Everything you need to know to pass your Green Associate
USGBC: Welcome to our first LEED Green Associate twitter chat! With us today are students Stephanie from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and USGBC intern Caroline from Furman University, both studying for their Green Associates. Also with us is our Community Advancement Specialist, Cindy, and our MAP fellow Afroz, who both have their Green Associates.
USGBC: Welcome, panelists! Can you tell us a bit about your LEED Green Associate journey?
Stephanie: My Green Associate journey started when I went to Greenbuild in 2012. Afterwards, I wanted to create a study group at my school to help others.
Cindy: I participated in a study group last spring, and, following a few weeks of practice tests, passed my exam in early July!
Caroline: I have a desire to study for the exam because I know it'll give me a solid foundation of green building principles and practices.
USGBC: That's great! Stephanie, can you tell us more about your study group?
Stephanie: Our first study group had six students. We held six, two hour sessions plus assigned study homework. It helped to discuss the strategies with others.
USGBC: Cindy and Afroz, can you tell us about the exam? Was there anything you didn't expect that was on there?
Afroz: Scores are available immediately. You need to score 170 to pass. The scale is 125-200. Your credential can be maintained by earning 15 Continuing Education (CE) hours every 2 years. More here.
Cindy: 100 multiple choice questions. Questions were sometimes worded tricky, but nothing unexpected after taking many practice tests!
USGBC: That's a relief! Where did you find the practice tests?
Cindy: Greenlearner has free exams, which was a big help!
USGBC: Good tip, Cindy. Panelists, what made you decide to take the exam? What do you hope it will do for your career/what has it done for it?
Stephanie: I wanted to make a difference with Interior Design, stand out in the job market, and make the company I work for more marketable.
Cindy: It sets the foundation for sustainable building knowledge, something that gives value to my work and which I'll use in daily life!
Caroline: I wanted to have a broader understanding of sustainability. It's really versatile whatever your career path- law, real estate, etc.
USGBC: Time to take some LEED Green Associate questions from our followers.
Q1: How has having the the Green Associate affected your career/job search?
Cindy: I was already employed (by USGBC) but the Green Associate gives me more credibility in my work.
Caroline: It's a good way to demonstrate your knowledge of green practices. It'll be nice to have on my resume, too!
Afroz: Training yourself in green buildings makes you look proactive. Plus, LEED project teams get 1 pt for having a LEED AP on the team!
Q2: How do you get started with this process?
Afroz: A good place to start: The LEED Green Associate Handbook.
Caroline: Then once you feel comfortable, sign up for a test!
Stephanie: I bought the Green Associate study guide and found a study partner. Signing up for a test helped motivate me to really start studying.
Cindy: I loved my study group! It helped motivate me and covered material I might have missed or skimmed on my own.
Afroz: Study groups definitely help! Have quizzes, 1-on-1 rapid fire, and race to see who can list the most credit requirements in 1 min. Have fun with it!
Q3: Will the LEED Green Associate exam change at all with the new version of LEED (v4)?
USGBC: We are updating all exams now. Expect beta exams by early '14!
Q4: How much time did you give yourself to study?
Cindy: 3 months of study group and 1 month of practice tests. Setting the exam date from the start really motivated me.
Q5: How did you first use your credential in your career?
Afroz: I used my Green Associate to get an internship at Indian GBC. It was a useful statement about my commitment to the subject, and was also a good conversation starter when I handed people my card, or resume. Also, it got me more responses to my emails!
Cindy: I work with USGBC volunteers across the country, and I use my Green Associate to increase my understanding of their work.
USGBC: Almost time to wrap up. Panelists, what would be the single best piece of advice you would give someone about the test?
Caroline: Focus on the concepts instead of just memorizing. It'll stick with you better, and you can actually apply them!
Cindy: Just do it! Signing up for the test from the start put a hard deadline on my studying and helped keep me focused.
Afroz: #1. Make lists of things #2. Focus on concepts #3. Practice, seriously! Flash cards, whiteboards and lots of markers! Make mind maps, lists, and diagrams. The exam requires both memorizing & concept linking
Stephanie: Sign up for the test. You might not study until that date is on your calendar and paid for. It will motivate you. Also: network!
We ended the twitter chat with one final positive message from Afroz: "Last piece of advice- this is a really cool map of LEED Professionals: See yourself on it soon!"
Don't forget that LEED publications are up to 50% off for a limited time. Now is the perfect time to order your books and sign up for a LEED Green Associate test date in the Fall. If you have any more questions, find us on twitter @USGBC, or you can email our Education Review Specialist, Nick Firmand.