ARE Online Proctoring Launches Mid-November

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    RJ

    So essentially I can take my remaining exams from my office at work, on a Saturday, on one of our Mac based computers?

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    David Cordingly

    This means I won't have to drive an hour and a half to the nearest testing center...if it's still open!  I can't wait to try the new system out.  Thank you NCARB!

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    Nick NCARB

    Hey RJ,

    If your computer and office meet the requirements for online proctoring, the answer is yes! We are in the process of developing online proctoring technical guidelines which will be available in October. They will go into more detail on what computer specs are required, as well as what type of space is appropriate for an online proctored exam.  

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    Gang Chen

    This is a very good news, the best news on ARE exams for this year.

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Michele Hausauer

    Does this mean if you already have an exam scheduled in November, will we get the opportunity to select an online exam? Or will we need to cancel and reschedule to select the "online proctoring option"? Please advise how this process will go if you already have an exam scheduled and would like to change to this new method instead.

    Thanks,

    Michele

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    Nick NCARB (Edited )

    Hey Michele,

    When online proctoring launches on November 16th, candidates will have the ability to reschedule an exam from in-person to an online proctored experience, so the answer is yes. There is no rescheduling within 4 business days of an exam date, so make sure your exam is scheduled for later in November or December if you plan to switch it to online proctoring. 

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    Ariana Parrish

    Will there be more questions or fewer questions  - wondering if there will additional time or less time. Thanks!

     

    Also, will the study materials be updated with the new handbook?

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    Richard Balkins

    Like David, currently I would have to drive an hour and a half to two hours (normal road conditions) to the nearest Test Center. I will be able to take the ARE exam online similarly to how I can take the AIBD's CPBD certification exam which will already be requiring many of the things about setting up the room. My desktop that I'll be using will have far above the minimum specs required for an online proctoring software. 

    I look forward to the new handbook and other updated information.

     

    PS: Hello Gang Chen. I remember you from another forum years ago. I have been authorized for testing through state of Washington. I still have other requirements to be completed for licensure.

     

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    Gang Chen

    Richard,
    It is good to see you here. What a small world!

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Richard Balkins (Edited )

    Yep. It's good to see you, too. It is now passing the ARE and complete the CPBD certification (CPBD certification exam) and the rest is getting remaining requirements for licensure completed. 

     

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    Nick NCARB

    Ariana,

    We are currently in the process of finalizing the updates to exam navigation, breaks, and overall testing time. As soon as everything is finalized on our end, we'll make an announcement to all candidates. You should expect the hear something from NCARB later this month. 

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    Veronica Blanco

    I am so happy with the news and I cannot wait to take the tests from the safety of my home. It will save me a long commute to the testing center too. Thank you NCARB

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    Artem Melikyan (Edited )

    Nick,

    Remote proctoring is amazing. I also think some people might still prefer to deal with the familiar format they have already seen in the test center. But I understand after the launch of the online version the "in-person" version will also change accordingly and the test in the current (today) format will not be available anymore? 

    Also, I understand people would be able to test even from abroad, in any location that they can make compliant?

    Thank you,

     

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    Nick NCARB (Edited )

    Hey Artem,

    You are correct, both the in-person exam and online proctored versions will be the same. Beginning November 16th, candidates will no longer be able to take the current format that is in test centers. One thing the remember, the delivery updates being planned are very minor and nothing to be overly concerned about. The divisional sections (including percentages) and objectives listed within the ARE Handbook, as well as the case studies, are not changing. The exam will look and feel very similar to what candidates see today with a few differences. These changes will not be like what candidates experienced when switching from ARE 4.0 to 5.0. 

    Regarding international delivery of the ARE, online proctoring will allow candidates to test globally as long as their computer, internet speed, and testing space meet the technical specifications for delivery. There will no longer be a need for candidates around the globe to travel to an international Prometric site. 

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    Ariana Parrish

    Is it possible to know which exam times/questions will be affected the most? I know there are currently two five hour exams and 3 four hour exams. 

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    Nick NCARB

    Hey Ariana,

    We are still finalizing the details, so unfortunately I can't answer that question at this point. 

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    Gilberto Villalobos

    Will there be a new ARE 5.0 handbook?

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    Nick NCARB

    Hey Gilberto,

    Yes, there will be an updated Handbook available in October. One thing to remember, the content, including sections and objectives, will not be changing so the current content information in the Handbook is still relevant. 

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    Niloo

    Hi, 

    Are we going to get more information about the Online testing? 

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    Nick NCARB

    Hey Niloofar,

    Yes, there will be more information available in the coming weeks. We are finalizing the delivery changes now and will provide those to all candidates within the next two weeks or so. Expect a new ARE Handbook and Guidelines in mid-October. 

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    Maireny Santos Cruz

    Why is NCARB removing the use of scratch paper during the exam? It doesn't make any sense. I understand that for the online proctored exam is valid, but why change the in-person process too?. We have real math problem, a lot of information from the case studies, diagrams etc. I can't imagine taking the exam without having a paper to sketch or resolve problems. The exam program is already slow, how this digital note-taking option is not going to slow it down even more?.

