The blackout is nearly upon us… Are you ready? (As one of the exam candidates in AIA-Pittsburgh put it, “well, yes — I’ve stocked up on bottled water and canned goods…” Very funny, but remember, I do the entertaining here… anyhoo…)
It will take an estimated eight weeks to migrate record data from the former holder, Prometric, to Alpine Testing Solutions. Once the migration is complete and the blackout has ended, exam candidates will be able to schedule tests, monitor their exam history, and receive electronic score reports directly from NCARB’s website, using the “My Examination” portal. The test is long behind me, but I think that this will be a huge improvement to the system, and will greatly simplify the way candidates manage their exam process — gone will be the days of using an external site to schedule exams, and then waiting weeks to receive a score report via snail mail. Nothing about the exam itself will change — Prometric will continue to administer the exam, using the same testing centers, and content will remain the same (rescheduling fees will be modified to follow a tiered structure… but none of you reschedule your tests, so that shouldn’t matter, right??). For more information, check out the details on NCARB’s website.
If that eight-week dry spell scares you, there’s still time to squeeze in one more exam — the last day to take an ARE division prior to the blackout is June 30. Candidates will be able to schedule exam appointments again in late August — in order to hit the ground running, be sure to review NCARB’s guide for testing post-blackout. And don’t forget about the new security measures that will be implemented by Prometric, which might add some time to that first appointment.
For those of you grumbling about how much of an inconvenience this will be for you, take my advice: stop. The end result will be a much more streamlined and comprehensive method for managing your testing. As NALSA Publishing put it in a recent blast, NCARB is actually doing you a favor here. If you’re currently testing, maybe this is the incentive you need to take that next division, prior to the blackout (and if so, you should really think about scheduling that appointment RIGHTNOW!!). Then you can take the opportunity to prepare for your next exam — possibly one of the more difficult divisions? — in those eight weeks. If you’re planning to start testing, you can use those eight weeks to brush up on content and develop a testing strategy, decide which division to start off with, and gather study materials. Or you could use the blackout period to… oh, I don’t know… take a vacation. It is the summer, after all. Just be sure to stock up on bottled water.