oral exam

California Architect License Exam

The California Architects License Exam also known as the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) or the oral exam is a Professional Licensure exam established and regulated by The California Architects Board.

The purpose of the exam is to promote public safety in California through examination, licensure and regulation. Upon completion of the Comprehensive Intern Development Program (CIDP) and successful completion of all nine sections of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), a candidate is then permitted to sit for the California Architects License Exam. The test plan is organized into four separate topics covering a specific aspect of architectural Practice. All candidates must pass this exam in order to be a licensed architect in the State of California.

The passing rate is about 45%.

The exam is administered by a panel of three architects with current California registration. A question is asked to the candidate. No further clarification of the question is allowed. The candidate is to give an answer that is scored by each member of the panel independently. The number of questions is approximately thirty. The average time is one and one half hours.

The California Supplemental Examination is based on a test plan that is divided into two primary areas of architectural practice - Organization of Architectural Practice and Delivery of Architectural Services. The tasks are organized into five categories as follows:

             A.  Professional Services
             B.  Professional Organization
             C.  Professional Responsibilities
             D.  Research, Design Analysis, and Programming
             E.  Design Implementation

Organization of Architectural Practice reflects the application of knowledge necessary to manage and provide professional services in a competent, ethical, legal, cost-effective, and timely manner. Delivery of Architectural Services reflects the application and integration of architectural principles and knowledge to create or modify built environments consistent with the protection of the public's health, safety, and welfare.

Each form of the California Supplemental Examination is based on a hypothetical project and includes graphic and written documents that candidates have the opportunity to review before and have access to during the supplemental examination. The project description and graphics provide a focus for the examination questions and establish a context for candidate responses. The California Supplemental Examination lasts approximately one hour, during which the candidates are given the opportunity to demonstrate their overall understanding of architectural practice. Candidates are required to demonstrate at least entry-level competence in the areas outlined in the supplemental examination test plan. A competent entry-level architect is one who is able to discharge the responsibilities incumbent upon him or her in providing professional architectural services to the public. A competent entry-level architect must understand the integration of architectural practice and the architect's responsibilities as they relate to architectural practice.


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