Free LEED Green Associate Exam Prep

Having a passion for sustainability and green building is the first step towards becoming LEED accredited. Jump start your career in any industry by passing the LEED Green Associate exam.

If you're preparing for the LEED Green Associate exam, it's a great choice for a career in design and construction. Read more about passing the exam with our Free LEED Green Associate Study Guide page.

LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most popular green building rating system globally.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the non-profit organization that oversees LEED, as of 2016, “more than 72,000 projects are participating in LEED across 150+ countries and territories, comprising over 13.8 billion square feet.” In fact, 88 of the Fortune 100 companies are already using LEED and, compared to the average commercial building, LEED Gold buildings consume a quarter less energy and generate 34% lower greenhouse gas emissions. Read more about the benefits of LEED here.

Free LEED GA exam

As a LEED Green Associate credential holder, you will have a good understanding of green principles and practices that will help increase profitability while benefiting the environment.

LEED Green Associate Exam Basics

Register: Create an account on USGBC.org. If you are an employee of a USGBC member company, you should register through your employer to receive a discount on the exam. Once you have created your account, you can register here.

Cost: The LEED Green Associate exam costs $200 ($100 for students, $250 for non-USGBC members).

janeb13, Pixabay

Passing Score: You must answer 100 multiple-choice questions with a passing score of 85% (170 or higher out of 200)

Scheduling: You can schedule the LEED GA exam at any time. There are no pre-set dates because the exam is delivered to you at a computer terminal at a local Prometric exam testing center. Prometric testing centers are available throughout the U.S. and globally.

Content: The LEED Green Associate exam is a standalone credentialing exam. It is a two (2) hour exam with 100 questions, as described above. However, the LEED Green Associate exam can also be part of the more advanced four hour LEED AP with Specialty exam. For LEED AP with Specialty exam takers, the LEED GA exam is the first two hour portion of the four hour LEED AP exam process. If you are taking the LEED AP exam and you are not currently a LEED Green Associate credential holder, you'll take the LEED Green Associate exam first.

The LEED Green Associate exam reflects USGBC’s goals for green building strategies, costs of green building, principles, and LEED online. The topics on the LEED Green Associate Exam will ultimately test your knowledge of LEED and green building as well as your ability to help support others in the building, design and construction industries on green projects.

Language: The exams are available in English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic and Chinese.

No Prerequisites: Anyone can take the exam.

Questions: If you have any questions about preparing for or registering for the exam, email us.

What to Expect from the LEED GA (Free Webinar)

As a part time LEED exam trainer, Alex Spilger has in-depth expertise about the LEED exams, and for good reason... He's taken the LEED exams 21 times and counting -- more than anyone else on the planet!

If you're getting ready for the LEED GA, you may benefit from this free, on-demand webinar session, below. In this pre-recorded webinar, Alex explains in detail what the LEED Green Associate exam is about, how it is set up, how you can register, and importantly, how to prepare.

He describes how he has found that the LEED Green Associate Exam is “easy to pass but difficult to study for.” This is due to the fact that the primary references for the exam are so diverse that you never know what may be on the exam.

Passing requires memorization of key information, as well as smart exam taking strategies whether you plan on taking the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP exams together or separately.

What's On the LEED GA Exam?

YeriLee, Pixabay

The LEED Green Associate Exam is comprised of two key domains: Task Domains and Knowledge Domains. Task Domains reflect tasks required to implement LEED effectively and safely, including project and team coordination, LEED certification process, analysis of LEED credits that may be appropriate for a specific project, and the importance of advocating for the LEED rating system. Knowledge Domains reflect specific LEED credit categories, and what is necessary to know including LEED process, Integrative Strategies, Regional Priorities, Innovation, and Project Surroundings and Public Outreach. 

A list provided by USGBC in the LEED® Green Associate Candidate Handbook of Knowledge Domains with the set number of questions related to each topic. You can use the following as a guide to decide where you need to focus more of your study time.

