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Thread: November '06 AICP exam

  1. #1
    Cyburbian cmavis's avatar
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    November '06 AICP exam

    My brain is near fried from all the studying I have been doing for the AICP exam that I am going to take tomorrow at 12:30PM. This past weekend was nothing but hitting the practice exams (over and over), and studying the important legal cases and historical figures. Last night I even had a dream about me taking the test. Needless to say, I'm so ready to get the test over with.

    Other than having proven that I dedicated to the planning profession, is there any real significance to my career for becoming certified? I suppose it would look good on my resume and might come in handy for a new job down the line, but beyond that is what my question is in regards to.

    Anyone else out there studying like mad for the test? I can't imagine I'm the only one. Good luck to everyone and be sure to post up your results!

    If anyone has already taken it either this past May or during the current testing window, please give advice!
    "Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription...is more cowbell!" - Bruce Dickinson

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Here are some older threads about the May 06 and Nov 06 exam. There really isn't anything else you can do at this point. Don't try to cram anything new into your head right now. It won't help. Good luck!
    Last edited by Planderella; 06 Nov 2006 at 11:20 AM.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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    Nov 06 AICP exam

    I am anxious to hear what you thought of it - since you are taking it tomorrow. I am sitting for it on the 15th (next week) and am very stressed about it. I have all of the case law down, and the majority of the significant figures/individuals, and am really working on the timeline and Code of Ethics. I read through all of the APA policy statement and have not committed them to memory, but am hoping to be familiar enough with it that I will recognize the right answer. The green book was a bust - I pulled it out of the basement (box of old college books) and it still had the plastic on it! I didn't even read it in college.

    As I read everything the first time, I highlighted the important information. This has helped with my last minute cramming because now I only review the highlighted things. I dont know what else to do at this point. I panicked a little yesterday and got online and ordered John Levy's book, but then noticed it was 370+ pages....hope it has a cliff notes section!

    Any words of advice?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I took it for the third time this past May and thankfully passed. Chances are likely that you will not get any more than 3 or 4 questions on case law or history. The questions on ethics are scenario-based, so you will have to know how to apply the ethics. Don't answer the questions based on what you would do, but rather, what would AICP expect you to do (according to the code). I found this is where taking the practice exams over and over really helped.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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    I am really hoping that my 14 years of public planning experience, along with managemnet issues such as political climate and budgeting will help. I did a bunch of practice exams and got all of the ethics questions right. I guess going into the test not overly confident should prompt me to slow down and really read the questions.

    I think I am really worried because I have not taken a test in 15 years (since graduating from college). I am comfortable with the computer testing, but the fact that it is a pass/fail situation really doesn't sit well. Makes me paranoid.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Oh yeah.....

    Quote Originally posted by Clever Cookie View post
    I am really hoping that my 14 years of public planning experience, along with managemnet issues such as political climate and budgeting will help. I did a bunch of practice exams and got all of the ethics questions right. I guess going into the test not overly confident should prompt me to slow down and really read the questions.

    I think I am really worried because I have not taken a test in 15 years (since graduating from college). I am comfortable with the computer testing, but the fact that it is a pass/fail situation really doesn't sit well. Makes me paranoid.
    It is for this reason that I took the test the first summer out of grad. school (passed).

    There is no pressure here, just know that if you fail, your entire life will be destroyed and you will have a black mark on your record forever....BWA HA HA HA.......


    Seriously.....have a nice dinner the night before, go to bed on time....maybe take a pill to help you sleep soundly (I didn't do this, but would if I had to do it over again!!). Go into the test relaxed and chipper and knowing that you did your best.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Oh! I have been studying so hard since last couple of days for my AICP exam on November 14th! Memorizing all famous figures, years and law cases is a nightmare!

    cmavis and clever cookie, where are you guys practicing sample tests from? I have only 3 sample tests that I have been using. Any advice on getting more sample tests from anywhere?

    I think taking sample tests builds up more confidence.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Question.....

    Quote Originally posted by Veggie View post
    Oh! I have been studying so hard since last couple of days for my AICP exam on November 14th! Memorizing all famous figures, years and law cases is a nightmare!

    cmavis and clever cookie, where are you guys practicing sample tests from? I have only 3 sample tests that I have been using. Any advice on getting more sample tests from anywhere?

