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Thread: The worst AICP test questions

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The worst AICP test questions

    32) Which one of the following applications is LEAST likely to be approved by the Boulder Planning Commission?

    A. A methadone clinic for transsexual Tibetan heroin addicts.
    B. A prototype "Amsterdam-style" coffeehouse.
    C. Design review for the Boulder Womyn's Center Valerie Solanis annex.
    D. A PCS panel mounted inside a church steeple.


    104) A developer wants to build a 20,000 square foot office building on a 10,000 square foot lot. There will be six off street parking spaces, and the first floor will be occupied by a health clinic specializing in pre-natal care. The front door is 300 feet from a bus stop, and 15% landscaping coverage of the lot is required. What is the FAR?

    A. 2.0
    B. 0.5
    C. I'm from Canada, and we use meters, eh?
    D. Radburn, New Jersey.


    54) What's my zoning?

    A. What's your address?
    B. What's your tax parcel ID number?
    C. What's your legal description?
    D. Uhh, this is the HOUSTON Planning Department ...


    25) What are the typical colors found on a zoning map?

    A. Red=residential, blue=commercial, green=industrial
    B. Green=residential, red=commercial, grey=industrial
    C. Green=residential, yellow=commercial, red=industrial
    D. Might as well paint it all red, damnit, 'cause y'all a bunch of Communists.


    3) What is the ideal hairstyle for a planner?

    A. A power cut, to establish rapport with developer's representatives at the office.
    B. Cornrows, to establish rapport with low income citizens in the community.
    C. A mullet, to establish rapport with contractors in the field.
    D. It's all moot, because you'll lose all your hair after a couple of years of this.

  2. #2
    At least you've managed to keep a sense of humor. I'm not sure what to think of the exam. Passing it will probably come down to whether I "guessed" what the exam writers were trying to ask. Thinking nationally and comprehensively didn't seem to be much help. Heck, my education and experience couldn't even help on some of those questions! Curious see what others thought of it.

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I was pleasantly surprised by the exam. I felt very well prepared, and actually finished it with lots of time to spare.

    One thing though...is there a surge nationally for "public breast feeding areas?"
    "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

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    You would think with all the technology today, it would take less than eight weeks to get our exam scores back.

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I was second or third out of the room (about 2.5 hours), and that's after checking all my answers twice. Did a run-through, skipping what I thought were difficult questions, and then spent more time with the brain-busters, for instance the multi-parter regarding pre-natal health clinics. There were a few stumpers, but overall I felt that in a couple of months, I'll be able to order some new business cards.

    One thing though...is there a surge nationally for "public breast feeding areas?"
    I haven't seen anything about it in Planning magazine, and if I did a Google search I'd probably get hit with results that would result in my firing, if I checked out the sites. Hopefully, that was just a question intended to check our ability to apply common sense.

  6. #6
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I was the first out of the room at the exam...took about an hour and 45 minutes (including checking over all the answers). The other 3 that were taking the exam (including my boss) used all 3 hours.

    I used a similar strategy to Dan, and in fact about a half hour into the exam, the exam administrator asked me if I knew that I needed to use the answer sheet.

    The public breast feeding comment I made earlier was simply because I thought it was a bit odd as an exam question, perhaps to make us look at a sensitive issue and consider appropriate design considerations.

    I thought the APA/AICP CD-Roms were an invaluable resource going into the exam...since you could take practice exams and keep track of time as well as get explanations for wrong answers. Fortunately, the actual exam didn't have any wellhead protection questions, which seemed to pop up every third question on the CD.

    All in all, I think it was to my advantage that I'm still relatively recently out of school ('97), have always been a good test taker, and that I'm a quick reader. New business cards will look nice in July.

    Hope you all did well!
    "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 Joe Iliff's avatar
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    I took about two hours, and was probably one of the first five out of 45 done.

    I didn't think the CPC Manual and the APA CD-ROM were particularly helpful since, like NH said, they included lots of stuff not appearing on the test, or at least not significantly.

    I used Michael Waiczis's materials and attended one of his workshops and found his practice exams and guidance much more useful. The CPC and APA stuff seem to cover the content without covering the format of the test, and a strategy for passing. Obviously you don't need to answer every question right, so the object is to have a broad enough knowledge base to get enough of the middle (not too hard or too easy) questions right.

    I also found that material they barely mentioned was important (like why they stopped building greenbelt towns). The CPC and APA stuff was much too general and needed to be more specific about what would be good to know.
    JOE ILIFF
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  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    You would think with all the technology today, it would take less than eight weeks to get our exam scores back.
    Hey, did you take the exam in Daytona Beach? I was there ... my dog was back at the hotel room. (I drove down the day before, just so I could have a different environment for some last minute cramming, and so I wouldn't have to get up too early that morning.) I took Bailey to Flagler Beach afterwards, where she could run off-leash and bark at the surf.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    No, I took it with about 60 other people in Tampa.

  10. #10
         
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    The rate of breastfeeding is at an all time high...almost 60 percent of women breastfeed for at least 3 months. Considering women represent half of the population, I would say it's an important issue. In many places, a woman can be arrested for breastfeeding in public. Providing private, clean spaces (sitting on a toilet seat does not count - that's disgusting!) for women to feed and men to change is truly a necessity.

    Sorry guys! It has nothing to do with being a feminazi planner...just understanding there's a need.

  11. #11
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    In eight weeks, we Florida planners will eagerly open up the envelope that contains our AICP results, to find a note that reads "You have voted for Pat Buchanan."

    It would be nice to have a Scantron machine right in the exam room. Hand the proctor your answer sheet, and if you passed, the attached color laser printer prints out an AICP certificate.

