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LEED AP Practice Exam

March 13, 2008

7/1/09 Update: The LEED AP exam has significantly changed, and the following sample exam has not been updated to reflect this. Please use the information if it's helpful--but no guarantees of anything. And by the way, if you are looking to learn about the LEED 2009 rating systems, there's no better tool out there than our own 4/4/09 Update: For all those who have asked questions about specific questions on this sample exam, I have posted a comment below with comprehensive answers. The exam has also been updated as of today for minor corrections. 11/21/08 Update: I've posted a report from Greenbuild on what GBCI has planned for overhauling the LEED AP credit. Get ready to be a "Legacy LEED AP"...
Dear LEED-AP Exam Taker, The attached document (see the end of the post) is a sample LEED-AP exam, available to members of You can join for as little as $12.95 for one week, which is all you need to downoad the exam. I designed it to help me assess my command of the LEED-NC material in preparation for the LEED-AP exam. I wrote many of the questions based on fairly specific tenets of the LEED Reference Guide and associated materials. You'll have to not only understand the general intent and requirements of credits, but you may also have to go back to the material and and dig in deeper to understand the answers. The questions are challenging, so unless you really know the material, you will have to go back to the LEED Reference Guide and other sources to understand the answers. This approach helped me study and pass the exam, and I think it will help you. I want to pause here and emphasize that passing the LEED-AP exam, and more importantly, working in green building in general, is about more than memorization. I spent a year and a half immersed in green building – on staff at Environmental Building News and taking sustainable design classes through the Boston Architectural College's online certificate program – before I decided to study intensively and take the exam. Without the broader understanding of green building that I gained in that way, I would have had a much harder time passing the exam. Even if I had passed it, I wouldn't have known what to do with it. Therefore I'd like to recommend the following resources to you:
  • Environmental Building News. Since 1992, EBN is the authoritative source on green building news and information, including keeping you up to date on LEED. Subscriptions are well worth the modest price tag.
  • GreenSpec Directory. Our editors screen out the greenwash, and organize over 2,000 green products by CSI section, and cross-reference them by green attributes (such as recycled content) and by LEED credits. Available in print and online.
  • BuildingGreen Suite. Our online resources are rolled into a product we call BuildingGreen Suite, which lives on our website, There are numerous membership options.
Before you download the exam, I leave you with these last notes:
  • This exam is not designed to simulate the actual LEED-AP exam. I wrote it myself with no firsthand knowledge of the exam. Now having passed the test, I think it's great training material.
  • I have taken several of the sample exams out there, and I most highly recommend the USGBC Colorado Chapter practice exam. The Colorado exam is particularly helpful because it comes with an entire study guide, and the answers are explained, which is not the case here, although you can refer to many of the comments below for explanations.
  • I recommend taking at least two sample tests – one fairly early in your process, and one fairly late. The first one helps you orient to the demands of the exam, assess where you're at, and focus on where you need to work. The second one helps give you confidence before the exam, and refine your approach. So while I recommend the Colorado exam, this exam can be a second option.
  • There is an answer key but not explanations of answers. All questions are drawn from available materials such as the Reference Guide and the USGBC and GBCI websites, so answers can be explained through reference to those materials. If you want to discuss any specific questions or aspects of the exam, however, please do so in the comments section below.
  • Use of this sample exam, like all material on, is subject to this disclaimer.
  • You may only obtain this exam from this website: do not share it with others, or accept it from others. Please share the link to this page instead. If there are any revisions or updates, you will be getting the most recent version. When this test becomes outdated at the end of June 2009, we may withdraw it from use pending writing a new exam.
Finally, good luck! Tristan Roberts, LEED AP

Editor, Online Commercial Products


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December 3, 2008 - 4:30 am

Pete, if you think it through carefully you'll see that you're double counting the exemplary performance points available through SS Credit 7. Big hint: what credit are exemplary performance points counted under?

December 3, 2008 - 10:05 am

I have been going through the practice exam over and over. I can not get over question 42. The budget is $900,000. The material cost (2.5% of cost) is estimated using the 45% default rate (45% of $900,000 is $405,000) and 2.5% of $405,000 is $10,125. The project has already used $18,000 ($10,000 of wheat-straw and $8,000 in cotton insulation). $18,000 previously spent vs $10,125. shouldn’t the answer be D?

