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News from NCARB


NCARB Releases ARE 5.0 Details and Question Type Demos

Each division of ARE 5.0 will have between 80 to 120 questions and incorporate the latest testing technology.

Washington, DC—The next version of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), ARE 5.0, will include six divisions with test durations ranging between three and a half to five hours—a substantial decrease from ARE 4.0. Each division will include at least 80 questions, one to two case studies, and incorporate new testing technologies.

This news is the latest in a series of updates from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), designed to prepare aspiring architects for the launch of ARE 5.0 later this year.
ARE 5.0 Question Types and Case Studies

In December 2013, NCARB announced that the exam would replace vignettes with new question types: hot spots and drag-and-place, plus the incorporation of case studies. In addition to these new testing methods, the exam will continue to use multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, and quantitative fill-in-the-blank.

“Case studies are a collection of questions that are used to assess a candidate’s ability to synthesize multiple pieces of information, which is how architects solve problems on a daily basis,” said NCARB Director of Examination, Jared Zurn, AIA, NCARB. “By incorporating the latest testing methods, the exam will more closely align with modern architectural practice.”

To help make the transition to ARE 5.0 as smooth as possible, NCARB created a series of short videos about the new question types, available on YouTube at

    Case Studies
    Hot Spots

ARE 5.0 Test Durations

With the adoption of enhanced testing technologies and a more focused content strategy, exam developers were able to shave eight hours off the current exam, saving candidates time away from work and family. ARE 5.0 will also include six individual divisions, compared to seven in ARE 4.0.

Developed by NCARB, the ARE is used to test an aspiring architect’s knowledge and skills, and is required for initial licensure in all U.S. jurisdictions.

NCARB will begin the final stages of ARE 5.0 exam development and administration testing this spring, which will determine the official launch date of ARE 5.0 in late 2016. ARE 4.0 will be available until June 30, 2018.

For more information about ARE 5.0 visit

 ARE 5.0 Test Durations    
Division   Number of Questions   Test Duration
Practice Management   80 3 hr 30 min
Project Management   95 4 hr
Programming & Analysis   95 4 hr
Project Planning & Design   120 5 hr
Project Development & Documentation   120 5 hr
Construction & Evaluation   95 4 hr
Total Time:      25 hr 30 min
ARE 4.0 Test Durations    
Division   Number of Questions   Test Duration
Programming, Planning & Practice  85 4 hr
Site Planning & Design  65 4 hr 30 min
Building Design & Construction Systems   85 5 hr 30 min
Schematic Design  2 vignettes  6 hr
Structural Systems  125 5 hr 30 min
Building Systems  95 4 hr
Construction Documents & Services   100 4 hr
Total Time:      33 hr 30 mi

ARE 5.0 Transition Calculator Now Available!

We have great news! With ARE 5.0 launching in late 2016, we want to make sure you’re armed with the tools you need to succeed. That’s why we’ve launched the ARE 5.0 Transition Calculator.

Here’s what the calculator can do for you:

  • Help you form a personalized testing plan.
  • See how divisions in ARE 4.0 will transition to 5.0, so you can make a plan to finish.
  • If you have already begun testing, the calculator will help keep track of your Rolling Clock. When you log in through My NCARB, you can see which exams you’ve passed along with their expiration dates.

Test Strategically

The calculator was designed to help you develop a personalized testing strategy. Use the calculator in conjunction with the Credit Model to see what works best for you

Effective immediately, the Intern Development Program (IDP) will require 3,740 total hours.

In September, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced plans to streamline the Intern Development Program (IDP). Effective immediately, the program will require 3,740 total hours defined by 17 experience areas. Here’s a summary of these changes, along with a few resources you may find helpful:

Key Takeaways

  • Review your jurisdiction’s requirements. You can find out what your jurisdiction’s experience requirement is at
  • Keep reporting all experience. Doing so will help facilitate licensure and reciprocity in jurisdictions with additional requirements.
We’re here to help. NCARB will continue to support the individual requirements for all 54 jurisdictions. Plus, you can always reach out to us through social media or by contacting Customer Service.


Updates to this edition of the ARE Guidelines include: 

  • Page 12: Several personal items related to medical conditions that used to require a testing accommodation are now preapproved to be brought into the testing room. If you require additional accommodations or need to bring other personal items into the testing room, the testing accommodations procedure outlined within the ARE Guidelines must be followed.
  • Page 13: Time allocated for each test section of the ARE remains the same. However, the previously listed 15-minute intro times have been removed from the table, as intro times now vary based on the amount of information the candidate needs to review during each section. This change serves as a reminder that the various intro times of the exam administration are not to be used for any other purpose than to complete the necessary on-screen activities.

    To ensure fair and consistent testing standards are applied to all candidates, all work related to testing should be completed during the given testing time and should not be done during the introductory screen times. Using a candidate-created layout tool or writing notes from memory on the provided scratch paper is acceptable while testing, but must be completed during the testing time and not beforehand. Candidates should not attempt to gain an advantage by completing work before the testing time begins. Any work completed before the testing time begins is subject to confiscation by the test center proctor, and such efforts could result in disciplinary action under the policy for testing irregularities.
  • Page 19: Updated the ARE Candidate Agreement language to reflect the new policy in place as of July 1, 2015.

 Download the ARE Guidelines