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Mar 04

What Is The Rolling Clock?

So you’ve heard about the rolling clock through NCARB, but what is the rolling clock when it comes to taking the ARE?

Basically, the rolling clock is simply an expiration date for any test that you pass. Here are some of the rules regarding the ARE rolling clock:

– A passed test remains valid for 5 years from the date you take the exam. (Note: All 7 exams must be passed by the date of your first passed test)

– If all 7 ARE exams are NOT passed by the 5 year mark, that first test becomes invalid.

(Note: Other passed exams that have not yet reached the 5 year mark will still remain valid and the next passed test in line will set the 5 year mark)

I know this sounds a little confusing still so if you’re still wondering what the rolling clock is, let’s take a look at a quick example.

Let’s say you passed PPP (your first test) in June of 2011, waited 3 months, and then passed CDS in September of 2012. The 5 year NCARB rolling clock has now started and you must pass all 7 exams by June of 2016 (5 years from the date of your first passed exam)

For some reason, let’s say you had to take a few years off from taking tests and it is now June of 2016 and you have only passed 6 of the 7 ARE exams, with only SPD left. Since it has been 5 years since you have passed PPP, that passing score has now EXPIRED and you will have to take that test again.

The new 5 year rolling clock date is now set as the date of your NEXT passed test, which will now expire in September of 2016 (5 years since passing your 2nd test, CDS). So this means you still have to pass your SPD exam AND your PPP exam (since it expired) by September 2016.

This process will continue if you have not passed all your test in the 5 year rolling clock window.


The rolling clock also gets a little tricky when it comes to transferring passing scores from the ARE 3.1 version to the current ARE 4.0 exam. If you have any questions about how this process works, please contact NCARB or your local state authority.


I hope this helps to answer the question, what is the rolling clock? because I know it can be a little confusing. The key to passing the ARE is not worrying about the 5 year window and just focus on studying and passing each exam one at a time.

For a list of more ARE Frequently Asked Questions, see here!