Our education professionals and learning designers spent a lot of time on our materials, and we're confident in the work they've done. So confident, that if you don't pass the ARE® using our study programs, we'll pay for your retake. 

Why are we so confident?


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We were the first provider to be approved by NCARB for all six divisions, and we're constantly reviewing our material to make sure it's up-to-date and accurate.

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Highest pass rates

Black Spectacles members pass the ARE® at substancially higher rates than the NCARB national average across all six divisions.

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Hands-on learning

Our Expert membership also includes access to virtual workshops, where you can work through the toughest exam topics in a group setting led by a licensed architect coach.

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A thriving community

You don't have to go at this alone. Our ARE® community is full of knowledge, support, and advice from your peers to help you pass the exam.

How to claim your free retake:

Step 1

Sign up for an Expert membership to qualify for the guarantee.

Step 2

Use all study materials to the fullest to meet guarantee qualifications. 

Step 3

Take the exam! If you don't pass, you can claim your guarantee right from your member dashboard. We'll call NCARB and issue you a seat credit for one retake—because we still have faith in you.

How to qualify

Qualifications for Pass the ARE® Guarantee

We know you're putting in the work, so we want to help you out. To meet our guarantee standards, just meet the following requirements**: 

• Be an Expert subscriber with an individual membership*. 

• Attend and actively participate in three virtual workshops in the 60 days leading up to your exam date.

• Watch 100% of the video lectures and practical application videos in the 60 days leading up to your exam date. 

• Master 100% of the division flashcards in the 60 days leading up to your exam date.

• Get 80% or higher on a practice exam in the 60 days leading up to your exam date.

• Report all pass/fails in your member dashboard, along with the scheduled exam dates

• Make your claim within 30 days of the exam date of the failed division. 

• Submit your NCARB ARE® Score Report for proof of fail within the 30-day claim period. 

• Apply the NCARB seat credit to the retake of the division once you've meet all requirements. 


If you don't pass and meet all the requirements for the guarantee, we'll call NCARB and give you a seat credit for one retake—because we still have faith in you.

* For members registered under a firm or group membership, please reach out to your account manager, or learn more about our Group Guarantee.

Guarantee FAQs: 

How long do I need to hold an Expert membership for to qualify for the guarantee?

Individual Expert members must have an active Expert membership for a minimum of one month. You don't need an active subscription to apply after taking your exam. Your study progress and guarantee application must fit in the timeframes listed in the requirements above. 

I've studied all the content and still failed my exam. Do I get free access to Black Spectacles to study for the retake?

No; the terms of the guarantee cover the NCARB retake seat only, and do not cover the cost of study content for the retake. 

The requirements state that I must study the specified content in the 60 days leading up to my exam date. What if I started studying with Black Spectacles a few months ago?

If you've previously watched videos or mastered flashcards in your dashboard from more than 60 days before your next exam date, you should clear the previously logged process for all viewed videos and flashcards. If you don't do this, you won't meet the guarantee requirements. 

Get your licensure over with, once and for all