Migrating to PSI—What Is and Is Not Changing

As NCARB is working to migrate delivery of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) from Prometric to PSI (expected in early 2022), we wanted to provide more information on what is changing and what is NOT changing as part of the migration.

What Is NOT Changing

Exam Content, Item Types, Navigation, Case Studies, and Structure
NCARB isn’t changing the exam’s content, item types, navigation, case studies, or structure, so you can continue to use the current ARE 5.0 Handbook to prepare for the content and format of the ARE, regardless of which test delivery vendor you’ll be using. Exam and break durations, as well as the number of scored and pretest items per division, will also remain unchanged.  

Exam Scoring
NCARB will not be evaluating or updating the cut score—the minimum standard score required to achieve a pass—on any of the six divisions. Since the exam’s content, item types, and overall structure are not changing, the current cut scores remain valid and reliable, and ensure that all candidates continue to be assessed fairly and at the same level of rigor as previous ARE 5.0 candidates.

In-Person and Online Options
With PSI, you will continue to have the opportunity to take the ARE from your home, office, or other location using online proctoring, or take it in person at a test center. To learn more about testing with PSI, check out the videos on PSI’s webpage for ARE candidates.

Provisional Feedback
At the end of your exam administration, you will continue to have the opportunity to view feedback on your exam performance just like you do today. The feedback provided is accurate but not official. You will see your official score report in your NCARB Record within one week of your test date. The timeframe for receiving score reports is also not changing.

Exam Retesting Policies
Exam retesting policies will remain the same with PSI. Following a failed exam administration, you’ll need to wait 60 days to retake the same ARE division. Also, you’ll still to be able to take the same division of the ARE three times within any 12-month time frame.

Testing Accommodations
NCARB and PSI will continue to provide reasonable testing accommodations for candidates with a documented disability or temporary condition. If you currently have an approved accommodation, it will be automatically migrated to PSI, so there is nothing you need to do to continue receiving the accommodation in the future.

What Is Changing

Test Center Locations
PSI operates an extensive network of 500+ test centers in the United States and internationally that are capable of delivering the ARE. The majority of NCARB jurisdictions contain more PSI test centers than are currently available today. Although the security screening and check-in process at test centers will remain relatively the same, you’ll have a slightly different commute to your local test center. Many candidates will have a shorter trip, while others may need to travel farther. A full list of PSI test centers that will be delivering the ARE will be released in October.

Online Proctoring Check-In Process
PSI requires candidates to download a secure testing browser (called Bridge) to successfully launch and take an online-proctored exam. This software streamlines the check-in and security screening process.

Currently with Prometric, candidates complete a security screening with a readiness agent and are then passed to a different proctor to administer their exam. With PSI, candidates will no longer need to wait for a readiness agent to complete their security screening, and you'll be sent directly to a dedicated ARE proctor who both completes the security check and administers the exam. This will provide candidates with a more streamlined online proctoring experience. 

Dedicated Proctors and Technical Support
PSI will be providing ARE candidates with dedicated proctors, which will enhance the online testing experience. Along with dedicated proctors, PSI will also be providing a dedicated technical support team and contact number specifically for ARE candidates.

ARE Demonstration Exam
To assist candidates as they prepare for an exam with PSI, NCARB is making some improvements to the ARE 5.0 Demonstration Exam. Currently, the demo exam is unscored and doesn’t provide an option to view correct responses and rationales. Based on candidate feedback, the enhanced demo exam will provide candidates with the option to see their score, as well as view the correct responses and rationales associated with each item. Candidates will no longer need to navigate to the ARE 5.0 Handbook to view this information. The enhanced demo exam will be available to all candidates later this fall.

ARE 5.0 Guidelines
To improve both the ARE 5.0 Guidelines and ARE 5.0 Handbook, NCARB will be making several key changes to these resources when we migrate to PSI. First, NCARB will be sunsetting the Handbook and adding the appropriate content to the Guidelines, creating one comprehensive resource for all ARE-related information. Second, NCARB will be adding several new sections to the ARE 5.0 Guidelines based on candidate feedback. New sections will include more information on exam tools and navigation, answering case study questions, using the reference matrix, and exam development and scoring. The updated ARE 5.0 Guidelines will be available to all candidates later this fall.

Throughout the fall, we will continue to share regular updates on the migration to PSI, including details on an enhanced score report, a more flexible scheduling and rescheduling process, and PSI test centers delivering the ARE. Watch our latest webinar, and make sure you’re subscribed to our ARE Updates to receive the most up-to-date information.