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Posts tagged ‘ARE’

Upcoming Changes to the ARE

Upcoming ARE Fee Increase

As a reminder, the cost of each ARE 5.0 division will increase from $210 to $235 on October 1, 2018. The total cost of the six-division exam ($1,410) will still be less than ARE 4.0’s total fees.

Candidates can purchase seat credits for an ARE 5.0 division at the $210 price until September 30. Purchase your seat credits in advance of the fee increase if you plan to test within the next twelve months and save $25 per division.

New AIA Contract Documents & Building Codes

Also starting on October 1, ARE 5.0 will reference the newest version of the AIA Contract Documents and the 2015 International Building Code—which you can download for free online.

The ARE will continue to address the standard agreements previously identified. Candidates should expect to see additional questions related to the following contracts:

  • A133-2009: Owner-Construction Manager as Constructor Agreement
  • A195-2008: Owner-Contractor Agreement for Integrated Project Delivery
  • A295-2008: General Conditions of the Contract for Integrated Project Delivery
  • B195-2008: Owner-Architect Agreement for Integrated Project Delivery

Important Messages for ARE 4.0 Candidates

Anyone currently testing in ARE 4.0 should be aware of the following key points:

The last day to take an ARE 4.0 division in a test center is June 30, 2018. Candidates who have not completed ARE 4.0 by this date will need to complete any remaining divisions in ARE 5.0 to satisfy the examination requirement for licensure.

Now is the time to make a plan to finish the exam if you are currently testing in ARE 4.0. There are several resources available on to help candidates make their plan. NCARB’s Customer Relations team is also available to help candidates understand their individual testing options.

Your rolling clock will not change if you transition to ARE 5.0. Candidates must still complete the test within five years of their first pass—whether through ARE 4.0, ARE 5.0, or a combination of both. Expiring ARE 4.0 divisions could impact the credits received in ARE 5.0 when transitioning.

Prometric test centers fill up fast, so candidates will need to plan ahead when scheduling their remaining divisions in ARE 4.0.

When the exam transitioned from ARE 3.1 to ARE 4.0, candidates encountered difficulty finding test appointments in the final months before the exam retired. If candidates plan on testing in May and June, they should book these appointments as soon as possible.

The ARE retake policy will remain the same. Candidates must wait 60 days before they can retake a division of the ARE, and can only take a division three times within 12 months.

This means if a candidate has taken a division of ARE 4.0 since the end of June this year, they will only have two more opportunities to take that division between now and the retirement of ARE 4.0. They will also need to take their second attempt before April 30, 2018, to have the option of one more retake before ARE 4.0 retires.

Napa ARE Bootcamp: PD&D

November 6, 2017-December 18, 2017
Locations in Napa TBA
$50 AIA Members and employees of chapter member firms/$75 Non-members
Click here to register

AIA East Bay’s ARE Bootcamp will provide a structured, rigorous study group for the Project Development & Documentation section of the ARE 5.0, with the goal of every person passing. Bootcamp meets Mondays in Napa (location TBD) beginning Monday, October 23 for eight weeks: 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/4, 12/11.

This Bootcamp is not a casual program, nor is it lecture format. Participants are required to sign up for the PD&D exam between December 19, 2017 – January 9, 2017.

Questions? Contact Sidney Sweeney at 510/464-3600 or


ARE Bootcamp: CDS

Begins Monday, October 16, 2017
$50 AIA Members & Employees of Chapter Member Firms/ $75 Non-members
Click here to register. Limited space available


AIA East Bay’s ARE Bootcamp will provide a structured, rigorous study group for the Construction Documents & Services section of the ARE 4.0, with the goal of every person passing. Cost includes a set of Construction Documents & Services flashcards and access to study materials and knowledge experts.

Bootcamp meets Mondays at AIA East Bay beginning Monday, October 16 for eight weeks: 10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/4.

Participants must schedule to take the CDS section of the ARE between Tuesday, December 19, 2017 and Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Participants must provide proof of test registration to AIA East Bay by the third session of the Bootcamp (10/30). Please do not register if you cannot attend at least seven of the eight meetings.

Path to Licensure

Monday, July 17, 2017
Free and open to all. RSVP to

Want to get licensed, but not sure how to get started? Confused about IDP/AXP/ARE/CAB/NCARB? Have all the recent changes in the process left you flummoxed? Come to AIA East Bay for a presentation on the Path to Licensure. Please RSVP to so we can have snacks and chairs for all! If you have specific questions please include them in your RSVP.

