I know the feeling: you've registered to take the LEED Green Associate test and the anxiety begins. Where should you start? Should you study the recommended books only? Should you memorize the entire USGBC website?
When I was researching to figure out how much time to invest studying I found some people passed by studying fifteen days for 5 hours each day. I don't have the luxury of five free hours a day because of work but I do have two hours of commute so I took advantage of that plus my lunch time at work. The following 30-day routine got me 185 points (you need 170 to pass):
Study materials you'll need:
- "LEED Core concepts guide" PDF downloaded to your phone or tablet.
- "LEED GA" app in your phone.
- GBES practice exams subscription ($69.95).
- Impact category and point allocation development process PDF downloaded to your phone or tablet.
Part One. Study by category every weekday (nine days):
On your way to work
There are nine categories to practice in the "LEED GA" app; answer all questions related to one category. If you get an incorrect answer, make sure you read the details for incorrect answers.
Lunch Time (25 - 30 min)
- Go to section 4 of the "LEED Core concepts guide". and read carefully the category that matches with the "LEED GA" app category that you practiced in the morning. It's important that you understand the chapter clearly.
On your way home
- Repeat the exact same test that you took in the morning in the "LEED GA" app. Most likely, your grade will increase considerably and you will have a good understanding of that day's category.
Part Two. Take GBES practice tests until achieving 85% accuracy (6 - 12 days):
On your way to work / On your way home
Set the "LEED GA" app for practice tests of 30+ questions with all categories included. Remember to read and understand the details of incorrect answers; you should start noticing that all questions have one word that gives the answer away; this is also true for the actual test.
Lunch Time (25 - 30 min.)
In the GBES website, take the tests in order (A, B, C..). Each test consists of 100 questions and will let you know at the end how well you are doing in each category. You can stop practicing this tests when you get 85% accuracy. Don't forget to set the tests to show you the explanation of incorrect answers.
Part Three. "Closer to actual test" experience (7 days):
On your way to work / On your way home
- Get a more real experience by setting the "GBES practice tests" and "LEED GA" app to give you the results until the end of the test. Retake the tests for your weakest percentages.
- Do one practice test; it should take you considerably less time by now to finish it.
- Read the "Impact category and point allocation development process" PDF with special attention to Appendix A.
Part Four. The weekend before your test (2 days):
- Download the score card for BD+C: New Construction and Major Renovations. Memorize the eight categories, the total points you can get with each and its prerequisites. In my opinion, there is no need to memorize the rest of the scorecard.
Part five. Exam day
Relax and enjoy the ride! If you pass, you can start preparing for LEED AP (or not). If you don't pass, you have two more chances and you will know exactly what to expect.
A few tips before I go:
- Understand green power, RECs and carbon offsets ( I didn't and lost several points)
- Know the difference between minimum program requirements and credit prerequisites.
- If the test comes and you didn't have time to learn the impact categories, all you have to remember is that it's all about reversing contribution to the climate change.
- Know the different roles taken by USGBC and GBCI.
I know this will take some of your precious break time for a few weeks but the amount of satisfaction you will feel after passing the test makes it worth it.
Disclaimer: The information above represents only my personal experience and does not guarantee any specific result.