What to Expect on Test Day

As we approach the launch of the online proctoring option for the ARE on December 14, it’s essential to understand exactly what to expect during an exam appointment—whether you’re testing at home or a test center. To ensure you’re prepared, we compiled a list of procedures and resources for a smooth, secure, and safe testing experience.

Checking In

For the most part, the check in experience will be the same for both on-site and remote testing. In both instances, you should prepare to:

  • Arrive (or log in) 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment*
  • Present a valid photo ID (the name on the ID must match the name your division is scheduled under, and the ID must include your signature)**
  • Have your picture taken
  • Have any eyeglasses, jewelry, and/or other accessories inspected
  • Leave your personal items outside your testing site

*If testing online, make sure to download the ProProctor application and troubleshoot any technical issues in advance of your appointment. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve properly set up your workspace, webcam, volume level, testing environment, and internet connection before checking in. 

**Please note, external cameras should have the ability to autofocus to allow proctors to fully visualize candidate IDs during the check-in process.

In addition to these protocols, if you test at a test center, you will be scanned by a metal detector or wand before each entry, including returns from breaks. If you’re testing remotely, you’ll be required to present a 360-degree view of your testing area by moving your external webcam and showing all areas of your chosen setting.

While Testing

After checking in, you will soon begin your exam. Keep in mind, you must remain in your seat at all times—and in the camera view for those testing online—unless you are taking a break from testing. If you're testing online, you may have to wait a few minutes between completing the check-in with your readiness agent and being connected with your proctor. You’ll also have the option to access an onscreen whiteboard and calculator during your test. Because of this, you will not be allowed to have scratch paper, pencils, or a calculator with you—for both on-site and online proctored testing methods.

Taking Breaks

Upon starting, you’ll notice that each division includes a total amount of break time, which may be used all at once or split into multiple breaks throughout your test until you have used up the allotted time. If you need to take additional breaks beyond your allotted time, you may do so, but the exam timer will continue to count down. Make sure you click the on-screen “Take a Break” option anytime you wish to take a break from your exam, as your exam may be terminated by the test center administrator or online proctor if you don’t press this button and show the proctor your screen via webcam. When you return from a break, all items that you have already viewed will be locked, including those marked for later review, and you will not be able to view or edit them again. You must comply with all re-admittance procedures each time you return from a break

Technical Difficulties

While uncommon, technical difficulties can occur. If you see an error message or experience a computer problem while taking your exam, please let the test center staff or online proctor know immediately. Do not clear the error message. Simply raise your hand or use the ProProctor chat tool, and your test center administrator (TCA) or proctor will assist you. In the event that the technical difficulties cannot be resolved quickly, your exam will be rescheduled at no cost.

Reporting Concerns

If you have any testing concerns after your appointment has concluded, be sure to file a report with the TCA/online proctor, as well as contact our Customer Relations team. DO NOT wait until you’ve received your test results to contact us. All concerns must be received within 15 days of your appointment date(s).

Testing Accommodations

NCARB is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for candidates with documented disabilities or medical conditions in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Keep in mind, ALL accommodations must be approved prior to the scheduling of an exam appointment.

Common examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Additional break time
  • Extended testing time (up to 50 percent longer for ARE 5.0)
  • Testing in a separate room within the test center

For a full list of pre-approved medical devices and other personal items you may take into the testing room, please read the ARE 5.0 Guidelines. Please contact us as before scheduling any appointments to receive a testing accommodations request form.

Additional Resources

Consider checking out the following supplemental tools and resources to prepare for your testing experience.

  • ARE 5.0 Guidelines: Learn more about what to expect during your testing appointment, plus other important examination policies.
  • Online Proctoring Requirements: Explore this helpful checklist, which outlines all technical and system requirements for online-proctored ARE appointments.
  • Q&A: During Your Appointment: Watch as our exam experts respond to candidate questions related to the online proctoring testing experience.