NCARB hate

NCARB hate

Postby dab11 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:27 am

I see a lot of hate on here for NCARB. Just curious as to why some of you feel that way?

If this is not the place for such a discussion feel free to delete coach. Thanks.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby gbalaka » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:50 am

dab11 wrote:I see a lot of hate on here for NCARB. Just curious as to why some of you feel that way?

If this is not the place for such a discussion feel free to delete coach. Thanks.


Have you personally taken any exams yet? Let's start with that.

Obviously, the people who hate on NCARB are the ones who have failed an exam or two....or three.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby dab11 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:59 am

I have. I passed all my exams several years ago. Never have personally had an issue with NCARB so I just wonder where all the hate comes from. I can understand from people who have failed multiple times being frustrated with NCARB even if that's really on the person and not the organization.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby thd7t » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:11 am

I don't have too many issues with NCARB personally, but I did have an exam freeze for nearly 40 minutes. It didn't impact my result, but I would understand how it could for some people (I lost a fair amount of time). NCARB was really responsive about it, particularly because I didn't complain to them, however I don't know if they're always so responsive and I would understand frustration with that.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby Sparky83 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:33 am

gbalaka wrote:
dab11 wrote:I see a lot of hate on here for NCARB. Just curious as to why some of you feel that way?

If this is not the place for such a discussion feel free to delete coach. Thanks.


Have you personally taken any exams yet? Let's start with that.

Obviously, the people who hate on NCARB are the ones who have failed an exam or two....or three.

Obviously? Assume much?
Try getting a license without them. They are the sole gatekeepers, and answer to no one. The state boards just do what they are told.
Find a copy of Jared Zurn's resume'. He's the examination director. He started his career drawing house plans for a builder, but the business failed. He tried it on his own, but failed. Went from there to teaching drafting at a technical school. NCARB, in their infinite wisdom, decided this is what they wanted to direct the entire examination program.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby dab11 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:18 am

Sparky83 wrote:Try getting a license without them. They are the sole gatekeepers, and answer to no one. The state boards just do what they are told.
Find a copy of Jared Zurn's resume'. He's the examination director. He started his career drawing house plans for a builder, but the business failed. He tried it on his own, but failed. Went from there to teaching drafting at a technical school. NCARB, in their infinite wisdom, decided this is what they wanted to direct the entire examination program.


They are indeed the gatekeepers. Unfortunately however, the state boards don't always just "do what they are told." If they did the requirements for licensure would already be uniform across all 54 jurisdictions. It's getting closer, but we're not there yet. Also, while NCARB may be the keepers of the exam they have also generated several different paths to licensure. Not trying to be argumentative, but realistically I believe it's better to have 1 governing body that understands that not everyone will reach licensure in the same way nor will everyone contribute to the profession in the same way. Allowing each state have their own set of rules when it comes to getting and maintaining a license seems convoluted to me. Out of curiosity Sparky what would you suggest to make the process better? Would you rather see it go back to each state setting up their own requirements for licensure?

Also, that tidbit about Jared Zurn - never heard that. Thanks for the info I will look that up.

This is an interesting convo to me so I hope more chime in with productive comments.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby gbalaka » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:43 am

Sparky83 wrote:
gbalaka wrote:
dab11 wrote:I see a lot of hate on here for NCARB. Just curious as to why some of you feel that way?

If this is not the place for such a discussion feel free to delete coach. Thanks.


Have you personally taken any exams yet? Let's start with that.

Obviously, the people who hate on NCARB are the ones who have failed an exam or two....or three.

Obviously? Assume much?
Try getting a license without them. They are the sole gatekeepers, and answer to no one. The state boards just do what they are told.
Find a copy of Jared Zurn's resume'. He's the examination director. He started his career drawing house plans for a builder, but the business failed. He tried it on his own, but failed. Went from there to teaching drafting at a technical school. NCARB, in their infinite wisdom, decided this is what they wanted to direct the entire examination program.


