LEED AP BD+C Exam Preparation Guide: 10 Proven Study Tips

LEED AP BD+C preparation tips.

Preparing for the LEED AP BD+C certification exam can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Achieving this credential demonstrates your expertise in green building practices and sustainable design. To help you succeed, we’ve compiled a list of proven study tips that will guide you through your preparation journey. These tips are designed to maximize your study efficiency and boost your confidence on exam day.

What Is the LEED AP BD+C Exam?

  • Specialty Evaluation: The LEED AP BD+C exam assesses a professional’s knowledge and skills necessary for the design and development of sustainable buildings.

  • Focus on Integration: The exam emphasizes the ability to engage in and promote integrated design processes.

  • Certification Expertise: It also evaluates the capability to streamline the application and certification process for sustainable buildings.

LEED AP Exam Formats & Procedures:


  • Combined Exam Cost: $550 (Discounted to $400 for USGBC members)

  • Specialty Exam Cost: $350 (Discounted to $250 for USGBC members)

Prerequisites/Eligibility Requirements:

  • Current Credential: Must have an active LEED Green Associate credential or pass that exam concurrently.

  • Age Requirement: Must be 18 years or older.

  • Work Experience: Experience with LEED-registered projects is highly recommended, though not mandatory.


  • Combined Exam: Consists of 100 multiple-choice questions for each section.

  • Specialty Only Exam: Contains 100 multiple-choice questions.

  • Exam Locations: Available at Prometric Testing Centers or online as a proctored exam.

Language Support:

Translation Aids: Available in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, French, and Spanish for the BD+C and O+M exams.


  • Passing Score: Requires a score of 170 out of 200 to pass.

  • Reschedule/Cancellation Policy: This can be done up to 3 days before the exam.

  • Additional Fees: May apply for rescheduling or cancellations.

These points provide a concise and clear overview of the LEED AP BD+C exam and its associated formats and procedures.

Study Tips to Pass the AP BD+C Certification Exam:

1. Understand the LEED AP BD+C Exam Structure:

  • The first step in preparing for the LEED AP BD+C certification is understanding the exam structure. Familiarize yourself with the format, question types, and subject areas covered. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, divided into two sections: a core section on general green building concepts and a specialty section focused on Building Design and Construction.

  • Understanding the breakdown of topics can help you allocate your study time effectively. Pay attention to key areas such as sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Knowing what to expect will reduce anxiety and help you focus on the most important content.

2. Follow A Consistent Study Schedule:

  • Creating a study schedule is crucial for effective exam preparation. Start by setting a realistic timeline based on your current knowledge and the amount of time you can dedicate each week. Break down the material into manageable chunks and assign specific topics to each study session.

  • Consistency is key. Aim for regular study sessions, even if they are short. This will help reinforce your knowledge and keep the information fresh in your mind. Use tools like calendars or apps to track your progress and ensure you stay on schedule.

3. Invest in LEED AP BD+C Certification Study Materials:

  • Investing in official study materials is one of the best ways to ensure you’re studying the right content. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) offers various resources, including the LEED AP BD+C Candidate Handbook, reference guides, and online courses. These materials are specifically designed to cover all aspects of the exam.

  • In addition to the official resources, consider supplementing your studies with reputable third-party guides and practice exams. These can provide different perspectives and additional practice opportunities.

4. Participate Actively in AP BD+C Study Groups:

  • Study groups provide a platform for discussing difficult concepts, sharing resources, and motivating each other. They can also offer diverse viewpoints and solutions to common challenges.

  • Look for local or online study groups focused on LEED AP BD+C certification. Participate actively in discussions, ask questions, and share your insights. Collaborative learning can help you gain a deeper understanding of the material and keep you accountable to your study schedule.

5. Build Your Test-Taking Stamina with LEED AP BD+C Practice Tests:

  • Taking practice tests is an invaluable part of your exam preparation. Practice tests help you familiarize yourself with the exam format, identify areas where you need improvement, and build your test-taking stamina. They can also help reduce anxiety by providing a realistic preview of the exam experience.

  • Start with shorter quizzes to test your knowledge on specific topics. As you progress, take full-length practice exams under timed conditions. Review your answers thoroughly to understand your mistakes and learn from them.

6. Put Your Efforts to Overcome the Weak Areas:

  • Identifying and focusing on your weak areas is essential for effective study. Use your practice test results to pinpoint topics where you scored lower. Spend extra time reviewing these areas and seek additional resources if needed.

