LEED Green Associate Exam Brain Dump

Thu, 2009-09-24 00:45

I took my LEED Exam for the LEED Green Associate this week and wanted to share some notes about the experience.

About the Prometric testing center. The morning I went to take my exam, Prometric had server issues and had to dismiss half of the candidates at the center because their computers would not load the exam (ouch, that’s painful). Luckily, my computer was not one of them. Overall, the testing center was a bit chaotic when I arrived. Aside from the obviously upset group of people above, there was a gentleman in front of me from South America who had four names listed in his passport but only two names listed in the Prometric system. They were not going to let him test, and he was very upset. Once they moved him off the front desk, I sailed right in. The Prometric communications had recommended that I arrive 30 minutes early, and I see why. I got there at 8 a.m. and wound up waiting in line and signing in at 8:22 after all of the drama. Interestingly, the Prometric proctor told me that she recommended that I utilize my scrap paper to do a brain dump during the ten-minute tutorial. I have heard experiences before where people were told that they were not allowed to do a brain dump.

About the structure of the LEED Green Associate exam. The exam was 100 questions in 2 hours. There is a calculator on the exam now, but I did not have to use it at all. There was the tutorial 10 minutes prior to the exam, and I actually took the post-exam survey, which was about the Prometric testing center experience. Overall, the structure was exactly what the candidate handbook said it would be.

About the questions on the LEED Green Associate. 80% of this LEED exam was single-answer multiple choice with exactly four choices. The remaining 20% was multiple-answer, multiple choice with choose 2 or 3 out of 4 or 5 answers. Many of the questions were very straightforward, and I finished my first pass at all of the answers in 58 minutes before returning to review the questions. The LEED Green Associate exam tested all of the LEED concepts at a very broad level. In some ways, the LEED Green Associate might actually be harder to study for since there is no credit framework within which to memorize or structure the information. 90% of the questions were very straightforward but also very in-depth. There were lots of refrigerant questions and down to the name and number of the refrigerants to use (wow, who has that memorized). The remaining 10% were tricky because of things like a double negative or because the wording was vague, and I had to read the question multiple times to even figure out what the exam was asking for (maybe it was a poorly worded question). I was actually amazed at the level of background knowledge required for this exam. There is no magic formula or LEED percentages to memorize but rather you’ll have to become well versed in all of the LEED green building topics in order to answer the questions on this exam.

Interestingly enough, the exam referred quite a bit to credit categories (Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, etc) and to credits themselves (Daylight, Fundamental Refrigerant Management, etc). I had not expected this on the exam since I assumed the LEED Green Associate was testing general knowledge and not any one rating system. I find this interesting because most people taking the LEED Green Associate probably would not have studied any one rating system in depth enough to know which categories allow Innovation in Design and which LEED credits were LEED prerequisite credits (so start studying a rating system).

I scored a 187 on the exam which was surprising to me because I didn’t think that there were any questions that I didn’t know or couldn’t answer. Maybe some of them were trickier than I thought, and I chose the wrong answer without even realizing it.

Overall, I still believe that a live instruction course is the best way to prepare for any of the LEED exams. In two days, we are able to cover so much of the material and really explain all of the core concepts. I know from my own experience before teaching sustainability and LEED that studying for the exam had me feeling like I was swimming a bit in a sea of knowledge unsure about what was important and exactly how many of the credit areas really worked. Now I love to see the “aha” moments that students in class have when we explain a concept (like light pollution’s “interior angle of maximum candelas must strike opaque interior surfaces” can be simply stated as “don’t shine your lights out windows at night”). If you are taking the LEED Green Associate Exam, I would highly recommend taking an Everblue LEED Green Associate Prep Course.