    If you fail, the synthesized voice of Anne Robinson insults you for about five minutes. "Are you a zoning administrator, or just zoned out? I bet you can't even work Friday afternoon front counter ..."

  12. #12
    If you pass, they send the envelope addressed to John Doe, AICP. Inside, they give the score, but you have to request to get the breakdown on the questions right or wrong.
    In my life, I have met men both good, and evil. I defend my self against them all...

  13. #13
    "I took about two hours, and was probably one of the FIRST FIVE out of 45 done.

    I was SECOND OR THIRD out of the room (about 2.5 hours), and that's after checking all my answers twice.

    I was the FIRST out of the room at the exam...took about an hour and 45 minutes (including checking over all the answers). The other 3 that were taking the exam (including my boss) used all 3 hours."


    It's funny watching people trying to "one-up" each other over the test. I'm glad y'all did a good job. Now stop bragging.

  14. #14
    All AICP hopefuls, please note: I passed the test last year and my results did NOT come in an envelope addressed to John Doe, AICP. Thinking this was supposed to happen, I had a few tense seconds ripping open the envelope before I saw that I had indeed passed. Point is, don't slit your wrists thinking you flunked if your results don't come addressed to ____, AICP.

    Have fun waiting! Last year it was the second or third week in July before we found out, if I remember correctly.

  15. #15
    Reminds me of the Monty Python skit of the group one upmenship on being poor. "I lived in a matchbox." "You had a matchbox"! exclaims the other man. "Luxury! I had to work 28 hours a day, get up before I went to sleep, get beaten by my parents all day until they danced on grave. And when you tell your kids this story, they act like they don't believe you"!

    I passed the test 8 years ago on my first try but I know one poor soul who flunked it seven times before passing. I thought the exam was more of a game of Trivial Pursuit than a certification test.

  16. #16
    As for all of this "one-upping" going on, I must say that the test took me the whole three hours, I thought it was hard, but I still passed on my first try with a very decent score. Thus, don't sweat it if you weren't the first one out of the room or you didn't think it was incredibly easy. There is still hope.

  17. #17
    One of the test questions I had on my exam in 1993 was what does ROM stand for. (Read only memory). Hardly an earth shattering question that should be used to test my knowledge as a planner.

  18. #18
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    Michael Waiczis's

    Can you share this material with me???

    Moderator note:
    You have to purchase this material. No ifs, no ands, no buts... I find out about anyone giving out or accepting copyrighted material, I'll ban you. Nothing personal, CRP, you probably didn't know, but now you do. I don't take too much seriously, this particular matter I do. Good luck on your exam. ~ Mastiff




    Quote Originally posted by Joe Iliff View post
    I took about two hours, and was probably one of the first five out of 45 done.

    I didn't think the CPC Manual and the APA CD-ROM were particularly helpful since, like NH said, they included lots of stuff not appearing on the test, or at least not significantly.

    I used Michael Waiczis's materials and attended one of his workshops and found his practice exams and guidance much more useful. The CPC and APA stuff seem to cover the content without covering the format of the test, and a strategy for passing. Obviously you don't need to answer every question right, so the object is to have a broad enough knowledge base to get enough of the middle (not too hard or too easy) questions right.

    I also found that material they barely mentioned was important (like why they stopped building greenbelt towns). The CPC and APA stuff was much too general and needed to be more specific about what would be good to know.
    Last edited by Mastiff; 02 Oct 2011 at 5:02 PM.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    took it over 14 yrs ago,
    so I really dont remember any bad questions besides the one NH Planner mentioned above,
    study material has changed except for reading The Green Book,
    when I took it was on paper - test question booklet, scantron answer sheet, & a # 2 pencil
    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)

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CRP View post
    Can you share this material with me???

    These days, Planetizen probably offers the best study materials.

    BTW, does the "green book" refer to the "Practice of Local Government Planning"?
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by tarf12345678 View post
    BTW, does the "green book" refer to the "Practice of Local Government Planning"?
    Yes it does.
    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)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  22. #22
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CRP View post
    Can you share this material with me???
    Moderator note:
    Welcome to Cyburbia.

    Piggybacking on what Mastiff wrote, from the rules:

    5.1.3 Freely sharing copyrighted materials that are otherwise being sold by their copyright holders is not permitted.
    For some reason, recently a lot of people have been asking for copies of Michael Waiczis's AICP test materials. It's unfair to those who put a lot of time and effort into creating the study guides. Also, when Cyburbia becomes a platform for others to freely share otherwise copyrighted materials, we can get in a lot of trouble. Please don't do this.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  23. #23
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by tarf12345678 View post
    These days, Planetizen probably offers the best study materials.
    Strongly disagree. Planetizen is probably one of the worst. The free stuff through the states, PA, GA, etc. are really the best materials. The only course I paid for was Ohio States online course, which was good for formatting the questions, but not on material.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Strongly disagree. Planetizen is probably one of the worst. The free stuff through the states, PA, GA, etc. are really the best materials. The only course I paid for was Ohio States online course, which was good for formatting the questions, but not on material.

    If the only course you paid for didn't include Planetizen, then how do you know Planetizen is one of the worst?

    I'm using several resources, including stuff from the state planning organizations. I like the Planetizen stuff, personally.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  25. #25
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I only used the APA study material (book and CD).....oh and my intensive 8 years of the experience.

    The only question I thought was weird was about Charles Abrams who was the author of such and such book/theory/concept. It was one of those simple trivia "Who wrote such and such?" questions that is really useless to us practicing planners.
    Last edited by mendelman; 03 Oct 2011 at 12:13 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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