    I think taking sample tests builds up more confidence.
    Veggie, are you certified in New Jersey? What was that test like? Isn't New Jersey one of two states having independent certification for planners (the other being Michigan)??? (If the one is wrong, obviously I missed that question back in 1997 when I took the test...) Just in case I ever work in New Jersey.....snicker.....(straight face back on) does AICP mean anything there? How about Michigan?
    Skilled Adoxographer

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Veggie, are you certified in New Jersey? What was that test like? Isn't New Jersey one of two states having independent certification for planners (the other being Michigan)??? (If the one is wrong, obviously I missed that question back in 1997 when I took the test...) Just in case I ever work in New Jersey.....snicker.....(straight face back on) does AICP mean anything there? How about Michigan?
    The answer about NJ is:
    To become a certified licensed planner, one must, submit an application meeting certain education and experience requirements, and pass both the NJ Planning Law Exam and the AICP Examination.

    http://www.njapa.org/certification.html
    Oddball
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian cmavis's avatar
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    about to go take the test

    I'll be sure to post up afterwards how it went.

    I went to a study course hosted by Mike Waicsiz (sp?). He provided all of the attendees a copy of a CD ROM that had several study topics and practice exams. It was pretty decent, I recommend it!

    Here goes nothing!
    "Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription...is more cowbell!" - Bruce Dickinson

  11. #11
    Cyburbian cmavis's avatar
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    no luck

    Just got back, didn't pass. To be honest, it wasn't anything like I thought it would be. It was a very hard test with numerous broad based questions with multiple answers that seemed to be correct. In not too happy with the information that I was provided on how to take the test.

    At this time, I do not foresee myself retaking the exam anytime in the near future. It's a let down to study your tail end off for an exam, spend the last 6 years practicing planning, only to take a test and fail.

    Oh well, not like I am going to be any less of a planner as a result of this. Good luck to those who have yet to take it and congrats to those who have passed.
    "Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription...is more cowbell!" - Bruce Dickinson

  12. #12
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Sorry to hear it, cmavis But you're right, you are no less of a planner. So many of those multiple scenario questions on there have a number of answers that could be viewed as being correct. The whole thing seemed so subjective to me.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cmavis View post
    Just got back, didn't pass. To be honest, it wasn't anything like I thought it would be. It was a very hard test with numerous broad based questions with multiple answers that seemed to be correct. In not too happy with the information that I was provided on how to take the test.

    At this time, I do not foresee myself retaking the exam anytime in the near future. It's a let down to study your tail end off for an exam, spend the last 6 years practicing planning, only to take a test and fail.

    Oh well, not like I am going to be any less of a planner as a result of this. Good luck to those who have yet to take it and congrats to those who have passed.
    I felt that pain, I took it the last year it was available on paper (May 2003) and only retook it this past May 2006. You don't have to reapply if you take it again in the next 3 years which will save you about 100 dollars for reapplying.

    The AICP test needs to be taken in a way where you surrender to the AICP way of thinking. Knowing case law and VIPs is great, but if you don't know the ethics, code of conduct, and the AICP way of thinking you can't pass. I know the questions you speak of and how many answers were good, but only one was right in the AICP frame of mind.

    If you don't mind me asking, how many hours would you say you studied or how many weeks out did you start? What were your study methods? There are a few good threads here from people like myself who have failed and passed, look them under this sub-forum.
    @GigCityPlanner

  14. #14
    Cyburbian cmavis's avatar
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    I started studying about 6 months before the exam. Read the Green Bible, some Planning mags, and asked a bunch of questions of my coworkers. Then about a month out from the exam, I really hit the books. I knew the law cases, authors and historical dates inside and out. I also studied the code of ethics and felt pretty good about that. All in all, I'd say I studied well over 100 hours.

    Looking back at the exam, I truly believe that a significant amount of the questions were too open ended and had several answers that could be applied. I believe the test itself is flawed, and I'm not saying that because I failed. My personal opinion is that the questions need to reflect situations that planners face regularly and make the answers be obvious so that if you studied or know from experience, the answer would come easily.

