Free LEED AP Exam Prep

Whether you are already a LEED Green Associate looking for a specialized certification that fits your expertise or a green building professional looking for an opportunity for LEED accreditation, you can enhance your career as LEED AP.

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

Free LEED AP BD+C examAccording to USGBC, we use 1.5 Earths to meet the resource needs of everyday life. By the year 2030, we will need two planets. 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 “leaders around the world have made LEED the most widely used third-party verification for green buildings." Compared to the average commercial building, LEED Gold buildings in the General Services Administration’s portfolio consume a quarter less energy and generate 34% lower greenhouse gas emissions.” Read more about the benefits of LEED here

As a LEED Accredited Professional, you will gain more specialized knowledge of green principles and practices that will help increase profitability while benefiting the environment. You can also help project gain additional points in "Innovation Credit LEED Accredited Professional” as well as gain opportunities to work on more LEED v4 projects if you hold multiple LEED AP Specialties. As a LEED AP, you will continue to help increase profitability and benefit the environment.

LEED AP Exam Basics

Register: Create an account on 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: For each full LEED AP Exam which includes LEED Green Associate domains as well as concepts specific LEED AP costs $400 ($550 for non-USGBC members). If you already passed the LEED Green Associate Exam, you pay $250 ($350 for non-USGBC members). 

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 testing center. Prometric testing centers are available throughout the U.S. and globally.

Passing Score: You must answer 100 multiple choice questions with a passing score of 85% (170 out of 200). If you have not already passed the Green Associate exam. 

Viktor Hanacek, Picjumbo

Content: 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. (Note: If you do not pass the LEED Green Associate portion of the test during the four-hour period, you will not earn the LEED AP credential).

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

Prerequisites: You must either currently be a LEED Green Associate or plan to take both exams back-to-back. While you can take both exams simultaneously on the same day, we actually recommend avoiding this option. It may be information overload and extremely overwhelming studying for two exams. Therefore, you should focus on passing the LEED Green Associate Exam prior to studying for the LEED AP Exam.

The USGBC no longer requires candidates to fulfill LEED project experience. However, they do try to test project experience on the exam. You may want to include LEED project experience in your LEED AP exam preparation process. 

Moreover, a LEED AP, once accredited, must maintain 30 continuing education credit hours for every two-year reporting period. Read more here.

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

What's on the LEED AP Exam? 

While each LEED AP Exam focuses on concepts specific to each specialty, all of the LEED AP exams cover the same Credit Categories.

Credit Categoriesmiradeshazer, Pixabay

• Location and Transportation (LT)

The Location and Transportation category rewards project teams' decisions about building location with credits that "encourage compact development, alternative transportation, and connection with amenities, such as restaurants and parks" accoring to the USGBC. The USGBC encourages project teams to utilize existsing infrastructure and place the green building in an area that is easily accessible by biking or walking to reduce CO2 emissions from other forms of transportation. The project space should also become a practical resource to the surrounding community and add to community productivity. 

• Sustainable Sites (SS)

The Sustainable Sites category rewards decisions about the surrounding environment. The credits emphasize relationships among "buildings, ecosystems, and ecosystem services." The project site should become an efficient part of the existing ecosystem and preserve the natural systems. Project sites are assessed for their sustainability and should be developed to meet the SS standards.

• Water Efficiency (WE)

The Water Efficiency category focuses on indoor, outdoor, metered and specialized use of water. The emphasis is on efficiency and the need for water conservation. A reduction in potable water use is rewarded and recognizes the use of nonpotable as well as alternative water sources.   

• Energy and Atmosphere (EA)

The Energy and Atmosphere (EA) category looks at overall energy conservation such as energy-use reduction, efficient designs, and the use of renewable energy sources. The goal is to facilitate more efficient buildings that rely less on traditional energy sources and more on clean, renewable sources. 

• Materials and Resources (MR)

The Materials and Resources (MR) category focuses on reducing the use of "embodied energy" and the impacts of "extraction, processing, transport, maintenance, and disposal of building materials." This credit requires improvment of overall resource efficiency in a life-cycle concious approach. 

• Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)

The Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) category rewards project teams for quality indoor air as well as thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort. Green buildings with great indoor environmental quality increase the health and comfort of building occupants which in turn increases productivity. 

• Innovation (IN)

The Innovation category focuses on the constant change and imrpovement of design strategies. Building design strategies are constanly improving and becoming more efficient. This caegory recognizes innovative building design that helps improve the overall condition of the space and environment. 

• Regional Priority (RP)

The Regional Priority category encourages project teams to focus on envrionmental factors and issues within their specific community. The project should address issues within their community and help improve the environment. 

What's on the LEED v4 BD+C Exam?

Anna Demianenko, Unsplash

The LEED AP exams along with 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. 

