4. Exams: ExAC or ARE

The AIBC requires the completion of the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC) or the National Council of Architectural Registration Board’s Architect Registration Examinations (NCARB ARE) to fulfill the examination requirements of the Internship in Architecture Program (IAP).

This document provides a comparison between the ExAC and the NCARB AREs:




Intern Architects are eligible for the ExAC if they are “in good standing” and have submitted a minimum 2800 hours of approved experience.  Registration is available from the beginning of June to mid-July.  The exam is written once per year over a two-day period in early November.  The ExAC has no graphic or computer based exam content.  For a full exam orientation, Intern Architects should familiarize themselves with the ExAC Preparation Guide.

For more information about the ExAC, please visit the ExAC web site.



Intern Architects can apply for an NCARB account and begin to schedule ARE exams immediately after acceptance into the Internship in Architecture program. All ARE divisions are scheduled online through your NCARB record and are completed at test centres worldwide.

For more information about the NCARB ARE exams, please visit the NCARB website.



Exam Preparation Resources

There are many preparation resources available, most of it at no cost. This includes:

There are many resources available from this site, including a complete overview (exam overview, getting started with the ARE, preparing for the exams, taking the ARE, passing rates, ARE news, and important contacts) located in the ARE section, along with practice graphic vignettes and other study resources.

Interns who choose to write the AREs can refer to this section on the NCARB website for more information: Preparing for the ARE.

The Vancouver Public Library will allow you to reserve books in advanced, create and manage book resources on-line, and generate and save search lists. You can take books out on loan for about 21 days, and can often renew them online for a longer period.  More information about loan periods and fines is available on the VPL web site. Download the exam guide from the NCARB site, review the reference list at the back of the document for each test, and explore the catalogue of books available on-line.

Norman Dorf was a major contributor to the NCARB ARE graphic vignettes. In this guide, Dorf explains the process of each vignette as well as common mistakes and tips to passing. The book also reviews how the tests are computer-scored, a crucial step in understanding how to successfully complete this portion of each exam. Before taking any exam, review this invaluable resource. There are two versions in circulation; 3.1 and 4.0. Four copies are available through the AIBC Exam Preparation Resources.

These guides are available for purchase on-line. Each book covers one exam and contains study material, practice exams and answers, and vignette practice and solutions. They are available at a discount (See “Quick Links” on sidebar). There are also Kaplan Flashcards for help with key terms and definitions (available on loan from the AIBC).

The NALSA web site is another on-line source of study material covering the ARE exams. Available on this site are the Norman Dorf vignette study guide videos. Norman goes over each vignette step-by-step in these hour long sessions. Each vignette video is sold separately.


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