The list of Task and Knowledge Domains below adds up to 85 questions. There are also 15 "pre-test" questions that may cover subject matter including how to refer to your LEED credential, proper use of LEED logos, etc.

Task Domains

LEED Green Associate Tasks

• Communicate broad and basic green building concepts to team or colleagues
• Research and create a library of sustainable building materials
• Assist others with sustainability goals
• Create project profiles/case studies/press release
• Serve as a green advocate to clients, team members, & general public (e.g. why green building)
• Stay current on any updates to LEED and green strategies in general
• Navigate in LEED Online
• Assist project leader with LEED correspondence to all project team members (consultants, contractors, owner, etc.)
• Assist in managing documentation process
• Assist in managing timeline of LEED certification

Knowledge Domains

LEED® Process (16 Questions)

LEED Green Associate Super Study Pack• Organization fundamentals (e.g. mission/vision; non-profit; role of USGBC®/GBCI)
• Structure of LEED rating systems (e.g., credit categories, prerequisites, credits and/or Minimum Program Requirements for LEED Certification)
• Scope of each LEED rating system (e.g., rating system selection; rating system families [BD+C, ID+C, O+M, ND, Homes])
• LEED development process (e.g., consensus based; stakeholder and volunteer involvement; rating system updates/evolution)
• Credit categories (e.g., goals and objectives of each [LT, SS, WE, EA, MR, EQ, IN, RP]; synergies)
• Impact categories (e.g. what should a LEED project accomplish?)
• LEED certification process (e.g. certification levels [Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum]; LEED Scorecard; 3rd party verification; role of documentation submission; LEED Interpretations; Addenda; awareness of different system versions [e.g., LEED Online]) Components of LEED Online and Project Registration
• Other rating systems – (e.g., in general what other rating systems are out there?)

Integrative Strategies (8 Questions)

• Integrative process (e.g., early analysis of the interrelationships among systems; systems thinking; charettes)
• Integrative project team members (e.g., architect, engineer, landscape architect, civil engineer, contractor, facility manager, etc.)
• Standards that support LEED (e.g., breadth not depth of American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers [ASHRAE]; Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association [SMACNA] guidelines; Green Seal, ENERGY STAR®, HERs, Reference Standards listed in ACPs, etc.)

Location and Transportation (7 Questions)

• Site selection (e.g. targeting sites in previously developed and brownfields/high- priority designation area, avoiding sensitive habitat, located in areas with existing infrastructure and nearby uses, reduction in parking footprint)
• Alternative transportation (e.g., type, access, and quality; infrastructure and design)
Sustainable Sites (7 Questions)
• Site assessment (e.g., environmental assessment, human impact)
• Site design and development (e.g., construction activity pollution prevention; habitat conservation and restoration; exterior open space; rainwater management; exterior lighting; heat island reduction)

Water Efficiency (9 Questions)

• Outdoor water use (e.g., use of graywater/rainwater in irrigation; use of native and adaptive species)
• Indoor water use (e.g., concepts of low flow/waterless fixtures; water-efficient appliances; types and quality)
• Water performance management (e.g., measurement and monitoring)
Energy and Atmosphere (10 Questions)
• Building loads (e.g., building components, space usage [private office; individual space; shared multi-occupant spaces])
• Energy efficiency (e.g., basic concepts of design, operational energy efficiency, commissioning, energy auditing)
• Alternative and renewable energy practices (e.g., demand response, renewable energy, green power, carbon offsets)
• Energy performance management (e.g., energy use measurement and monitoring; building automation controls/advanced energy metering; operations and management; benchmarking; ENERGY STAR®)
• Environmental concerns (e.g., sources and energy resources; greenhouse gases; global warming potential; resource depletion; ozone depletion)

Materials and Resources (9 Questions)

