Give up


Hi all,

I am giving up on the licensure exam. I had pieces missing during my exam (documents missing to select a correct answer) and complained about it yet, I was told by phone that I was incorrect.  I spent time documenting on my scrap paper which items were missing yet no one cared.  Anywho - after passing all but one test my rolling clock expired and I lost credit for all previously passed tests that were counting towards the new format.  I can not afford to continue dishing out money when the information is difficult to read, lags, and is incomplete.  I am giving up on this process as I would have to start all over with the new glitchy testing software.  

Are any of you currently working in offices and above the age of 40 without your license?

Jul 14, 18 12:56 pm
Wood Guy

Fatigued, that sucks. It seems like there must be a body you can appeal to?

I am 44 and very busy working as a self-employed residential designer; the reasons why are somewhat different from yours, but at a higher level not really that different. I have done some consulting for architectural offices, have had offers to work for them as an employee, and know several talented designers who work at architectural offices. Not being licensed does limit the projects or roles you can take on, but it is definitely possible to be reasonably successful without a license.

But it seems like if you've made it this far, it's worth keeping your chin up and pursuing what you feel is fair. 

Jul 14, 18 2:59 pm

honestly being licensed is no big deal. I didn’t get a raise... I didn’t get a promotion... I didn’t even get a congratulations... don’t stress it. My principals are not even licensed but they know everything about building a building. Just hang in there and don’t feel discouraged 

Jul 14, 18 3:23 pm

most importantly don’t give up!

Jul 14, 18 3:24 pm

And I must be an [architect]
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out
And you can build
And I can will
And you can call
I can't wait until
You can stash
And you can seize

And I can love
And I can love
And I know that the tide is turning 'round
So don't let the bastards grind you down

Jul 14, 18 4:26 pm

bowie's heroes?


You most likely didn’t have pieces missing in your exam. The pass score is like 60%, instead of spending time writing down what was missing you should have skipped to the next question. Lastly, unless you passed all your previous exams on the same date, they wouldn’t expire at once. I don’t think there was a combo of 4.0 tests and transitioning to 5.0 where losing one knocks out all. 

Jul 15, 18 12:04 am

Construction Documents & Services transferred to four of the new exams, and the oldest of the 4.0 exams that made up credit in 5.0 is what set the rolling clock. So while not all of the exams, it could be a significant portion depending on the 4.0 test that hits the deadline. I believe the new tests are also “streamed” and there have been issues, but you’re supposed to notify Prometric staff right away at that moment to document it, not write it down on papers that you cannot take with you out of the testing center.


thanks all- you’re right.  I should have just posted asking about working in your 40s while unlicensed.  Two topics resulted in only a portion being addressed.  

I lost 3 exams at once.  I lose the fourth exam in a couple of months.  So you’re right - you don’t lose all 6 at once - but you can lose a majority  

I did answer all questions - I tried to figure out where the missing items were by troubleshooting on my scrap paper rather than rechecking my work - which was a waste or time.  I thought well at least they can see what I’m talking about when I contact them and notify them of the issue I had. 

Anywho you’re right - it is what it is.  I just can’t afford to start over with the tests financially right now especially in a pretty new format - I have taken a couple of tests in the new format and have noticed a few oddities that I won’t discuss that made me feel I shouldn’t keep retesting until it’s smoother.   

Some people are better test takers with this and have zero fails but I am not one of them lol.  

Thanks again for all of the responses 

Jul 15, 18 9:47 am

So you felt the question didn’t provide enough information? Not that the information didn’t load?


So you felt the question didn’t provide enough information? Not that the information didn’t load?


Yes I felt the question did not provide enough information. I have heard of information not loading quickly from other exam candidates.


Sometimes we give up right before we have something. I felt there was info missing on my test too but you just got to move on. Like someone said, you don't have to ace it just pass it. Those things are actually factored in. Sometimes I wonder if that's part of the "test". Like, can you move on and not get distracted by something that isn't just so. I also lost three exams from the rolling clock. I started testing, left the profession, then came back over 5 years later, started new and knocked them all out. Don't look backwards, look forwards. I think it's ok to not be licensed but it also sounds like you want it. You are almost there!

Jul 15, 18 10:14 am

Thanks for the encouraging words - that had to be a tough experience for sure, but I’m glad that it worked out.


This profession and the bureaucracy of the organizations (ncarb, AIA) and state board requirements, ethics, blah blah, have a tendency to fatigue you out and second guess you continuing your profession. Don't let this be the case. 

I remember when I was taking my exams, there was a glitch with the system for one of my exams, i think i failed because of it but I re took it and finally passed all my exams. Yes the system is bs, the whole test taking experience, the programs and the high cost of prepping for it.  

In the end, you have to push through and get your license if you want some independence. You will make up for the cost once you start offering professional services. 

Jul 15, 18 12:10 pm

Thanks for the positive words! Good for you for following through - it paid off for sure.

I didn’t realize the passing score was 60%. I thought it was more like 80%. But according to ncarb it’s anywhere between 57-68.

If you can’t make a D- on a test after decades in the field, there must be some other issues at play.
Jul 15, 18 3:52 pm

Not sure if it helps but switching from the mindset of “what is the right answer” to “what are they asking me” helped a lot. I felt that 5.0 did a pretty good job of creating situations vs. regurgitate correct studied answer. Which I think is why so many have difficulties because we are used to how it was in school where there was info given by professor and then regurgitate correct answer on final and you pass. The ARE’s are applied knowledge through NCARB land situations. So when you ask yourself “what are they asking me” you can think “okay in NCARB land in this situation we are talking about X & Y which one of these questions deal with  X Or Y oh just this one answer okay yeah this is it.”

Jul 15, 18 4:02 pm

I work under someone who is in his late 40s and is not licensed. (He refuses to take the exams even though he has 22+ years experience.) The only time it is sometimes an issue is that he is not as familiar with large systems coordination. But not being licensed in no way affects his ability to detail, deal with clients, or any other part of the job. Even though I am licensed, I still learn a ton from him about the day-to-day managing of projects and coming up with design solutions on the fly. 

As long as you’re competent and comfortable working under someone else for the rest of your career, you’ll be fine. 

Jul 15, 18 5:03 pm

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