LEED v4 BD+C is the most popular exam amongst green building professionals. Building design is an expanding market for green professionals and allows LEED APs to be directly involved in the improvement of our current and future building standards. This credential integrates technical and living systems, allows teams to achieve high building performance, increased human health and performance, and environmental benefits.

You can review exam detail in the USGBC LEED v4 BD+C Candidate Handbook. Each part of the exam contains 100 randomly delivered multiple choice questions based on the following Task and Knowledge Domains.

Task Domains

LEED Project and Team Coordination (22%)

• Assess the applicability of a LEED rating system to a project
• Provide leadership to help determine applicability of specific LEED credits to a project
• Match expertise of project team members to specific credits
• Identify the LEED-specific baseline project parameters from the respective rating system (e.g., Full Time Equivalent, project area)
• Develop preliminary scorecard relative to project sustainability goals
• Support and encourage integrative design processes
• Be a resource for LEED credit achievement (e.g., provide resources, training, tools, demonstrations of sample credits)
• Coordinate amongst multiple disciplines when attempting LEED credit achievement
• Monitor and review project and team progress at appropriate intervals
• Identify opportunities for integrative design and/or credit synergies
• Identify potential for costs incurred through LEED process

LEED® Certification Process (32%)

• Ensure compliance of minimum program requirements
• Select the appropriate LEED rating system for project scope
• Identify Regional Priority Credits
• Register the project using LEED Online
• Identify ownership (responsibility) for meeting prerequisites, credits and/or strategies
• Access credit forms and templates through LEED Online
• Manage LEED template(s)/certification process in LEED Online (e.g., review for completion)
• Identify the need or the roles for third parties, if necessary, to complete the submittal process (e.g., commissioning agents, homes provider, landscape architect, planner)
• Ensure production of documents necessary for LEED compliance (e.g., drawings, policies, specifications, contracts, protocols)
• Coordinate and disseminate Addenda
• Submit technical questions to USGBC®
• Maintain the LEED scorecard
• Suggest and promote use of innovation credits
• Suggest and promote pilot credits
• Submit complete documentation and ensure certification payment
• Estimate cost of LEED certification (Registration and certification fees, etc)
• Manage a project’s LEED review process

Analyses Required for LEED Credits (32%)

• Verify technical work products of project team meet the intent of LEED credits
• Identify synergistic credits
• Research green building products and strategies
• Identify project-specific strategies
• Understand value of energy modeling as a tool in the design process

Advocacy and Education for Adoption for LEED Rating System (14%)

• Communicate the values and benefits of green building (e.g. project quality, consistency, building performance, staff retention, improved user outcomes, marketing/branding opportunities) to stakeholders (e.g., clients, regulators, employees, public)
• Communicate the benefits using LEED®
• Understand potential trade-offs for sustainable building strategies
• Identify basic categories of incentive-types for clients to implement sustainable building practices
• Identify the need(s) for environmental and economic analyses for green buildings (e.g., return on investment, triple bottom line, value proposition for implementing strategies)
• Educate others (and self) knowledge Domains (BD+C specialty)

Knowledge Domains (BD+C Specialty) LEED Process (8 Questions)

• Different avenues to achieve LEED goals (e.g. developing credit interpretation rulings/requests, Regional Priority Credits, innovative credit submittals, use of pilot credits, etc.)
• LEED system synergies (e.g., energy and IEQ; waste management)
• Project boundary; LEED boundary; property boundary
• Prerequisites and/or minimum program requirements for LEED certification
• Knowing the evolutionary characteristics of LEED (e.g. development cycles of the rating systems, continuous improvement)

Integrative Strategies (9 Questions)

• Integrative process (e.g., energy and water discovery items)
• Integrative project team (as applicable per project type and phase - architect, engineer, landscape architect, civil engineer, contractor, facility manager, etc.)
• Value of collaboration (e.g., meeting on integrative green strategies)

Location and Transportation (9 Questions)

• Site selection
    – Development constraints and opportunities (e.g., prime farmland; floodplains; species and habitat; water bodies; wetlands; historic districts; priority designations; brownfields)
    – Community connectivity terms/definitions (e.g., walkability; street design)
• Access to quality transit - knowledge of access and quality concepts/calculations ( e.g., accessibility to multimodal transportation choices; quality transit; bicycle network)
• Alternative transportation: infrastructure and design (e.g., parking capacity; bicycle storage and shower rooms; alternative-fuel fueling stations)
• Green vehicles (e.g. fleet management, knowledge of regionalization of energy sources for electric power generation)Sources (e.g. central plants; distributed energy (cogeneration); alternative fuels such as biodiesel, H2 fuel cells, wood-chip gasification)

Sustainable Sites (9 Questions)

