Quick Thoughts About LEED v3

Last Updated:
Mon, 2012-10-29 14:53

 Here are some things you need to know if you’re thinking of becoming a LEED  AP under the new system:


  • GBCI has publicly stated that the changes to the exam system reflect the rapid advances in green building technology and practice in the marketplace. Therefore, the new exam system will help ensure that LEED professionals have the latest knowledge and understanding of green building practices AND that their proficiency is recognized.<
  • The new exam handbook emphasizes the three hierarchical cognitive levels in which questions were written to. They are Recognition Items, Application Items, and Analysis Items. GBCI states the definition of them as:

Recognition Items: These items assess a candidate’s ability to recall factual material that is presented in a similar context to the exam references.


Application Items: These items provide the candidate with a novel problem or scenario that the candidate can solve using familiar principles or procedures described in the exam references.


Analysis Items: These items assess a candidate’s ability to break the problem down into its components to create a solution. The candidate must not only recognize the different elements of the problem, but must also evaluate the relationship or interactions of these elements. (GBCI LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook, July 2009, Page 5)


  • A test taker should expect questions that were written related to each of these areas in order to demonstrate knowledge. Analysis items will test the ability of a person to analyze scenarios, breaking down the LEED elements and investigating the possible synergies that exist. This context of question breakdown did not exist in previous Candidate Handbooks.
  • The AP+ Specialty will be a person who has an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices and specialization in a particular LEED Rating System such as Building Design and Construction (BD+C) or Operations and Maintenance (O+M). The AP+ Specialty exam and designation is representative of an individual who has passed the exam and possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in the design process, to support and encourage integrated design, and to streamline the application and certification process.
  • The LEED Green Associate is a person who possesses the knowledge and skill to understand and support green design, construction, and operations. The LEED Green Associate exam is designed to measure your skills and knowledge against criteria developed by Subject Matter Experts and to assess your knowledge and skill to understand and support green design, construction, and operations. This exam is most appropriate for anyone entering the world of green building as well as someone who supports the LEED system.
  • The LEED AP + Specialty exam is designed to measure and assess the candidate’s skills and knowledge of green building science, the LEED Rating System, and the certification process as set forth in the most recent Job-Task Analysis that was conducted by GBCI during the 3rd quarter of 2008.

In addition to the study materials listed in the candidate handbooks, I would recommend studying sustainability and the principles of green building. Understanding green building holistically will benefit a test taker greatly. From there, you will understand how the USGBC is using LEED to assess the principles of green building.


On another note, since many preparatory sites out there are as “green” to this new exam as you are, I would wait until they have their bugs worked out before buying into the idea that whomever wrote their sample exams knows how the new exam is different.