Question: Victor asks: Hello, I am currently working on my Certified Apartment Management designation and I would like to complement it with a LEED Green Associate or LEED AP designation. Which would be the most convenient and what steps must I follow … since I am rather busy I would like specifics about objective course loads (how much time do I have to put into it to successfully pass the exams).
Answer: Hi Victor, thank you for your email. If you are just looking for the acronym “LEED” after your name, the LEED Green Associate credential is definitely the place to start. In terms of the time commitment, some people spend hundreds of hours studying for their LEED Green Associate and LEED AP exams. We recommend using practice tests (start with free which will give you an honest reading on how well you know the material) and then invest in some good exam preparation materials made by people who have lots of direct experience with the exams.
LEED GA vs. LEED AP
LEED Green Associate is the most basic LEED credential. The LEED AP credential is more advanced, focusing on a particular construction specialty. The LEED AP with Specialty exam requires choosing a specialty that you are interested in, such as new construction, interiors, existing buildings/operations and maintenance, neighborhood development or homes.
There are no eligibility requirements for the LEED Green Associate or LEED AP exams anymore. You can take one or both exams without project experience or work experience. We recommend that if you are new to LEED that you start with earning the LEED Green Associate by passing that exam first, then take your LEED AP specialty exam.
How Much Time to Prepare for the LEED exam?
If you are taking an exam preparation class for the LEED Green Associate exam, we recommend taking your exam within 1-2 weeks of completing the course. If you are preparing for the exam using online exam preparation materials, you should take 30 days to prepare using a study guide, practice tests, flashcards, etc…
If you are taking the LEED AP exam, we recommend at least a month (30 days) to memorize all of the prerequisites and credits in your chosen rating system. Project experience is also helpful to have prior to your exam. We recommend using exam preparation materials that include project experience on an actual LEED registered project.
It is an option to take both exams at the same time, but it’s not recommended because of the amount of information you must memorize to pass. An 85% score is the minimum passing grade for both exams. If you do prepare for both exams simultaneously, we would recommend at least 30-45 days using preparation materials designed for each exam.
Having LEED project experience is also helpful to passing the LEED AP exams. USGBC tests knowledge of working on LEED projects from within the exams.