How to Study for the AICP Exam

Are you an urban planner looking to up-level your resume and become AICP certified? The American Planning Association (APA) offers the American Institute of Certified Planners exam to certify professional planners. If you're ready to sit for the exam, here are Planning Certification's tips on how to study for the AICP exam:

    1. Start with a practice exam. Using an exam like a pre-test can help you determine which areas are your strong suits and which you need to focus more time studying.

      For instance, if you're a practicing transportation planner, that section will come easier to you than the NEPA section may. Our practice exams have an answer key that breaks down the section of each question so you know exactly which type of questions you need to study. 

    2. Make index cards. Taking study guide information and copying them over to index cards is one way of reading through all of the information. Then, studying the cards will challenge you to recall everything you need to know during the exam. Try using index cards in both directions.

      For example, test yourself on the definition of terms and then turn it around and seeing the definition, can you come up with the term?

    3. Study with friends. Getting together for a study session is a great way to talk through the topics with others. You may have the answer to some of your friend's questions and explaining themes to others is a great way to solidify your understanding of them. 

    4. Start studying early. The hardest part of the AICP exam is that it's comprehensive. Even though our study guides are streamlined and get right to the point, they can still be an overwhelming number of pages to read. The earlier you start, the more calm your study sessions can be. Instead of cramming 100 pages into a few weekends, you can read 5 or 10 pages here or there if you give yourself enough time. 

    5. End with a practice exam. Now that you've read all the information you possibly can, take a post-exam with one of our practice exams. You should see yourself doing better than your pre-test and whatever you get wrong at this point, you can zero in on those topics and spend your last remaining days focused on them. 

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