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NCARB eliminates the ARE® Rolling Clock policy

The following press release is via the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

Washington, DC—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is retiring the Architect Registration Examination (ARE®) rolling clock policy and implementing a new score validity policy, effective May 1, 2023.

Under the new policy, passed ARE divisions from both the current and prior versions of the exam will be valid. This national policy change will reinstate the validity of all passed ARE 4.0 divisions, taken between 2008 and 2018. NCARB will be working with licensing boards across the U.S. to facilitate adoption at the state level.

For current test takers, this means the validity of their ARE 5.0 divisions will be extended through the next iteration of the exam (likely ARE 6.0), effectively doubling score validity to at least 10 years.

Analysis of the impact of the rolling clock showed that the policy disproportionally impacted women and people of color and continuing the policy would hinder progress toward equity in the architectural profession. Psychometric study and additional research into exam content showed that the new policy – based upon exam version, not a fixed timeframe - would be more effective than the previous policy in ensuring candidate competency.

“This research-backed decision to eliminate the rolling clock policy was unanimously supported by the Board of Directors and the new score validity policy will maintain the integrity of the exam while making the ARE more equitable,” said NCARB President Bayliss Ward, NCARB, AIA.

Some jurisdictions have existing rules and laws related to the five-year rolling clock policy that may not automatically update with the NCARB change. NCARB’s goal is to work with all Member Boards toward eliminating rolling clock-type policies as soon as possible.

NCARB will be automatically reinstating the validity of any previously expired ARE 4.0 divisions for all candidates that are testing in a jurisdiction that does not have a jurisdictional level rolling clock requirement. All reinstated ARE 4.0 divisions will be used to calculate appropriate ARE 5.0 credits under the new score validity policy. Any ARE 5.0 credits based on ARE 4.0 divisions will remain valid until the end of ARE 5.0 delivery. All passed exams prior to the 2008 ARE 4.0 launch remain invalid.


The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural licensing boards of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB, in collaboration with these boards, facilitates the licensure and credentialing of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

To achieve these goals, NCARB works with its Member Boards and volunteers to develop and facilitate standards for licensure, including the national examination and experience program. NCARB also recommends regulatory guidelines for licensing boards and helps architects expand their professional reach through the NCARB Certificate.

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