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Thread: AICP exam in 11/07

  1. #1
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    AICP exam in 11/07

    Soooo, I am studying to take the test this fall, anyone knows a study group in the Norfolk, VA area? It would be nice to have some other people to help each other...


    Moderator note:
    Moved from Cyburbia Issues and Help, which is a subforum for help with the site itself. You'll get much more traffic for the thread here, anyway. Carry on.
    ~Gedunker
    Last edited by Gedunker; 19 Aug 2007 at 1:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    AICP - Nov 2007

    I am taking the AICP in November - although I am in the Kansas City area.

  3. #3
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    I am taking November 5th. I have taken the course offered at the state level, planetizen, and planningprep.

    I have a bad feeling about the test however. My confidence is near zero. I just dont know if I have covered everything I need to.

    I am scoring 93% on planning prep tests, and 85-91% on the planetizen course tests. I know the exam is much harder than these.

    chaz

  4. #4
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    WOW...I didn't even know about Planetizen...

    is it a worthwhile course or similar to the AICP exam guide you can get from the APA?

    how was the exam?
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 05 Nov 2007 at 4:35 PM. Reason: double reply

  5. #5
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    Here is my post I made on planetizen..........

    I may follow up to this, in fact, I am sure I will, but I sat for the exam today, November 05, 2007. I passed with a score of 57, which I know doesnt get me to the top of the class, but passing is passing, and I glad its over with and I never have to do it again.

    It was NOTHING like I expected. Someone else posted its a test you cannot study for, and they hit the nail squarely on the head.

    Nearly all my questions were situational based, they were pretty easy to read and understand overall. The answers had a LOT of inter-related answers, in other words, I & II, etc. Most of it seemed skewed towards public input, and other subjectve type application of planning principles.

    I had MAYBE 2 law questions, NO history, ONE theory question, and only one stats question. My census questions dealt with growth of cities in the 1970's....... why I have no idea. I had a few ethincs questions which werent very difficult to read through or answer. I had ONE GIS question and a very odd question about the use of a LAN.

    I had to calculate lot density and calculate FAR ratios, as well as a question regarding computation of slope.

    The style of tests thwarts efforts to study for the exam without hands on knowledge of issues and planning.

    I used this course, the state course, and planningprep.com and would "rank" them in this order. The planetizen course does a good job of emersing you in the areas that need to be covered. The course helped me to "compartmentalize" the topical areas of the exam and that to me was worth the cost of the course alone.

    I am a little dissappointed in my score, because I worked really hard in preparing. HOWEVER, the test is geared to test less of your knowledge and more of your intuition as a planner. I could see working in the public sector as a benefit, but it wouldnt by any means guarantee you a passing score.

    I felt it could have had some additional "factoid" questions on planning and law, since those are important.

    The power went out just after I went thru my initial exam pass, lucky the system saves the data so I didnt lose any of my work. The exam center was nice and clean, and I took the test ALL ALONE! I was reading outloud LOL.

    About half way thru the exam, maybe a little farther, I started having that sinking feeling, since a lot of the answers were in multiples, its hard to know which set is correct, or MOST correct. I didnt know if I passed or failed but I knew I had done my best. I studied over 150 hours all total, but I wouldnt study less if I had to do it over.

    I used all but 10 minutes of the time answering and reviewing my MARKED questions. The prometrics format is very clean and very easy to use. And those pesky NOT and ALWAYS words were most times in all caps. I didnt find the questions deceptive, and I cannot compare the questions with the planetizen course because they are just different. Similar in format, but not in the query.

    I didnt have time to review all the questions, but I didnt feel rushed to finish. The proctor was a very nice and accomodating fellow.

    Thanks for all the work put into this course, keep working on it to make it even better! I am glad I signed up.

    I will post more as more of my brain comes back to life.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the gouge!

    I kinda figured when I was running through practice tests on the APA CD and then thru the tutorial on the APA site (from the testing center itself) that the there are some serious differences between them... so now i'm just concentating on knowledge and understanding everything...

    I have a lot of experience in the consulting sector (working with govt/public), so i'm hoping that'll help me out.

    I'll report back tomorrow night after I take it and give a synapsis of what i thought.

    the thing i've been displeased with so far is that unless you sign up for a course or planningprep, you really can't find any practice tests...and then even if you do sign up for a course, you keep hearing from others that they're "different"...just not sure how that helps anyone and makes it seem so much like the FE where you just have to "know" everything.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Thanks, Chaznsc, your message was a tremendous help. I am planning on taking the exam next May and better start preparing this winter.

    Anyone else planning for next spring?

