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Thread: AICP exam prep May 2010

  1. #51
    Cyburbian LTKS's avatar
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    Being the slacker that I am, I'll be taking it at 1pm on the last day, the 25th. Even that makes me nervous - I don't think I started my "real" studying early enough. But, I'm getting high 70%-mid 80% on practice tests (Mike W., Planetizen Course), so hopefully that will be the case on D-Day!

  2. #52
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    i know exactly what you mean... I am giving the exam on the 21st and i have my fingers crossed


    Quote Originally posted by LTKS View post
    Being the slacker that I am, I'll be taking it at 1pm on the last day, the 25th. Even that makes me nervous - I don't think I started my "real" studying early enough. But, I'm getting high 70%-mid 80% on practice tests (Mike W., Planetizen Course), so hopefully that will be the case on D-Day!

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    When is everyone taking the Exam? I am going on the 20th... anyone going before that give us all a feel for what it is like this go around!!
    20th for me too, in the afternoon. I'm starting to get pretty nervous now.

  4. #54
         
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    I'm taking it in 3 days (Friday, May 14).

    I haven't studied at all.

  5. #55
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Well good luck to all of you... especially if you didn't study at all


    I have been getting close to 10 hours a week for over a month now, which I think should be good... but who knows. I am getting 70-80 % on Ohio State tests, and have been able to answer a lot more questions at random from my notecards. If I am asked about specifics on case law, or random questions about home insulation, it could be pretty dicey though.

    I guess the worse that could happen is that I fail and have to go again.... ugh.

    Everyone who is going earlier, please let us know how it went and if you felt prepared based on whatever studying you did. Thanks!!!
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  6. #56
    I have been studying on for about 20- 30 hours a week for a month. I feel like I might be "over-studying" if there is such a thing. I have been shaky about the implementation, budgeting, components. I have great ideas on policies that should be implemented but some of the technical tools like PBBS, ZBB, and GAM I am rather unsure about. I hate that there is really no way to know what is going to be on the test. I take it this Friday.

  7. #57
    Cyburbian LTKS's avatar
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    Yep, I've been trying to study about 10-15 hours per week for the last month. My husband is quite ready for the test to be done! I better pass, b/c I don't know if I can do this again!

    I'm a little shaky on budgeting stuff, as well as random watershed information and when certain growth management techniques are most appropriate. There seems to be so much overlap in that.

    Would be great if early test takers could come back on here and give a general hint of what topics they saw most of.....

  8. #58
    I can say that I would never do this again. But from what I take of things, there is no way to study for everything on the exam. I guess the best one can do is paint with broad strokes and hope for the best. If the test is more situational I think I will be fine, but all of these acts, amendments, and statues are killer. People say I should have a problem but we shall see since the test seems to be getting harder. I am making bout averaging a little above 80% on my exams. But we shall see.

  9. #59
    Cyburbian LTKS's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by travelinmiles View post
    I can say that I would never do this again. But from what I take of things, there is no way to study for everything on the exam. I guess the best one can do is paint with broad strokes and hope for the best. If the test is more situational I think I will be fine, but all of these acts, amendments, and statues are killer. People say I should have a problem but we shall see since the test seems to be getting harder. I am making bout averaging a little above 80% on my exams. But we shall see.
    Well please come back after Friday and let us know what you thought - harder or easier than what you were expecting. Good luck!!!!!

  10. #60
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I just re-read the Nov 2009 thread, some great information! I don't think the exam has changed much since then...and the linky is below

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=37544

    I'm counting down...less than 48 hours for me. Good Luck everyone!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  11. #61
    I'm taking it next Thursday, the 20th. I'm still a little dodgy with budgets and cost analysis/revenue/benefit, but kind of getting there. I'm a little more than halfway getting through the APA Policies, and need to go back and just refresh my memory with people/places/cases.

    I'm taking Mike W's tests and averaging about 75%, but still feeling a little paranoid that I'm not near 80%. I'm embarrassed to admit this isn't my first crack at this exam, so I'm hoping I get it this time around.

  12. #62
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    Passed!

    Took it yesterday and passed!

    Having time to go back and reconsider answers was critical. Many of the questions are very oblique or required me to go into the dusty corners of my knowledge.

    The first thing I did was write 1-170 on my exam booklet, to mark all the questions I did not know for sure. The system I worked out in situ was to write the 2 or 3 best options, with a ~ for mostly sure, - for unsure, and < for no idea.

    I gotta tell you, the first 10 or 12 questions, I was marking this sheet. I am glad I read this forum, as I was using planningprep for my exam formats, and would not have been prepared for the questions.

    planningprep tests are written for a bygone test format, and I was not well served by it. Their forums are moribund. The test is not as historical//trivial as their test would have you believe. You can almost smell the 2005 on their tests.

    My other study materials were the 3rd edition green book, different notes and powerpoints from PA (very good stuff there), Florida, Texas, and Georgia, studystack, the APA policy guides, skimmed issues of planning between 2005 and 2009, the PAS titles, and the JAPA titles with abstracts, and the top 25 lists/thematic chronology.

    I also wikipedia'd everything that came up, and wrote myself a xls of law cases and housing acts. I can assure you Bedford v. US was not on the test. I hope that's not revealing too much. Know the usual suspects, and especially the circumstances, holdings, amendments and import. My study materials tormented me enough different cases that I now have 120 lines in my spreadsheet, from Brick Presbyterian to EDF v. Duke.

