Take 5

In 2016 NCARB began the transition from ARE 4.0 to 5.0. As a result ARE candidates who received their test taking eligibility before Nov. 1, 2016 can complete their ARE requirement by taking 5 exams: three in ARE 4.0 and 2 in ARE 5.0 . 

To take advantage of this opportunity, AIA|DC has partnered with the online ARE education portal Black Spectacles (www.blackspectacles.com) on a Chapter license which will lower the cost to test takers. Black Spectacles offers two levels of access: basic and premium. The premium access includes practice exams. 

In addition to Black Spectacles, AIA|DC offers once-a-month review sessions with seasoned mentors via Google Hangouts. All of the review sessions are free if you buy a Black Specs license through us and they stay free even after that Black Specs license expires. Once you are in, you are in as long as you need us. 

Take 5.0

If you received your eligibility to test after November 1, you must take the 5.0 exam. 

Through 2017, AIA|DC will support BOTH the Take5 package and the 5.0 package. Review sessions will include 5.0 material beginning in April 2017.

How is Take 5 different from other ARE programs?

Two words:  Personal responsibility.  You really need to study using the Black Spectacles materials before participating in a review session. This allows you to study at your own pace, quickly or slowly, but study, you must, to get anything out of the review.

Part one – Black Spectacles: AIA | DC has purchased a component license, providing discounted rates to its associate members. Over 40 hours of on-demand video tutorials covering the 3 exams in the ARE 4.0 (including the multiple-choice)

Basic 3-Month Subscription: $270
Basic 6-Month Subscription: $480
Premium 3-Month Subscription (includes practice exams) $340
Premium 6-Month Subscription (includes practice exams) $585

Part two – Review Sessions:   Each session will be led by licensed registered architects or professional engineers (PE) and conducted through Google Hangouts. Last year we tried doing them in person but because of no-shows we are moving to electronic communication. Recommended references to study

If you buy a Black Spectacles License through us there is no additional fee.  If you do not have a Black Spectacles License the fee is $15 per session.


AIA | DC Executive Director Mary Fitch, AICP, Hon. AIA is the primary staff contact for ARE. She can be reached at MFitch@aiadc.com or @marycfitch or 202-347-9403.


The primary means of communication will be via e-mail. The program also has Google Group Website. It will also serve as a means for participants to ask questions or convey information to instructors and other participants. Look there for recommended studying schedules from our mentors.

Sign Up!

Registration for the ARE Exam Prep Program is open!  You may join the program at any time to start participating in all the review sessions and study groups. 

ARE Guide Library is Also Available

Interested in supplementing your ARE studies? Renting a subject set costs $25.00 for Assoc. AIA Members, or $35.00 for non-members, for an entire month of use. Call the District Architecture Center to reserve your copy.