The LEED Exam: A Study Guide

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As sustainable housing becomes more popular, getting the right certification becomes increasingly important for construction managers. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is recognized as an industry-wide standard for sustainable housing construction, and earning that certification starts with the LEED Green Associate exam.

LEED Exam

The LEED exam tests your ability to recall information about green building practices, as well as your ability to analyze and apply that knowledge. The exam has three tiers, which must be completed consecutively, each evaluating your knowledge of green building practices in both commercial and residential projects.

To take the first exam, the LEED Green Associate exam, there are no eligibility requirements, though LEED does recommend that applicants have some prior knowledge of green building practices via education, volunteering or work experience.

LEED Green Associate Exam

The first tier of the LEED exam provides certification in sustainable building principles and is the chief focus of this study guide. It provides foundational knowledge that allows construction managers to put green principles into practice and acts as a gateway to higher tiers of LEED certification. The LEED Green Associate exam carries a fee of $200 for LEED members, $250 for non-members or $100 for students.

LEED AP Exam

The LEED exam’s second tier builds on the foundations of the first and provides an ability to attain more focused knowledge through a series of LEED specialties. The LEED AP exam has specialty tracks for building design and construction; operations and maintenance; interior design and construction; neighborhood development; and home design. To take the LEED AP exam, you’ll need to pay a fee of $400 for the full exam or $250 for a single specialty, if you’re a member. Non-members pay $550 or $350, respectively.

LEED Fellow

The final tier of the LEED exam confers the status of LEED Fellow. A LEED Fellow is an individual with a demonstrated history of “exemplary leadership, impactful commitment, service, and advocacy in green building and sustainability,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED Study Guide Resources

As mentioned above, the first step to becoming LEED certified is taking the LEED Green Associate exam.

LEED Green Associate Exam Structure

The LEED Green Associate exam is computer based and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that cover a variety of topics related to green and sustainable construction. Questions on the exam are randomly delivered and must be completed in two hours, with an additional, optional 10-minute tutorial and an optional 10-minute exit survey. While you are able to skip questions, it is recommended that you complete all questions on the exam. The exam contains questions in the following categories:

  • LEED Process (16 Questions): organization fundamentals, structure and scope of LEED rating systems, the LEED development process, credit categories, impact categories, LEED certification process, other rating systems.
  • Integrative Strategies (8 Questions): integrative process and project team members, standards that support LEED.
  • Location and Transportation (7 Questions): site selection, alternative transportation.
  • Sustainable Sites (7 Questions): site assessment, design and development.
  • Water Efficiency (9 Questions): outdoor and indoor water use, water performance management.
  • Energy and Atmosphere (10 Questions): building loads, energy efficiency, alternative and renewable energy practices, energy performance management, environmental concerns.
  • Materials and Resources (9 Questions): reuse, life-cycle impacts, waste, purchasing and declarations.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality (8 Questions): indoor air quality, lighting, sound, occupant comfort, health and satisfaction.
  • Project Surroundings and Public Outreach (11 Questions): environmental impacts of the built environment, codes, values of sustainable design, regional design.

LEED Green Associate Exam Resources

If you’re planning on taking the LEED Green Associate exam, preparation is critical. While there are no explicit knowledge requirements to take the exam, it is highly recommended that candidates learn about sustainable and green practices before doing so. Luckily, there are a number of excellent resources available for those interested in pursuing the LEED exam. Cost varies.

  • The two-week study plan contains 14 days of prep activities, each designed to prepare you for the LEED Green Associate exam. Each day consists of three to five hours of study activities.
  • Candidates who prefer a self-paced study plan can use the e-book and practice exam questions to prepare.
  • With multiple practice tests, a comprehensive study guide, flash cards and live or on-demand modules, this online course provides comprehensive preparation for the LEED exam.
  • This course provides a practical approach to the requirements of the exam, as well as tools, tips and tricks to help you study more effectively.
  • This book is designed and organized to help you learn key terms and concepts of the LEED Green Associate exam.
  • A 100-question practice test is designed to simulate the process of taking the LEED Green Associate exam.
  • There are 25 practice questions designed to test your knowledge of LEED concepts and terms.

An online construction management degree from Jefferson can give you the foundational knowledge you need to prepare for the LEED Green Associate exam. Our convenient, flexible online courses allow you to study when and where it’s convenient for you.

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