NCARB is in the process of preparing an online proctored option for the ARE, which will launch December 14, 2020. As more information becomes available, you can find the latest updates on online proctoring here, including links to policy information, updated resources, and more.


August 2020: Guide to setting up testing environment. Late-September: 2020 Details about updated exam format and policies. October 2020: Updated Guidelines, Handbook, and Demo Exam; New test prep videos available; Details on the cut score process and testing accommodations. Mid-November 2020: Updated exam and online proctoring option launches.  December 2020: Update on cut score progress. Early-2021: Details about switch from Prometric to PSI. Summer 2021: Online and in-person ARE available at PSI.

You can find more information about online proctoring and ARE 5.0 in our guide. Some key items to be aware of are outlined below: 

  • Candidates will have the option to choose between in-person and online testing each time they schedule an ARE appointment.
  • The ARE’s content and division structure will not change.
  • Items per division will be reduced. Each ARE 5.0 division will feature 15-20 less items compared to the current exam. This change continues NCARB’s efforts to make the licensure process more efficient while ensuring the rigor of the exam is maintained.
  • Test duration per division adjusted slightly. Changes in the number of items per division will not have a significant impact on exam timing as candidates are being given more time per item on each division and more break time per division.
  • Optional break time expanded. Candidates’ optional break time will be expanded to 30 or 45 minutes, depending on the division. In addition, candidates will be able to use this time for multiple short breaks or one long break during their appointment.
  • Previously viewed items locked when a break is taken. Candidates will be able to review any previously viewed items before they take a break. Upon returning from a break, candidates will be unable to review items seen prior to a break. Those items will be locked for the duration of the test appointment.
  • NCARB will set new cut scores. Because the number of scored items is changing, NCARB will have to set a new cut score for each ARE division. This is expected to take approximately four weeks, candidate score reports will not be released until after the cut score is set. This process allows NCARB to ensure that the new cut score is appropriately equal in nature to the current passing standard.
  • Digital whiteboard will replace physical scratch paper. Candidates will still be able to take notes, outline potential solutions, and more using an online whiteboard option.
  • In summer 2021, NCARB will switch to a new test administration vendor, PSI, for both in-person and online testing.

Updated Demo Exam and Digital Whiteboard
You can now practice taking the updated exam, including using the new digital whiteboard tool, through the updated demo exam in your My NCARB account. Through the whiteboard, you can add text, create shapes, and sketch. Watch our video walk-through to learn how to navigate the digital whiteboard tool. We recommend becoming familiar with the functionality of the new whiteboard tool before taking the updated exam.

The updated demo exam features 75 practice items, a three-hour testing duration, and all the updated navigation features and tools you’ll see when testing from December 14 onward.

Be sure to test the new break feature in the demo exam. When you indicate you’re ready to take a break, you’ll be directed to the Exam Summary screen, where you’ll have the chance to review and return to any seen items before beginning your break. Once you return from your break, any seen items—whether answered or incomplete—will be locked, and you won’t be able to revisit them.

The full-length demo exam isn’t scored, but you can find answers to many of the sample items in the ARE 5.0 Handbook. Check out the ARE 5.0 Online Community to discuss all of the sample items.

Testing Requirements
Online (or remote) proctoring enables candidates to take the ARE in a private location of their choice that meets the necessary requirements for delivery, during a scheduled appointment time. Exam appointments will be closely monitored by a live “online proctor,” who will ensure compliance with testing conditions.

To take the ARE online, you will need:

  • A private testing area
  • A computer that has been loaded with Prometric’s secure testing browser application
  • A live audio and video feed
  • A high-speed internet connection (download speed of 3 mbps or more)
  • An external webcam
  • Recommended: a 19" monitor or larger
  • To meet NCARB and Prometric's additional requirements, which you can find in the updated ARE 5.0 Guidelines  (effective in November 2020). 

$50 Rebate on First Scheduled Online Proctored Appointment 
NCARB understands that requiring an external webcam may create an additional expense for candidates. To help offset this, NCARB will provide all candidates who schedule their first online appointment a $50 prepaid card. Every ARE candidate is eligible to receive one rebate. This prepaid card will be issued automatically after a candidate schedules their first online proctored appointment. Candidates who do not schedule an online proctored appointment will not be eligible. 


Latest Updates
Find more information and updates regarding online proctoring: