ARE 5.0 - Will You Make The Cut? (& How to Transition)

While the rest of the country is stocking up on treats and putting the finishing touches on their spooky Halloween costumes, Architect Registration Exam candidates are preparing for a different (though perhaps just as scary) event: ARE 5.0 transition!

Tomorrow's the day that NCARB launches the 4.0 to 5.0 transition, but many of those of us that are eligible are still undecided. By now you should know your options, how the credit model works, and where you currently stand with passed tests. But maybe you're afraid of the unknown? Maybe the new format and combined content feels overwhelming? While I can understand the hesitation when it comes to clicking that one-way-only button, I'm here to cheer you on and ask that you join me in taking the plunge

Architects have historically shied away from new, cutting edge technologies and ideas much to their detriment. Let's be the group that changes that. Let's be the group that tackles obstacles in a timely fashion; lets conquer new practices and use the benefits of updated infrastructure to our advantage.  The old way might be comfortable, especially when it comes to test taking given the tremendous study material available for ARE 4.0, but clinging to the past doesn't prevent the future from happening.

You may have read about my success testing in 4.0 and remember that I'm a huge advocate for cross-content studying (How I Passed 3 AREs in 3 Days On the First Try: SPD, CDS, & PPP). The benefits of understanding the big picture as it relates to architectural practice are evident when you finally sit down to test. Well, by transitioning to 5.0 you are essentially committing to that type of comprehensive study plan because of the way content areas are now combined. Again, I think you'll find the broader understanding helps significantly with passing tests quickly. 

And I'm not the only one with that opinion, either. Michael Ermann of The Amber Book posted:

But doesn’t that mean that I need to study a LOT of content at once and somehow fit all of that in my head? Yes. Many of you will be upset by this change. I, however, feel that it is the fastest path toward licensure with the least number of hours studying and the fewest months devoted to this effort.

My strategy is this:

  • Commit to the 4.0 to 5.0 transition on November 1st
  • Immediately schedule testing dates for my two remaining exams (Project Planning & Design and Project Development & Documentation) so I have a concrete goal
  • Read and study all materials included in those exams for the next few weeks 
  • Test by the end of November to be part of the first 600 included in the cut score

Why do I want to be in the cut score? Three reasons: 

1)  You will receive a $100 gift card from NCARB for each exam you take in which you qualify to be in the cut score group. (so, $200 back to me means 2 tests for the price of 1!)
2)  As an early adopter being compared against others that are testing in an unknown format, I think the curve of scores may be a low average, which could put me at an advantage.
3)  I'm an advocate of embracing change and championing improved design & processes. 

And finally, a bonus reason! Testing before the holidays means I get to take a month off to relax with family and hopefully start the new year off right with the news that I've successfully completed the ARE. That alone should be reason enough.

Who's with me?!


UPDATE: How to Transition

If you're ready, here's how to transition:

  • Log into My NCARB and Go to your NCARB Record
  • Click the Exams Tab
  • You'll see a notice from NCARB that you're eligible to transition - click the Begin Transition to 5.0 button
  • Review your transition plan. It looks something like this:



  • Click Transition, then confirm that you understand there's no going back!

Then you're done! Once you've successfully transitioned you'll be returned to your NCARB record's Exam tab which will show you your rolling clock time left as well as remaining exams to take. It'll look something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-11-01 at 6.22.37 AM.png

At this point it's up to you to schedule your exams at your local testing center and finish your ARE! Good luck to everyone!