NCARB conducts a study every ten years called the Analysis of Practice. They invite architects, licensure candidates, and related professionals to take a lengthy 12 part survey. They use "results from the analysis as a guide in making critical updates to NCARB’s programs and services, including the national experience program and licensing exam,”
NCARB's exam committees research any proposed changes and make recommendations to NCARB's Board of Directors, who may then approve the changes.
At CLARE we analyzed the results of the last published study done in 2012 to gain insight into the development of ARE 5.0, launched 5 years later in 2017. What stood out was the large portion of respondents who are well into their careers as architects and their answers reflected that wealth of experience. When used to create ARE 5.0 which is taken by young, recent graduates, with far less experience, the results are evident in the very low pass rates. Take PcM for example, most architects hire other professionals such as accountants, lawyers, insurance brokers, etc., to handle much of what that division is testing. It's difficult to gain AXP hours in these areas, thus online AXP courses have been created. ARE 5.0 relies on experience most candidates do not have. Unlike past ARE versions which siloed specific content into separate divisions, ARE 5.0 content overlaps in numerous divisions if not all and makes studying for the exam very difficult for candidates.