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Thread: AICP Test 04' -- Advice?

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    AICP Test 04' -- Advice?

    Has anybody taken the AICP test yet this year? How do you feel that it went? Is there anything you were surprised about?

    My suspicion is that since this is the first time the e-test has been used, the pass rate will be a little higher. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

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    Welcome to Cyburbia from southern Indiana.

    Don't be surprised when a mod comes by and moves this post to another forum. The Friday Afternoon Club is for stuff a little less than work-related.

    I didn't take the AICP. I distrust APA and so refuse to take the exam.
    Je suis Charlie

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Check out the thread under Make No Small Plans, called the Big Test of Planning Trivia. It is about AICP.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    [mod hat on]

    Thread moved. Now see Cardinal's sage advice

    [/mod hat on]

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    No rhyme or reason....

    Quote Originally posted by Planderer
    Has anybody taken the AICP test yet this year? How do you feel that it went? Is there anything you were surprised about?

    My suspicion is that since this is the first time the e-test has been used, the pass rate will be a little higher. At least that's what I'm hoping for.
    This past May I studied my a** off and I was 10 points off the mark. In '03 with no study I fell 4 points short. I refuse to make heads or tails out of the whole thing. I also refuse to waste 4 months of my life ever studying for the exam again (I may give it one more shot only because it's no cost to me). I have better things to do with my free time and I probably have a better chance at guessing at the 'who wants to be a planner Bolderdash game'. Good luck, and don't blame yourself for feeling like a sucker around the first of the year.

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I know that in May 8 members of my chapter took the exam....and 7 passed.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    According to an email I received circulated from the AICP office, only 63% of those who took the exam this past May passed. For a national percentage, I think that's pretty low.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I started preparing for the test over a year before taking it. Definitely read the green bible. I also got past versions of the AICP preparation package from APA - started out so long ago preparing that I had the 02 and 03 practice exam disks. Also I signed up for the online preparation package that I found on Planetizen. I also considered the other online (planningprep) service but never acted on it. Ohio State also offers an online preparation class. You have to decide how much time you need to prepare. I am over 20 years out of graduates school so much of the history and who's who were greek to me and I needed the extra time.

    I also accessed a lot of information from David Mandelkar whose legal reviews I have been reading for years, and a lot of information from Pace University School of Law - which although it has a New York state spin is very useful for getting a picture of how planning theory and law relates outside of the states I have worked in.

    I had to arrange my study time around work and family needs as well which reduced my available time to study, thus stretching out my timeline for preparing.

    I found that the practice exams in the above mentioned sources were very useful - for me anyway - as many questions on the exam were found in those practice exams. There were some questions that I had no idea about - social planning type questions that I am guessing were part of the questions they were testing.

    I only needed to use the calculator twice, very limited plan reading, lots of ethics, and who's who type questions. You need to know the code of ethics and the timeline/history you can find on the APA website.

    Google was also very helpful in finding information that you may not otherwise be able to find. As I did the practice exams, anything that threw me I Googled. I did find the practice exams a little heavy on the septage and water quality as compared to the exam. But with the three sets of sample exams and over 1800 practice questions to go through most information was covered in my preparation material. I now have a cardboard box of material that I may rarely look back at but it served its purpose.

    As to the test, I felt well prepared, finished my first pass through in about an hour (important as others have noted in the other thread to mark those you are unsure of and move on). Went back through the marked questions (about 40) then once more through the entire exam. I was still completed with about an hour to spare.

    Oh, I passed, this was also my first time taking the exam.

    Good Luck, but give yourself plenty of study time. I probably studied an equivalent of 5 hours a week, so well over 250 hours of preparation time. If you are recently out of school some of the things I needed to refresh myself on, you may already know.
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I didn't study and I passed. Still, I would say (as I have many times) that the AICP exam is an exceptionally poor test that does very little to guage a person's actual ability as a planner.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I didn't study and I passed. Still, I would say (as I have many times) that the AICP exam is an exceptionally poor test that does very little to guage a person's actual ability as a planner.

    Your situation is similar to mine. I gave a marginal (at best) studying effort and passed. It absolutely boggles my mind how people can study their rear ends off and not pass. You really have to wonder what is going on in the land of AICP...are they going for quotas? Maybe this was the year of the white male...
    A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones that need the advice.
    --Bill Cosby

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    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    My advice is don't take the worthless thing.

