4.0 vs 5.0: Scoring
Whether you are starting to test in the ARE 5.0 version, or deciding whether or not to switch from 4.0 to 5.0, there are many questions about the difference between the two.
Are there any differences in scoring between the two tests? As a matter of fact, there are!
The 4.0 version of the ARE uses a "conjunctive scoring" method. This means that candidates cannot compensate for a low score in one area with a high score in another area. Rather, they are required to show a certain amount of mastery in every area to earn a passing score overall.
As well all know, the 4.0 version is made up of a multiple choice/fill in the blank part followed by one or more vignettes. The candidates must show sufficient mastery in both parts of the exam in order to pass. So, if a candidate performed poorly on a vignette, he/she would fail, regardless of how well he/she performed on the multiple choice section.
Good news! The new 5.0 version of the ARE has not only eliminated the vignette portion of the exam, but has also brought along a new scoring model. Now, every item on the 5.0 exams are of equal weight. Each item, regardless of question type (ie. hot spot, mc, fill in, etc.) is worth the same amount toward your overall score.
Remember this when testing in the new ARE 5.0! Every question is pulling the same amount of weight. NCARB's Director of Exams, Jared Zurn, says to candidates: "if you're getting into a complex question that's taking a long time and you still have 20 questions to go...flag it, move on, and go back to it when you have time at the end".