I personally have nothing against NCARB. I agree with the whole process with education, IDP/AXP, the AREs and the CSE through CAB. After all, they're setting standards and leveling the playing field. Getting licensed shouldn't be an "easy" process and I am glad it's not a walk in the park. It also makes that license that much more valuable one you acquire it. They shouldn't be given out like candy.

But I was answering the question as to why people hate them.....and it made sense to me that those who hate them are those who don't agree with their testing methods, test scores, etc.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby nickedemus » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:03 am

I don't like NCARB because I think they are inefficient, redundant, and money-hungry. I personally think that architects should go through a rigorous education and licensing process. But I think that NAAB is lax in its standards, and NCARB is just silly with its 6 tests that cost $1260 (previously 7 tests that cost $1470). Much of the content is repeated between tests--it's just overkill. The tests aren't even that hard, but when you have to take 7 tests, your chances of failing go up--and NCARB's income rises along with it because they make money on the retakes (coincidence? I think not). If you think that's fair, consider the fact that professional engineers only need to pay about $550 to test for their licenses ($225 for the FE and $325 for the PE), and they get paid more than architects on average! Even structural engineers pay only $1050 when all is said and done.

I also think that NCARB is really bad at disseminating information and that they overcomplicate pretty much everything. But if I go into details about that right now, I'll just ruin my mood.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby boops » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:52 pm

nickedemus wrote:I don't like NCARB because I think they are inefficient, redundant, and money-hungry.


Some of what you are saying I agree with, but remember that NCARB is a non-profit organization. I have posted this elsewhere about an article from 2015 that talks about the cost of exam fees. I don't know if it is still accurate.

"The income generated by the ARE administrations only covers a portion of the expenses related to the development. A percentage of the exam fees are supplemented by registered architects who maintain their NCARB Certificate."

https://www.ncarb.org/blog/does-ncarb-profit-are
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby kerzzo » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:54 pm

I doubt anyone "hates' them. it's more of a frustration with them.
eventually people will pass, but what I think frustrates everyone is that very dedicated individuals, very knowledgeable individuals, very responsible individuals struggle to pass while in some instances I think everyone of us knows at least one person who is the opposite and NCARB gave them a license like "candy". so, there goes the way NCARB "levels the ground" for all of us(?). I don't think so.
it is also true that others pay a lot less for certifications and make a lot more than us. even a PMP would be directing the architect and a lot of the CIDs would have the architect as draftsman. not true in all cases, but good luck to all and stay focused.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby boops » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:46 am

To stir the pot even more, NCARB will be raising the cost of each division from *$210 to $235 starting October 2018...but don't worry it's still $60 cheaper than the total cost of the ARE 4.0.

Source: https://www.ncarb.org/blog/why-you-should-finish-the-are-year

*edit: I incorrectly stated the current cost per division. I have revised.
Last edited by boops on Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby nickedemus » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:01 am

boops wrote:
nickedemus wrote:I don't like NCARB because I think they are inefficient, redundant, and money-hungry.


Some of what you are saying I agree with, but remember that NCARB is a non-profit organization. I have posted this elsewhere about an article from 2015 that talks about the cost of exam fees. I don't know if it is still accurate.

"The income generated by the ARE administrations only covers a portion of the expenses related to the development. A percentage of the exam fees are supplemented by registered architects who maintain their NCARB Certificate."

https://www.ncarb.org/blog/does-ncarb-profit-are


Don't be deceived by the term "non-profit." It doesn't mean "charity." It just means no shareholders, and no dividends to pay out. Instead, all of the revenue is re-invested in the company, which means that it can be used to pay salaries--for example, the CEO of NCARB made $434,789 in 2016--almost $186 per hour. In fact, the average hourly wage of the 14 trustees, key employees, and independent contractors exceeds $54 per hour, while the 11 officers and directors average $103/hr.

NCARB is a 501(c)6 non-profit, which basically means it's a business league that operates primarily to promote the common business interests of its members--think "lobbyist." Unlike the 501(c)3 non-profits (which are actually charities), there are no rules in place in with 501(c)6 organizations that prevent influential members from unreasonably benefiting at the expense of the nonprofit. In this respect, NCARB is certainly not the worst organization out there, but its leadership is pretty well compensated.

