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Prescribed Examination Review

Our role

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.

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.

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:

ARB’s objectives – Prescribed Examination Review

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.

What do we need from you?

We would be grateful if you could complete the following questionnaire to give your views on the Prescribed Examination with the review’s objectives in mind. We believe in the benefits of consulting our stakeholders and others when forming our policies and guidance and your feedback will play an important part in refining the Prescribed Examination. If you have no comments to make in relation to a particular question, you can leave it blank though we would encourage you to give as much feedback as possible.


Please download and save the survey form, complete the feedback sections, save and return it to us at

Equality and Diversity Considerations

We would also be very grateful for your input on whether there are any equality and diversity considerations that we need to make as part of this review. We have included a section at the end of the survey specifically on this topic, however we would welcome your comments throughout the consultation document. Even though there are limits to the changes that can be made in a business as usual review, we believe there are still very many important considerations that can be undertaken as part of the process.

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.

29 November 2018

ARB Board Meeting

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

1 December 2018 – 28 February 2019


Consultation period

March 2019– April 2019

Consultation feedback

Collate consultation responses

May 2019

Consideration and approval

Consideration of consultation feedback and recommendations by the Board.

Planned approval of revised Procedures by the Board.

September 2019

Procedures become effective

Procedures become effective

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