    A waste of time, money, and effort... Yeah, when I'm hiring, I'll look for the AICP lable. In fact, if someone interviewed with me and had it, I'm going to grill them on how they've followed through on all of the points in the AICP "oath". They better have good answers, too.
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    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff
    ...the AICP "oath"...
    There's an oath?
    Annoyingly insensitive

  13. #13
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    when I took the test a number of years ago, I had a very long commute and I would listen to the tapes I had bought from APA religiously in the car everyday. It did help.
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    What fun
    getting up early (o'dark 30) to drive for 3 hrs just to
    sit for 3 hrs taking the test - at least I passed
    then 3 hr drive home.
    oh what joy What a nice stressfull day.
    Oddball
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    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    There's an oath?
    Oh yeah... Don't get me started. I already pissed off 50-75% of the planning world when my articles on AICP were published.
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    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff
    Oh yeah... Don't get me started. I already pissed off 50-75% of the planning world when my articles on AICP were published.
    hummm....I passed my stone in '96 and don't remember having to swear on the the green bible and taking any oath.
    Last edited by Richmond Jake; 04 Aug 2004 at 4:48 AM.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I didn't study and I passed. Still, I would say (as I have many times) that the AICP exam is an exceptionally poor test that does very little to guage a person's actual ability as a planner.
    For those of you who say you did not study, how many years passed between your last Planning class and taking the exam? I mean really, after 20 plus years in the practice, there is no way I could have answered questions about the Chicago Plan, the Regional Plan Association etc.

    It sure would be nice to have the test be more practical, Open Meeting Law (similar in most states I am sure), plan reading, components of a Comprehensive Plan, fair housing, etc. The practice material I reviewed was heavy on the practical but mostly on the stormwater and septage side of the equation - must have been a priority issue of APA at the time given the EPA Phase II Stormwater regs being issued. I was relieved that little of this type of material was on my version of the exam.

    I always knew I was competent, now I know I am certifiable (in more ways than one some would believe ).
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DennisMaPlanner
    For those of you who say you did not study, how many years passed between your last Planning class and taking the exam?
    Planning class? Sorry, I have degrees in public administration and urban/economic geography. I didn't go to a university with a planning department. Let's face it, though. Those "planning class" questions are the ones that really should not be therre. Who Saul Alinsky or Danial Burnham or Ian McHarg were is not as important as the concepts they introduced. The AICP exam is too heavily loaded with these types of questions, instead of those questions that might actually assess knowledge of concepts and the ability to apply them.

    So how do we get AICP to make the radical changes necessary to add meaning to the credential?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by DennisMaPlanner
    For those of you who say you did not study, how many years passed between your last Planning class and taking the exam? I mean really, after 20 plus years in the practice, there is no way I could have answered questions about the Chicago Plan, the Regional Plan Association etc.

    It sure would be nice to have the test be more practical, Open Meeting Law (similar in most states I am sure), plan reading, components of a Comprehensive Plan, fair housing, etc. The practice material I reviewed was heavy on the practical but mostly on the stormwater and septage side of the equation - must have been a priority issue of APA at the time given the EPA Phase II Stormwater regs being issued. I was relieved that little of this type of material was on my version of the exam.

    I always knew I was competent, now I know I am certifiable (in more ways than one some would believe ).
    It had been 12 years for since I took my last planning class, so the studying(sp) did help. The state I worked in had prep classes that helped as well.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Big Easy King's avatar
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    I'm taking the infamous exam for the first time in November 2004 and I don't know what to expect. I've heard horror stories about the types of questions that have been asked on the exam, which have left some baffled. I'm in a study group consisting of nine colleagues, most of whom have already taken the exam, and it's been very productive thus far.
    A person who strives is one who thrives. It's GREAT to be THE KING!!!

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    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Have you done all this?

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    hummm....I passed my stone in '96 and don't remember having to swear on the the green bible and taking any oath.
    AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct


    The Planner's Responsibility to the Public

    A. A planner's primary obligation is to serve the public interest. While the definition of the public interest is formulated through continuous debate, a planner owes allegiance to a conscientiously attained concept of the public interest, which requires these special obligations:

    1) A planner must have special concern for the long range consequences of present actions.

    2) A planner must pay special attention to the interrelatedness of decisions.

    3) A planner must strive to provide full, clear and accurate information on planning issues to citizens and governmental decision-makers.

    4) A planner must strive to give citizens the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the development of plans and programs. Participation should be broad enough to include people who lack formal organization or influence.

