ARE 5.0

New Era for the ARE

In early 2013, the NCARB Board of Directors (BOD) voted unanimously to approve the development of ARE 5.0, the next version of the examination. As part of ARE 5.0 development, NCARB is investigating the incorporation of dramatic new breakthroughs in graphic testing methods and the use of case studies. The new performance item type questions, along with other refinements and enhancements to the examination, will allow the determination of a candidate's competency while not requiring the present outdated CAD software system.

Timeline
  • Division and exam structure were finalized in December 2013.
  • Information about the transition from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0 will be announced in late spring 2014.
  • ARE 5.0 is anticipated to launch in late 2016, with development and integration testing taking place over the next few years.
Division Structure

The final Test Specification outlining the division structure for ARE 5.0 was approved on 7 December 2013 by the NCARB Board of Directors. The future exam will include six divisions, and each will be standalone, single test administrations. This structure results from an effort to align the ARE with the more commonly defined professional architect activities of practice management, project management, and project design.

  • Practice Management
  • Project Management
  • Programming & Analysis
  • Project Planning & Design
  • Project Development & Documentation
  • Construction & Evaluation

Please see the ARE 5.0 Test Specification for further details. In addition to determining the division structure, the Test Specification also defines the major content areas, called sections; the measurement objectives; and the percentage of content coverage, called weightings.

New Item Types and Incorporation of Case Studies

The new structure incorporates graphics throughout the exam via new “performance item types” that have candidates perform exercises similar to what an architect does as part of regular practice.

Additionally, the incorporation of case studies is anticipated to be implemented in all proposed divisions and will allow more in-depth analysis of architectural scenarios by candidates.

Rationale for the Board’s Decision

Due to dramatic changes in the testing industry over the last five years, technology tools now offer a different way to deliver items. These new item types are successfully being used by other professions/exams and could potentially be incorporated into the ARE. The NCARB Board of Directors decided to conduct more research around options and opportunities for a future exam, including evaluation of:

  • Multi-year efforts by the Research & Development Subcommittee with additional support from the Graphics Grading Subcommittee
  • Expert psychometric advice
  • Research conducted by a multi-disciplinary project team of NCARB staff
  • Emerging technology, including interviews of industry leaders, which revealed there are new testing tools and item types available
  • Results of the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture

The findings of these R&D efforts informed the Board’s decision to move forward with the development of ARE 5.0. For further background about the research that informed the Board’s decision, watch here!

Exam Development

ARE 5.0 is being developed with significant input from practitioner volunteers from across the U.S. These volunteers range from recently licensed to experienced architects, from large firms to small firms, from education to private practice, all of which allow the future exam to reflect the broad aspects of current practice.

Stay Informed

Leading up to the launch of ARE 5.0 in 2016, NCARB will provide ongoing updates to candidates about the development of ARE 5.0 as well as tips and resources to help prepare for the transition to the future exam.

In the coming months, updates will include announcements about the transition plan from 4.0 to 5.0, invitations to webinars, and more. Subscribe to ARE 5.0 Updates to receive notification when new information is available.

Subscribe to ARE Updates

Related Publications

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ARE 5.0: Frequently Asked Questions
Learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about ARE 5.0.

Download (PDF, 48K)

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ARE 5.0 Test Specification
The ARE 5.0 Test Specification, approved by the NCARB Board of Directors in December 2013, identifies the division structure of the exam and additionally defines: the major content areas, called sections; the measurement objectives; and the percentage of content coverage, called weightings.

Download (PDF, 252K)

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2012 Practice Analysis of Architecture
The 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture is the most comprehensive practice analysis ever conducted by the Council. The final report includes the full set of previously published individual reports that focused on education, internship, examination, and continuing education. The findings will be used to shape our programs and policies over the coming years and inform important discussions within the profession related to the path to licensure.

Download (PDF, 3,358K)

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The Burning Question: Why do we Need the ARE Anyway?
Testing assesses a candidate's ability to understand and apply important concepts needed to practice in his or her field. It is not just another hurdle to cross. For architects, licensure exams evaluate the skills that are necessary for protecting the public's safety.

Download (PDF, 1,941K)

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Related FAQs

Are other new item (question) types being incorporated into the exam?

In addition to the new performance item types under consideration, case studies are also anticipated to be implemented. These will consist of a scenario with a related set of resource documents (e.g., drawings, specifications, code resources). Case studies require candidates to assess multiple pieces of information and make evaluative judgments, a better reflection of the practice of architecture, as often no one decision is made in isolation of other factors.

How many divisions will be included in ARE 5.0? Will there be the same number of exams as in ARE 4.0?

The exam structure, finalized in December 2013, includes six divisions:

  1. Practice Management
  2. Project Management
  3. Programming & Analysis
  4. Project Planning & Design
  5. Project Development & Documentation, and
  6. Construction & Evaluation

Each of the divisions will be standalone, single test administrations. The new Test Specification approved by the NCARB Board of Directors is available here.

When will ARE 5.0 be released?

ARE 5.0 will be moving from concept to development through mid-2014, for an anticipated launch in late 2016. The division and exam structure were finalized in December 2013, and information about the transition from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0 will be announced in late spring 2014. Development and integration testing will take place over the next few years. The launch schedule assumes successful modeling and testing of the proposed approach in the coming months.