  • Don’t ignore your strong areas completely, but prioritize your weak points to ensure you have a well-rounded understanding of all exam topics. This targeted approach will help you improve your overall score and increase your confidence.

7. Memorize Better with LEED AP BD+C Flashcards:

  • Flashcards are a powerful tool for memorizing key concepts and terms. Create flashcards for important definitions, acronyms, and principles related to the LEED AP BD+C exam. This method is especially useful for quick review sessions and reinforcing your memory.

  • You can make your own flashcards or use digital flashcard apps. Review them regularly, especially during short breaks or while commuting. The repetitive nature of flashcards helps cement information in your long-term memory.

8. Attend Workshops and Webinars:

  • Attending workshops and webinars can provide valuable insights and updates on the latest trends in green building and sustainable design. These events are often led by industry experts and can offer practical tips and real-world applications of LEED principles.

  • Look for workshops and webinars offered by the USGBC or other reputable organizations. Participating in these events can enhance your understanding of complex topics and provide networking opportunities with other professionals preparing for the LEED AP BD+C certification.

9. Stay Updated on Green Building Trends:

  • Staying updated on the latest trends and advancements in green building is crucial for the LEED AP BD+C certification. Follow industry news, subscribe to relevant newsletters, and read articles on sustainable design. Understanding current trends will not only help you on the exam but also in your professional career.

  • Incorporate this habit into your daily routine. Spend a few minutes each day reading about new technologies, case studies, and best practices in green building. This continuous learning approach will keep you informed and engaged with the subject matter.

10. Maintain a Healthy Study-Life Balance During AP BD+C Exam Preparation:

  • Maintaining a healthy study-life balance is essential for long-term success. Overloading yourself with too much information at once can lead to burnout and decreased retention. Make sure to take regular breaks, get enough sleep, and engage in physical activity.

  • Incorporate relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises to manage stress. A balanced approach will keep you energized, focused, and ready to tackle the LEED AP BD+C certification exam with a clear mind.

Concluding Thoughts:

Preparing for the LEED AP BD+C certification exam requires dedication, strategy, and the right resources. By following these proven study tips, you will be well-equipped to master the material and succeed on exam day. Remember, consistent effort and a positive mindset are key to achieving your certification goals. Good luck!

FAQs on the LEED AP BD+C Exam:

Q1. What is the LEED AP BD+C exam?

A1: The LEED AP BD+C (Building Design and Construction) exam is a specialty certification that assesses a professional's expertise in the sustainable design, construction, and development of buildings.

Q2. What knowledge and skills are tested in the LEED AP BD+C exam?

A2: The exam evaluates a candidate's ability to participate in the design process, promote integrated design, and manage the LEED certification process effectively.

Q3. What are the fees for the LEED AP BD+C exam?

A3: The combined exam fee is $550, or $400 for USGBC members. The fee for the specialty-only exam is $350, or $250 for USGBC members.

Q4. What are the eligibility requirements for taking the LEED AP BD+C exam?

A4: Candidates must have a current LEED Green Associate credential or pass the Green Associate exam concurrently. They must also be 18 years or older. While not mandatory, it is recommended that candidates have experience working on LEED-registered projects.

Q5. How is the LEED AP BD+C exam structured?

A5: The exam format consists of 100 multiple-choice questions per section for the combined exam and 100 multiple-choice questions for the specialty-only exam. It can be taken at a Prometric Testing Center or online as a proctored exam.

Q6. Are there any language aids available for the LEED AP BD+C exam?

A6: Yes, translation aids are available in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, French, and Spanish for the BD+C and O+M exams.

Q7. What score is needed to pass the LEED AP BD+C exam?

A7: A passing score is 170 out of 200.

Q8. Can I reschedule or cancel my LEED AP BD+C exam?

A8: Yes, you can reschedule or cancel your exam up to 3 days before the scheduled date. Additional fees may apply for rescheduling or cancellations.

Q9. Where can I take the LEED AP BD+C exam?

A9: The exam can be taken at a Prometric Testing Center or remotely as an online proctored exam.

Q10. Where can I get practice tests for the LEED AP BD+C Exam?

A10: ProcessExam offers one of the most effective practice tests to prepare for the LEED AP BD+C exam.

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