Exam Security and Confidentiality

The mission of both the California Architects Board (Board) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public by assuring that those licensed as architects meet the qualifications to practice. The Board accomplishes this mission in part by requiring the successful completion of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) prior to receiving licensure in California.

The ARE (NCARB’s Exam) and CSE (Board’s Exam) are created under strict security and held in confidence. Exam content is the property of the respective organization. Acceptance of a security or confidentiality agreement is required prior to an exam administration. The security or confidentiality agreement prohibits any disclosure of exam content.

Candidates that divulge ARE content will be referred to the NCARB Committee on Professional Conduct (PCC) for disciplinary action which may include a suspension of testing privileges temporarily or permanently depending on the severity of the breech. Additionally, the Board may also take action against a candidate that has committed a breech which may result in a denial of licensure. Divulging content of the CSE will result in disciplinary action by the Board and may result in a denial of licensure. Civil penalties may also be sought by either NCARB or the Board for breeches of the respective exam content.

California law authorizes state agencies to maintain the security of their licensing examinations. Section 123 of the Business and Professions Code makes it a misdemeanor for any person who subverts or attempt to subvert any licensing examination or the administration of an examination. A person found guilty of these actions is liable for the actual damages sustained by the agency administering the examination, not to exceed $10,000 and the costs of litigation. Section 123.5 authorizes a superior court to issue an injunction restraining such conduct and Section 496 authorizes the California Architects Board to deny, suspend, revoke or otherwise restrict the license of an applicant or a licensee who has violated Section 123. The complete provisions of these statutes are provided below.

Questions regarding these or any other provisions of law regarding licensing examinations, licensure, or architectural practice can be answered by contacting the Board directly.