It appears that there may be some pretty big changes to the ARE this year with the 2013 Blackout that is about to occur. In December 2012, NCARB released a brief statement introducing the blackout and how it may affect some ARE candidates.
Unfortunately, there is very little information available at this time regarding the 2013 blackout, but I will do my best to figure out how this will affect anyone preparing for the ARE.
What is the 2013 Blackout?
According to NCARB, a new testing company will take over the content and candidate management for the ARE while Prometric will continue to be the Council’s site management consultant.
Alpine Testing Solutions will take over this new role starting July 1, 2013 so in order to make this transition, NCARB is estimating an 8-week “blackout” for all ARE candidates.
What Does The Blackout Mean For Candidates?
It’s hard to estimate the full effect that the ARE 2013 blackout will have on candidates, but NCARB has provided a few answers to some general questions regarding the blackout.
The following is a quick summary of what NCARB has provided in their latest announcement regarding the blackout:
- No exam appointments may be scheduled for on or after July 1, 2013 until the blackout ends in late August, 2013
- There will be no exams administered beginning July 1, 2013 until the blackout ends
- The last day to take an exam before the blackout will be June 30, 2013
What Does This Mean For Prometric?
Again, it’s a little uncertain at this time what the exact role of Prometric will be compared to Alpine Testing Solutions when it comes to administering the ARE but NCARB has provided a few statements regarding the new changes.
The following statements regarding the ARE 2013 blackout come straight from NCARB:
- The last batch of exams taken on or before June 30, 2013 will be scored by Prometric prior to the data migration to the new consultant
- The last day to contact Prometric to receive authorization to test or candidate ID numbers will be June 30, 2013
To me, it sounds like Alpine Testing Solutions will now be in charge of the day-to-day management of the ARE like exam scoring, exam results, candidate eligibility, etc.
The only thing I’m unsure about is the exact role that Prometric will play once the 2013 blackout is over with. It’s unclear whether Prometric sites will still be allowed to administer the ARE or if that will also be switched over the Alpine Testing Solutions.
Again, once more information is available I will keep everyone posted.
Does This Mean The Exam Format Will Change?
From what NCARB has released to the public, it seems like the exam format and content will remain the same once the ARE blackout is over.
The post-blackout changes will really only affect both the process to schedule an exam and the process of receiving scores.
What About The ARE Rolling Clock?
Since this blackout will affect every ARE candidate, NCARB is granting an automatic 12-week extension to the rolling clock once the blackout is over.
This means that candidates who are trying to complete all 7 exams in the 5 year rolling clock deadline will have an extra 12 weeks added on because of the inconvenience of the blackout.
**I would certainly recommend contacting your state’s jurisdiction board to see how the blackout will affect the specific requirements of your state**
Since each state has different rules and requirements regarding the rolling clock, you’ll want to make sure that you understand how the blackout will affect the timing of everything.
Preparing For The ARE 2013 Blackout
I can certainly understand why the ARE blackout will be an inconvenience for most people so I’m going to stress the importance of creating a plan of attack for the ARE.
Since we all know that the blackout will start July 1, 2013, there are a few different approaches you can take when it comes to planning your exams.
1) One approach sees the 8 week blackout as 2 solid months of studying for an exam. Perhaps you have been putting off one of the harder exams like Structural Systems or BDCS because you haven’t had time to study?
Well, since you’ll have at least 2 months during the blackout to prepare, maybe the first test after the blackout could be one of your more difficult exams. This is certainly one way of looking at it but of course it will depend on your individual situation.
2) Another way to look at the blackout when it comes to planning your ARE exams is to work backwards from July 1, 2013. It would probably make the most sense to schedule an exam as close as possible to that blackout date so that you’re not having to wait even longer to take an exam.
From there, keep working backwards and plan out how many more exams you can squeeze in between today and the start of the blackout. I know it sounds lame, but write out your plan of attack for the AREs because it will certainly help you stay on track as the blackout approaches.
If you’d like more information on planning the right ARE exam order for you, click here!
I just want to reiterate that some of the information on this page comes directly from NCARB. If you would like more ARE news from NCARB, please see the “ARE Resources” tab at the top of the page.
Since some of the information regarding the ARE 2013 blackout is still relatively new, I will certainly keep everyone updated on any new information that I find. My advice to everyone is simple though; modify your plan and stick with it.