What You Need to Know About ARE 5.0

To help you prepare for the upcoming launch of ARE 5.0, we wanted to share a few updates about exam content, scheduling policies, test prep materials, and more.

Exam Content

ARE 5.0 will include six divisions that more closely align with current architectural practice and technology. Just like with ARE 4.0, you’ll be able to take the divisions in any order you choose. To learn more about the exam’s content areas, download the ARE 5.0 Test Specification [PDF].

New Question Types and Case Studies

We will be replacing vignettes with two new question types: hot spots and drag-and-place, plus the addition of case studies. The exam will continue to use multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, and quantitative fill-in-the-blank.

As with the current exam, all questions in ARE 5.0 will be worth one point. Not answering a question is the same as answering it incorrectly, so we recommend attempting every question. There will be no partial credit for any questions.

Watch these short videos to learn more about these three new features.

ARE 5.0 Test Durations

Each division will include between 80 to 120 questions, with one to two case studies per exam. Similar to the current exam, ARE 5.0 test durations include an orientation, a break, and a post-exam survey. You will continue to schedule exams and access score reports through My Examination. The retake policy will also remain the same, so you can retest in as few as 60 days.

Division Number of Questions Test Duration Appointment Time
Practice Management 80 2 hr 45 min 3hr 30 min
Project Management 95 3 hr 15 min 4 hr
Programming & Analysis 95 3hr 15 min 4 hr
Project Planning & Design 120 4 hr 15 min 5 hr
Project Development & Documentation 120 4 hr 15 min 5 hr
Construction & Evaluation 95 3 hr 15 min 4 hr
Total Time: 21 hr 25 hr 30 min

Test Centers

ARE 4.0 and 5.0 will both be administered at Prometric test centers. We take exam security seriously, which is why candidates must review and accept the ARE Candidate Agreement [PDF] before each division. Candidates will also continue to submit biometric information as part of the check-in process. Learn more about exam security.


Currently, the total cost of ARE 4.0 is $1,470 ($210 per division). When ARE 5.0 launches in late 2016, the total cost of the exam will be $1,260 ($210 per division). In July 2018*, the total cost of the exam will be $1,460 ($235 per division). Learn more about the upcoming fee changes.

Important Reminders

  • Test Strategically: ARE 4.0 will be available until June 30, 2018, so you have plenty of time to finish. If you do eventually transition, you could complete the ARE in as few as five tests. Learn more about planning your approach.
  • Use the ARE 5.0 Transition Calculator: This interactive tool can help you develop a personalized testing strategy by showing how 4.0 divisions will be credited in ARE 5.0.
  • Join the ARE 4.0 Community: Be sure to join the ARE 4.0 Community—a space where candidates can come together to ask questions, share best practices, and interact with our experts!

What’s Next

NCARB will begin the final stages of exam development and administration testing this spring, which will allow us to determine the official launch date of ARE 5.0 in late 2016. In the meantime, we’re exploring exciting opportunities with test prep providers and developing an NCARB Blog series on the new divisions. Stay tuned!

For more information about ARE 5.0 visit www.ncarb.org/ARE5.

*The new ARE division fees will go into effect October 2018 rather than July 2018 as originally stated.