October 14, 2008 - 2:25 pm


As an instructor of LEED Exam Prep courses, we get students all the time that underestimate the exam and assume that because they work in the industry that they will be able to pass the exam without preparation. Our courses are designed to teach students exactly what's needed and to save them significant amounts of study time. I'd recommend starting with a course so as not waste time and money taking and retaking the exam.


December 3, 2008 - 3:12 pm

LEED 2009 is bringing HUGE changes to the exam and the credentialing system. I have setup a helpful page to explain all the changes for LEED 2009 at my site: . I hope I can help explain these complex changes in the LEED system.

If your studying be sure to read about the 2009 changes at


December 2, 2008 - 4:46 pm

I believe the answer to question #56 is C because SS Credit 7.1 and 7.2 are both eligible for exemplary performance points which makes total eligible points equal 4 plus four for EQ Credit 4 takes the total point score from 32 to 40 - Gold.

Please advise.

October 14, 2008 - 6:44 am


I took the LEED-AP exam last year (November) and after some intense studying (about 40+ hours), I passed with an average score (184). I thought the exam was tough. Since then, four of my friends have attempted the exam and not one of them passed on the first go round, one passed on the second time and the other three are scheduled for a re-take this month.

It's hard to say what it takes to pass the exam, I heard a statistic the other day that only 25% actually pass (whether this means pass on the first time or ever, I don't know) but this should give encouragement to study, study, study. Every once in a while, you will hear people say "I didn't even open the LEED Reference Guide" or "I barely studied"- this is not the average, but the exception (if they are even telling the truth, some people are just looking for attention). I say, buy into everything that LEED is selling, in other words, believe everything that they say as if it is absolute- don't try to put a "real life" spin on it because you will fail. LEED is about a perfect situation, not how you will really handle it when a particular situation comes up. So read it and say "okay, that's how it is" and then go apply their idealistic views into the test- that's how I passed. Try not to over-think or over-analyze every question, just do what you think LEED wants you to do. Take the practice exams (Colorado,, PPI, etc.)- honestly, after all of that studying, the night before the exam I practiced with the Colorado exam and got a not-so-great score but the next morning, I did well enough to pass. So take everything with a grain of salt- I wish I had better advice, but that is all that I have to contribute- I wish everyone the best of luck!

October 14, 2008 - 7:10 am

Yes, studying is the key to passing -- the first time round. At my firm we have about a 90% pass rate, due I believe to thorough preparation. We have classes that: review the entire LEED process, review the individual credits, and have some discussions about implementation. Then, getting ready for the test, the mantra is to read the reference guide again, and again to memorize 'standards', intents, etc. Then... take some practice tests. Then, the weekend before the test, memorize some more. Not only do people pass from this process, but -- as importantly -- they are also becoming familiar and more comfortable with actually implementing "sustainable design" -- at least in LEED terms.

April 29, 2009 - 8:09 pm

Regarding question 63, can someone explain why no credits are available for this case under EA Credit 2, On-SIte Renewable Energy?

January 20, 2009 - 5:14 pm

I would like to confirm if ALL the answer keys to the questions are correct in the sample test for NC2.2v?

August 19, 2008 - 2:08 pm

I have been taking the practice exam. Thank you for putting it together and posting it. That said, I have found that a number of your answers don't seem to gybe with the USGBC Ref Guide. For example, question 54 having to do with a n 18,000 office building and EA credit 1. Your answer is A, isn't the correct answer B? Ref page 179 - Option 2 paragraph 1.

August 20, 2008 - 6:40 am

Alan, the credit has been updated since the Reference Guide was last published. In preparing for the exam, I recommend spending time not only with the Reference Guide, but also with the CIRs on the USGBC website and other sources of updates, such as EBN. This article bears on question 54:

The official LEED exam handbook does not mention how the exam deals with the fact that LEED is a moving target and the exam moves, um, more slowly. I suggest knowing the most up to date information, and if you find yourself one step ahead of any of the exam questions, that means you're in really good shape -- and you can always contest a question if you need to.

March 7, 2009 - 12:17 pm

I just passed pretty easily. Drop the 50 bucks and get the pretests at they are awesome and tell you why you get each answer right or wrong. Very similar to the test.

September 23, 2009 - 11:31 am

Tristan-- Are we going to see an update for this exam that reflects the LEED 2009 changes? It's a great, free, challenging resource to point people to.

