Getting Ready to Take a LEED Exam? Here are Some Helpful Tips!

Now that our new St. Louis Chapter website is up and running, I thought it would be a good idea to post some helpful LEED exam preparation tips to our new blog. Having just recently passed my LEED AP exam for New Construction v2.2 in November 2008, I understand how much time and mental energy it takes to prepare for this exam. Let’s be honest…preparing for and taking the LEED exam is not cheap. In this dreadful economy, this is reason enough to take the exam once and pass! In addition to the monetary factors, significant time constraints such as work, school, family and social lives can make exam preparation even more difficult and stressful. This blog entry is not geared toward technical information about the LEED exam. Rather, I offer some (hopefully) helpful hints that I used to successfully prepare, reduce stress, optimize time, and successfully pass the exam.

In no particular order of importance, here are some helpful tips to consider:

1) If time allows, read the entire reference guide cover to cover. Yes, parts of it can be somewhat mundane, but you will pick up critical information by doing this. If it helps you, mark a series of date-based milestones in the reference guide to establish reading goals.

2) Attend a LEED-based workshop. There are several available at different times throughout the year. Most can be found through internet searches, posted on the St. Louis Chapter webpage, or from word of mouth. If you’re planning on taking the LEED Green Associate Exam, check out the August 21 LEED Core Concepts and Strategies class that the Chapter is hosting!

3) Visit the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) website ( and review the project certification process. The information overlaps with the reference guide, but I found that reviewing the information on the actual website where projects are registered helped solidify the knowledge.

4) While on the GBCI website, be sure to download the Candidate Handbooks – they are filled with helpful information including suggested Study Materials.

5) Since preparing for this exam relies heavily on memorization, make acronyms to remember certain items. For example, I used WIMSEE early in my studies to remember that the credit categories were Water efficiency, Innovation in design, Materials and resources, Sustainable sites, Energy and atmosphere, and indoor Environmental quality.

6) Get a good night sleep the night before the exam, and eat a good breakfast. I’m sure you’ve heard this more than one time through high school and college, but believe me, it helps.

7) During the exam, read each question through completely before answering. Read it twice if that helps. Understand what the question is asking and eliminate obviously incorrect answers. You will have the option to flag questions that you’re unsure about. If time allows you can go back to the flagged questions and review.

8) After you click the little button on the screen that says “End Exam” and find out that you’ve passed, smile, take a deep breath, collect your papers from the testing center, and go buy yourself a much deserved ice cream cone or drink of choice.

For more information about how the LEED Credentialing program has changed, check out the recent News and Notes Post on our website.

– Submitted by Michael Roark, USGBC-STL Advocacy Committee

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