    5) A planner must strive to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of disadvantaged groups and persons, and must urge the alteration of policies, institutions and decisions which oppose such needs.

    6) A planner must strive to protect the integrity of the natural environment.

    7) A planner must strive for excellence of environmental design and endeavor to conserve the heritage of the built environment.



    The Planner's Responsibility to Clients and Employers

    B. A planner owes diligent, creative, independent and competent performance of work in pursuit of the client's or employer's interest. Such performance should be consistent with the planner's faithful service to the public interest.

    1) A planner must exercise independent professional judgment on behalf of clients and employers.

    2) A planner must accept the decisions of a client or employer concerning the objectives and nature of the professional services to be performed unless the course of action to be pursued involves conduct which is illegal or inconsistent with the planner's primary obligation to the public interest.

    3) A planner shall not perform work if there is an actual, apparent, or reasonably foreseeable conflict of interest, direct or indirect, or an appearance of impropriety, without full written disclosure concerning work for current or past clients and subsequent written consent by the current client or employer. A planner shall remove himself or herself from a project if there is any direct personal or financial gain including gains to family members. A planner shall not disclose information gained in the course of public activity for a private benefit unless the information would be offered impartially to any person.

    4) A planner who has previously worked for a public planning body should not represent a private client, for one year after the planner's last date of employment with the planning body, in connection with any matter before that body that the planner may have influenced before leaving public employment.

    5) A planner must not solicit prospective clients or employment through use of false or misleading claims, harassment or duress.

    6) A planner must not sell or offer to sell services by stating or implying an ability to influence decisions by improper means.

    7) A planner must not use the power of any office to seek or obtain a special advantage that is not in the public interest nor any special advantage that is not a matter of public knowledge.

    8) A planner must not accept or continue to perform work beyond the planner's professional competence or accept work which cannot be performed with the promptness required by the prospective client or employer, or which is required by the circumstances of the assignment.

    9) A planner must not reveal information gained in a professional relationship which the client or employer has requested to be held inviolate. Exceptions to this requirement of non-disclosure may be made only when (a) required by process of law, or (b) required to prevent a clear violation of law, or (c) required to prevent a substantial injury to the public. Disclosure pursuant to (b) and (c) must not be made until after the planner has verified the facts and issues involved and, when practicable, has exhausted efforts to obtain reconsiderations of the matter and has sought separate opinions on the issue from other qualified professionals employed by the client or employer.



    The Planner's Responsibility to the Profession and to Colleagues

    C. A planner should contribute to the development of the profession by improving knowledge and techniques, making work relevant to solutions of community problems, and increasing public understanding of planning activities. A planner should treat fairly the professional views of qualified colleagues and members of other professions.

    1) A planner must protect and enhance the integrity of the profession and must be responsible in criticism of the profession.

    2) A planner must accurately represent the qualifications, views and findings of colleagues.

    3) A planner who reviews the work of other professionals must do so in a fair, considerate, professional and equitable manner.

    4) A planner must share the results of experience and research which contribute to the body of planning knowledge.

    5) A planner must examine the applicability of planning theories, methods and standards to the facts and analysis of each particular situation and must not accept the applicability of a customary solution without first establishing its appropriateness to the situation.

    6) A planner must contribute time and information to the professional development of students, interns, beginning professionals and other colleagues.

    7) A planner must strive to increase the opportunities for women and members of recognized minorities to become professional planners.

    8) A planner shall not commit an act of sexual harassment.



    The Planner's Self-Responsibility

    D. A planner should strive for high standards of professional integrity, proficiency and knowledge.

    1) A planner must not commit a deliberately wrongful act which reflects adversely on the planner's professional fitness.

    2) A planner must respect the rights of others and, in particular, must not improperly discriminate against persons.

    3) A planner must strive to continue professional education.

    4) A planner must accurately represent professional qualifications, education and affiliations.

    5) A planner must systematically and critically analyze ethical issues in the practice of planning.

    6) A planner must strive to contribute time and effort to groups lacking in adequate planning resources and to voluntary professional activities.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    My advice is don't waste a whole lot of money on the study guides. They are good for like maybe 5% of the questions, if that. You can not study for this test. Period. You can either get lucky and pass, or you will fail. I got lucky and passed, but I am not so happy with how the test went and how horrible of a test it is when the AICP credential is supposed to be something that distinguishes you.

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