If you're having trouble believing this, it's a matter of public record. Just get yourself a free account on Guidestar and take a look at their Form 990 for 2016:
http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2 ... 188-9O.pdf

Most non-profits are just a way for rich people to pay themselves a lot of money and look good doing it. But don't worry, if we're lucky, we might be able to design one of their swank mansions :D :lol:
Last edited by nickedemus on Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby dab11 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:40 am

nickedemus wrote:for example, the CEO of NCARB made $434,789 in 2016--almost $9,700 per hour.


Not to distract from the overall conversation but you may want to double check your math :lol:

If they were making $9,700 per hour that'd be over $20,000,000 a year. If it was $434,789 more like $209/HR. (assuming 40 hour weeks...)
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby nickedemus » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:05 am

dab11 wrote:
nickedemus wrote:for example, the CEO of NCARB made $434,789 in 2016--almost $9,700 per hour.


Not to distract from the overall conversation but you may want to double check your math :lol:

If they were making $9,700 per hour that'd be over $20,000,000 a year. If it was $434,789 more like $209/HR. (assuming 40 hour weeks...)



Holy cow. I knew that looked outrageous. I forgot to multiply my denominator by 52. LOL!!
Ok, that brings the average salary down to $55/hr.
And the CEO put in 45 hours per week, so he's really only making $186/hr.
Still a nice salary.

*I fixed everything in my post.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby gbalaka » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:12 am

nickedemus wrote:
dab11 wrote:
nickedemus wrote:for example, the CEO of NCARB made $434,789 in 2016--almost $9,700 per hour.


Not to distract from the overall conversation but you may want to double check your math :lol:

If they were making $9,700 per hour that'd be over $20,000,000 a year. If it was $434,789 more like $209/HR. (assuming 40 hour weeks...)



Holy cow. I knew that looked outrageous. I forgot to multiply my denominator by 52. LOL!!
Ok, that brings the average salary down to $55/hr.
And the CEO put in 45 hours per week, so he's really only making $186/hr.
Still a nice salary.

*I fixed everything in my post.



Haha! Either that or the CEO only worked for total of 45 hours in 2016. :)
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby nickedemus » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:15 am

gbalaka wrote:Haha! Either that or the CEO only worked for total of 45 hours in 2016. :)


That would be a pretty sweet deal!
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby kerzzo » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:04 am

nickedemus wrote:
gbalaka wrote:Haha! Either that or the CEO only worked for total of 45 hours in 2016. :)


That would be a pretty sweet deal!


that IS still a pretty good deal at $209/hr---that's a Principal's deal in any firm in the US. right?
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby thd7t » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:27 am

kerzzo wrote:
nickedemus wrote:
gbalaka wrote:Haha! Either that or the CEO only worked for total of 45 hours in 2016. :)


That would be a pretty sweet deal!


that IS still a pretty good deal at $209/hr---that's a Principal's deal in any firm in the US. right?

That's more like a Principal's billable rate!
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby kerzzo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:46 pm

thd7t wrote:
kerzzo wrote:
nickedemus wrote:
gbalaka wrote:Haha! Either that or the CEO only worked for total of 45 hours in 2016. :)


That would be a pretty sweet deal!


that IS still a pretty good deal at $209/hr---that's a Principal's deal in any firm in the US. right?