  8. #8
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    I took the test around this time last year and I agree 100% with what chaznsc said. I studied my butt off but have I not had the experience, I think I would've had a harder time. (Incidentally, my experience is in the consulting side).

  9. #9
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    Yea.. that test is pretty darn difficult...I'll have to try again in May.

    But, i was surprised at the amount of zoning/land use questions compared to all other subjects...ALL of it was related to public sector (not the slightest bit private) and most were in fact situational...so i guess very little of my consulting experience must have helped since i have to take the darn thing again.

    the LAN question, i just DID not get...i saw 3 possible answers?!

    but for the most part, it was just like chaznsc stated....unless you have the experience, i don't know how you can study for this exam. now, i at least know what it "feels" like...but i totally feel ripped off because the exam didn't even come *close* in comparison with the practice exams. It's hard to believe they would even create practice exams that aren't even related to what the exam is actually like.

    It was really discouraging.

    Anyone looking for a study group or course in the phx area.. let me know... i'll get in on that this time around!!

  10. #10
    Have any of you used AICP Exam Secrets by Morrison Media? I am having trouble getting through that exam my own self and found this website. This is what they claim:

    "How to Ace the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Exam, using my easy step-by-step AICP exam study guide, without weeks and months of endless studying..."

    I've put in my time studying and have all the basic knowledge rocked. Can anyone validate the use of this website?

  11. #11
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    Morrison Guide-AICP review

    Hi, I am new to the forum and am taking the AICP test on Thursday. I purchased the Morrison AICP secrets. I do not recommend it. It contains a lot of errors in the factual data, a lot of wrong dates. The secrets are nothing more than common sense. TangoDan

  12. #12
          Downtown's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist View post
    Thanks, Chaznsc, your message was a tremendous help. I am planning on taking the exam next May and better start preparing this winter.

    Anyone else planning for next spring?
    I am. I'd originally planned to take it this fall, but the whole CM issue came up, and I decided to wait and see how it sorted out. Even though its still being worked out, my job situation is possibly a little precarious right now, so I figure I should probably bite the bullet.

  13. #13
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    My experience with the beast...

    Hullo All,

    I too took the exam this month, and unfortunately scored only 52 of 55. That said, I really didn't feel all that bad; I didn't study a single day. Certainly nothing I'm proud of, it's just that between three moves and a job switch this year (the latter had me pick up roots and re-settle hundreds of miles away) and there was precious little time to stick my head into the books/flash cards. Fortunately my previous city footed the bill, and my current (also municipal) employer has agreed to do the same (provided I pass anway).

    That babble stated, I mostly agree with everything stated above. The mixture of topics was as random as could be - no one subject seemed to have a majority - though considering the volume of potential material to review, some topics certainly seemed to be UNDERrepresented.

    Looking back (and forward - now that I'm settled I've signed up to take the beast again in May 08'), I would recommend purchasing and studying the "Big Green Book" (its generic, nation-wide approach to planning makes for a fine tool for this test, whereas other planning study materials might be geared toward state-specific planning laws/practice); and also the APA's AICP study materials. I was able to obtain the latter from a coworker that had recently taken the exam, and while I again, really never read it, from skimming, the questions seemed very similar. At the least, the multiple-choice layout provided in the study materials would act as a fine prep for the format provided by Prometrics.

    As others have stated, I would argue the exam is weighted towards those of us in the public sector and further, those with recent planning education; but overall, she's not insurmountable. Afterall, I scored 52 out 55 with about 15 minutes of study - how bad could it be?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist View post
    Thanks, Chaznsc, your message was a tremendous help. I am planning on taking the exam next May and better start preparing this winter.

    Anyone else planning for next spring?
    I had registered to take it this Nov., but a ridiculously busy work schedule didn't give me much time to study, so I transferred my registration to May 08. I'm starting my study program now.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
    - Yogi Berra

  15. #15
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    Nov. AICP exam

    I took the AICP exam on November 10, 2007 and finally passed with a 58! This was my third time taking this darn exam. It's definitely geared towards the public sector planner and actually states that on the planning website. I was a public sector planner for 8 months before spending 5 years as a transit planner. The 1st time I took it I had 2 years of internship experience and 8 months as a city planner under my belt but got a 51. The second time I took it, I scored a 53 using PlanningPrep, the green book, and reading all of the suggested AICP prep materials. This third time I used the Planetizen course. This is what really helped. I started a virtual study group that people were dedicated to attending every week (Planetizen has the venue for that). Also, Planetizen provided practice questions. You have to dig deep into the study material. I believe Planningprep is good with the variety of questions but does not give you the "meat" of the subject. You need to understand the WHY this occurred. Knowing the Village of Euclid case is not enough. You must understand the holdings thoroughly. I can honestly say that with the exception of a few questions. The things I studied (everything) was on the exam. If you're taking the exam again...study differently!! Good Luck to you All!