March 8, 2009 - 4:11 pm

I hope you can answer my following questions:

1) On question 6, where can find information on "FloorScore"? I don't see it in the USGBC New Construction Reference Guide Version 2.2 Third Edition, Oct 2007.

2) Can you clarify the answers for question 17. How do I relate the constructed pavilion to SSc 7.2 and SSc5.1? One of the answers is C EQp2. Is "prerequisite" always a wrong answer when the questions ask for "credit"?

3) On question 22, shouldn't the answer be A? For EAc2, 17.5% will earn the Exemplary Performance.

4) For question 35, I can't find any information on "Section 08 44 00: Wood Doors." Please advise.

5) For question 50, how do I relate LEED Scorecard with assigning project team roles? Do you know where can I find the information in the Reference Guide?

6) For question 54, shouldn't the answer be B? For EAc1 option 2, if the building is less than 20,000 square feet, a project can use ASHRAE "Advanced Energy Design Guide."

7) For question 66, how did you come up with 25% as the answer? Shouldn't the answer be E 80%? We count 100% of post-consumer and 50% of pre-consumer.

8) For question 77, shouldn't B (Locating basic services on an aerial map) one of the answers?

Thank you for your help!

March 4, 2009 - 7:05 am

I tweaked the wording of #62 to make the correct answer unambiguously clear. (As has been my practice with all questions that have come up over time through this comments area.) Good luck to everyone working to get accredited before the current exam ends!

March 4, 2009 - 4:00 am

I had the same question as Lara above on Question 62, and Rick explained that "The reason it is not any of the MR1 credits is because the square footage for the resultant building is more than 2 times the sqft of the existing building." However the Reference Guide states that "this credit is not applicable if the square footage of the addition is more than 2 times the square footage of the existing building." So wouldn't that mean that MRc1 is applicable in this case? LEED looks at the square footage of the addition, not the resultant building. It's a subtle difference, but it changes the answer to this question.

Thanks of your help!

April 22, 2009 - 2:36 am

Actually after reading the manual again, answer C is correct. This is a situation where there is zoning, but no "open space" provision. Therefore, the required open space area is 20% of the site, resulting in 10,000 SF of required OS.

June 9, 2009 - 10:35 am

Gina, don't be dismayed! Roger was in a similar situation and made a comment about it here:

I think you might be encouraged by what he said. Do keep studying, but realize that this is a tough practice exam that is intended to be a bit harder and trickier than the real thing. Regarding CIRs -- for people like me that find the LEED requirements abstract and hard to remember, I find that these help make them concrete. GBCI doesn't test on their content, but I do recommend being familiar with them as a useful practice.

Other questions:

Question 20: Answer "A" is EAp2, not EAp1, so I don't understand the comment on this.

Question 31: F is not correct because pedestrian access is not addressed and the building entrance is also not addressed.

Question 34: Check the Reference Guide requirements.

April 21, 2009 - 12:01 am

Thank you Tristan! Your quiz was very helpful. Passed with a 171! As a reccomendation to others, I recommend not focusing practise quizes but using them as a suppliment. Too much time wracking your brain over wrong answers may end up confusing you. What worked for me was spending the vast majority of my time just reading and memorizing the material and trying to apply the credits to as many different scenarios as I could think of, and then in the end I went through Tristan's quiz to get used to what the test would be like and to see some areas of study I hadn't considered. Tristan, thanks again for all your hard work!

June 2, 2009 - 3:06 pm

Hi there - I am taking the exam in two weeks and just scored 65% on your exam and am freaking out. I am now going through the answers and clarifications on this website. I see that you stress reading the CIRS (for example, to answer No. 6). My understanding is that CIRs are only available to USGBC members, people who've taken a USGBC course in the past year and registered project members. Unless I am wrong, how can the GBCI actually test on material that only certain test takers can access? Thanks!

June 2, 2009 - 1:48 pm

I've been taking various practice exams, including this one. What percentage correct would you suggest is a good representation of passing?

April 30, 2008 - 11:30 am

Hi! This is a great tool for the Leed exam! I'm a bit confused on question #17. What does heat island effect and protecting/restoring the habitat have to do with removing a smoking pavilion that was to utilize formaldehyde-free wood? Thanks!

April 29, 2008 - 11:25 am

I took the test and past it the first time at the end of March. My recommendations, study. Know the credits by heart, know the references by heart, take lots of practice exams ahead of time and the Colorado Chapter exam last. For me the Colorado Chapter exam was harder than the actual. I finished the test in a little over an hour and had enough time to go back through it completely again. Do not waste any test time, use all extra for review of your answers.

