staff. All their efforts are in place to protect the security of the ARE and the testing ability of other candidates at the test center. To be able to take the ARE, you must follow the instructions you are given at the test center. Unprofessional and disruptive conduct not only affects you, it also impacts those around you.

Act professionally while at the test center. If you have any problems testing, report them immediately. Then, after your testing appointment, follow up with NCARB’s Customer Relations team. Arguing with test center staff or failing to follow their instructions is misconduct and puts your testing privileges in jeopardy.

  1. Electronic devices and written materials are not to be accessed at any time while inside a test center. All cell phones and smart devices shall be turned off before entering the test center and shall not be turned on until the candidate has exited the test center.

The Prometric test center associate will instruct you to put ALL your belongings except your ID into a locker immediately after you check in for your appointment. No notes or electronic devices can be accessed while in the test center.

You may want to insist that checking your phone on your break is necessary for a work or family issue—don’t do it. Accessing any electronic device while in the test center is considered an attempt to access or share ARE content, and this is a direct violation of the candidate agreement and will result in disciplinary action.

  1. Candidates may not attempt to reproduce or share the content of any ARE question, ARE exhibit, or ARE resource viewed during their exam appointment. If someone else discloses what he or she saw on the ARE, candidates may not forward, re-post, or otherwise disclose that information.

You’ve passed a few divisions of the ARE, and your friends and coworkers are your biggest fans. Some of them even look to you for guidance but may ask you to cross a line of professional conduct. “What was on that Project Management exam that you thought you failed? Just tell me which questions you had the hardest time with … You don’t have to remember every question, just type up a few of the most challenging ones and email them to me when you have time. I promise I won’t tell anyone else.”

Don’t risk your exam success and career goals. You’ve worked hard to prepare for licensure, and you certainly want to help others. But, don’t risk everything by sharing specific exam content. Do not share the specifics around the graphics, contracts, or scenarios you see on the ARE. When it comes to written questions, like rules around plagiarism, sharing three or more words from any question or the possible answers presented will be viewed as disclosing content.

Check out the ARE Candidate Agreement and be sure to follow its requirements to avoid any possible misconduct issues. As you know, the ARE is highly valued by the licensing boards and NCARB. The policies and procedures in place provide security and uphold the integrity of the ARE and your future license as an architect.