    The test was much better than I was led to believe. That's not to say it didn't hurt to take, just that the questions required you to think like a planner, rather than a Jeopardy contestant.

    In sum: Don't study like I did.

  13. #63
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Congrats!!

    So did you feel that it was laid out in terms of what they said - heavy on theory, law, plan making, and function types of planning?

    I feel like I need to get more in depth in law cases, as so many people are saying that they ask not the pertinent question, but a more run around one with random facts.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  14. #64
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    Hmm. Some theory, a bit of law, more regulations and compliance than I had expected, things like ADA, Fair Housing, RLIUPA etc. A smidgen of history, some name recognition (the most historical the test got , really)

    The questions were not written directly. In other words, It wasn't as simple as "Who is responsible for sector theory?", more like "what kind of metropolis emphasizes transportation over real estate?"

    These were not on the test, of course, but they give you an idea.

    I would definitely know your law cases, but they are not going to hit you with an obscure one. Nollan, Dolan, Agins, Lucas, Penn Coal, Penn Trans. That sort of thing. Your results may vary. So keep Hadacheck, Nectow, Eubank and Kelo in your back pocket. They're probably not fun-loving enough to give you Causby.

  15. #65
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Beach_bum, AICP.

    The test was very comprehensive, lots of what kind of survey or focus group would you need to this type of plan, which of these four describe steps you would take to do this...a bit on historic preservation, neighborhood planning, national policy. Best of Luck to all!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  16. #66
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    Congrats, both of you!

    I've read before that exams in a given year tend to hit hard on a particular theme, like PI or environmental planning. Did you get that impression?

  17. #67
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    There were definitely more than a few questions on historic pres planning and neighborhood planning processes. I only had a couple ethics and case law specifically. I'm not sure how best to study, just know what the terms are and how best to apply them to the practice of planning.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  18. #68
         
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    I just got back from taking the exam. I passed.

    The exam was very light on planning history, law, and ethics. I would guesstimate that 10-12 questions TOTAL came from those areas. As I wandered my way through question 160, it struck me that the exam had so few history/law/ethics questions, and my heart immediately sank for those folks who've put hours and hours and hours into memorizing that kind of stuff.

    I did not study for the exam. Yesterday, I took about half an hour to scan through the names and cases in the Chapter Presidents Council guide just to remind myself of names and cases. I'm glad I didn't spend anymore time on it.

    To be honest, I don't know how someone could effectively study for the bulk of questions on the exam. Some of the questions are tricky and have multiple 'good' answers. Many are situational. No matter how much or how little studying, you're going to have to figure things out. So you either 1) can read the questions, comprehend them well, and figure out an answer -- usually by applying experience or what you know to be best practices, or 2) you misunderstand the question or one of its components or you simply can't figure the answer out. Most of the questions should be, quite honestly, common sense for practicing planners. Despite the negative experiences many have had with the test, the version I took today was pretty much on-target with hitting on issues that are relevant to the practice of planning.

    I don't want to sound bleak or make anyone feel like studying isn't worthwhile. It may be for some. But based on my personal experience today, I'm sure as heck glad I didn't put my life on hold to study for this thing.

    A tip, by the way -- My test was HEAVY, HEAVY with public participation and public interest type questions. Lots and lots of those questions, which is fine with me since I work primarily in long-range planning and small-area studies, which require special attention to the needs/wants of the public.

    I finished the exam in an hour and 15 minutes.

    Best wishes all.
    Last edited by danthonyjr; 14 May 2010 at 4:47 PM.

  19. #69
    I just passed as well. I had a lot of public participation as well. Nothing too difficult. Its much easier than I thought it would be. The questions are nothing like the practice exam questions. I would like to bring up that you might want to know a lil something about the neighborhood units and neighborhood planning. Really its a strange test.

  20. #70
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    Wow, good job, y'all are making me feel like maybe I can pass this too. Sounds like the 'theme' this year is public participation, then? I'll be sure to hit that hard in my last few days. Thanks!

  21. #71
    Cyburbian LTKS's avatar
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    Congrats to all those who have passed in the last few days! And thanks for the tips - I'll spend some time this week brushing up a bit more on Public Participation and Historic Preservation, just in case

  22. #72
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    Passed with a 67. Lots of public participation and historic preservation. Like most folks, when I clicked end, I wasn't sure if I'd passed. I am so very relieved, and ready for my vacation next week. Woohoo! Best of luck to the rest of you!

  23. #73

    Passed

    Just got back from taking it, and fortunately I passed. So much like everyone else, I experienced also quite a few public participation, and historic preservation questions. Didn't run into any obscure legal cases, just the basic ones. Good luck to everyone who hasn't taken it yet.

  24. #74
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I passed as well with a 67. It was much easier than I anticipated... although there were three questions that I couldn't even answer.... not even a guess... totally out in left field...

    It wasn't exactly what I expected, but it was the same format that I was used to. It was very situational, and even though I didn't know the answer to a couple, I could reason out which it was. Mine was heavy on neighborhood and public participation as well as it felt like ethics. Not much law, or theory.

    Overall I think I probably studied enough, based on the fact that I wasn't all that confident going in, nor when I pressed enter. I think that I could have passed without as much knowledge, but wouldn't have felt comfortable doing so.


    Good luck to everyone who hasn't taken it yet!! It is a great weight to be done with. Congrats to the others in the AICP May 2010 class.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  25. #75
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    woohoo! congrats on all the passes.

    Just ordered my new business cards (don't worry-I won't use 'um until my employer pays my AICP dues )
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

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