For several years now, I have been giving LEED Exam preparation classes for SHP, so I often get asked for advice and tips on the exams. I am, by no means a testing expert, but after passing 5 LEED exams and 9 Architectural Registration Exams and training over 750 people to take LEED exams, I do fancy myself to be fairly knowledgeable. So, without further delay, here are my top tips for preparing for (and passing!) the LEED Green Associate Exam.
- The Green Associate Exam is all about breadth, not depth, of knowledge. Can’t remember how many bike racks you need to get the Alternative Transportation: Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms Credit? Don’t worry- that type of question is far more likely to appear on an AP+ exam than a Green Associate exam. Do focus on a general understanding of sustainable design and the strategies that the LEED Rating Systems encourage and why. Also, remember that the Green Associate Exam doesn’t just cover one rating system, it covers all of them from Building Design and Construction to Operations and Maintenance and Homes.
- Use the study tools that work best for you. Let’s face it; I know this is not the first test you’ve ever taken. Most people have a long history of academic and professional test-taking skills to fall back on when they approach the LEED Exam. Why change strategies now? If you know you learn well from flashcards or practice tests, seek out those resources. Never been a fan of flashcards? Why start now? Seek out a popular study guide or study directly from the exam specifications. (Don’t forget SHP’s EcoFlash iPhone apps!)
- Download the FREE Green Associate Candidate Handbook (here) and use it! This free handbook contains all of the topics covered by the exam and the specific reference materials that were used to develop the exam. Most of the listed reference materials can be downloaded for free and will give you a solid foundation of knowledge for the exam. Use the topics and references contained in the handbook to guide your studies, and if you are looking to purchase and use a study guide, make sure the guide covers most, if not all, of the topics in the candidate handbook.
- This is a multiple choice test; take advantage of the format. Remember all those tricks you learned in grade school for taking multiple choice tests like using the process of elimination to give yourself the best shots on questions you’re not 100% sure of? All those tricks will work on this test too. Also, don’t forget the one where a later question in the exam may give you the answer to an earlier one that you struggled with if you pay attention!
- Read the question and ALL of the answers, then do it again. To me, this is the most important piece of advice. Many of us have at least moderate test-taking anxiety, and we tend to want to hurry up and “get through” the test. So, really focus on trying to relax, take your time and really comprehend the question before trying to answer it. It is so easy to overlook a key word and pick the wrong answer if you’re not being careful. For most people, two hours is plenty of time to take your time on a 100 question test.
- Use the tools the computer software gives you. The “mark” feature that the testing software has can be invaluable in giving you an opportunity to review the questions that you’re just not completely sure about before you bite the bullet and exit the test. Just try not to mark all of the questions.
- Take a practice test. In my opinion, there is no better way to assess your knowledge a few days before the exam than with a practice test. This also is a great way to practice those test taking skills I was talking about above. Not sure where to get a practice test? Come back next week when I post my free LEED Green Associate practice test.
I hope these tips help in your quest for your LEED Green Associate Credential. Please feel free to contact me via the contact page above if you have any questions!