• Reuse (e.g., building reuse, material reuse, interior reuse, furniture reuse)
• Life-cycle impacts (e.g., concept of life-cycle assessment; material attributes; human and ecological health impacts; design for flexibility)
• Waste (e.g., construction and demolition; maintenance and renovation; operations and ongoing; waste management plan)
• Purchasing and declarations (e.g., purchasing policies and plans; environmental preferable purchasing (EPP); building product disclosure and optimization [i.e., raw materials sourcing; material ingredients; environmental product disclosure])

Indoor Environmental Quality (8 Questions)

• Indoor air quality (e.g., ventilation levels; tobacco smoke control; management of and improvements to indoor air quality; low-emitting materials; green cleaning)
• Lighting (e.g., electric lighting quality, daylight)
• Sound (e.g., acoustics)
• Occupant comfort, health, and satisfaction (e.g., controllability of systems, thermal comfort design, quality of views, assessment/survey)

Project Surroundings and Public Outreach (11 Questions)

• Environmental impacts of the built environment (e.g. energy and resource use in conventional buildings; necessity of green buildings; environmental externalities; triple bottom line)
• Codes (e.g., relationship between LEED® and codes [building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, fire protection]; green building codes)
• Values of sustainable design (e.g., energy savings over time; healthier occupants; money-saving incentives; costs [hard costs, soft costs]; life-cycle)
• Regional design (e.g., regional green design and construction measures as appropriate, regional emphasis should be placed in Sustainable Sites and Materials & Resources)

Source Material for LEED GA Exam:

LEED GA study guide

The LEED Green Associate exam is considered to be a difficult exam because the primary sources for the development of the exam come from the LEED Rating Systems. The LEED Green Associate exam material is heavily weighted toward the LEED v4 Building Design and Construction Reference Guide ($249.00), which is over 800 pages. The exam material is also based on other information compiled from sources including the Green Building and LEED Core Concepts Guide, 3rd Edition ($90.00), The LEED v4 Impact Category and Point Allocation Process Overview (Free), the LEED v4 User Guide (Free), the Guide to LEED Certification: Commercial (Free), the LEED Registration and Certification Fees Guide (Free) and LEED v4 Rating System Guidance (Free). 

For the many reasons above, we recommend that you use a focused study guide designed to help you with only the material that is on the exam.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need two days of in-person training to learn the LEED Green Associate material. Using an affordable, focused study guide will save you hours of time and immeasurable brain damage because you will be sorting through material that you won't be tested on. The right study guide can also make the difference between a failing score of 169, and a passing score of 170.

17 LEED Concepts You Should Know

While the list of Task and Knowledge Domains above is comprehensive, our experience with the exam has taught us that there are certain key concepts that are consistently present on the LEED GA test.


Free LEED GA Practice Test Simulator

LEED GA Practice TestsPractice tests are one of the most effective ways to prepare for the exam. The passing score on the LEED GA exam is an 85%.  

On your actual exam day, you will take the exam at a Prometric Testing Center. You will not be allowed to bring anything into the testing center with you. However, the exam proctor will provide you with a pencil or pen and something to write on, such as a small whiteboard tablet or a piece of paper. You can use this material to write down certain information that you need to remember during the exam. 

Once you have completed the sample exam below, you will receive a copy of the answer key from us via email. It is recommended that you keep taking the practice exams until you are comfortably scoring between 95-100%. 

Free LEED GA Exam


Flashcards

FlashcardsFor standardized tests that require a lot of memorization, flashcards are a very useful tool. Combining the use of practice test simulators with flashcards is a great strategy. Professionally designed flashcards will focus your memorization on the right task and knowledge domains. If you find yourself having trouble remembering certain terms, add your own flashcards to the mix. Unlike with practice tests, where you are required to choose from the answers are presented to you, flash cards require you to recall key information from memory. This can be incredibly helpful when remembering difficult or boring data. For LEED Green Associate exam preparation packages that include flashcards, click here.

