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NCARB's Rolling Clock Termination AND ARE® 6.0! Is ARE 5.0 phasing OUT? Everything you need to know

Since NCARB announced its new rolling clock termination policy last month, I’ve been getting a bunch of questions… When does the new policy take effect? Will it affect me? When is ARE 6.0 going to happen?

And as you all know, I'm all about the AREs, and I talk about them ALL THE TIME. But I don't really have the answers when it comes to these things. Then I thought, "Why don't we just talk to NCARB directly?" Let's head over to the source for the answers to all of these questions.

When I heard the announcement of the new policy, I was just like most of you; stumped and confused about how to feel about it. I’m so glad I got the chance to talk to Jared Zurn about everything everyone is so curious about. So let’s go ahead and dive into all these questions!

Jared N. Zurn, AIA, NCARB, Vice President, Examination joined the Council in 2008 as assistant director, ARE development. He has been involved with all aspects of the examination including development, operations, security, and implementation of ARE 5.0. Promoted to vice president in 2013, Zurn is an advocate for transparency into the examination with a focus on refining the efficiency of the process while maintaining high standards and measurement quality.

Before joining NCARB, Zurn operated a sole proprietorship in northwest Minnesota. He also served as faculty of the Architectural Technology program and division chair at Minnesota State Community and Technical College where he led the Architectural Technology program in the areas of curriculum development, course assessment, and program outcome assessment. Zurn earned his professional degree from North Dakota State University.

Why is there a rolling clock termination?

Since last year, NCARB has been looking at the rolling clock policy and how it affects things. The true purpose of the rolling clock has always been about exam validity. "NCARB's job is not to put pressure on you," Jared says. NCARB's job is to make sure that they're confident in giving you a license based on the score you get on the exam.

After reviewing the exam, the board of directors realized that keeping the rolling clock policy created artificial pressure. They finally decided to get rid of it, but they weren't thrilled that exams from decades ago would still count toward current scores. This was when they came up with the score validity policy. Basically, it means that if you were to pass ARE 5.0, those scores are valid if ARE 5.0 is still active. The best thing about it? It’ll then be used at the end of the division to give you credit for ARE 6.0. So end up getting a plus one if you think about it from an exam score perspective.

Will there be a timeline for the new division?

Jared has been working with NCARB since 2008 when ARE 3.1 was ending, and ARE 4.0 was about to launch. According to him, the average length of time that a version of the exam lives is about ten years.

What really drove NCARB to start talking about a new division was the "Analysis of Practice" that NCARB performed back in 2022. A huge survey was released to the industry that asked a bunch of questions about our practice. NCARB took all of that data and discussed with the committees what exam changes needed to be made.

Even though NCARB has been talking about ARE 6.0 seriously for the past year, the changes to the exam won't be announced until roughly 2025, and it will take about 18 months to apply all of the changes.

Keep an ear out in 2025 for some BIG ARE® announcements!

What about getting credits back?

A great thing that was discussed is that they’ll get to count as far back as the ARE 4.0 exams. So even if a person has passed the division but isn’t ARE complete, they can get their score back, and it’s going to be revalidated for 5.0. Jared happily talks about how there will be around seven candidates that are going to find out that they are actually ARE complete once the policy takes effect on May 1!

What is the 18-month rollover period?

NCARB promises that before they ever launch ARE 6.0, they will give candidates at least an 18-month notice. Jared recalls that when NCARB transitioned from 3.1 to 4.0, there were 12 months of dual delivery. People were given a choice to either keep testing in ARE 3.1 or jump over to 4.0. He guarantees that the transition from ARE 5.0 to 6.0 will be similar and that NCARB will help candidates understand the transition before having to make a choice.

What will this look like to candidates once the policy rolls out?

Because NCARB chose to pass the policy in January yet implemented it very quickly afterward, we can’t expect every little piece of the system to be perfect. NCARB is working with the vendors that control exam eligibilities and score reporting to go into the system right away. In the short term, NCARB will give everybody that qualifies a giant rolling clock extension. This will temporarily reset any expired scores from ARE 4.0 and calculate credits for ARE 5.0.

Can professional architects volunteer for NCARB?

Yes! NCARB loves working with volunteers every year. They work with around 150-200. You can volunteer to come up with new exam items, write case studies, or do quality control. To those interested in helping with the exams, do feel free to reach out to NCARB customer service!

I'm not going to lie. All of the new changes worried and confused me a bit. But I'm so grateful that this interview with Jared put some doubts to rest. After talking to Jared and hearing NCARB's side of the story, I realized that they really are working hard to support ARE candidates the best they can. Even if that is sometimes messy, their intentions are there.

With any new policy change, we need to be patient and keep an open mind, but that doesn't mean we can't ask questions. I hope this talk with Jared enlightened you, cleared up the confusion, and answered your questions. If you have any more questions, want to learn more about the new policies, or just stay updated with all the NCARB news, head on over to the NCARB website! It truly is a one-stop shop for all your NCARB needs!


NCARB Rolling Clock Policy HERE

Jurisdiction Requirements HERE

Transition Calculator HERE

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