Note: NCARB updated this blog in April 2023 to reflect the current range of cut scores.

Have you ever wondered what score is needed to pass a division of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) 5.0? Or how many questions need to be answered correctly to earn a pass? Let’s explore ARE cut scores and the range of cut scores you’ll see across ARE divisions.

First, some things you should know about the ARE and cut scores:

  • A cut score is the minimum standard score you need to achieve in order to pass an ARE division.
  • The cut scores for ARE 5.0 are set using real candidate data, with advice and input from practicing architects and exam experts called psychometricians.
  • When you take an ARE 5.0 division, you’ll see one of several versions, or forms, of that division.
  • Each form contains a different set of questions for the sake of exam security, which can lead to slight variations in the difficulty of exam forms.
  • Because of these variations in the level of difficulty, the exact cut score that is applied to your exam also varies.
  • Setting different cut scores for each form ensures that you are held to same level of competency as all other candidates.

Setting the Cut Score

When setting the exam’s cut scores, NCARB is responsible for establishing valid, reliable, and fair standards of competency that ensure you’re able to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare when practicing independently. It’s important to understand that NCARB does not raise or lower cut scores to ensure that a certain percentage of candidates pass or fail the exam. This is because all licensure candidates are expected to demonstrate the same level of competency to earn a license—regardless of how other candidates are performing on the exam.

Learn more about the last ARE cut score update.

How Many Questions Do I Need Correct to Pass?

Each division of the ARE measures different content knowledge areas. The difference in knowledge areas and the relative difficulty of the questions that make up that content area vary between divisions; therefore, expectations around how many questions you will need to answer correctly also changes from division to division.

  • Project Development & Documentation and Construction & Evaluation: You need to answer between 58 – 65 percent of scored items correctly on these divisions to pass.
  • Practice Management and Project Management: You need to answer between 59 – 71 percent of scored items correctly on these divisions to pass.
  • Programming & Analysis and Project Planning & Design: You need to answer between 65 – 71 percent of scored items correctly on these divisions to pass.

Learn more about how ARE 5.0 is scored.