 


Memorization Strategies

Memorization is key in any of the LEED exams... Indeed, if you plan on taking both exams in one sitting, you will have to memorize data from hundreds of pages of information in the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP specialty material.

To help you prepare, we have put together a handful of proven strategies from our Memorization Guide that may help you retain as much information as possible.

Memorization Guide

Learning Styles

While people can memorize things in a variety of ways, you may prefer audio over reading, or watching over listening, or a combination of each. Considering how you prefer to learn the LEED material will help you make the most of your study time:

• Auditory: Auditory learners retain information best by listening to others (or themselves) recite subject matter.
• Visual: Visual learners retain information best by viewing pictures, videos and graphs.
• Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learners retain information best by doing “hands-on” activities. 

While we offer auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning options for the LEED exams, you can also create your own versions of these materials or work with others for the same effect. 

Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices can be silly and even illogical, but their main purpose is to help you memorize information. The following examples will help you memorize important and difficult LEED concepts.

ASHRAE 90.1: Energy and Lighting: LEED candidates are tested on the ASHRAE standards on the exam but often struggle memorizing each standard and its number. Here is an easy way to memorize this standard:

The North and South Poles are 90 degrees latitude where it takes a lot of energy to keep their buildings warm. Think outside of the box

ASHRAE 55-2010 provides HVAC system performance requirements that ensure thermal comfort for occupants. It is important for LEED v4 EQ Credit: Thermal Comfort.

When it is 55 degrees outside, it may be chilly in your home. You may want to increase the temperature of your home’s heating system and bundle up in your best winter gear to make sure your family stays warm at night. 

Both mnemonic device reference the ASHRAE standard number and the topic of that standard while using information that you may be familiar with and is easy to remember.

Acronyms

Acronyms are a specific type of mnemonic device that involves creating a word or phrase out of a list of ideas, concepts, or things. For example, Roy G. Biv stands for the colors red, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet. 

      This can also work for memorizing fixtures and their baselines for the Water Efficiency Prerequisite: Indoor Water Use Reduction Credit.

       S.T.U.F.F 2.0: Showerheads (2.5 leq), Toilets (1.6 gpf), Urinals (1.0 gpf), Faucets (gpm for private /1.5 gpm for public), Fixtures. This acronym standards for each fixture and 2.0 helps you remember that the fixture must use 20 percent less water than the normal baselines for each fixture.

      Gratisography

      Memory Palace

      The Memory Palace is a technique used by memorization experts to associate known ideas with unknown ideas. The "Palace" comes from the fact that people naturally and subconsciously memorize spatial information.

      For instance, think about how well you know you know every detail in your home or office space. The Memory Palace utilizes this effortless ability to remember spatial information by associating unfamiliar items with a place you are familiar with. For example:

      LEED requires the recycling of paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics and metals. You can memorize LEED requirements for recycling using the Memory Palace. Imagine you are sitting in a quaint coffee shop studying for the LEED exam. You look up and read a piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board advertising a new eco-friendly building being built in your neighborhood. Then, you are distracted by a man struggling on your right to hold a corrugated cardboard box of vintage glass Coke bottles and plastic Lego figurines. Then, a person dressed up in a bear costume holding a sign for a local toy store pulls a metal bar stool out to sit and takes off his bear head.

      The more bizarre your imagined scenarios within your memory palace, the easier the information will be to remember. 

      Brain Dump

      Ryan McGuire, Gratisography

      Brain dumping is a useful technique that you can do right before you begin the exam. 

      During the actual LEED Green Associate and/or LEED AP exams in the Prometric testing center, you will be given a pencil and scrap paper. You will also have approximately 5 minutes prior to the test to write things down. Use this time to write down any topics you want to remember (e.g. ASHRAE standards 90.1, 52.2, etc.).

      The information will be there for you to reference, and you will not have to worry about forgetting the information during the exam. 

       

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