• Site assessment (e.g., topography, hydrology, climate, vegetation, soils, human use, human health impacts
• Site assessment; site as a resource (Energy flows)
• Construction activity pollution prevention (e.g., soil erosion, waterway sedimentation/contamination, airborne dust)
• Site design and development
   – Habitat conservation and restoration (e.g., on-site restoration or preservation; off-site habitat restoration; off-site habitat conservation; native or adaptive vegetation; disturbed or compacted soils)
   – Exterior open space (.e.g., amount of space and quality of services; vegetated outdoor space, biophilia
   – Exterior lighting (e.g., exterior light trespass and uplight; consequences to the development of wildlife and people)
   – Rainwater management (e.g., historical rainfall conditions, natural hydrology, lowimpact development
   – Heat island reduction (e.g., heat island effect; green roofs; solar reflectance; roof and non-roof strategies)
   – Joint use (such as joint parking, etc.)

Water Efficiency (9 Questions)

• Outdoor water use reduction: irrigation demand (e.g., landscape water requirement; irrigation system efficiency; native and adaptive species)
• Indoor water use reduction:
   – Fixture and fittings (e.g., water use reduction through fixtures such as toilets, urinals; faucets [kitchen, lavatory]; showerhead)
   – Appliance and process water (e.g., equipment types [i.e., cooling towers, washing machines])
• Water performance management:
   – Water use measurement (e.g., water meter(s); submeters; types of water sources to measure; data management and analysis)
   – Types and quality of water (e.g., potable, nonpotable, alternative water sources)

Energy and Atmosphere (14 Questions)

• Building loads
   – Design (e.g., building orientation, glazing selection, clarify regional considerations)
   – Space usage (e.g., space types [private office; individual space; shared multioccupant spaces], equipment and systems)
   – Opportunities for passive design
• Energy efficiency
   – Assemblies/components (e.g., building envelope, HVAC, windows, insulation)
   – Operational energy efficiency (e.g., schedules, set points, interactions between systems)
   – Commissioning (e.g., commissioning authority (CxA); owner’s project requirements (OPR); basis of design (BOD); monitoring-based commissioning; envelope commissioning)
• Demand response (e.g., grid efficiency and reliability; demand response programs; load shifting)
• Alternative and renewable energy (e.g., on-site and off-site renewable energy; photovoltaic; solar thermal; wind; low-impact hydroelectricity; wave and tidal energy; green power, carbon offsets)
• Energy performance management
   – Advanced energy metering (e.g., energy use measurement, building automation controls)
   – Operations and management (e.g., training of staff, operations and maintenance plan)
   – Benchmarking (e.g., metrics used; proposed building performance rating/ baseline building performance rating; comparing building energy performance against similar buildings or historical data; tools and standards [ASHRAE, CBECS, Portfolio Manager])
• Environmental concerns: resource and ozone depletion (e.g., sources and energy resources [oil, coal, and natural gas]; renewable and nonrenewable resources; chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs] and other refrigerants; stratospheric ozone layer)
• Energy model as a tool
• Process loads (e.g. elevator, refrigeration, etc.)
• Iterative optimization

Materials and Resources (12 Questions)

• Reuse
   – Building reuse (e.g., historic building reuse; renovation of abandoned or blighted building)
   – Material reuse (e.g., structural elements [floors, roof decking], enclosure materials [skin, framing], permanently installed interior elements [walls, doors, floor coverings, ceiling systems]) Transit oriented development (e.g. access to train, bus, multi-modal interfaces)
• Life-cycle impacts
   – Life-cycle assessment (e.g., quantify impacts; whole-building life-cycle assessment; environmental attributes used in environmental product declaration
• (EPD), Product category Rules (PCR); design for flexibility)
   – Material attributes (e.g., bio-based, wood products, recycled content; local, extended producer responsibility (EPR), durability)
   – Human and ecological health impacts (e.g., raw material source and extraction practices, material ingredient reporting)
• Waste
   – Construction and demolition waste management (e.g., waste reduction, waste diversion goals; recycle and/or salvage nonhazardous construction and demolition materials; waste management plan)
   – Operations and ongoing (e.g., waste reduction, storage and collection of recyclable materials [mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals]; safe storage areas for batteries and mercury-containing lamps)
• Environmental concerns of materials (e.g., where materials came from, how they are used/exposures, and where they might go/impacts)
• LEED® Professional Candidate Handbook

Indoor Environmental Quality (11 Questions)

