NALSA Publishing

Frequently Asked Questions

To view the most common questions, please select a category from the drop-down menus below that best suits your area of interest.

You must contact the registration board in your state/province to verify the requirements to gain access to the ARE. In addition, you must establish an NCARB Record. Your board can tell you about the specific requirements and applicable fees. For a list of state boards click here.
In General, there is no ideal order in which to take these exams. It’s different for each candidate. However, you may want to consider starting with the ARE 4.0 divisions that will give you credit in ARE 5.0, in the event you need to transition when 4.0 is retired in June 2018. With that in mind, the recommended divisions to try and pass first, in the following order, are: Construction Documents & Services, Programming, Planning & Practice, and Site Planning & Design. Check out this ARE Blog post for some strategy.
There are several options. The most thorough and cost effective option is the Complete cARE Package, which includes every product and service available at, at a 35% discount.

The second option is to purchase the components of the Complete cARE Package separately, as needed, at a 15% discount.

The two primary components of the Complete cARE Package are Archiflash Desktop(flashcard software for multiple choice, all ARE divisions) and the book, Solutions, which covers all of the graphic vignettes. These two study tools can be purchased together, at a 15% discount, in what we call the AREssentials.

The AREssentials is most effective when used in conjunction with the remaining components of the Complete cARE Package which we call Vignette Packages. The Vignette Packages each contain several different study tools and are available for each ARE division at a 15% discount.
Programming, Planning & Practice
Site Planning & Design
Building Design & Construction Systems
Schematic Design
Structural Systems
Building Systems
Construction Documents & Services

Lastly, Archiflash Desktop software, the Solutions book and each of the NALSA study tools contained in the Vignette Packages are also available separately.
The development of the ARE is a lengthy process. NCARB's exam committees research any proposed changes and make recommendations to NCARB's Board of Directors, who may then approve the changes. For additional information on the ARE contact NCARB at (202) 783-6500 or visit their web site at
All divisions of NCARB's Architect Registration Examination (ARE) are administered exclusively, by computer, year-round at a network of Prometric test centers throughout the United States, the U.S. territories, and Canada. Candidates may take the exam divisions in any order and at any time and location they choose. Most test centers are open six days a week, 50 weeks a year.
Yes. There is only one Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and it is 
given in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands,
and Northern Mariana Islands.
No. The Architect Registration Examination (ARE) is a national exam. It is the same in all fifty states, as well as in Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and Canada. Although some states/provinces may have additional requirements. 
You must contact the registration board in your state/province to verify the requirements to gain access to the ARE. In addition, you must establish an NCARB Record. Your board can tell you about the specific requirements and applicable fees. For a list of state boards click here.
Because of the way NCARB scores the exams, there is no single answer to this question. NCARB uses conjunctive scoring. This means that your score on the multiple choice section and your score on the vignette(s) are factored together. For example, if you score exceptionally well on a vignette, NCARB will allow more incorrect multiple choice answers, and vice versa.
We know the ARE. There is a mountain of stuff to figure out. In short, contact us with any questions you have. We welcome questions about the ARE, our study tools, multiple choice, the vignettes, strategy, or anything else. Just ask, we’re happy to chat. Give us a call: 800-411-7314 or send us an email:
The short answer is, no, not exactly. However, the good news is that we have created a system that is effective for anyone, anywhere, anytime. To eliminate the need for live courses we developed the Insight Video series for the graphic vignettes. Insight is from a live course, only now you can view the video for each vignette individually, multiple times, when you need it. As for tutoring, our Candidate Support is excellent. Ask us anything. Really. We’ve got the answer.
Honestly, we aren't that expensive. We're competitive with, or cheaper than, other study materials on the market. Our mission is to develop study tools that will truly help you pass the ARE and that takes a lot of time and money, it's our job and we take it seriously. We offer bundled packages at a savings of 15-35%. We also offer a payment plan for our Complete cARE Package to help you manage the costs over time. And more importantly, we do study materials right. We are the only company with a proven study system that includes practice vignettes you can use with the NCARB software, a vignette grading service, and free one-on-one personal support, to name a few. We offer high-quality and effective study materials that you will not find anywhere else. 