That's more like a Principal's billable rate!


but no real liability(?), correct? Regardless, I hope all the ARE candidates pass--
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby tom999q » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:13 pm

I think a lot of you are missing the point, especially the ones who have already passed the exams. I think we can all agree that the exam questions are convoluted and can be interpreted in many different ways. Instead of saying "A plus B equals X", the questions say "The preponderance of A in June in the northern hemisphere could, at times acclimate to B, thus causing the probability for X to occur". Also, after spending up to a hundred thousand dollars on education, apprenticing, and testing through 8-12 years of your life, can that not be considered enough to establish the fact that one is determined, disciplined, and mature enough to take on the role of a licensed architect??? I agree that there should be an exam at the end of the long, long road, but to attempt to delve into the minds of the nine people who made the exam to figure out what they were thinking the day they concocted the questions, is just outright absurd. This might just be an off-the-wall comment, but I think the tests should contain REAL-WORLD questions, not fantastical questions that make you question your validity and worthiness to take the test. I've taken other state/federal exams in the past, and they were hard, but nowhere near the point of coining the phrase "WTF questions". Even the Bar Exam and brain surgeons final exam have better passing rates than the ARE. It seems that there is no governing body to govern the governing body, so the small group of people who dictate the tests are left to their own devices. After five years of college, 9 1/2 years of working under the direct supervision of a licensed architect, eight years of studying/testing eleven exams, what is the cutoff time with which a promising architect who has alot to contribute to the world of architecture throw up his hands and say "I'm done; I'll take the hit on a hundred thousand dollars and ten years of my life to not make it to the finish line"?? I know multiple people (and I'm sure you, the reader, do too) that went to architecture school, interned, couldn't pass the exams, and now work in unrelated fields. Does this not do a dis-service to the architecture industry? I think it's ridiculous.
I know some of you are going to retort with exclamations of, "You have to know how to test", or "Put yourself in the shoes of the test makers"; but that method of logic totally negates the fact that we've already been studying for this test for the last ten years, why should we throw all that knowledge out the window to devise an unrelated method of studying to appease the test makers? The quiet majority of ARE test takers are failing these exams at an alarming rate and it's sad to see that in the end, many of them will not become architects after devoting a large portion of their lives to becoming one.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby Neves » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:43 am

My problems with NCARB stem from issues regarding IDP credits getting them reviewed and credited in a timely matter, I spent a total of 8 months going back and forth over the phone trying to resolve it so that I could initially begin testing. I finally got fed up and took a trip to DC walked into the office to see people basically doing nothing at their desks however after talking to someone in person magically a week later my paperwork was cleared up and I was able to begin testing. It was very upsetting to be paying yearly dues and yet have to go to such lengths to get someone to do their job compounded by seeing how nice they have it over there on our dime. I've since passed the ARE and became licensed however I still have a bitter taste from that IDP process...
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby Melon Panda » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:24 pm

NCARB has deleted my thread on their 5.0 Community Site including the comments from two other ARE candidates. I didn’t have any problems with 4.0 but I feel they are not supportive regarding 5.0. It makes me sometimes confused.

-MP
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby mjs » Thu May 10, 2018 9:10 am

If you refer to my post about how the ARE made me a worse architect, you will see that the secrecy that NCARB keeps about it's tests benefit no one except themselves. It makes no sense to have "minimum standards" then not actually provide study materials on the actual test. I failed one test (vignette) total and I couldn't have less respect for NCARB as an organization. I think they are an embarrassment to the profession and make the licensing process a laughingstock to other professions.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby jackstatic » Tue May 15, 2018 10:36 am

I don't hate NCARB, I just don't think they provide enough information regarding the testing. I graduated college in 2005, I worked at an architecture firm from 2005 to 2011. In 2010 I completed my IDP training requirements and got everything approved for testing.
In 2011 I was let go from the firm due to major cut backs, they let go of just about 75% of the company and put everyone else on a 4 day work week. I had trouble finding a new job, and took a drafting position at an engineering firm I had interned with back in high school just to make ends meet. In 2015 I began testing for the ARE, passed BS as it was an utter joke with 4 years of MEP work experience. My only studying was a single pass thru Kaplan. As a result I under studied for SPD and while I failed, I got a 1 in every area except for 1, which I got a 2. I schedule CDS for 2016, remember I've been out of architecture proper for 5 years at this point, and I passed.
In fact I passed every test on the first shot just based on studying and visiting these boards except for SS.
SS I focused too heavily on the math, and failed horribly, the second time around I used basically just Thaddeus and the FEMA materials and passed.

