NCARB Announces ARE 5.0 Launch Date

The highly anticipated ARE 5.0 will launch November 1, 2016.

Seattle, WA—The next version of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), ARE 5.0, will launch November 1, 2016, incorporating the latest testing technologies and format that more closely aligns with modern practice. The six-division exam will include case studies that simulate real-world practice, and will be offered without a fee increase.

Developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the multi-division exam is taken by all candidates seeking architectural licensure in the United States. As with all licensing exams, the ARE is updated periodically to ensure it continues to test the knowledge and skills necessary for the independent practice of architecture.

To adapt to changes in the profession, ARE 5.0 will incorporate a new division structure and the latest graphic testing methods. The exam content has been reorganized into six divisions, which are designed to reflect the phases of architectural practice—from practice management to construction and evaluation. The new divisions also align with the experience areas of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), making the licensure process smoother and easier to understand for candidates.

“We’re excited to offer this new exam to licensure candidates,” said NCARB President Dennis Ward, NCARB, AIA, who announced the launch date at the organization’s 97th Annual Business Meeting in Seattle. “By ensuring the exam is aligned to current practice, licensure candidates can more accurately demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for practice today.”

Incorporating the Latest Testing Technology

The new exam will retire vignettes—a graphic question type used in the current version—and incorporate two new question types: hot spots and drag-and-place. ARE 5.0 will also include case studies to assess a candidate’s ability to synthesize multiple pieces of information. Each ARE 5.0 division will feature 80 to 120 questions comprised of these new question types, plus multiple-choice, check-all-that-apply, and fill-in-the-blank questions.

NCARB carefully develops the ARE in conjunction with hundreds of practicing architects who volunteer their time, services, and expertise to write, test, and analyze the exam. The ARE is then reviewed by experts who verify the questions are fair, reliable, and in compliance with national testing standards.

Preparing Candidates for ARE 5.0

NCARB will continue to administer ARE 4.0 until June 30, 2018. This 20-month period of dual delivery will enable current candidates to finish the exam in a way that best suits their needs. Last fall, the organization released an online Transition Calculator to help candidates plan their testing strategy. Following the launch, both ARE 5.0 and 4.0 will be administered at Prometric testing centers throughout the United States, Canada, London, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi.

In addition, NCARB will release guidelines for the new exam in late-summer 2016, as well as additional materials to help candidates prepare for the launch of ARE 5.0. In March, the organization hosted a workshop for test prep providers, arming companies with the resources they need to develop accurate, timely materials for candidates.

For more information about ARE 5.0, visit



The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.