Online Proctoring FAQs

Editor's note: This page has been updated to reflect the new launch timeline for online proctoring. The new expected launch date for both online proctoring and the anticipated changes to the exam is December 14, 2020. Once implemented, all exam changes will apply to both in-person and online exam appointments—including those scheduled to take place on December 14, 2020. 

NCARB expects to launch online proctoring as an option for ARE delivery on December 14, 2020. Below are answers to common questions NCARB has received regarding online proctoring—more information and resources will be released in the weeks ahead. 

Jump straight to questions about: 

Scheduling Appointments

How soon does NCARB expect candidates to be able to test online after the December 14 launch?
Currently, NCARB and Prometric anticipate that ARE candidates will be able to sit for an online-proctored appointment within a week or two of the December 14 launch. Some candidates may be able to find appointment times that occur within several business days of the launch. Keep in mind, ARE appointments can be scheduled no less than three business days in advance.

Can I reschedule an in-person exam appointment to be taken via online proctoring?
Yes! When online proctoring launches on December 14, candidates will have the ability to reschedule an exam from an in-person to an online proctored experience. Keep in mind, there is no rescheduling within four business days of an exam date, so make sure your exam is scheduled for later 2021 if you plan to switch it to online proctoring. 

Requirements

Does my local licensing board accept exams taken via online proctoring?
Yes! All 55 U.S. licensing boards can currently accept ARE divisions taken via online proctoring without updating their rules or requirements.

What do I need to be able to test online?
To take the exam via online proctoring, you’ll need to set up a proper testing environment. This includes:

  • A well-lit, private room, free from distractions and clutter (no adults, children, or pets can be present)
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Live audio and visual feed
  • A laptop or desktop that meets current system requirements
  • Ability to download Prometric’s secure testing platform onto your computer
  • A large screen size is highly recommended, as a small screen may slow down your navigation and testing progress—but keep in mind that docking stations and dual monitors are not allowed by Prometric

NCARB will share a full list of detailed requirements in early-October.

Will I be able to test online if I’m located internationally?
Yes. Prometric (as well as future exam vendor PSI) offers online-proctored exam times around the globe 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. If your testing environment meets the technical and environmental requirements set by NCARB and Prometric, you will be able to test—regardless of your current global location.

Will I be able to take breaks during online-proctored exams?
Yes, you will be able to take a break during an online-proctored exam appointment. Keep in mind, you will need to complete the check-in process again after any break. In addition, you will be unable to access any exam items viewed prior to your break for security reasons.

Exam Changes

Will the changes necessary to enable online proctoring make the exam easier or harder?
Neither. The content you will be assessed on when you take an ARE division, as well as the proportion of items each content area takes up on the exam, are not changing. Note: Because the exam length is changing, NCARB will need to set a new cut score after the online proctoring option launches. However, the cut score for each division will be set at the current difficulty level of the corresponding division.

When will NCARB tell me exactly what is changing about the exam?
NCARB is in the process of finalizing the changes to ARE policy and navigation, and will be able to provide more detailed information to candidates in late-September/early-October 2020. NCARB’s goal is to provide this information as soon as possible. Keep in mind, the exam content and objectives are not changing. 

How long will establishing a new cut score take?
NCARB expects the process of setting an updated cut score to take approximately four weeks. This means that score reports for candidates testing both in person and online will be held for approximately four weeks following the December 14 launch date. Candidates testing in this window will not receive provisional feedback immediately after the exam.

Will the content/length of online-proctored exams be the same as the exams administered at the test center?
Yes! Candidates testing online will experience the same exam as candidates testing in person, with the same number of items, same testing length, and same exam content and objectives.

Will I have access to scratch paper during my online-proctored exam?
Once the option for online proctoring launches on December 14, candidates testing online and in person will no longer have access to physical, paper-and-pencil scratch paper. Candidates will be able to use an online option instead; more details regarding this tool will be available in November. Learn more about this decision.

Will I be able to see my provisional scores after an online proctored exam?
Yes, the option to view provisional feedback will be available in both test centers and remotely proctored environments.

Exam Security

What protocols are in place to ensure exam security when testing online?
NCARB and Prometric will work together to establish a number of security measures for online testing, including:

  • Online exams will only be delivered through a secure browser application, which locks down all other applications while running so candidates are not able to navigate away from the exam or attempt to access other online resources
  • Online candidates are watched over a live video and audio feed throughout their testing appointment
  • Candidates will have their online testing room inspected via video as part of the check-in process for online delivered appointments
  • Candidates will be required to provide a private testing area, maintain a clean desk area throughout the exam appointment, access no objects while testing, and follow all check-in agent instructions, as well as all online proctor instructions throughout the exam
  • If a candidate takes a break during the exam, they will need to complete the full check-in process again prior to being released back to their test

Testing Disruptions

What happens if my internet connection drops or my computer crashes during my exam appointment?
If you are disconnected from your exam during your appointment, you will be able to reboot your computer, run the system check, and re-launch your exam using the “Launch exam” button in Prometric’s browser. You must go through the whole check-in process again; however, your exam will re-start from the point where it was disconnected.

Who do I contact if I experience technical issues during my online-proctored appointment?
If you need assistance at any time during your exam, you will be able to contact your online proctor through Prometric’s secure testing browser.

What happens if someone enters the room during an online proctored exam?Candidates are expected to maintain a private testing area throughout the entire exam appointment. If the privacy of the testing area is broken, the online proctor will pause delivery of the ARE and address the privacy issue with the candidate. Failing to maintain a private testing area may cause the administration to be terminated by the online proctor, and the candidate's attempt would be scored based on the items completed.

More Information and Resources

When will NCARB update the ARE Guidelines, ARE Handbook, and other exam resources?
NCARB is in the process of updating its resources for ARE candidates and will publish the updated ARE 5.0 Guidelines and ARE 5.0 Handbook  in October 2020, and the updated demo exam in mid-November. Keep in mind, the exam content and objectives are not changing; however, the exam navigation will be slightly different.

When can I expect more information about the transition from Prometric to PSI?
NCARB will provide additional information about the transition from Prometric to PSI in early-2021.

After we release updated ARE Guidelines and ARE Handbook, we’ll be holding an NCARB Live webinar to ensure you have the chance to ask our experts your remaining questions. Mark your calendars now for Wednesday, October 7 from 5-6 p.m. (ET)!

Editor's note: NCARB has published a separate article explaining the move to a digital whiteboard rather than paper-and-pencil scratch paper. Read more.