So lets recap, I was out of architecture for 4 years when I began testing, and out of it for 7 when I passed my final test. At this point I have been working as an "engineer" longer than I was ever working as an "architect" I am eligible to take my FE and in 2.5 years my PE. Now sure, its a similar field, and I work closely with architects, and a lot of the codes over lap but these tests absolutely are based on your skill to test as much as they are on your knowledge of the profession. There are way too many "gotcha" questions and double negatives in my opinion to add to a timed and expensive exam.

Again, I'm not mad at NCARB, no hate from me there, I just don't think these tests are properly weighted, nor is there enough information issued officially, I had to use the many resources available here and elsewhere to help prep for these.
With that said, I do see Architects who shouldn't be licensed but are, and designers who aren't licensed but should be.

Of course maybe I am crazy and I did actually learn a thing or two in my 13 years in this industry.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby nickedemus » Tue May 15, 2018 3:27 pm

jackstatic wrote:There are way too many "gotcha" questions and double negatives in my opinion to add to a timed and expensive exam.


Agreed. A lot of the test content is reading comprehension. You have to pay attention to what they are really asking. I guess NCARB can argue that architects should have high-level reading comprehension skills. But a challenging technical question requires the same level of critical thinking, if not more.

Instead of developing challenging technical questions, NCARB has a bunch of easy "gimme" questions dressed up to look difficult. And you can really stumble on these.

Whenever I faced a very tough-looking question, one that would take more than one or two minutes to answer, I would go back to it later and reread it. Nine times out of ten, my first impression of the question was wrong, and the question was much easier than it first looked.

And that's why this happens:

jackstatic wrote:I do see Architects who shouldn't be licensed but are, and designers who aren't licensed but should be.


I think these trick questions are kind of underhanded. People aren't studying for reading comprehension. They go in expecting to be tested on technical concepts.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby vrcat25 » Tue May 15, 2018 4:39 pm

nickedemus wrote:
I think these trick questions are kind of underhanded. People aren't studying for reading comprehension. They go in expecting to be tested on technical concepts.


I very much agree with this! NCARB has said in youtube videos that they aren't "trick questions", but that's exactly what they are.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby Coach » Tue May 15, 2018 4:49 pm

Nobody is trying to trick you.
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby Sarcasmo » Thu May 17, 2018 10:27 am

Nickedemus -- I like your posts. But, I'm not really understanding your "trick question" angle. But I'm not mad, bro -- anyway, hey, you and me have this ARE thing in the rear view... which, upon remembering, should always call for a cold stout.

Without revealing exam content, I'm not sure if you can give an example of a trick question.

I didn't come out of my six 5.0 exams feeling that I had been tricked. In PPD and PDD, as well as in PA, there are definitely some questions with a much higher level of complexity than others -- but most of those were of the design strategy type -- best system given this scenario, where should these spaces be oriented, etc. Granted, a few questions have become a bit notorious for their WTF nature, but in my experience these are only a handful in number, and not representative of the exams in general.

But hey, don't let me derail the NCARB anger train...
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Re: NCARB hate

Postby nickedemus » Fri May 18, 2018 4:09 am

Sarcasmo wrote:Nickedemus -- I like your posts. But, I'm not really understanding your "trick question" angle. But I'm not mad, bro -- anyway, hey, you and me have this ARE thing in the rear view... which, upon remembering, should always call for a cold stout.


Indeed!

Just to be clear, I didn't come out of the exam feeling tricked. But I often left the exam feeling like the test was surprisingly easy. The major challenge was often to decipher the complicated wording of simple questions.

Yes, I did absolutely need to know the subject matter once I decoded those questions. But there weren't any major technical problems to solve. It felt as though I wasn't being tested on my knowledge of the subject matter, but only on my ability to identify it. My reading comprehension was challenged, but not my critical thinking ability.

I think that it is possible to develop a test that asks direct, challenging questions. The ARE asks a lot of indirect, unchallenging questions.

Hope that makes sense.
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