How I aced the LEED Green Associate Exam

LEED Green Exam

Knowing what to study for the LEED Green Associate exam can be pretty tough. There’s a lot of information out there that ranges from highly technical to very broad. Since I aced the test, I want to point you in the right direction so you’re spending your time studying the right stuff so you can ace the exam too.

First?  A quiz for you to assess where you’re currently at.  The 25 question quiz below randomly selects questions from a growing library.  So every time you take the quiz, it will be different.  You can use the quiz to gauge where you’re at or use it as a study tool itself.  If you do poorly, you might want to look into the resources below. Without further ado…  Good luck!

Find this quiz helpful? Checkout the premium LEED Green Associate practice exam bundle!

LEED Green Associate Practice Exam Bundle

Key Study Materials

  • LEED Green Associate Study Guide & Core Concepts.  Directly from the horses mouth, the study guide from LEED.  It’s a great foundation to start from but admittedly won’t fully prepare you for the test.  There is a ton of more technical information that these two books leave out.  It’s also quite annoying that it’s essentially the same book split into two.  It makes you switch back and forth between the two.
  • GBES Online Practice Exams.  If you were to ask me, this is possibly the most important resource to invest in.  There are  different practice exams you can take and if you’re doing poorly in a particular category you can take a test of all the questions in that category.  There were a number of questions on the test directly from the practice exams.
  • LEED v4 Green Associate Mock Exams – If you still like to have physical resources this is a good resource to use to study from.
  • Designer Hacks Green Associate Visuals.  The hardest thing for me when studying was remembering all of the references and what those references meant.  I developed some visuals to help me study that proved to be pretty helpful.  If there’s interest, I’ll add more to it.
  • LEED Green Associate Exam Guide Audio – I have always had a long commute so I like audio guides.  It’s pricey but if you need or like to multi-task its worth it.

LEED Green Associate Exam

Other Study Materials

  • Green Exam Academy.  Pat Flynn over at the Green Exam Academy provides a lot of useful information about the test.  Although I didn’t use his materials to study for the test, I found myself back on his site often when trying to find out other information like… that the LEED GA exam has a pass rating of 95%… or that there are a total of 200 points available on the exam and a passing score is 170.
  • LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook.  The USGBC touts this as being a must for the test.  I skimmed it and used it when I needed it.  Is a good preliminary resource if you’re on the fence about taking the test and want to see what it’s about.  It’s free and there are a few sample questions in it so you can see where you’re at and how much time you’ll have to dedicate to studying.  For heavens sake don’t think you can show up without any studying and ace the test.

The Key Themes of the LEED Green Associate Exam

  • There’s a general theme in LEED that parking and automobiles are bad.  Strategize to minimize the use of parking lots, incorporate mixed use parking garages, or make the surfaces pervious with high SRI (solar reflectance index) values.  Simply meaning let water run through your hardscapes and make sure they’re light in color so they aren’t retaining heat.
  • LEED does not supersede any local or national codes or regulations.  The USGBC makes it clear that LEED does not take precedence over any existing codes.
  • Know your refrigerants.  There are a ton of questions about refigerents.  Study them and know their Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and their relationship to each other.
  • Sustainability costs no more… no less.  I ran across this in a number of questions simply phrased differently.  According to the USGBC, sustainable buildings are comparable in cost to conventional ones.


Tips When Taking The Exam

  • Pay close attention to keywords.  A lot of times you’ll notice the keywords ‘economic’ or ‘environmental’  give the answer away.
  • Mark questions.  During the test you can mark questions and go back to them at the end.  You’ll notice as you go through that some of the answers are revealed later questions.
  • Don’t drive yourself crazy.  If you don’t know an answer skip it and go back to it later.  There were a few questions I had a hard time understanding the first time around.  When I came back to them later they suddenly made sense and the answer was clear.

Hope this helps! Stay green hackers!

Have your own tips for taking the LEED Green Associate Exam? Leave a comment below!


  1. allstarcarpetandtiles June 24, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    Great tips. I’m bookmarking this page. Its a great resource to keep. Thanks for sharing.

  2. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  3. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  4. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Hello there and thanks for your information, I have certainly picked up allot new info from right your post. You are also provided information about best tips for exam,Which is very helpful to me and other people also.

  5. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  6. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  7. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  8. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  9. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  10. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  11. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  12. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  13. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  14. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  15. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  16. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  17. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  18. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  19. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  20. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  21. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  22. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  23. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  24. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  25. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  26. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  27. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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