ARE Retake Policy to be Shortened to Allow Three Retakes a Year

Philadelphia—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced today that the wait time for retesting for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) divisions will decrease from six months to 60 days, effective October 1. This will allow candidates who have failed a division to retake the division as soon as 60 days after the previous attempt, up to three times in a running year for any one division.

“NCARB is actively listening to candidate concerns, and the six-month wait to retest is often noted as a significant frustration,” said NCARB CEO Mike Armstrong. “A new feature of our exam support capacity allows us to provide greater access while maintaining exam integrity.”

This change, which goes into effect on 1 October 2014, is possible because of a recent system implementation of My Examination in late 2013 that provided NCARB with a sophisticated technology platform to better implement candidate management services. This crucial improvement allows NCARB to decrease the wait time between retesting on a division while ensuring the protection of exam content.

“NCARB is unwavering in our ongoing commitment to improving our systems, and this innovative advancement allows even greater candidate flexibility,” said Armstrong.

Prior to moving the ARE to its new platform, the six-month wait retake policy was necessary to protect the security of the ARE. With a finite number of exam questions and limits on tracking past exam iterations, there was a risk that candidates would be over-exposed to questions on repeat attempts of the same division. Maintaining a wait time policy promotes use of the failing score report to better prepare for a subsequent attempt.

The new retest policy will still protect against over-exposure to examination content, and provide failing score reports to guide retest preparation. The shorter wait before retesting will maintain candidate focus and interest in the exam.

On 1 October 2014, all candidates who have failed a division within the past six months will be able to schedule under the new policy. Candidates who fail a division sometime between July and September may prefer to wait to schedule their retest appointment until after 1 October 2014 for earlier access to retesting.

The ARE assesses candidates for their knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the practice of architecture. The ARE has been adopted for use by all 54 U.S. Member Boards as a registration examination required for architectural registration.


The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.