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Prepare for your LEED AP BD+C Exam

Published on Posted in LEED

Congratulations on taking your first step toward earning your LEED AP BD+C!

A LEED credential gives you a competitive edge and shows the market you have the key knowledge, experience and credibility to bring success to LEED projects and sustainability-focused organizations.

The key to earning a LEED AP credential is a thorough understanding of green building, the LEED rating system and the ability to facilitate the certification process.

LEED v4 exam: available from June 30, 2014

Access the candidate handbook for exam policies and procedures.

The LEED v4 exam is based on the following test specifications and references. The exam questions reflect Task Domains and Knowledge domains.

Planning to take the Green Associate exam at the same time as the LEED AP exam? Check out the exam prep for the Green Associate exam.

Task Domains: Task Domains reflect the tasks necessary to perform LEED® safely and effectively. These include concepts such as LEED Project and Team Coordination, LEED Certification Process, Analyses Required for LEED Credits, and Advocacy and Education for Adoption for LEED Rating System.

  • LEED Project and Team Coordination (22%)
  • LEED Certification Process (32%)
  • Analyses Required for LEED Credits (32%)
  • Advocacy and Education for Adoption for LEED Rating System (14%)

Knowledge Domains: Knowledge Domains reflect the rating systems’ credit categories and what one needs to know. These include concepts such as LEED Process, Integrative Strategies, LEED credit categories, and Project Surroundings and Public Outreach.

  • LEED Process (8 questions)
  • Integrative Strategies (9 questions)
  • Location and Transportation (9 questions)
  • Sustainable Sites (9 questions)
  • Water Efficiency (9 questions)
  • Energy and Atmosphere (14 questions)
  • Materials and Resources (12 questions)
  • Project Surroundings and Public Outreach (4 questions)


The primary sources for the development of the LEED professional exams are the LEED rating systems. The following list of references is not meant to be comprehensive. When combined with the test specifications, the candidate has the material from which the exam is based.

This exam is designed to test the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in the design process, to support and encourage integrated design, and to streamline the application and certification process.

Please note: LEED professional exams are updated on July 1 of every year; this update incorporates LEED addenda published through January 1 of the same year. Additionally, no exams will be offered from June 15-July 1 of each year.

Sample Questions

These sample questions were discarded in the process of creating items for the new LEED AP Building Design + Construction exam. The items are provided for your convenience to allow you to better familiarize yourself with the format and general content of items on the exam. Correct answers are marked with an asterisk*.

  1. The city is building a new botanical garden and is attempting LEED® certification. What could the educational program include to earn an Innovation in Design Credit?
    A. Present the building’s sustainable features at the grand opening
    B. Present the building’s sustainable features at a town hall meeting
    C. Provide on-going weekly tours highlighting the building’s sustainable features*
    D. Publish a press release to the local newspaper outlining the building’s sustainable features

  2. How should athletic fields be treated in the calculations for WE Credit, Outdoor Water Use Reduction?
    A. Must be calculated using 100% potable water
    B. May be included or excluded from the calculations*
    C. May be calculated using a standard 20% reduction from baseline
    D. Must be calculated using at least 20% from an alternative water source

28 commentsLeave a comment

Why are exam fees are so expensive considering that the exam is taken electronically with minimal supervision? The $550 fee may not be a big deal for people working for large firms or big corporation due to reimbursement it's but for a small office of one or two it is significant not to mention the price of the reference book which is nothing to sneeze at at $450 (w/ membership).
Mechanical Drafter, RFS Engineering
Is there a calendar of testing dates for and locations AP BD+C available online anywhere without having to pay for the registration first? I need to know these dates before I commit money toward the tests.
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
You can look up testing locations online (, and you can call Prometric to find available dates (888-215-4154) prior to registering for an exam.
Assistant Construction Manager, Miller-Valentine Group
I am wondering what it means by task domains and knowledge domains. There are numbers of questions listed for the knowledge domains but only percentages listed for the task domains. This is confusing.
Engineer, Smith Miller & Associates
Hello. The above information says that the LEED v4 exam is "available" from June 30 2014. Does this mean you have the option of taking the previous version from 2009?
Marketing & Communications Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Jeffrey, I apologize for the confusion. As of June 30 you can only take the LEED v4 exam.
Mechanical Design Engineer, Dar Al-Handasah
regarding the USGBC credit library, do I need to read all the BD+C credit ( new construction, homes, schools, CS, healthcare,.. ) as part of the preparation for the LEED AP exam or it is enough to read ( NC,CS, Schools..) what other materials can I use to prepare for the exam? Regards
Leach Wallace Associates
I took my AP BD&C exam yesterday and passed with a 196/200. My studying consisted of reading through the BD&C reference guide as well as practice tests from Green Building Education Services. Cost $60 dollars for those tests but I found them to be incredibly useful. I would study the reference guide for the specialty you are taking. Knowing which credits specifically apply to certain rating systems (i.e. schools, healthcare) will be required.
Architect Intern, Chas. N. Clark Associates
I have recently passed the Green Associates Exam. When I look at the LEED AP, I am getting confused by the option of the "Full Exam" or "Specialty Only Exam". Does the full exam consist of the Green Associates also, or is there another part of the AP exam I am not eligible to take yet? And do I understand it correctly that I can take the AP exam without on-the-job experience, even though its strongly encouraged?
Marketing & Communications Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Michael, first, congratulations on passing the LEED Green Associates exam! Secondly, since you have passed the LEED Green Associate exam, you only need to take the "Specialty Only Exam" not the "Full Exam." Also, you can take the LEED AP exam without submitting proof of LEED project experience. However, GBCI strongly urges candidates to gain meaningful project experience prior to taking the test, as project skills are critical to successful exam performance.
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