• Indoor environmental quality:
   – Ventilation levels (e.g., natural vs. mechanical, outdoor air, regional climate conditions)
   – Tobacco smoke control (e.g., prohibiting smoking; environmental tobaccos smoke transfer)
   – Management of and improvements to indoor air quality (e.g., source control, filtration and dilution, construction indoor air quality, airtesting, ongoing monitoring)
   – Low-emitting materials (e.g., product categories [paints and coatings; adhesives and sealants; flooring, etc.]; volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and content; evaluating environmental claims)
• Lighting: electric lighting quality (e.g., tradeoffs [color, efficiency]; surface reflectance, types of fixtures)
• Daylight (e.g., building massing and orientation, glare, human health impacts, illuminance)
• Acoustic performance (e.g., exterior and interior noise, background noise, dead vs. live spaces)
• Occupant comfort, health, and satisfaction: controllability of systems (e.g., thermal, lighting)
• Thermal comfort design (e.g., strategies to promote occupants’ productivity, and comfort, values of occupant satisfaction)
• Quality of views (e.g., connection to outdoor environment; direct line of sight to outdoors)

Project Surroundings and Public Outreach (4 Questions)

• Regional design (e.g., regional green design and construction measures as appropriate)
• Cultural awareness, impacts and challenges, historic or heritage awareness
• Educational outreach, public relations for the building

What to Expect from the LEEP AP Exams

kaboompics, Pixabay

The Tier II LEED AP credential affirms your advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in a particular LEED rating system. The LEED AP specialties are Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C)Homes (LEED AP Homes)Interior Design + Construction (LEED AP ID+C)Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND), and Operations + Maintenance (LEED AP O+M). Before taking any exam on the previously listed topics, you must have already passed the LEED Green Associate exam. As mentioned, you can gain multiple specialties, but we recommend studying for one at a time. 

Compared to the LEED Green Associate Exam, the LEED AP exam questions tend to be more challenging and requires more memorization of content from the 800+ page USGBC Reference Guides.

Studying for the LEED AP exams is different from that of the LEED Green Associate exam. As we have established, the LEEP AP exam is more difficult than the LEED Green Associate Exam. It covers more specialized information and requires you to memorize more material.

While we recommend studying about 30-40 hours for the LEED Green Associate Exam, we recommend you take double the amount of time for the LEED AP exam. Note, however, that this is an estimate and may vary depending on your prior knowledge regarding the subject matter and how fast you can retain the information. 

Since the passing score is 85%, we recommend studying until you can pass the practice tests with a 95-100%. Being able to pass a practice exam with a score above 95% will almost guarantee your success on the actual exam. Being able to score this high means that you not only mastered the key concepts for your LEED Specialty but you are also acclimated to the style and format of the test questions. 

Also, for detailed tips on how to pass the LEED AP v4 exam, see LEED AP study tips.

Sourch Material for the LEEP AP Exams:

When studying for the LEED AP Exams, it is beneficial to use different strategies to help you learn new information and memorize concepts. Study Guides, flashcards, visual and audio material as well as study groups are helpful strategies for studying for the LEED AP Exams.

Source Material for the LEED BD+C Exam: books, Pixabay

Ultimately, the LEED v4 BD+C exam tests your knowledge and abilities to participate in the design process, support the process of green building, and help lead a team towards certification. Even if you are only planning to take the LEED Green Associate Exam or are planning to take the LEED GA with another LEEP AP with Specialty Exam, 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.

While you could review the 800+ page USGBC BD+C Reference Guide, we also provide extensive study material which covers the above Knowledge and Tasks Domains. Our LEED v4 BD+C Super Study Pack with Project Experience ($129.99) includes a focused LEED v4 BD+C study guide, 200 BD+C Exam Questions in Exam Simulator format with detailed feedback, and LEED Project Experience.

LEED AP Super Study Packs

Our study material is designed to focus your attention on the sections of the Reference Guide where 98 percent of the questions will come from and will provide sample question similar to the actual exam. Using an affordable, focused study guide will save you hours of time and keep you from sorting through material that you won't be tested on. 

Below you’ll find information about our Super Study Packs for LEED BD+C, ID+C and O+M which include useful guides, full length practice exams, and project experience information that will help you prepare. For more information, click the icons below. 

BD+C Super Study PackID+C Super Study PackO+M Super Study Pack

If you are using one of our Super Study Packs mentioned above, we recommend spending about 60% of your time using the Poplar Study Guide, videos, flashcards and MP3s and 40% of your time taking practice exams before test day. When taking the practice exams, make sure to allot two hours to take the exam. This will prepare you for the actual exam.

24 Concepts you Should Know

While the Task and Knowledge Domain lists are extensive, there are key concepts that we have consistently found on the LEEP AP exams. This list is essential to know for every LEED AP exam.

Free LEED AP 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 AP exams 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 AP BD+C exam

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. 

We offer study materials from study guides to mp3s and videos that will benefit learners within each category.

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. 

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 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.

Ryan McGuire, 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.



Find members with green building and green business skills and experience.

Meet Pros.

Avatarmohammed alzghool's picture
Facility Manager
Avatarjames mulhearn's picture
Project Manager
Rancho Cordova, CA
AvatarKevin Gill's picture
East Brunswick, NJ


Relevant education and training to consider.

: 650-746-4261