ARE Online Testing Launches Mid-December

Editor's note: This page was updated on October 19 to reflect the new launch timeline for online proctoring. The new expected launch date for both online proctoring and the anticipated changes to the exam is December 14, 2020

NCARB is excited to announce that Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) candidates will be able to schedule online-proctored appointments in mid-December 2020. Changes that will make online proctoring possible are expected to launch December 14, 2020.  As test center closures and limited availability continue to impact candidates’ licensure progress, this new option will provide flexibility to take the exam in a location of your choice. Whether you plan on testing in-person or online, here are several updates all candidates should be aware of.


Key Takeaways

  • Expected Monday, December 14, 2020, candidates can schedule online-proctored appointments through their NCARB Record.
  • Candidates can still test in-person at Prometric test centers.
  • The ARE’s content and division structure will not change.
  • Aspects of the exam’s delivery are being updated for both in-person and online administrations to increase exam security and provide a more efficient experience.
  • More information about exam delivery changes will be released in mid-September.
  • We expect to release updated ARE Guidelines and ARE Handbook in October, and a new demo exam in mid-November.
  • These changes will maintain the exam’s rigor, while providing candidates with greater flexibility and accessibility.
  • In summer 2021, NCARB will switch to a new test administration vendor, PSI, for both in-person and online testing.

What is online proctoring?

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. To ensure the ARE’s security and validity, 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, plus a live audio and video feed; and a high-speed internet connection. In the coming weeks, NCARB will share the minimum technical and environmental requirements for online testing. You can also visit Prometric’s website to learn about their online platform.

Scheduling exam appointments

Expected starting December 14, candidates will be able to schedule online appointments through My NCARB. Exam fees will remain the same, whether you test in-person or via online proctoring. This fall, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to schedule a online exam.

ARE content and format

It is important to note that the ARE’s content areas and division structure will not change. You can continue to use your existing study materials and resources. However, several elements of the exam’s delivery will be updated to enhance ARE security, make the ARE more efficient, and support online delivery—including navigation, breaks, the number of questions per division, and overall testing time per division.

These changes—which have been validated by independent psychometricians (or testing experts)—will ensure the exam continues to measure candidates’ ability to protect the public. The ARE won’t be “easier,” although candidates will benefit from greater flexibility and accessibility. NCARB will provide detailed information regarding any policy changes in late-September.  

Your testing options

Once online proctoring is available, you’ll have the flexibility to choose between in-person or online testing for each exam appointment you schedule. Regardless of delivery mode, all ARE candidates will experience the same format. Ensuring the ARE remains accessible for all candidates remains a top priority for NCARB, and we are exploring the viability of online options for testing accommodations.

How can I prepare?

As NCARB finalizes details with our vendors and exam consultants, we will share regular updates via emails, our website, and social channels. We’re also planning to release updated resources in October, including an updated ARE 5.0 Handbook. An updated demo exam will be available in mid-November. Be on the lookout for an announcement about the exam’s updated format in the weeks ahead.

Remember: the exam content being assessed is not changing, so continue to study just as you do today. Candidates may need to adjust their test-taking strategies based on changes to the exam experience. NCARB will release more information about the exam experience changes in September.

NCARB’s new vendor

As we look to the future of licensure and the continued evolution of our programs, NCARB will switch to a new test administration vendor, PSI, in summer 2021. PSI offers both in-person and online proctored exam appointments. More information around the migration to PSI will be available early next year.

Our team is here to support you. If you have any questions about online proctoring, please contact us online or through the ARE 5.0 Community.