What You Can Bring to the Test Center

Here at NCARB, we’re serious about protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. And to do that, we have to protect the content of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®)—especially since the exam is one of the key ways state licensing boards measure a candidate's knowledge and skills. A recent incident, involving a candidate in New York, draws attention to our policies surrounding the testing process and what's permissible at the test center.

To ensure the exam’s integrity, we use Prometric’s secure test centers and copyright all examination content. In addition, we limit the items candidates can bring into and out of the test center, as well as which items you can access while at the test center. This includes personal items, like cell phones, as well as other test-specific items like scratch paper, calculators, and notes.

NCARB also requires all candidates to accept the ARE Candidate Agreement each time they test. Recently, the NCARB Board of Directors invalidated an ARE candidate’s exam score and issued a one-year suspension to the candidate, who violated exam security policies by accessing their cell phone and viewing examination notes while on a testing break.

While phones are allowed in the testing center, accessing a cell phone anytime during a testing appointment is expressly prohibited in the candidate agreement. If a candidate chooses to bring a cell phone into the testing center, it should be placed in a locker immediately after checking in and not be accessed again until the entire appointment is complete.

In addition, candidates should not attempt to create notes regarding the specifics of any exam question they were exposed to while testing. Any notes created by a candidate that identify the main portions of an exam question, the various answer options, or specifics about any images contained within the exam is a violation of the candidate agreement.

Please help us protect the public health, safety, and welfare by respecting exam security—make sure that you’re familiar with the Candidate Agreement, and remember that candidates cannot:

  • Bring personal items into the testing room besides your ID or items that have been approved as accommodated items. You can view the list of pre-approved items in the ARE 4.0 and ARE 5.0 Guidelines.
  • Use your own pencil, scratch paper, or calculator. Prometric will provide you with pencils and scratch paper in the testing room, and the exam will include an on-screen calculator.
  • Take the pencils or scratch paper out of the testing room. You will be required to return all pencils and scratch paper to the test center administrator.
  • Refer to any outside materials or digital devices, including cell phones, while at the testing center. This includes break time.

For more details regarding ARE security measures, view the ARE 4.0 or ARE 5.0 Guidelines.