I realized after taking the exam that, whether you are new to the principles of green building or have sustainability expertise already, my advice is the same. The Green Associate exam is not so much a test of your sustainability or building knowledge as it is a test of your familiarity with the LEED process, AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF THE USGBC. You are essentially becoming their representative, and the Green Associate exam is a form of Boot Camp. You must know their rules and play by them.
If I had to do it all over, I would skip the Green Building & LEED Core Concepts Guide altogether and head straight for the in-person seminar. I would also pay more attention to the (freely available) Primary References listed in the LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook, focusing especially on the Rating Systems themselves as well as the resources listed below. Although each Rating System is a little different, LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations is a good place to start, as several other Systems share many of the same characteristics.
Other particularly useful resources:
- Guidelines for CIR Customers
- The Treatment by LEED of the Environmental Impact of HVAC Refrigerants
- Guidance on Innovation & Design Credits
- LEED Glossary (from the Existing Building Rating System)
- USGBC Trademark Guidelines
In the end, I found the practice exams to be a good indicator of my success. Once I was able to pass several of them in a row, I was finally confident that I would pass the actual exam. And so I did.