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Prepare for your LEED AP ND Exam

Published on Posted in LEED

Congratulations on taking your first step toward earning your LEED AP ND! The key to earning a LEED AP with Specialty credential is a thorough understanding of green building, the LEED Rating System and the ability to facilitate the certification process.

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 (30%)
  • LEED Certification Process (30%)
  • Analysis Required for LEED Credits (30%)
  • Advocacy and Education for Adoption for LEED Rating Systems (10%)

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 (13 Questions)
  • Smart Location & Linkage (21 Questions)
  • Neighborhood Pattern & Design (23 Questions)
  • Green Infrastructure & Buildings (21 Questions)
  • Project Surroundings and Public Outreach (7 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 of the same year. Additionally, no exams will be offered from June 15-June 30 of each year.

Sample Questions

These sample questions were discarded during the exam creation process, and they are provided to allow you to better familiarize yourself with the format and general content of items on the exam. The ability to answer these questions does not predict or guarantee your ability to successfully answer questions on the actual exam. Correct answers are marked with an asterisk*.

  1. Which agencies should be consulted to determine if imperiled species exist within the project's boundaries? (Choose two.)
    A. Audubon Society
    B. Department of Ecology
    C. Natural Heritage Program*
    D. State Fish and Wildlife Agency*
    E. Environmental Protection Agency

  2. A project team has decided to reduce the development footprint of its design by clustering development, using predominantly multi-story buildings, and providing underground parking facilities in place of surface parking. Bicycle parking and shower facilities will be provided to encourage use of alternative forms of transportation and 10% of total parking spaces will be reserved for carpool parking. Based on this information what credit will the project most likely achieve?
    A. Green Infrastructure and Buildings Credit, Heat Island Reduction
    B. Smart Location and Linkage Credit, Bicycle Network and Storage
    C. Green Infrastructure and Buildings Credit, Stormwater Management
    D. Neighborhood Pattern and Design Credit, Reduced Parking Footprint*
USGBC Articles can be accessed in the USGBC app for iOS or Android on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
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51 commentsLeave a comment

Can I take only LEED AP exam without specific speciality?
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Khalid, we no longer offer the option to take a LEED AP exam without specialty. The LEED Green Associate Exam is the exam that now gives a general overview of green building principles and an introduction to the LEED rating system. A specialty allows you to advance that knowledge of a LEED rating system. Please see this link if you need assistance determining which specialty is right for you :
student, Penn State University
What am I supposed to study for the exam if there's no official study guide of LEED ND V4? The handbook is only 25 pages im sure that's not enough for exam preparation. So, are the $219 reference guide and the $400 exam prep thing the only solutions for this problem?
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Thank you for your interest in earning the LEED AP ND credential. The references used to develop the LEED AP ND exam are the best sources to study for the LEED AP ND exam and are listed in the LEED ND candidate handbook. Currently the LEED ND Reference Guide is the best source: We wish you the best of luck on your exam.
Architect, Urban Planner, Yasser Hejazy Consulting Engineers
I'm considering taking the LEED AP ND test but I'm having a problem with how to study it!. The reference guide seems to be not the best way to prepare for the test! it's too much to study! What is the best way to do it? Also, since I'm a LEED AP BD+C do I still have to do the LEED AP ND to get both credentials? and how I'm going to maintain the continuing education hours for both?
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Thank you for your interest in earning the LEED AP ND credential. For a full list of references used to develop the LEED AP ND exam please download the LEED AP ND Candidate Handbook : Page 20 and 21 list the references used. Currently the LEED ND Reference Guide is the best source to study for the exam: Since you already hold a LEED AP BD + C credential you would only need to sit for the LEED AP ND specialty exam. Not the combined exam with the LEED Green Associate. Once you earn an additional credential you will have 30 general CEU hours to complete and 6 LEED Specific hours for each specialty. Your CMP periods will coincide so that you don't have to keep track of multiple CMP periods. I hope that helps!
Planner III, City of Fort Lauderdale
Can a LEED ND exam course be made available soon? It would be great to learn more in person.
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Thank you for the request Lorraine. We expect Partners to have LEED ND exam prep ready by the end of the year. Thanks!
Organic Specialist, Arizona State University
Dawn, would love to know once the ND exam prep course is made available. Would it be announced through USGBC website by the end this year? Very interested. Thanks.
Lead Landscape Architect, Parsons
I'm accredited LEED Green Associate and want to upgrade to LEED AP ND; do I need to attend training course?
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