    Kimberly P., AICP

  16. #16
    Cyburbian amyk's avatar
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    AICP Exam - Yikes!

    What a great thread! I'm planning to take the exam November '08, so I am trying to decide now how much work I'll need to put into studying. Reading through this thread is giving me a lot of good ideas! Thanks for all of the opinions and overview of exam experiences.

  17. #17
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    Whew, I Passed!

    I took the exam in November 07 and passed with a 65. I probably spent over 150 hours studying. I was surprised at the number of administration, management and budget types of questions. There weren't a lot, but enough that I was glad that I studied the topic well.

    I also spent a lot of time understanding the history behind the case law - the 4th edition Green Book is really good for helping with that. The 5th edition is much harder to stay awake and read. I much preferred the reading style of the 4th edition. If I were doing it over again, I would entirely skip the 5th edition and just get the 4th edition of the Green Book.

    I also used the following info links, especially including the online flash cards:

    http://www.floridaplanning.org/treas...tudy_links.asp


    http://www.floridaplanning.org/treas...aicp_links.asp

  18. #18
    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    I am planning to take the exam in May. I just (my work footed the bill) purchased the Planetizen reader and course. I hope it's worth the effort. I have the Green Book but that thing is so dull I don't know if I will be able to read it. I've been a planner in the public sector for 8 years and have a Master's degree. I sure hope that puts me at a good start. We'll see I guess.

    Any experience with the Planetizen materials?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally posted by CDT View post
    I am planning to take the exam in May. I just (my work footed the bill) purchased the Planetizen reader and course. I hope it's worth the effort. I have the Green Book but that thing is so dull I don't know if I will be able to read it. I've been a planner in the public sector for 8 years and have a Master's degree. I sure hope that puts me at a good start. We'll see I guess.

    Any experience with the Planetizen materials?
    Be advised the exam is being or has been re-written for 2008. The new subject matter is outlined here:

    http://www.planning.org/certificatio...ectmatter.html

    I felt the planetizen course was the best of the 3 I took. I also did planningprep.com, and the state offered course. Planetizen offers a well rounded course. I would, however, read the green book and the materials recommended at planetizen. PM me if you need a list.

    chaz

  20. #20
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    2 cents on the AICP Exam

    Hello all - I took the exam last Novermber and passed. I have 20 years of experience as a public planner and actually studied about 100 hours. Since I am involved with a lot of different projects at work I got distracted at times reading content that supported the work I'm doing, not just for the exam, so actual study time was probably less.

    I would suggest looking long and hard to borrow materials, library etc. before purchasing anything - if your planning office has a library the materials might be there. Your state APA chapter might also have a bunch of support materials.

    I used the Green Book, 3rd Edition (good for a broad overview), AICP Study Guide CD-Rom (panicked and bought it, way over priced, most of the material is posted on the APA website), some sample tests from various vendors (borrowed) and Everyday Ethics for Practicing Planners (useful but a bit redundant).

    I would spend 2/3rds of my time on the content and 1/3 of my time on test taking preparation. You should absolutely get some materials that allow you take sample tests and check your results. I found that many of the questions never had the "right" answer so you are really often looking for the best answer. Have a strategy in hand for those questions that are A. I and III, B. I,II and III etc. You will need to reason your way to the correct answer.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    I am planning on taking the exam in November. I am bit nervous since I worked more on the private sector side and I am a horrible test taker. I am trying to get my boss to let me study and take the LEED-AP exam in the meantime.

  22. #22
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    I am private sector too and passed the exam. You can pass this, just really focus on studying.

  23. #23
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    AICP Test

    Hey Chaznsc , thanks for such detailed report from your studying and the actual test!
    I am also in the private sector and took it last November and didn't pass, it was totally and completely mind-boggling! I agree with you in that it was NOTHING like I expected either. As you and someone else had posted, is a test you cannot study for.... I studied and at the end took a 600-question prep test, where I had about 90% questions right and didn't pass!???
    I am so discuraged now and having compiled lots of material; totally confused in what to actually study....!
    Planetizen huh?

  24. #24
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    Stad.
    Sorry I didnt reply, I never get email notices on responses. I feel the planetizen course was very helpful, at least for me. I also took the planningprep.com course, but the site wasnt as helpful, altho I did learn from the site.

    Email me if I can help you, I would love to hear from you. (chaz at wrtoole dot com)

    chaz

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