11 Essential ‘Need-To-Knows’ before LEED AP BD+C Prep (Part 1)


This article is written by our contributing Author – Aditi Bisen.


Last week, we started our series on the LEED Experience. We covered why the LEED AP BD+C (Accredited Professional – Building Design + Construction) examination proves more difficult to crack than the LEED Green Associate.

This week we talk of 5 (of the 11) essential ‘Need-To-Knows’ before starting preparation for the LEED AP BD+C examination.

  1. Candidate Handbook
  2. Exam Fees
    • LEED Green Associate
    • LEED AP BD+C
    • Combined Examination
  3. Requirements, Prior Knowledge
    • Mandatory Requirements
    • Recommendations
  4. Registration
    • Account
    • Credentials
    • Registration
  5. Scheduling
    • Prometric Centre
    • Alternate Exam Delivery
  6. Questions and Time Limit
  7. Format of Questions
  8. Minimum score and Marking System
  9. Calculations
  10. Some memorizing required
  11. USGBC Help

1) Candidate Handbook

This is a useful 26-page document, that you must read before everything else! In short it talks about the following things –

    1. Registration basics and eligibility requirements, fees and other special conditions
    2. Exam format, language, updates
    3. Important documentation, test center regulations and general rules
    4. After exam results, certificate, appeals
    5. References and sample questions

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2) Exam Fees

[Image via Pexels]
(a) LEED Green Associate – $ 250
(b) LEED AP BD+C – $350
(c) Combined Examination – $550

It is cheaper to give the combined exam which would mean both exams happen on the same day. However, we would strictly recommend against this option for 2 reasons –

(i) If you pass the first paper and not the 2nd, then you cannot even call yourself a LEED Green Associate. Since you’ve applied to become a LEED AP (Accredited Professional), you need to pass both exams (Check out FAQ No. 2 here)

(ii) Both Green Associate and AP BD+C although working towards the same goal, require different types of preparation. While Green Associate is more of an introductory exam, AP BD+C needs more in-depth knowledge and practice. Attempting them together would be strenuous and might prove counter-productive.

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3) Requirements, Prior Knowledge

[Image via Pixabay]
(a) Mandatory Requirements

(i) You need to have passed the LEED Green Associate examination to be eligible to give the LEED AP BD+C exam. (We are referring to the standalone LEED BD+C exam – fees $350.)

(ii) You also must be 18 years of age or older.

(b) Recommendations

(i) GBCI recommends that you should have prior LEED project experience before attempting the examination.

(ii) It helps if you have some Architectural knowledge or experience, or anything to do with Construction, Sustainability or the Environment. You can of course still give the paper without this background, but that might need more preparation time and could be a harder learning curve.

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4) Registration

(a) Account

Create an account on the USGBC website (if you have passed LEED Green Associate, you would already have an account).

(b) Credentials

Go to Credentials

Screenshot for Credentials [Image via USGBC]
(c) Registration

(i) Choose the BD+C exam, register and make payment (Make sure you enter your details carefully).

(ii) After registration, you have 1 year to pass the exam. This registration could be extended by 6 months on request by contacting GBCI.

(iii) Within the registration period, you get 3 attempts to pass the exam. Each fresh attempt needs to be paid for.

(iv) If you are unable to pass in 3 attempts, you need to wait 90 days, before registering again.

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5) Scheduling

Screenshot for Scheduling [Image via Prometric]
(a) Prometric Centre

After registration, you schedule the exam on the Prometric website. Find the center closest to your location, choose the best date and time available and book a sitting. (Choose a slot that suits you, when your mind works best!)

(b) Alternate Exam Delivery

Recently another option called Alternate Exam Delivery (AED) has been started, where exams can be scheduled as a group in familiar surroundings outside of Prometric centers.

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That’s all for this time. We will be addressing the remaining ‘Need-To-Knows’ next week. Hope these were useful.

If you have suggestions for other topics or queries related to this content, kindly let us know in the comments below.

Alternatively, you could leave us a message here.

Thank you for reading!

About the Author

Aditi Bisen started writing for ‘The Architecture Gazette‘ in 2016. She is an Architect and LEED AP BD+C with a Masters in Integrated Sustainable Design from National University of Singapore. You could connect with her here-

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Google+

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Additional Reading / References –

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