ARE 5.0 Means Big Decisions for Emerging Professionals

For the next 16 months, future architects will have more exam options than ever before at their fingertips. On November 1, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) launched ARE 5.0, the next version of their architecture licensure exams.

The first new version in eight years, ARE 5.0 is NCARB’s reassurance that its exams will stay relevant with current practice. Its divisions—six instead of ARE 4.0’s seven—include Practice Management, Project Management, and Project Planning & Design, an attempt to better test emerging architects on elements of daily architecture work. It will also include case studies and adopt a more modern, graphical feel through-out, as opposed to the dated and pixelated graphic vignettes that will be retired with ARE 4.0.

With this new version comes uncertainty: which exam path is best? For a limited time, an unprecedented three options will be available: ARE 4.0, ARE 5.0, and a mix of the two. Each option has its drawbacks and its benefits, and each emerging professional should evaluate all three to find the right path based on their individual needs.

“Playing to win”

“To me, it’s about playing to win,” says Drew Bell, Assoc. AIA, of Robert M. Cain, Architect. Bell is going with the “3+2” approach, which allows licensure candidates to take three specific exams in ARE 4.0 followed by just two more in ARE 5.0. It’s the most efficient option, one with both time and financial benefits. It also appeals to those who don’t fear a mix of known and unknown.

“The people who want to take it all in 4.0 seem to be doing so because they have all the study guides and they know what they’re getting into; it seems like playing not to lose,” he says. “I understand the risks, and I don’t know exactly what 5.0 will be like. But theoretically, the exams are there for people to prove that they’re good enough. I plan on being good enough, one way or the other. It shouldn’t really matter how the tests are structured.”

Sticking with a classic

The traditional approach isn’t dead and buried, however. As Bell noted, a smorgasbord of study guides and test prep materials await licensure candidates who aren’t interested in the new and unfamiliar. That’s the approach Jason Takeuchi, Assoc. AIA, of Hawaii-based Ferraro Choi is taking.

“There are so many resources to support anyone taking 4.0,” he says. “You can ask licensed colleagues, look at forums online, read through all the study materials. If I were to move to 5.0, there would be a huge learning curve.”

He also looks at his exams as an educational process, not something to rush through as quickly as possible: “The more tests you study for and pass, the more you’ll learn. And the better you’ll be at your job.” And while he sees the financial benefit in taking fewer tests, ultimately he feels the exams are “an investment in my future, not a financial roadblock.”

Something new

Then there is ARE 5.0: still freshly released and underexplored, but the wave of the future and a boon to those who haven’t yet begun the process. Hannah-Hunt Moeller, Assoc. AIA, may be leaning 5.0 for logistical reasons but still sees the value in NCARB’s latest offering.

Moeller received a Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan, which led to complications when she decided to practice rather than pursue research. She is currently based in Colorado, at Denver-based RNL Design, which means she can eventually be licensed but needs more experience hours. This will take roughly 18 months, pushing right up against the June 30, 2018 date when ARE 4.0 will be removed from test centers and making ARE 5.0 her most realistic path.

“In my position, I can’t currently be working and testing at the same time,” she says, “so I’ll have a lot more experience when I get there. That, plus the fact that 5.0 is supposedly going to be more context-based with-in the profession, is compelling.”

“Also, logistically and financially, less exams is a great thing,” she adds. “Even just to have one fewer is a huge benefit.”

Uncertainty abounds

Though the paths to licensure are ampler than ever, not everyone has made up their mind on which to take. Julia Mollner, Assoc. AIA, is a designer at Carleton Hart Architecture in Portland, Oregon, who is still deciding between ARE 5.0 and the “3+2” approach. An initial foray into ARE 4.0 is what’s keeping her on the fence.

“On my first exam,” she says, “I did fine on the multiple choice but failed the vignette. And because there’s no specific feedback on what you did wrong in that section, it’s really a shot in the dark to figure out what happened. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, which also makes me wonder which approach to take going forward.”

In her spare time, Mollner also teaches as an adjunct professor at Portland State University, which makes a five-exam slate more enticing than six. Yet she’s also only a year into her professional career, raising the question of whether she has the experience or the time left to try ARE 4.0 again. The whole process also raises a larger question: should she get licensed at all?

“For a very long time, I set my goal to being a licensed architect,” she says. “But recently, I’ve realized that it’s not right for everyone. There are people in architecture who find parallel avenues that suit them just as well.”

That said, Mollner remains committed to exploring her ARE options and ultimately pursuing licensure. She wants a bigger role in the social advocacy of architecture, which would be difficult to achieve without a license. It’s also distinctly important, she notes, for women in the profession: “It is a really great credential for a woman to have, with the lack of diversity and the pay gap and other issues that aren’t always voiced.”