    I do not know how I could have studied any different for this exam. I thought I had covered everything. Maybe in a couple of years I will take it again, but as of right now, I'm not too motivated to be a part of "the club".
    "Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription...is more cowbell!" - Bruce Dickinson

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    There really is no right or wrong way to prepare for the exam. I first took it right at the 2-yr mark when (looking back) I really didn't know that much about planning outside of my job. My exam results proved that too even though I thought I studied hard for it. The next year, I didn't open a book and got the same exact score. 4 years passed before I decided to take it again. What did I do differently? I immersed myself in AICP materials, took practice exams over and over, and focused on my weakest areas. My efforts did pay off in the end, but it wasn't without a struggle. Many of those questions were definitely open-ended, but, like Tide said, you have to answer them in the AICP mindset, not necessarily your own.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  16. #16
    Can you get a refund on your study class - wasn't it gauranteed to make you pass? or maybe you get a free retake. Just trying to look out for you. Standardized tests suck. Engineers get two of them.......fun stuff.
    Took the FE (EIT) about 6 times before passing
    Took the PE twice before passing.
    I would venture to say that the PE was the easier of the two - more job related, whereas the FE was based on the engineering sciences from school.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

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    November Exam 2007

    I take the exam for the first time this Saturday.
    I know the APA material and suggested reading well...but I am disappointed to here it that the test is open ended .....
    I guess that based on what is said here, i should concentrat on the ethics book, and maybe the planning theory book?
    Any advice is really appreciated....

  18. #18
    I passed the exam pretty comfortably on my first try two years ago. I would strongly suggest that people focus on the Pennsylvania APA chapter's study guides (which are FREE):

    http://planningpa.org/career_aicp.shtml

    They summarize the key points from the Green Book and other sources in a concise fashion that's easy to study. In addition, rather than studying ethics texts or anything like that, just think about the questions logically from a 'planner ethics' / ideal world perspective. This means to always err on the side of maximum public participation, openness, environmental justice, class equity, etc.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ws19803 View post
    Any advice is really appreciated....
    I barely passed on my first try, last november. My only advice is
    - memorize what is memorizable (key planners, dates, case law, etc), cause you may have to answer one or two that you wouldn't otherwise know, and that could mean the difference between passing and failing (I think it is what saved me).
    - most of the questions come down to ethics and social equality, and the way AICP would like a planner to think... not necessarily the way you personally feel you should think.
    - For everything else, you either know it or you don't. Hopefully you've had a broad range or work experiences, or the chance to talk with someone who has. I feel like you really can't study for most of the questions, just like you can't really study for the SAT.

    The questions aren't open-ended. They are multiple choice. But some of the difficult ones lay out a long scenario, and then asks something like "what should your main objective be?" and lists A, B, C and D, which all sound like they'd make sense. And the answers to choose from are like "A & C", "C only", "C & D", etc. I hated those types of questions the most. For most other questions, you either know it or you don't and there is no point dwelling on them, trying to figure them out. You'll only end up second guessing yourself.

    Hope this helps .

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Took it this morning/afternoon for the first time. Of the things I studied for, I'd say 75% wasn't on the test. This was using the recommended guides, literature, etc. I guess it boils down to how you would handle situations for the most part while thinking on your feet and in the heat of the moment Passed, so my only advice is to study the ethics, planning situations, and all the other stuff, because of the little history and case law questions they do ask makes all the difference. Answer all the questions the first time through (and mark the questionable ones). Then review all of them again. Then review the ones with the marks that you haven't come to terms with yet. Then push the end button and take that painful survey
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Congrats RT.

    I have been a member since 1998.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    It sounds like everyone is studying way too much and overthinking the test. If you graduated from an accredited planning school and have a couple of years of experience, you should be able to pass it with a casual to moderate review of existing study materials.

    I passed the test 17 years ago, without a study guide (APA did not have one yet), without a planning degree (geography), with only two years of experience and without any studying other than attending a six-hour review session. So, just relax and don't overthink. The test may be difficult to those who are pigeon-holed in very specific tasks that do not give them a chance to have the broad-based experiences that helps with doing well on that test.

  23. #23
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    Beginning to study for AICP...

    Hey All!

    Have a question for everybody/anybody who has taken the AICP exam... Does the APA allow (and assuming one doesn't pass the first time) to retake the exam without reapplying and paying the associated gi-normous fee? Do you get "3 tries" or something that effect? Or is $400 and change and a fresh application for each attempt?

    Thanks all!

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