How to Take the ARE Exam at a PSI Test Center

December 14, 2023

If you’re an aspiring architect, taking the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) is a pivotal step in your career. Choosing the right venue for your exam is crucial, and many candidates opt for the convenience of a PSI test center. But what does it mean to take your ARE exam at such a center, and how can you ensure a smooth process? Taking an exam at a PSI test center not only offers efficiency and ease but also requires careful understanding of the testing procedures and policies.

In this all-encompassing guide, we’ll demystify the process of scheduling, preparing, and successfully taking the ARE at a PSI test center, so you can approach your exam with confidence and clarity.

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Creating an Account and Scheduling Your Exam

Creating an Account on the NCARB Website

  • Visit the NCARB website: This is the first step towards scheduling your exam at a PSI test center. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) oversees the ARE, and you must create an account with them.
  • Provide necessary information: Fill in your personal details and professional information as required.
  • Note your NCARB candidate ID number: You will receive an NCARB candidate ID number, which will be vital for the next steps.

Scheduling Your Exam

  • Choose the PSI test center option: Once your account is set up, you will be able to schedule your exam either through the NCARB website or by calling PSI directly.
  • Provide your NCARB candidate ID number: Make sure to have this number handy, as it will be required for scheduling.
  • Pay the exam fee: The payment can be completed online or over the phone at the time of scheduling.

Confirming Your Appointment

  • Check your confirmation email: Once scheduled, you will receive an email with all the details, including date, time, and location of your exam.
  • Mark your calendar: It’s wise to set reminders and plan ahead to ensure that you are well-prepared for the big day.

The above process ensures a seamless scheduling experience, but that’s just the beginning. Preparing for your exam requires a diligent understanding of the content, format, and policies, and familiarizing yourself with the PSI test center’s specific procedures.

Preparing for Your Exam

Studying for the ARE requires careful review of various materials. Here’s a strategic breakdown:

  • Review the ARE Handbook: This provides detailed information about the exam content, format, and policies. Ensure that you understand each section thoroughly.
  • Go through PSI’s Taking the ARE webpage: Understanding the test center’s policies and procedures is equally vital. This webpage provides guidelines that are specific to PSI’s administration of the exam.

Whether it’s understanding the nuances of multiple-choice questions or preparing for graphic vignettes, these resources are your blueprint for success. The next stage involves arriving at the test center, and we’ll dive into those details next.

Arriving at the Test Center

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What to Bring with You

  • Arrive 30 minutes early: To avoid any last-minute rush, make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time.
  • Two forms of identification: Include one government-issued ID (such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID) with your name, photograph, and signature. Make sure these are valid and up-to-date.

Storing Personal Belongings

Once you arrive at the test center, the following procedures apply:

  • Store personal belongings: All personal items, including electronic devices, must be placed in a locker provided by the test center. Be aware of which electronic devices and materials are authorized in the testing room.
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Don’t just passively read or watch your study materials. Engage with them by taking notes, discussing with peers, or teaching the content to someone else. Active engagement can boost comprehension and retention.

Taking Your Exam

Once you’ve navigated the registration and preparation phases, the main event awaits. Here’s what you need to know about the actual exam process.

Understanding the Exam Environment

  • Proctor Monitoring: During the exam, a proctor will monitor you to ensure compliance with all testing procedures. If questions or concerns arise, raise your hand to seek their attention.
  • Computer-based Test: The ARE is computer-based, consisting of multiple-choice questions, case studies, and graphic vignettes. Familiarize yourself with the computer system if possible before the test.
  • Time Management: The exam is divided into sections with specific time limits. Once you’ve moved on, you can’t return to previous sections. Plan your time carefully.

Accommodated Testing Devices

  • Inspection of Devices: If you have approved accommodated testing devices, the proctor will inspect them. Make sure to allow this process and follow any necessary guidelines.
  • Usage During the Exam: Only approved devices are allowed during the exam. Be clear about what these are before you begin.

Complying with Policies

  • Adherence to Guidelines: Abide by all guidelines provided by PSI and NCARB, including those pertaining to electronic devices and materials in the testing room.
  • Integrity: Honesty and adherence to ethical guidelines are crucial. Any deviation may result in immediate disqualification.

The examination process at a PSI test center is stringent but clear. By understanding and following the guidelines, you can focus on showcasing your knowledge and skills.

What Happens After Your Exam?

After putting in the hard work, understanding your performance is crucial. Here’s how the scoring process unfolds:

Preliminary Score Report

  • Immediate Feedback: You will receive a preliminary score report at the test center. This will indicate a pass or fail status but not a detailed breakdown.
  • Keep in Mind: This is not your final report; the detailed breakdown comes later.

Final Score Reports

  • Accessing Detailed Results: Within 48 hours of completing the exam, final score reports are available on the NCARB website. These offer a comprehensive breakdown of your performance.
  • Analyzing Your Performance: Understand your strengths and weaknesses by reviewing the detailed sections of the report.
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Didn’t Pass? Here’s What to Do Next

If you don’t pass the ARE on your first attempt, don’t lose heart. Here’s what you need to know:

Waiting Period

  • Understanding the Duration: The waiting period for retaking the exam varies by section. Ensure you understand this before scheduling a retake.
  • Use the Time Wisely: Utilize this period to review areas where improvement is needed.

Rescheduling the Exam

  • Pay the Fee Again: When scheduling your retake, you’ll need to pay the exam fee once more.
  • Choose a PSI Test Center: If your previous experience was positive, consider retaking the exam at a PSI test center. Follow the previous guidelines for a smooth experience.

Embrace Your Architectural Journey with Confidence

Taking an exam at a PSI test center is a well-trodden path for many aspiring architects. From creating an account and scheduling the exam to understanding the intricacies of the testing process, this comprehensive guide equips you with everything you need to know.

Are you looking for additional support in your ARE preparation journey? Consider exploring PrepArchitect. We offer focused resources and expert guidance that can make your preparation more engaging and effective. It’s not about pushing products; it’s about empowering your architectural dreams. Let’s build your success together. Happy testing, and may your architectural pursuits flourish!

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