NCARB is updating the ARE 5.0 Guidelines to include the latest information and policies.

The new document includes updates related to exam security, the reference guide, item types, and more. These changes will go into effect on February 27—candidates can continue accessing the current version of the Guidelines until then. To learn about the coming changes, download the new Guidelines and read about the policy updates below.

Download the  Guidelines

Note: NCARB’s practice exams may be temporarily unavailable for short periods of time on the evening of February 26, 2024, while we implement changes to the exam system. Please plan any ongoing examination preparation accordingly.

Exam Security

As NCARB continues to enhance exam data forensics to protect the integrity of exam scores for the jurisdictional licensing boards, new protocols are being implemented to enhance the current analysis already in place. Candidates will continue to see provisional test results after their exam administration. However, official score reports will now be analyzed for a period of seven to ten days before they are released. In addition, the updated ARE 5.0 Guidelines include updated exam security and candidate misconduct policies. These policies provide more details on what is and isn’t acceptable before, during, and after your appointment.

In addition, the ARE Candidate Agreement, which all ARE candidates are required to agree to prior to testing, has been revised to align with the exam security and candidate misconduct policies.

Reference Guide

The new reference guide replaces the reference matrix to provide candidates with a shorter, more focused list of recommended study resources for each division. In resource for test preparation. Version/edition information is still noted for building codes, contract documents, and professional standards.

Item Types

The exam will no longer include quantitative-fill-in-the-blank (QFIB) item types. Starting February 27, you should only expect to see four item types on the exam: multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, hotspot, and drag-and-place. All items are worth one point, and there is no partial credit. The exam objectives covered by each division, as well as the tools and resources available to you during the exam, remain the same. For a detailed review of each item type, visit our YouTube channel. To learn more about the retirement of QFIBs, head to the NCARB Blog.

Building Code References

Starting February 27, all code-related items on the ARE will reference the 2021 International Code Council (ICC) family of codes and related standards, rather than the 2018 family. When necessary, NCARB will provide excerpts from the 2021 ICC family of codes as references on case studies. If you are interested in a deeper explanation of the changes, watch the American Wood Council’s two-part video series: Part 1 | Part 2.

Exam Objectives

No changes have been made to the exam objectives. The overview page for each division has been updated to provide candidates an at-a-glance summary of that division’s content. More detailed information about each division can be found on the pages that follow.