Ultimately, most emerging professionals view the ARE with this mix of necessity and reverence. While it’s a lengthy process that compounds the stress of being an oft-overworked, full-time employee, passing the exams is a badge of honor that demonstrates your worth to all the architects who came before. And while many future architects are now debating which path suits them best, it’s likely that NCARB will fulfill at least one of its ARE 5.0 goals: increase the flow of traffic.

“I feel like more people are going to get licensed,” Takeuchi says, “and that’s a good thing.”

For additional exam resources, visit AIA’s ARE Prep page. AIA East Bay members can also receive a 20 percent discount when purchasing Brightwood Architecture Information materials by using promo code AIAEB.

Steve Cimino is the digital content manager at AIA. This article has been reprinted with permission from

ARE Seminar: Schematic Design

Saturday, April 16, 2016
Cost: $40 AIA Members & Employees of AIA East Bay Chapter Member Firms / $75 Guests

Register here.


Jeremiah Tolbert, AIA, instructs this ARE Seminar on Schematic Design. This seminar is offered to those looking for a prep seminar in studying for the ARE.

Learning Objectives

1. Attendees will review and access sites; incorporate the implication of human behavior, historic precedent, and design theory in the selection of systems, materials and methods related to site design and construction.
2. Attendees will learn how to interpret site and environmental conditions. Assess and apply systems, materials, and construction methods – incorporating principles of sustainability.
3. Attendees will learn how to incorporate building codes, specialty codes, zoning and other regulatory requirements in site design and construction.
4. Attendees will learn how to analyze the implication of design decisions in the selection of systems, materials and methods incorporated in site design and construction


Emerging Professionals: AIA East Bay ARE Bootcamp

are bootcamp

Prepare for the ARE with AIA East Bay.

From June 29 to August 17, AIA East Bay will hold a weekly ARE Bootcamp, providing a structured, rigorous study group for the Programming, Planning & Practice section of the ARE, with the goal of every person passing.

Cost: $50 for AIA Members and Employees of Chapter Member Firms; $75 for Non-members. Cost includes a set of Programming, Planning & Practice ArchCards flashcards and access to study materials and knowledge experts.

Participants must email proof of test registration to AIA East Bay by the first day of ARE Bootcamp:

AIA East Bay’s ARE Bootcamp runs Monday, June 29 to Monday, August 17 from 6-9pm.

Click here to register!

Note: Participants must schedule to take the Programming, Planning & Practice section of the ARE between Monday, August 24 and Sunday, September 5.

Registration is limited to 12 participants and may be full upon publication of ArchNews.

Emerging Professionals: What to Plan for in 2015

Derrick Porter, Assoc. AIA Associate Director

Derrick Porter,
Assoc. AIA
Associate Director

The New Year is upon us and 2015 has a lot to offer. It also is the beginning of a lot of changes for you, the Emerging Professional. To better understand, I will give you a quick recap of changes that will be taking place this year so you can be prepared and successful.

The biggest change is in regards to the Intern Development Program (IDP). Back in September the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Board of Directors voted to approve changes to streamline the IDP program. This will be done in two phases. The first phase will be implemented mid-2015. It will involve the elimination of elective hours. Under the current program, interns are required to document 5,600 hours of experience, with 3,740 of those hours in 17 core experience areas. The remaining 1,860 elective hours will be removed. As a result, the total amount of hours required will be reduced to just the 3,740 hours of core hours, effectively reducing the time it takes to complete the IDP by as much as a year. This change should be implemented by June 2015. The next phase, which will roll out mid-2016, is a much greater overall change. In line with the implementation of ARE 5.0, which I will touch on later, it will realign the framework of IDP into six experience categories reflecting the six general areas of practice. Your existing experience will be mapped into the new, overhauled format. But don’t fret yet, as I said, this new framework will not take effect till mid-2016.

Another change that you may have missed, but is a huge relief for many, is the reduction of the wait time when retaking your AREs. Prior to the October 1, 2014 launch, a candidate had to wait six months prior to retaking an ARE exam that they failed. This meant that since there is such a long wait time, you would have to relearn the information. In many cases candidates would take other sections during this time, therefore having to restudy for the failed section. Since October 1st, however, the retake period has been reduced to three months. Not only does this allow a candidate to retake quickly, it reduces the amount of information that they may otherwise forget. This is especially important if you plan on passing your exams prior to the implementation of the new ARE 5.0 framework.

