Jul 19 2011

How to Become a LEED Green Associate In 60 Days or Less

Like it or not, sustainability is increasingly impacting every area of a CRE professional’s life. Ads appear all over the web for testing services that will help you pass the exam.  But which one gets you the best bang for your buck?

I recently prepared for the LEED Green Associate accreditation and passed the exam on the first try using the Leed Online Practice Exam test preparation study material from GreenExamPrep.  Here’s what I did, which is now my “how to get LEED Certified” process map.  Perhaps it will help you (no guarantees, though!)

  1. Download the information Candidate Guide from gbci.org and read it carefully. It will help you understand what you must do to be eligible to set for the exam.
  2. Go to the “Leed Online Practice Exam” at GreenExamPrep and purchase the LEED Green Associate Practice Tests with Exam Simulator and Study Guide package.  This package includes instant access to the “LEED Fundamentals + Leed Green Associate Study Guide” in PDF and MP3 audio download formats, along with the “Practice Tests.”
  3. Read the “LEED Fundamentals + Leed Green Associate Study Guide” content thoroughly, as if you’re reading a magazine, bulletin or book. Make every effort to understand, but at this point no major effort to memorize facts, stats, or other details. Focus on understanding, not memorizing, at this point.  Refer as needed to supporting materials from the gbci website to crystallize thinking and firm up understanding, but you don’t need to read every word of every publication there.
  4. If you are an auditory learner or do not have time to read, listen to the MP3s on your iPod during travel or other opportunities to focus your listening.
  5. Once you’ve got the basics, start taking the “practice tests.” Once you start taking these, you have a limited period of time to use this tool (90 days). Plan to schedule the exam before this expires.  If you have read the study material and absorbed the basics, you should be scoring in and around the 70’s this first go around.
  6. Take one or two practice tests a day. Each one will take an hour, give or take. When you take the tests, select the option to view the correct answers and commentary after every question—not at the end, and not for wrong questions only. This will help reinforce the material more frequently than if you refer back to each book and publication repeatedly.
  7. After taking each practice test once (from the broad pool of test questions), review all of your incorrect answers. Some you will have missed simply be not reading the question carefully. Others you will learn after missing it once. But others will contain more detail, more facts, concepts and stats you will need to remember. Copy those questions, answers, and commentary down into a word document. Study that document 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there, until you feel like you are getting those questions down and have memorized the key stats, figures, code references, and other recurring detail that will become obvious to you to memorize as you study.
  8. Begin taking a second round of practice tests. Your scores should be approaching 90 now. If so, you’re probably ready to take the exam if you’re exceeding 80% on each topic area. If you’re weak on one area, take a practice test focused on that specific area.
  9. Schedule the exam and reason carefully through the questions. Though there will be some you haven’t seen before, most of them can be reasoned through if you have a good grasp of the LEED basics and intent of green building programs.

Good luck!

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CRE Editors

The Editors moderate this CRE blog and the Corporate Real Estate LinkedIn Group.