Top 10 Tips to Pass LEED Green Associate Exam in 2020

Top 10 Tips to Pass LEED Green Associate Exam in 2020


We are almost headed towards the end of 2019 and are ready to welcome 2020. However, we are nowhere close to effectively tackling climate change and limiting our carbon emissions. This had led to every sane individual with some love for the planet – right from Prince Charles to the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres – to name 2020 as a make-or-break year for climate policy.

Now whenever we think of carbon emissions and air pollution, the first image that comes to mind is of traffic congested roads and vehicular emissions. However, buildings actually have a higher environmental footprint than the transport sector, although it is less evident.

In reality, buildings account for nearly 40% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately two-thirds of the building area across the globe that exists today, will still exist in 2050. A significant increase in the rate of existing building energy efficiency renovations and a much greater dependence on renewable energy is required to meet emissions reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Therefore, it is abundantly clear that there can be no regulatory solution to climate change that does not include dramatic reductions in building emissions and energy consumption. Now as the demand for sustainable building practices grows, so does the requirement for LEED professionals. 

Today, opting to become a LEED professional is a long-term investment not only in yourself, but also in the health of our shared planet as well as your broader community. Becoming a LEED Green Associate is the first step of becoming a LEED Accredited Professional.

What is a LEED Green Associate credential?

What is a LEED Green Associate credential?The LEED Green Associate credential designates individuals who have a documented, up-to-date understanding of the most current green building principles and practices. 

LEED Green Associate is the introductory-level credential under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program, and is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council after passing the credentialing exam. This credential demonstrates a general understanding of all of the LEED rating systems and corresponding green design strategies.

It is also the first step before earning advanced credentials such as the LEED AP with specialty.

LEED Green Associate Exam 

The key to earning a LEED Green Associate credential is a thorough understanding of green building practices and LEED. The LEED Green Associate is a closed-book exam. You have 2-hours to take 100 multiple-choice questions. You may see a few pick two or pick three questions, but most are multiple choice. You are tested over LEED v4 and all the LEED v4 Rating Systems.

One of the best ways to ace the LEED Green Associate Exam is with GBRI’s best-in-class all inclusive exam prep. GBRI, or the Green Building Research Institute is a proud USGBC Education Partner and one of the leading sources for affordable LEED exam prep and training in the world.

With GBRI’s study materials, you can earn your LEED Green Associate credential in as little as 5 weeks. Based on your schedule, attend the 4 week instructor-led live exam prep sessions OR utilize self-paced online on-demand exam prep modules. 

GBRI LEED Green Associate Exam Prep includes:

  • A study guide, 
  • 5 LEED Green Associate practice tests with 100 questions (each simulated just like the actual exam), 
  • Flash cards,
  • Memory charts, 
  • Section wise quiz questions and much more!

The 5 practice tests -100 questions each are also available separately on their website for $99.

What’s more, GBRI also offers student, military, group, small business and corporate discounts. Contact them at for more information.

Further, the LEED v4 Green Associate online modules are also available on their website and include:

  • Study Guide
  • Self-Paced Online Study Modules
  • Flash Cards, Memory Charts & MP3 Voice Files
  • Practice Tests (sold separately)

GBRI also specializes in In-Person Exam Preparation & Training.

Green Building Research Institute’s Certified Instructor Network spans the world and provides access to quality in-person training for your LEED Green Associate exam prep and sustainability education. Visit their website to view their locations and get yourself registered for 2020 at a center near you!

Further Reading:

10 tips to help you pass the LEED Green Associate Exam in 2020:

10 tips to help you pass the LEED Green Associate Exam in 2020Listed below are a few tips that will guide you on how to pass the LEED Green Associate Exam in 2020-

  1. Most of the questions in the LEED Green Associate exam involve applied and critical thinking, so it is extremely important to have a thorough understanding of concepts instead of just memorizing. 
  2. Read the exam paper carefully, and then read it again. Likewise, check and recheck all your answers. Use the ‘Mark’ button to flag questions you don’t feel sure about. Since you get 2 hours to complete 100 questions, you can always come back to the ‘marked’ questions after you’re done with the rest. 
  3. Also, often the LEED Green Associate exam will try to trick you by sneaking in an important word like “not” or “isn’t”.  Read each question carefully so you don’t misunderstand them.
  4. It is definitely a good idea to take a look at the Green Associate handbook found on the GBCI website. The handbook will tell you important information about what is covered in the exam, as well as test taking policies. And then, of course, you have the GBRI to help you with the study materials.
  5. You can never take enough practice tests. Take loads of them (and more!) to ensure you have a fair idea of the actual test content. And they also teach you to slow down and read much more carefully.
  6. It is very important to memorize all numbers related to Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs). 
  7. You should have in-depth knowledge of the four ASHRAE standards used in LEED- ASHRAE 90.1 – Energy
    • ASHRAE 55 – Thermal Comfort
    • ASHRAE 52.2 – Air Filters
    • ASHRAE 62.1 – Ventilation
  8. When you feel there is more than one right answer to a particular multiple choice question, just go with the ‘best’ answer. For example, implementing a concept that reduces carbon emissions will be a better answer than the one that promotes the local economy or saves water. 
  9. Know the difference between a project that is LEED Certified and a LEED certified project. When you use a capital “C” in Certified, it refers to a project that has met all MPRs, Prerequisites, and has earned between 40-49 LEED credits.  Using the lowercase “c” in certified means a project could have earned any certification level (Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum).
  10. Before you start the two-hour exam, you get ten minutes to familiarize yourself with the testing controls along with a scrap paper and a pen. Take those precious ten minutes to recall all the concepts/numbers you’ve memorized. Jot down the ones you are worried about getting confused on during your exam. 

Please note that the USGBC has a pool of 1000+ questions out of which they frame their 100-question exams, so no two exams will look the same. The USGBC does not share its database of questions with anyone. You are required to score 170 out of 200 points in order to pass the LEED Green Associate Exam and will receive the results at the test center immediately following the test.

So all the best for your LEED Green Associate exam! We are hopeful that with the right amount of will, effort and guidance, you will be able to pass with flying colors and do your bit to make this world a better place to live in!


About The Author

Jeslin Varghese is the President at GBRI, an online education platform(USGBC Education Partner and AIA Education Provider) geared towards sustainability education that he co-founded in 2010. Through GBRI, he have had the opportunity to create 100s of sustainability courses and deliver lectures at multiple Universities in North America and India. Apart from these two passions, he have a non-profit organization called “I-believe”, that he founded in 2012 with a mission to create sustainable communities around the world through education, empowerment and training. Through i-believe, he is able to pay it forward to the next generation.

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