Washington, DC—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has issued sanctions for several candidates who violated the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) Candidate Agreement by copying, sharing, or receiving exam questions.

 The ARE plays a crucial role in ensuring the public’s health, safety, and welfare by affirming that candidates have the required knowledge and skills to competently practice architecture. To ensure the validity of exam results, NCARB takes several steps to protect the security of ARE—including requiring that all candidates abide by the ARE Candidate Agreement. The agreement prohibits candidates from accessing, distributing, or attempting to access or distribute exam content before or after taking any ARE division and outlines other responsibilities of each candidate for licensure.  

 In this case, potential ARE misconduct violations were flagged by NCARB’s psychometricians through the use of data forensic analysis of examination results. After a thorough investigation, several candidates were found to have violated Category 1: Seeking or Failing to Report Disclosed ARE Content of the Policy for the ARE: Exam Candidate Conduct.

Following the investigation, and after providing each candidate the opportunity to address the charges against them, each candidate’s actions were reviewed independently by NCARB’s Professional Conduct Committee. Final disciplinary decisions were made by NCARB’s Board of Directors in February 2024. 

The three candidates receiving sanctions and a public reprimand are:

  • Farzad Choupanian was found to have violated Category 1
  • Aala Derambakhsh was found to have violated Category 1
  • Zandra Jacqueline Fernandez Bucheli was found to have violated Category 1

In addition to each candidate receiving this public reprimand, any of their exam scores connected to the Category 1 violations have been invalidated. Each candidate has had their testing authorization suspended for five years from their last testing event and is required to complete six hours of ethics education within the next 12 months.

NCARB is dedicated to reviewing and strengthening the role of ethics in the regulation of architecture and maintains a public database of all disciplinary actions receiving a public reprimand. The recent candidate misconduct has been reported to the appropriate licensing boards, which may take additional disciplinary actions warranted by the individual cases.  

Individuals who wish to learn more about ARE security can learn more by reviewing the security section of the ARE Guidelines or visit the ARE 5.0 Community to discuss the topic with NCARB’s examination experts. 

 About NCARB   

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural licensing boards of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB, in collaboration with these boards, facilitates the licensure and credentialing of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.   

 To achieve these goals, NCARB works with its Member Boards and volunteers to develop and facilitate standards for licensure, including the national examination and experience program. NCARB also recommends regulatory guidelines for licensing boards and helps architects expand their professional reach through the NCARB Certificate. Connect with NCARB on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.