August 6, 2008 - 3:44 pm

Don't buy the LEEDAPHELP practice exams. They are a total rip-off.

April 12, 2009 - 9:57 am

A hearty thanks for a test that led to such a great discussion.

June 4, 2009 - 8:09 pm

On Question 34, why is it A,D and not A,E? I feelLCODP & LCGWP and refrigerant atmospheric impact need to be calculated. The reference guide has no mention of pounds of refrigerant and tons of cooling required. Thanks in advance!

February 25, 2009 - 5:16 pm

I am having trouble with #62. If the original building is 20,000 square feet, and the resulting building is 50,000 square feet, it means the addition is 30,000 SF. MR c1.1 and 1.2 are only NOT applicable if the "square footage of the addition is more than 2 times the square footage of the existing building" from v 2.2 third edition. It seems like the addition would have to be 40,000 sf in order for this credit not to apply. Thanks -

May 6, 2008 - 8:10 am

Evan, congrats!

Now, without checking your study materials ... How many LEED AP test takers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

For the answer, check out the new addition to this post:

April 19, 2009 - 2:54 pm

I thought Question #8 should be D also, equal to the building foot print.!?!?

March 1, 2009 - 8:12 am

Question 45: Please explain how the project boundary factors into SSc4: Alternate Transportation (answer c)? I would be more inclined to choose SSc6: Stormwater Management because the area is going to factor into your runoff calculations, or even SSc1: Site Selection because you would possibly define a project boundary to avoid a floodplain, wetland, etc...

May 5, 2008 - 9:12 pm

To al reading this post... I highly DO NOT recommend taking this practice test to prepare for the LEED 2.2 exam. I just got a 186 and passed. I took the test last night and was sooooooo freakin upset with it that I stopped half way through! It is amateur and has the wrong answers. Do not think that it is even close to the real thing… trust the Colorado study guide!!!!! Know your credit Intent, Req's , and Strategies. USGBC will always ask you through a couple of crazy questions (calcs for WE 3) at you that YOU WILL NOT KNOW unless you study the entire REFENCE GUIDE. I will tell you right know. I did not read ONE page. HONEST. I read the Colorado study guide, a purchased version of the USGBC study guide and had access to a few flash cards. The test you find here is a joke. USE IT AS A STUDY GUIDE ONLY. Counter what is said and find the RIGHT ANSWERERS! I can not tell you how much of a joke it is! Know your stuff and you will be fine... study HARD... but don’t rely on this test to set you straight.... I highly recommend focusing on the USGBC Colorado Study guide for synergies (look at secretions 10-19?). Go get ‘em... ! You will all do great. Email me for my study material! Study exactly what I said and I can ALMOST guarantee you'll pass! Gooooooood luck!

October 1, 2008 - 3:00 pm

hi everyone. excelent blog here.
i live in Uruguay, south america, and i want to take the exam.
it's preety hard to get the stuff to study here, so i do most online.
how much time does it take to get things right before taking a shot and pass it?

would anyone advice me with a starting guide on how and what to study to take the exam?

(yes, i've read all the comments and all the links posted too).

thanks to everybody for your help.

best regards,

June 6, 2009 - 9:03 pm

#20) There seems to be a mistake in the answer choices for this question. A & F both claim to be EAp1, only F is actually EAp1, yet A is one the correct answers.

June 6, 2009 - 9:55 pm

#31) I do not uderstand why F (services within 1/3 mile) is not correct while B (services within 1/2 mile) is correct. And still not sure why E is correct. What does this have to do to with the requirements for this credit.

April 17, 2009 - 1:26 pm

I disagree with questons 7 & 8
#7 - C is listed as a correct answer but the reference guide states "All non-emergency interior lighting shall be automatically controlled to turn off during non-business hours. Provide manual override capability for after hours use." isnt that answer A? Is there a trick here I'm missing?
#8 - The correct answer given is C) 10,000 but c5.2 option 2 states "for areas with no local zoning requirements ... provide vegitated open space area adjacent to the building that is equal to the building footprint". The question states that the building footprint is 20,000 sf. Why then is D not the correct answer?