The change that will not take effect till late next year is important to take note of if you plan on finishing your exams prior to ARE 5.0. As I wrote in the July ArchNews, ARE 5.0 is set to begin implementation in late 2016. So if you have begun taking your exams it may be beneficial to you to take advantage of the study materials that you currently have and make a plan towards finishing your exams this year and the beginning of next year. The new retake policy will help if you do fail an exam. If you do, don’t be discouraged as the ARE 5.0 will allow for transferring exams over from the current framework.

So plan ahead this year. And also keep an eye on the AIA East Bay calendar for upcoming Emerging Professional Forums, Architecture movie nights, Habitat for Humanity build days, and many additional events this year.

The Road to ARE 5.0

By Derrick Porter, Assoc. AIA

an Emerging Professionals column

The Architect Registration Examination ARE undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts every few years. Those currently in school, or who have not begun their testing, may see the following as a reference for what to expect when ARE 5.0 becomes available. For those, like myself, currently working on their testing under the current ARE 4.0 sections, this will give you a game plan to follow in order to make the transition seamless.

Before I get into the particulars, here’s a little history as to why ARE 5.0 is coming into existence and the steps up to this point to put it together. It began in September of 2013 when over 40 architects gathered in Portland, Oregon to become the Test Specification Task Force. They were tasked with developing the new content areas and assessment objectives for the new divisions. They worked to determine the knowledge and skills that would be measured in each division along with the development of the transition plan for candidates in the process of taking the ARE. Through the continuing effort of the Research and Development Subcommittee and the Graphics Grading Subcommittee, NCARB has developed a testing structure that coincides with changing technology and a different approach to the exam. Not only have they developed new sections but, to the happiness of future exam takers, have eliminated the archaic CAD graphics portion. Instead they have integrated graphic testing alongside multiple choice and are taking a look at using case studies.


Now let’s get into the particulars. The new sections are as follows: Practice Management, Project Management, Programming & Analysis, Project Planning & Design, Project Development & Documentation, and Construction & Evaluation. Understandably the naming of the sections tends to make them blur together. It is not nearly as straight forward as Building Systems or Site Planning & Design but what is key to understand is they blend a number of aspects of what we are used to in order to better evaluate the candidate in a more cohesive manner. On the NCARB website you can take a look at the 15-page Test Specification to get a better understanding of what these sections contain. What I am providing is more of a road map of what to take now, so you either don’t have to worry about their meaning, or only need to dive into a few of them if that time does come.

So you may be asking yourself, should I wait for ARE 5.0 or continue/begin ARE 4.0”? To answer this you have to ask yourself a few questions. Has your rolling clock begun, i.e. if it has, how much time do you have left before tests begin to drop off? What divisions in 4.0 have you already passed? And finally, if you are eligible to begin testing under 4.0, are you willing to wait for 5.0 to launch? First off, if you answered the third question as ‘Yes,’ I highly encourage you to get started in 4.0 and the following will explain why. ARE 4.0 will continue to be available after 5.0 launches in late 2016. In addition, 4.0 will continue to be offered until 18 months after 5.0 inception and be retired in June 2018. That means even if you have not begun 4.0 you technically have almost four years to finish it and enjoy the massive amount of study tools already available to you. Now in 2016 when 5.0 begins, candidates who have begun 4.0 can begin to transition to 5.0 if the 18 months are not enough time to finish. This is where the transition plan mentioned before comes in handy. The ARE 5.0 Credit Model is a matrix that identifies the relationships between the seven divisions of 4.0 and the six divisions of 5.0. Essentially it breaks down what to pass in order to receive credit for a 5.0 exam. This is where being strategic can make the transition as streamlined as possible. NCARB has a three- step approach to successfully transition which I will describe here for you. First, take Construction Documents & Services (CDS), this will knock out Construction & Evaluation, and it is also a key component in four out of the six ARE 5.0 sections. Next, take Programming, Planning, and Practice (PPP) combined with CDS this will take care of two more sections, Practice Management and Project Management. Then take Site Planning & Design (SPD) combined with PPP you will finish Programming & Analysis. If you are able to finish these three 4.0 sections, you only would have three sections of 5.0 to complete to get your license.

As you can see, the transition to ARE 5.0 can be accomplished but it has to be handled on a case by case basis. As I mentioned, I highly encourage candidates for licensure to begin 4.0 and not wait. Don’t delay your goal of becoming licensed. And for those who will become candidates between now and 2016, do what is comfortable for you. There are a lot of resources currently available for ARE 4.0 sections, including our Prep Seminars that are offered at AIA East Bay. Study materials for 5.0 will become available eventually, but why wait?