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    Katie Merten

    Unless I get something like an iPad and Apple Pencil, taking the exam without actual scratch paper will be difficult.  It's not just about the math--we need the paper to draw and sketch stuff out!  This will be near impossible on a computer, and/or will likely be a time consuming process.  

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    Melissa Lemaster

    NCARB, I am really disappointed with your decision that people testing in-person will not have scratch paper. Architects are visual people and drawing diagrams and doing math by hand is part of who we are. This is making the overall process so much more difficult. Please reconsider this!! If someone chooses to test online, they choose to forego the scratch paper, but if you test in-person you should get paper.

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    Maireny Santos Cruz

    NCARB posted a new blog today with information regarding the Online Proctoring:

    https://www.ncarb.org/blog/online-proctoring-faqs 

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    Michele Hausauer

    Agreed with most of these comments regarding scratch paper! If removing the use of scratch paper, there needs to be a time extension. Why wouldn't a photo or scan of your entire work surface suffice (including scratch paper)?

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    Ariana Parrish

    Removing scratch paper from a visual learner is not okay - we need to think about all learners NCARB. Additionally, we do not have the time to learn a new digital "scratch paper-like" platform to slow us down even more. Please re-think before rolling out the updated handbook. 

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    Ariana Parrish

    I don't even want a time extension for the lack of scratch - I want the scratch! 

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    Richard Balkins

    https://www.ncarb.org/blog/online-proctoring-faqs

     

    Okay.... that'll be interesting. I hope we'll be able to at least to sketch on-screen like an overlay highlight functionality. Calc and text notes should be on the side or something but the programmers needs to bear in mind that 1920x1080 screens we use has limited pixel real-estate to do all this and be legible. You'll need Ultra-4K to do what we are talking about in a nice manner because swapping between our notes and our exam content is a cumbersome and non-intuitive clutsy process. When I take notes on paper, I can read the notes and screen kind of at the same time or just a quick shift between where my eyes are looking but that will be at fractions of a second which is a lot faster than what I or anyone would be able to operate at with a mouse or track ball. An on-screen overlay approach of notes could be effective. This would be rather advance programming to do which I am not sure if the programmers you hired can pull that off but it can be a feature added. 

    The exam software in the existing exam is slow. This is probably because it is slow almost on purpose. The programmers use some sort of wait so many milliseconds of time to between an event trigger and responding. Certain built-in "wait cycles" are in the code of the exam software or an API framework used. Some things are going to take a while like when downloading the pdf content of a code section used in the exam from the exam server and then viewing the pdf. Once it's downloaded (buffered in to the exam browser's internet temp folder), it will take less time to 'reload' to see again and again but these operates only as fast as they can. I can expect server lag and systemic lag of the exam server(s) needs to be accounted for and monitored. Lets be realistic with the amount of time for exam questions with the delivery model. If it means 1 minute longer or whatever for the exam question, I can see that. I don't expect exam time per question to double or anything like that. It needs to be realistic, though. 

    Melissa Lemaster, NCARB does want to keep the exam experience the same in every practical way regardless of delivery or it can be considered unfair. Taking the exam from home isn't going to be easier. It's the same exam. Of course, if your computer is significantly better at home than the exam center than maybe I can understand if they are using low to medium class computer 10-15 year old computers (Intel Atom to i5 dual or quad core with up to 16 GB memory and only the integrated video not a video card) at the test centers when the average computer at home being less than 5 years old (64GB+ RAM, i7 or i9 with a modern video card). I can understand that but if the test centers are using half-ass competent computers with i7 or i9 CPUs from Dell with a 32 to 64 GB RAM, it wouldn't really matter that much and they would be comparable to what we have at home in which case, there shouldn't be any real reason for a difference in the exam experience. The exam experience should be the same in every meaningful way and the experience should be fair for both delivery model. No unreasonable advantage should be given to one delivery model of the exam versus the other. It defeats the purpose. 

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    Shawn Viator

    I need a pencil.  I need to sketch, write and do calc's on paper - in the office, we still use paper and note books to work out problems / thoughts.  

    Additionally - I was reworking my next exam strategy based on my previous exam experience - in which the exam summary did not function properly and others who experienced this issue suggested I write down my list "incomplete" or "marked" questions on the scratch paper just in case the exam summary fails me again.

    I had other exam issues like reference docs not opening.   

    But I have an exam scheduled and the lack of scratch paper is a problem for me for several reasons.

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    Richard Balkins

    Generally, at test centers, they take the scratch paper you used and dispose of them according to protocols which ultimately involves both a shredding of the paper and incineration of that paper but this is usually done just like what is done by businesses using a special services to discard sensitive information of the business. Prometric and any other proctoring services uses a service for discarding and destruction of those scratch paper given out to test takers and used by them at test centers so it is completely unrecoverable. They can not assume we will do so to the same standard. Merely running the papers through a paper shredder isn't enough. People can tape the shreds together and in effect recoverable information. They can not have that. If I recall, you don't go home with the scratch paper. They need to make sure of that with online delivery. They have to make sure that you don't have notes written that you can share with other test takers. Although you are required to not disclose exam items on the test to other people, they can't assume everyone's integrity given past experiences with some test takers in the past. 

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