January 7, 2009 - 12:29 pm

The Colorado Chapter of the usgbc has a very comprehensive, yet concise study guide that tells you how to study for the exam, and which parts of the Reference Guide to study. Like so many others, I would highly recommend purchasing this study guide (, if you are even thinking about taking the leed exam.

March 16, 2009 - 5:06 am

I have to disagree about the credit/prerequisite thing. Every other practice test I've taken, presentations I've been to, and study guides I've read have said in so many words, if the question says which CREDIT any of the options that are PREREQUISITES can be thrown out as a "trick answer".

I agree with a previous comment that this exam has too many discrepancies, and too many things that are either to vague OR interpreted way more nitpicky than other practice exams (greenexamprep, colorado). I would have to say the biggest positive to me taking this exam was that it showed me how good I have gotten at the material, because I could point out numerous errors. I would not recommend for a beginner. My strategy in practice test taking has been to make a flash card for every question I got wrong, and after this test I had a LOT of flash cards, but I still be to differ on a lot of the "answers" for some of the questions.

January 25, 2009 - 7:48 am

Ted, thx for your comments.
I just want to clarify that in the Sample exam i could answer 70 question in 2hrs.
So i want to get a general idea if people are able to complete the entire Sample exam in 2hrs.
I have not yet given the leed exam.

March 15, 2009 - 3:56 pm

Where can I get the eratta for the Sample Exam from this website?

January 24, 2009 - 12:52 pm

Partially correct answers are counted as wrong. If a question has multiple answers you have to get all the answers correct to get credit for answering the question correctly.

If you can only get to 70 questions in 2 hours then you need to study more. Most of the questions on the test require answers that you have memorized from the book. Read read read. Sorry. I know this sounds like a lot of work but when you actually start applying what you learned on actual projects you will be glad you memorized all this information.

January 24, 2009 - 11:11 am

I could score 50% correct answers in the sample exam.
Do they count partial correct answer in the exam.
If half correct answer with respect to the no of choices is counted it would be 60%.
I could attempt only 70 questions in 2 hrs and no time to review. Any suggestions or remarks are welcome.

January 23, 2009 - 10:14 am

I don't think the question on question 17 was answered. I believe the key word is adjust. If we are taking out the smoking building entirely we are not adjusting the calculations we are getting rid of them, but we will have to adjust the amount of roof area (covered pavillion) and the amount of land we are developing and therefore the amount we need to protect.

Tristan, on question 22 per Errata posted 8/1/07 to the 2nd edition of LEED NC Version 2.2, an exemplary performance of 17.5% is allowed.

And two questions for you Tristan, why is the answer to question 42 A? We only need to meet a 2.5% of rapidly renewable material based on cost and the wheat-straw particleboard has already done that?

Also for question 6 where is the Floor Score criteria found?

Finally, on question 56 Tristan I don't understand why weither B or C would work. They both could add 8 points to the total.

Thanks, good luck everybody.

May 19, 2008 - 11:39 am

Does anyone have a substantiated idea as to when USGBC will be changing the test once again, this time for the new LEED 2009? We teach LEED classes in our office and need to know when to start transitioning. Thanks.

October 16, 2008 - 12:48 pm

I am looking for clarification for question 66.... why can you count 25% of the metal? Also, it says her supliers ATTEMP to use 80% metal.



October 16, 2008 - 12:58 pm

hi all. i live in south america (uruguay). is anybody near? or all of you are in north america, europe, etc....

December 5, 2008 - 4:43 am

Matty, on question 42, take a close look at your math. Why are you estimating the materials cost when it is given in the question?

October 16, 2008 - 6:41 am

Is anyone selling their study guides or current Edition 3 Reference Guide for LEED NC?

July 8, 2008 - 6:38 pm

Hi, I'd like to also offer my blog that I am still updating, even after passing the exam back in March, as a helpful resource for any LEED AP hopefuls out there. I'm always available through the website to answer any questions too. Thanks and best of luck!

September 29, 2009 - 2:46 pm

Aurora, thanks for the encouragement! Stay tuned -- we'll see. In the meantime, please check out

This is a resource powered by that offers credit-by-credit guidance on the LEED rating system. I think you'll find it's a great way to get to know the system, with practical insights.

December 5, 2008 - 8:07 am

I understand your comment however I can't figure out how the stated answer adds up. By the way, I just passed the LEED AP exam. Using the your sample test was a big help.

Peter J. Porretta, AIA, LEED AP