Image of cartoon man with the word TIPS! in a thought bubble; blue background.

Preparing for the LEED AP Exam

Taking a LEED AP Exam can be intimidating; after all, it’s a very difficult process to go through. Here at GBES, we are proud of our 95% pass rate for students attempting to pass the FIRST time.  In order to help candidates along that process, here are some key tips and tricks to doing just that. Compiled is a list of 10 little-known facts about how to pass a LEED AP Exam. Hopefully this will give you that little extra boost you need to realize your dreams of becoming a LEED accredited professional! Good luck!

*These tips also apply for your LEED Green Associate Exam

1. Choose a LEED AP Exam that is right for you!

Your first step is to decide which LEED Accreditation with specialty is right for you! Currently, there are 5 specialty accreditations available. They are: LEED AP BD+C, LEED AP O+M, LEED AP ID+C, LEED AP Homes, and LEED AP ND. However, before you make the leap to become a LEED AP, you will need to take the LEED Green Associate exam first (if you haven’t already). Becoming a Green Associate is required before you can sit for any of the LEED AP exams.


2. Know the ‘Ins & Outs’ of the LEED v4 Candidate Handbooks!

We know it can be difficult to find resources to help you prepare for your exam. That is why we have made all of the LEED v4 Candidate handbooks available here. Reviewing the candidate handbook is your first step towards preparing for your exam. This document created by the USGBC features current policies and procedures for each credentialing program as well as test specifications.


3. Figure out how you learn best!

Time to gather your study tools! Do you learn best by listening? Perhaps you enjoy in-person training with a LEED professional. Or maybe you enjoy mixture of listening and reading? We have helped over 100,000 professionals prepare and pass their Green Associate and LEED AP exams. We offer materials for all learning styles: from on-demand webinars and comprehensive study guides, to practice tests and more.

4. Get the latest LEED v4 scorecard

This scorecard, also known as a LEED credit checklist, is unique for the rating system you have chosen. The LEED AP exams will test you on credit organization, points, and innovation categories so it is in your best interest to become well acquainted with the LEED v4 scorecards.

In case you are thinking of printing a scorecard for studying purposes, make sure you print it on double-sided, recycled paper. After all, LEED APs are environmentally conscious individuals!

5. GBES Practice Tests!

Our students, in particular, enjoy our comprehensive and dynamic practice test software that is a study tool in and of itself. Our LEED practice tests allow you to choose credit categories individually and provides feedback on the correct and incorrect answer!  While the exam has 100 questions we provide our students with anywhere from 400-600 questions!


6. Schedule the exam. (Seriously)

Life can get in the way of studying especially as a busy working professional. We recommend that you use scheduling your exam as a motivation to begin studying.  We have found that students need to go ahead and schedule the exam with Prometric several weeks out to create the necessary motivation (and sometimes panic) in order to pass their exam.


7. The week before your exam day!

At this point you want to make sure you are not studying in a cram-like manner. You should be familiar with the majority of the material associated with the credential you are pursuing. We know you know this, but you cannot cram the night before and expect to pass. The week before the exam, start narrowing down your studies. Choose categories you are weak in. Our practice test software allows you to do just that. Does your strength lie with water efficiency, but maybe you feel slightly uneasy about energy and atmosphere? Prompt our practice test software to only provide questions on energy & atmosphere. It’s that easy! Remember that in the candidate handbook they will tell you how many questions they will pull from each credit category.


8. LEED Exam day

Here are the basics we all have been told since our secondary education.  Get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good breakfast. Listen to your favorite tunes or drink a cup of tea–whatever helps you relax! We know it’s easy to muster nervous energy all day before your exam, so we recommend you schedule your exam first thing in the morning. That way, you can come into work afterwards and celebrate (and humblebrag) with coworkers!


9. During the exam

When you take a seat and are ready to begin your exam, use what we fondly call the “brain dump.”  You are provided a piece of paper so use this as an opportunity to write down any credential specifications or calculations you need to know.  Use the prometric testing software. Keep a good pace. Answer all the questions! You are able to mark questions and come back later to answer them.  The exam is 100 questions, but you are scored on 85 questions on specific domains. You need a 170 to pass.

10. At the end of the exam

Only go back and go to the questions you marked. Don’t second guess yourself. Go with your gut!


As a Reminder: How much does a LEED AP Exam Cost?

USGBC Member, Student $250
Non-Member, Student $350
**Veteran Free

*There is no discount for students wanting to take a LEED AP exam.

**The USGBC has partnered with The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reimburse the cost of the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP Exams for all U.S. military veterans, eligible dependents and reservists.


Browse our leading online LEED AP Exam Prep options:

Choose a LEED credential to view the best online study tools. Start studying now!


LEED AP BD+C Exam Prep Platinum Pack

The Original LEED Practice Tests, flash cards, webinar, study guide

LEED Exam Prep Platinum Pack

LEED AP ID+C Exam Prep Platinum Pack

The Original LEED Practice Tests, flash cards, webinar

LEED Exam Prep Platinum Pack

LEED AP O+M Exam Prep Platinum Pack

The Original LEED Practice Tests, flash cards, webinar

LEED Exam Prep Platinum Pack

LEED AP ND Exam Prep Silver Pack

The Original LEED Practice Tests and flash cards

LEED Exam Prep Silver Pack

LEED AP Homes Silver Pack

The Original LEED Practice Tests and flash cards

LEED Exam Prep Silver Pack