ExAC vs. NCARB ARE: Compare the Certifications

December 13, 2023

As an intern in architecture, you have two options for taking your licensing exams: the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC) or the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Architect Registration Examination (NCARB ARE). Both exams have their own unique features and requirements, and it can be challenging to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we will compare ExAC and NCARB ARE to help you make an informed decision.

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Eligibility Requirements – What You Need to Know Before You Apply

Before you can take either exam, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. For ExAC, you must be registered as an Intern Architect with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) and have completed at least 2800 hours of work experience. For NCARB ARE, you must have a degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited program or a foreign equivalent, and have completed the required amount of work experience.

How the Exams are Structured and Delivered

ExAC consists of four sections, which must be taken in order. Each section is three hours long, and the entire exam is administered over two consecutive days. Exams are scheduled at test centers within Canada, the USA, or internationally. Results are released in February after the exam is written.

NCARB ARE consists of six divisions, which can be taken in any order. The length of each division varies, ranging from approximately three to five hours. Interns must register and pay for each division separately, and exams can be scheduled at test centers within the USA or internationally. Results are typically released one week after the exam is written.

When and Where You Can Take the Exams

ExAC is offered once a year, and interns must wait until the following year to rewrite any unsuccessful sections. The exam is administered in downtown Vancouver, with additional locations scheduled based on demand.

NCARB ARE is offered year-round, and interns can schedule exams at their convenience. However, availability is dependent on test center availability, and interns must accumulate at least 2800 hours of work experience before they are eligible to take the exam.

Cost and Time Commitment

ExAC and NCARB ARE have different cost structures. For ExAC, interns must pay for all four sections at once for their initial exam attempt. For NCARB ARE, interns pay for each division separately as they schedule them. Additionally, interns must pay a fee to open and maintain an NCARB Record.

The number of divisions required for NCARB ARE and the constraints of the rolling clock can make the exam time-consuming and costly. Interns must also have self-discipline to study and schedule exams independently.

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What Happens if You Don’t Pass?

If you do not pass a section of ExAC, you must wait until the following year to rewrite it. If you do not pass a division of NCARB ARE, you can schedule a retake relatively quickly. Both exams provide feedback on weak areas for improvement.

Resources and Support

ExAC provides a list of references and resources on their website, as well as a preparation guide and study groups with other interns. NCARB ARE has an ARE Community on their website, as well as study guides.

In addition to the valuable resources provided by ExAC and NCARB ARE, PrepArchitect is here to offer you further assistance in successfully passing your exam. At PrepArchitect, we understand the importance of comprehensive preparation, and we have curated a wide range of resources specifically designed to help you excel in your architectural exams. Our platform offers comprehensive study materials, including practice exams, interactive learning modules, and in-depth guides tailored to the specific requirements of the exam. We also provide a supportive community of fellow exam takers, where you can engage in discussions, share insights, and collaborate with peers. With PrepArchitect’s comprehensive resources and supportive community, you can enhance your exam readiness and increase your chances of achieving exam success. Let us be your partner on this journey toward architectural excellence.

Making the Right Choice for Your Career

At PrepArchitect, we understand the significance of passing your architectural license exam and embarking on a successful career in architecture. That’s why we are dedicated to providing you with the most comprehensive and effective preparation available. With our specialized focus on exam readiness, we have developed a proven track record of helping architects like you not just pass, but excel in their exams.

PrepArchitect offers a unique advantage by combining the best elements of both ExAC and NCARB ARE preparation. Our resources encompass the core knowledge required for both exams, ensuring that you are well-prepared regardless of the exam you choose. Our study materials are meticulously curated by industry experts and are regularly updated to reflect the latest exam content and trends.

What sets PrepArchitect apart is our commitment to personalized learning. We recognize that each architect has their own strengths and areas for improvement. That’s why our platform provides customized study plans, adaptive learning modules, and personalized feedback, allowing you to focus on the areas that need the most attention.

Join the thousands of architects who have trusted PrepArchitect to guide them towards exam success. Let us be your partner in achieving your goals and unlocking the full potential of your architectural career.

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