Earlier, NCARB announced the transition plan from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0 and its credit model. While the launch of ARE 5.0 is still over two years away, we wanted to make candidates aware of the plan in order to help them determine their best path forward in completing the examination. Full details are available on NCARB.org and the NCARB Blog.

ARE 5.0: The Basics
The main things that architects and interns need to know are:

  • ARE 5.0 will launch in late 2016.
  • It will include six standalone divisions, compared to the seven in ARE 4.0, that align to commonly defined professional architect activities of practice management, project management, and project design.
    The ARE 4.0 Test Specification is also available to reference.

  • The current “graphic vignette” software, which has been in use since
    the exam was computerized in 1997, will be replaced with new
    question types.


ARE 5.0 Transition Plan
Some of you may remember when we transitioned candidates from ARE 3.1 to ARE 4.0. It is safe to say that the Council learned several valuable lessons from that transition that we have applied to the ARE 5.0 transition plan.

  • Interns who began testing in the current version of the exam have
    the ability to earn credits for passed divisions that can be applied to divisions in ARE 5.0.

  • ARE 4.0 will continue to be delivered at least 18 months following the launch of ARE 5.0 to give candidates who have partially completed ARE 4.0 a chance to finish.
    • ARE 4.0 will be retired on 30 June 2018.
  • Interns who began testing in ARE 4.0 will have the opportunity to transition to ARE 5.0 at any time after it launches.
    • This will be a one-way transition—once candidate transition to
      ARE 5.0, they must complete the examination in ARE 5.0.


ARE 5.0 Transition Credit Model
Subject-matter expert architects and NCARB’s test development consultant Alpine Testing Solutions have mapped ARE 4.0’s divisions to the new divisions of ARE 5.0 to ensure the competency of candidates that may complete the ARE through a combination of both exams. To help candidates understand how they will receive credit for ARE 4.0 divisions in ARE 5.0, NCARB has created a graphic credit model. Download

Key takeaways for you to share with interns:

  • Keep testing! The last day of ARE 4.0 will not be until 30 June 2018.  
    The average ARE candidate finishes all divisions in about two (2) years—we are over two years away from the launch of ARE 5.0.
  • Test strategically. NCARB will be recommending testing strategies to help candidates prepare for the transition.
    • Important Divisions to Pass in ARE 4.0 in order of priority:
      1. Construction Documents & Service
      2. Programing, Planning, & Practice
      3. Site Planning & Design
  • Understand your Rolling Clock.
    • Candidates will not have to transition to ARE 5.0 until June 2018
      —but they may have divisions that expire before then, which 
      could impact how they transition.
    • Exam expiration date(s) of ARE 4.0 divisions will be applied to 
      ARE 5.0 credits earned.

What’s Next

  • In early 2015, NCARB will be creating interactive tools to assist interns in planning for the transition. Interns will be able to use their current test history to see how exactly they could transition to ARE 5.0.
  • In late 2015, NCARB will release more information about the new question types that will be part of ARE 5.0.
  • In early 2016, NCARB expects to release study materials and finalize examination details for ARE 5.0, including test fees.


AuthorKeri Dixon