Why We Changed the ARE Retake Policy

Good news travels fast, and word of NCARB’s upcoming change to the ARE retest policy was certainly good news. First, let’s recap the facts of the new policy. Beginning October 1, 2014, if you fail a division of the ARE, you will be able to retake the same division in as few as 60 days from the date of the failed test. The one limitation is that you can only take each division up to three times within a running year (any 12-month time frame).

The current six-month wait is often considered one of the most frustrating aspects of the ARE, because it can be an impediment to passing the exam in a timely manner. The policy, which has been in place since computer-based testing began in 1997, was established to protect the security of the exam and ensure that candidates aren’t over-exposed to questions. In reality, our subject-matter volunteers create four versions of each division every year. NCARB’s previous candidate management system was not able to manage multiple repeat attempts without potentially compromising the exam.

NCARB’s new My Examination portal, accessed through a candidate’s NCARB Record, was launched this past September. This new system is much more advanced, allowing for customizable data collection and sophisticated calculations that ensure candidates won’t see the same questions again. In an effort to improve candidate access to the examination and respond to frustrations over the current six-month policy, NCARB envisioned different ways to shorten the retest wait time. We worked with our psychometric testing consultants to develop and validate a policy that affords candidates greater access while still protecting exam content.

The retest wait time change goes into effect on October 1, 2014, which will give our developers ample time to make the necessary updates to the My Examination portal. NCARB wants all candidates to be aware of this upcoming change, as it will allow you to adapt your testing plan to finish the ARE even sooner. If you have failed a division recently, or do so in the near future, you may want to wait to complete your rescheduling until after October 1 so you can sit for that division as soon as possible.

For more information on the new retake policy, click here.