Live Q&ARE w/ NCARB

The discussion took place here in this thread. (there is no video component)

NCARB’s Experience and Education Team answered all your questions pertaining to the ARE during our Live Q&ARE from 6-7 CT on August 26th, so take a peek below. Like most good things, we have a little disclaimer to get out of the way first:

Disclaimer: NCARB Disclaimer: Although we’re happy to answer your questions regarding any of NCARB’s programs, please note we’re unable to comment on any Black Spectacles material. Please also be advised that due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19, this thread includes information that may become outdated after August 26, 2020. For the most current information, always check our website at www.ncarb.org. You may also join NCARB’s ARE 5.0 Community, where you’ll have access to advice from candidates and architects who’ve taken the exam, as well as study groups, NCARB experts, and more.

Meet the team!

HARRY M. FALCONER, JR., FAIA, NCARB, HonD, Hon. FCARM
Vice President, Experience + Education, NCARB

MARTIN SMITH, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Associate
Assistant Vice President, Experience + Education, NCARB

BRYAN VALLEJO, Assoc. AIA, CSM
Program Coordinator, Experience + Education, NCARB

We know many of you will be first time visitors to our ARE Community - welcome! We invite you to check out our community guidelines here to make sure we keep everything above board.

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Hi. Will we be able to take the remote proctoring test from outside of the US once it goes online? Thank you.

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Can you comment on what’s happening with testing in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas? Over the last 3 months, all test takers at my firm (including myself) have had our test crash or not start. This is very frustrating, as we all put a lot of time and money into these tests. We have even had people drive to the next city over to test and are still experiencing the test crashing or not starting.

Also, will Prometric be opening any additional testing locations in Houston? For a major city, only one testing location makes it very difficult to schedule a test and amplifies the frustration when a test crashes.

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Not sure this is the correct location to post a question, but here goes…

How do I determine where I am in testing. I have been testing since 1989 and this is getting a little tiring. I had to start all over a few years ago, passed at least two tests, and now I don’t know where I am, or where my clock is on the two tests I passed, or how many more tests I have to take. I really don’t want to have to take a structural exam again. I’ve already passed structures twice.

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In Houston, TX there has been several issues with exams not pulling up or stopping at the prometeric centers. Many people I know show up ready to test and are unable to because of technical issues. Is there a plan to fix this? Also with one center open in Houston proper - schedule a test is impossible, especially when many people have to reschedule due to technical issues on there exam day.

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Hi, as I understand the check-all-that-apply type of question was changed since the ARE 4.0 to include a cue with the numbers of items to be selected. What I don’t understand is why the new Drag-and-place type of question don’t show a cue with the amount of items to be located, (for example 1 item can be place multiple times), I think it creates the same confusion as the old CATA questions. I don’t think the cue “not all elements should be used” is enough to make the correct choice.

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What order would you recommend for taking the exams? And the frequency in which to take them e.g. weeks, months a part?

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I would like to know when the remote test will be ready.

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I have had to postpone my exam twice and had planned to take PA back in March and finish all exams by the end of the year. The Prometric site in Oklahoma City is operating at full capacity despite the rising number of cases in the state. In order to plan and continue testing I’d like to know what the status of the remote testing is, when that plans to be operational and what NCARB thinks this will look like for users (is this texting from home with the camera on?..).
Also Prometic is going to start charging again for rescheduled exams on September 1st, but NCARB sent out an email saying they will not be charging ARE candidates for rescheduling exams. How will this work? Is it reimbursement? If so, how long will it take to get our money back. Is there a limit of the number of times we can reschedule and get a refund? Has NCARB set a time limit to this? Thank you!

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Hi. I have a question about the Programming and Analysis Exam. I have taken this exam on multiple occasions now. Each time it seems that there is not an adequate amount of time provided with the large amount of information supplied to test takers. In addition, loading times for the IBC Excerpts absorbs lots of time. Is there a plan to either decrease the number of questions or add more time for this particular exam?

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Hello. Is there a more comprehensive way to provide test takers with feedback on failed exams?The bar charts are not helpful. For example, provide the tester with more sample problems identical to the ones they got wrong to help them understand what they got wrong. Not knowing what you got wrong does not help the testers learn or progress.

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NCARB provides a large list of materials that should be covered on the exam. Unfortunately, this is not the case as I have seen questions from other exam that I was not taking blended into the exam I studied for. Not that this is an issue, but is there some way that the resource selection can be more streamlined by NCARB? Does NCARB have any intentions on authoring the study material/study guides with practice problems to prep test takers for the way NCARB words problems? Despite the recommendations that Black Spectacles and other third party sources get from the NCARB website, the questions and formatting are not identical to the actual exam in some cases.

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Many testers are worried remote proctoring is vulnerable to cheating and thus will jeopardize the validity of passed exams. How will NCARB protect security protocols during remote proctoring? How do these strategies apply to the allocated 15 minute break?

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I would like to know if NCARB has considered increase the duration of each test. There is an overwhelming amount of information that you have to go through in the case studies and some of those pdf’s take a while to load while taking the test. Missing a detail in some of those documents could get you a wrong answer. Increasing the time of the test will allow time for those technical difficulties and to properly assess the question.

Thank you for your answer.

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I’m a resident on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Prometric test center is located on a different island, Oahu. This means I fly out there to take exams. Because of Covid, the state of Hawaii have been enforcing 14 day quarantine requirement for inter-island travel every time the the Covid cases have been peaking in Hawaii. Due to this, I have missed 2 exams and unable to receive refunds.

Aside from that issue, from a health perspective I do not feel safe flying to Oahu even if the inter-island quarantine regulation is lifted. Oahu has been reported to have severe number of positive Covid cases and at the moment, the whole Island is in lock down.

I don’t know when everything will be normal again. But there needs to be a way for myself and my colleagues here in the Big Island to keep taking exams safely. Would be great if there was a temporary test center here in the Big Island so that it is safe for us to go and take exams. Please advise on this issue, and also how I can receive refunds for the two tests I couldn’t take because of state lock down. (I wrote to prometric 3 times, and no response). Thank you.

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NCARB announced remote proctoring at the end of 2020 (link below). If someone schedules an exam before the remote proctoring is available, is there an option to change from testing onsite to remote once available?

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Hello! Is it possible to start taking the AREs in a different state/jurisdiction from the one in which you wish to obtain your initial license (or are all of the exams jurisdiction-specific)?

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Hi,
I took PjM around march and failed. I remembered i failed a lot of questions with diagrams/sections/plans . Without being explicit, how do you attack these questions? It seems a lot of prep materials do not prepare you with these questions and i find it unfair.

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i agree. the bar chart does not help at all. knowing what i had encountered on PjM some of the questions are so left field. You wouldnt be able to answer these questions if you followed what NCARB had prescribed as study materials. For example, in the Black Spectacles practice for PjM, it had a question about how do you test the integrity of concrete? the answer was slump. How would anybody know tat if they didn’t subscribe to Black spectacles and expect that kind of question in PjM??

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Could you please give more information on the format of ARE remote tests?
Thank you

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