What to Know Before Arriving at the Test Center

Now that test centers have begun to re-open in some areas*, it’s crucial to understand all procedures, including new ones set in place to protect Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) candidates’ health and wellbeing. To ease any pre-test jitters, we’ve compiled a list of what to expect and how to best prepare for a smooth and safe testing experience.

Candidates Must Wear a Face Covering at All Times

This is not just a requirement for ARE test-takers, but all individuals testing at a Prometric site. Only medical masks and cloth face coverings will be allowed at test centers. Masks with exhale valves are NOT allowed. Candidates who arrive at test centers without an acceptable mask (as noted above) will not be allowed to test, marked as a “no show,” and will not be eligible for a free reschedule, according to the Prometric site.

Wearing a face covering for the entire test time will be a different experience on its own, so we encourage our candidates to try out different face covering options ahead of time (for three to four-hour periods) to decide which covering works best.

Wear glasses and find it hard to keep your lenses from fogging up while wearing a mask? Check out these two hacks worth considering when testing.

New Prometric Check-in Process

In addition to wearing an acceptable mask at all times, test takers must comply with local or federal mandates and will not be permitted to enter the test site if they:

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • Have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • Are experiencing flu or cold-like symptoms
  • Have returned from travel to a highly infected area in the past 14 days

All test center employees will have access to masks, gloves, and sanitizing materials and be required to wear a mask at all times. Learn more about Prometric’s detailed proctor and testing room procedures, as well as their end-of-test procedures.

Prometric Implements Contact Tracing Protocols

Following the recommended guidance of public health experts, Prometric has invoked its COVID-19 Safety Plan. This plan requires them to notify any individuals that may have been exposed to the virus while at a Prometric test center based on the timing of a known infected individual’s presence at the specific location. Prometric will notify candidates directly if they have been impacted.

Once a COVID-19-infected individual at a test center has been confirmed, Prometric will close that location for no less than 48 hours to complete a deep cleaning of the site.  Candidates with appointments scheduled during the test center’s closure will be contacted by Prometric regarding the rescheduling of their disrupted appointment.

Reminder: Extended Flexible Break Time

To alleviate concerns about Prometric’s check-in/check-out  procedures while testing, we’ve extended the flexible break while testing from 15 minutes to 25 minutes. This new break extension was implemented in late May. While the break time has changed, the process for using the flexible break has not. Learn more about COVID-19 exam updates in the ARE Guidelines

Keep in mind, the extended break does not change the amount of time you have to answer questions. Also, Prometric has agreed that appointment times do not need to be modified to accommodate this change as they will support any extra time needed for your appointment. If you have additional questions about breaks due to approved accommodations, please contact us as soon as possible. 

Updated ARE Handbook

We recently updated the objective descriptions in the ARE Handbook  to clarify language and more accurately reflect what candidates are being tested on. Note: The content on the exam itself and the exam objectives have not changed. 

Before heading down to the test center, we recommend exploring the updated objective descriptions and some new references within the handbook.


As we navigate the pandemic’s challenges, NCARB is committed to providing our candidates with proper testing access and the support they need to be successful in their licensure journey. If we can be of any further assistance and provide you with more test-related information, please contact our Customer Relations team online or at 202-879-0520.

*Not all test centers have reopened for testing. Please check with your local or federal mandates and guidelines, or Prometric’s site openings page to find out the status of your test center. Prometric will update this list daily as government restrictions continue to evolve.