We know there are other companies out there who boast that they are the industry leader, that they offer the best. For twenty years we have helped tens of thousands of candidates successfully complete the ARE. We know this because they tell us. We are thrilled every time we're told, "I passed, thanks!" We look forward to hearing from you too. 

There is a lot to get to. Each of the NALSA study tools work together to help you Pass the ARE. To help maximize the effectiveness of the NALSA material we recommend progressing thorugh our study tools in a particular order. Using this method will help you prepare more efficiently. Once you become familiar with NALSA method, you can tailor the process to fit your needs.
No! Only print the material for the division on which you are currently working. These are living documents. We are continually making revisions, additions, clarifications and adapting to content changes in the ARE. Because completing the ARE takes many months, or more, printing only your current division will ensure that you have the latest content.
To see exactly how each of the NALSA study tools work, you can watch a short video about each one. Also, by clicking on the image tab for each study tool you can read a thorough description. You can read the description for the Programming, Planning & Practice Evaluator Workbook, for example.
The NALSA documents are meant to be printed, and are designed to be interactive. Most candidates want a hard copy. You will use the Practice Vignettes in conjunction with the NCARB software, you may solve sample problems by hand in the Paper & Pencil Practice Vignettes, and fill in answer sheets in the Evaluator Workbooks. Once printed, you’ll have a permanent copy of the documents. The six online views will likely be more than enough.
AREvaluations (grading) for NCARB Site Design solutions are based on the July, 2013 program requirements. In July, 2013 NCARB published new Exam Guides and announced some changes to the ARE. First, two relatively minor changes include the elimination of Metric units, and the use of 2009 IBC instead of 2007. In an effort to provide “more explicit instructions” in the Site Design vignette, NCARB has changed the ambiguous “near/far” language in the July, 2011 Exam Guide program. The July, 2013 Exam Guide program now includes specific distance requirements. Unfortunately, in making this change, NCARB has reintroduced some ambiguity. Please see this ARE Blog post for additional information.
Directions for solving and uploading the NALSA vignette for an AREvaluation are on page II of the NALSA Practice Vignette document.
Yes. AREvaluations are for grading of one solution only. However, if you have questions about your AREvaluation, please let us know. We’re happy to answer. 
Four viewings of each video is usually more than enough. The candidates that attended the original lecture saw the entire lecture series one time, all seven hours in a single day. The Insight videos however, are viewed individually, by vignette. Additionally, the four-view-limit is a security feature for NALSA.
Archiflash Desktop and Archiflash for iPhone/iPad for multiple-choice are updated for the current version of the ARE. Keep in mind that the ARE does not necessarily reflect the most current versions of industry reference material. For all of the graphic vignettes, including Structural Layout, current industry reference material is irrelevant because NCARB provides all of the information necessary to solve the problem in their program. 

It depends on the needs of the individual candidate. Each version of Archiflash has the same content. So, base the decision on how you prefer to study, computer/laptop or mobile device. 
No. However, Archiflash is available in several forms: Archiflash Desktop software, Archiflash Desktop software + printed cards, and Archiflash for iPhone/iPad.
Historically, there has been some crossover content between different divisions of the ARE. For example, two candidates may encounter the same multiple-choice question in two different divisions. This crossover is most common between PPP, CD&S, and SP&D although it may occur in other divisions as well.

We have designed Archiflash Desktop and Archiflash for iPhone/iPad to account for the possibility of crossover content. Some flashcards are pertinent to more than one division. For example, if you are studying the cards for PPP, the first card shown is SP1 (Site Planning, card 1), “Microclimate vs. Macroclimate.” This is because the content on card SP1 is applicable to multiple divisions. This, among other great software features, offers our candidates a more thorough study tool than paper flashcards.
No. The paper Archiflash cards are only available in conjunction with Archiflash Desktop. Because of several helpful features, the Archiflash Desktop software offers a superior study session when compared to the paper cards alone, and we want our candidates to study in the most effective way possible.
Each Archiflash Desktop flashcard 'number' includes a prefix which identifies its 'home' division. For example, SP13 represents card 13 in the Site Planning & Design division. 

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