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Prescribed Examination Review


The Architects Registration Board (ARB) was established by an Act of Parliament – the Architects Act 1997 (the Act) – and is the statutory regulator of architects in the UK. Further information about ARB can be found here.

Our duties under the Act include maintaining the UK Register of Architects (the Register) and prescribing (or ‘recognising’) the qualifications and practical training experience required for entry to the Register. We also have a duty to ensure individuals without prescribed qualifications wishing to apply for registration have an equivalent standard of competence to those with prescribed qualifications. To achieve this we prescribe examinations under section 4(2) of the Act.

In the UK an individual must achieve qualifications at three key stages known as Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 in order to apply for entry to the Register. We publish Criteria which set out the minimum levels of knowledge, understanding and ability that students of architecture must acquire at each stage. These Criteria form the basis of our decision as to whether qualifications from Schools of Architecture can be prescribed.

Prescribed Examinations

The same Criteria must be met by those who pass the Prescribed Examinations. The Prescribed Examination is not a stand-alone test of competence – it is additional to and not a substitute for having a qualification which the ARB considers to be broadly equivalent to a prescribed qualification. Having satisfied Part 1 and Part 2 requirements, either by obtaining qualifications or by passing the Prescribed Examination, Part 3 will then need to be obtained from a UK school of architecture. These requirements are not presently open to review.

The Review

We have now embarked on a ‘business as usual’ review of the Prescribed Examination process including the Examination Procedures. This means that we will be refining the existing process, but not reconsidering eligibility. The intention is for this review to be ‘light-touch’ as a further review covering all of ARB’s routes to registration is planned for the future. Further information will be made available when that project commences.

The ARB Criteria are currently subject to a separate ongoing review. We will need to make sure any changes that arise from the Criteria review are accommodated within the new Examination Procedures and that the outcomes of both reviews align.

Further information about the current Examination Procedures and Criteria can be found here:

Review Objectives

In relation to the review of the Procedures, our Board have agreed that any revised or updated procedures for the Prescribed Examination should enable ARB to:

  • Continue to discharge its functions under Section 4(1)b of the Architects Act 1997
  • Ensure that its processes for considering non-prescribed qualifications continues to be fair, evidence-based, proportionate, and robust
  • Ensure that the process supports the admission of competent individuals to the Register on completion of their examination, studies and practical experience
  • Ensure that all those passing the Prescribed Examination meet all of the ARB Criteria at the relevant level (Part 1 and/or Part 2)

As the review is a ‘business as usual’ review, it will be undertaken on the basis that to enter the Register, an individual must hold Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 qualifications.

Next steps

We are now considering the views of everyone who responded to the pre-consultation event and will be redrafting the Examination Procedures accordingly. After the Board has made a preliminary decision on the new Examination Procedures document, a further consultation exercise will be carried out, which will give all stakeholders, including those who missed the pre-consultation event, a further opportunity to comment.

If you have any questions or comments about the Prescribed Examination review, please contact us on

Comms Plan: Activities and Timescales

1 June 2018 – 30 June 2018

Pre-consultation exercise

Undertake a pre-consultation exercise with our stakeholders, including examiners, users and potential users of the prescribed examination.

12 June 2018
Round Table event – Nottingham
Jurys Inn
Waterfront Plaza, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3BJ

08 August 2018
Round Table event – London
8 Weymouth Street

10 August - 30 October 2018

Process Review

Collate outcomes of pre-consultation and present principles agreed to board for approval before drafting stage.


ARB Board Meeting

The Board to review the pre-consultation feedback and proposed revisions to the Procedures



Consultation period


Consultation feedback

Collate consultation responses


Consideration and approval

Consideration of consultation feedback and recommendations by the Board.

Planned approval of revised Procedures by the Board.


Procedures become effective

Procedures become effective

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