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Thread: AICP exam 2013

  1. #26
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    Thanks rcg for that link from your professor, that's really useful. There is a lot on Quantitative Analysis and Methods in there - is this covered a lot in the exam?

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    - Set aside a set time each week to study. For me I spent most of my Saturday mornings studying for 3 months prior to the exam.
    - Look on state APA websites for study guides. PA, I think, has a really good and in depth study guide.
    - Know the big legal cases and why they were important.
    - Study planning theorists and theories. Here is a good link on basic AICP prep from one of my old professors. It is a very basic outline, but a good checklist of things to study.
    - Look at taking the Planetizen AICP prep class, it was $175 or so but it is all online and it contained good videos, especially on ethics, lots of study materials and quizzes. It was my main study source, which I then used to study other topics.
    Thanks rcg! Great info!

  3. #28
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Green Lane View post
    Thanks rcg for that link from your professor, that's really useful. There is a lot on Quantitative Analysis and Methods in there - is this covered a lot in the exam?
    There wasn't a ton of actual "math" questions and the ones that were on there were pretty simple; floor area ratio, simple population projections. More of the quant questions were based on terminology and concepts such as shift-share analysis, difference between nominal and ordinal data and project management techniques (PERT, CPM, etc.)

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    I took my AICP exam last May and passed on the first try. I had a MUP and had worked for nearly 5 years for both municipal planning agencies and an MPO. My experience in a wide spectrum of planning topics was a big help. Here are some other ideas to help you prep.

    - Set aside a set time each week to study. For me I spent most of my Saturday mornings studying for 3 months prior to the exam.
    - Look on state APA websites for study guides. PA, I think, has a really good and in depth study guide.
    - Know the big legal cases and why they were important.
    - Study planning theorists and theories. Here is a good link on basic AICP prep from one of my old professors. It is a very basic outline, but a good checklist of things to study.
    - Look at taking the Planetizen AICP prep class, it was $175 or so but it is all online and it contained good videos, especially on ethics, lots of study materials and quizzes. It was my main study source, which I then used to study other topics.

    It can seem overwhelming but with a good study plan you can pass the AICP on your first try. Good luck!
    Thanks for the PA website suggestion - those are by far the best resources I have seen yet! My green bible arrived - I will never get through all 500 pages of that one...

  5. #30
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Green Lane View post
    Thanks for the PA website suggestion - those are by far the best resources I have seen yet! My green bible arrived - I will never get through all 500 pages of that one...
    IMO, the Green Bible is a good resource if you want more information about a particular topic but I used it very little in my exam prep. The best prep resource in my opinion is the Planetizen course. It is a bit pricy at $175 but it is was very through and I took what was taught in the class and used it as a jumping off point for other things to review. The class also has quizes at the end of each unit to test your knowledge of the topic. The class also included 3 or 4 practice exams which was a huge help. My first practice exam I struggled to get 60% by the time I took the exam I was well about the needed score to pass.

  6. #31

    AICP STUDY group

    Quote Originally posted by Griffley View post
    I concur! I have never participated in an online study group, but I'm willing to try. I need all the help I can get.
    Hi there those showing interest informing group. Can we open a Facebook group?
    please send me an ID I can invite and form a FB group, This might be a good option so we can update in the group and share materials as well. Thanks..
    Also I received couple of reads as suggestion, i am not sure which chapter or pages to study...confused.

  7. #32

    FB group for AICp 2013

    Can we form a facebook group for AICP studies ? If interested...

  8. #33

    Aicp 2013 FB group

    Quote Originally posted by Griffley View post
    I concur! I have never participated in an online study group, but I'm willing to try. I need all the help I can get.
    Griffley, you can add me in Facebook, Let em know where to send my ID, I already added one..even if its a small group, it might be helpful.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Toronto2012 View post
    Hi there those showing interest informing group. Can we open a Facebook group?
    please send me an ID I can invite and form a FB group, This might be a good option so we can update in the group and share materials as well. Thanks..
    Also I received couple of reads as suggestion, i am not sure which chapter or pages to study...confused.
    As an AICP Exam Instructor and a former ethics officer, it is highly frowned upon (and a possible ethics violation) to openly share AICP Exam study material.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  10. #35
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    As an AICP Exam Instructor and a former ethics officer, it is highly frowned upon (and a possible ethics violation) to openly share AICP Exam study material.
    Explain this to me. How could it possibly be an ethics violation to save money or share information that was legally obtained?
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  11. #36
    Cyburbian
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    Hey everyone,

    I just discovered this forum as I'm preparing for the AICP exam. If there is a Facebook group formed, I would love to be a part of it. Just to add some additional information, the Utah Chapter of the APA has a ton of recorded webcasts from last year covering the major exam topics. If there are areas that you are less familiar with, they will be helpful in organizing material coverage. I did not go to school for planning (B.S. in engineering, M.S. in Public Policy), so our professional development officer told me I would probably need to spend the most time on the history and legal sections. If anyone has any good resources for those, please let me know!

    On an unrelated note, has anyone received their approved to test notification yet? I was notified that my application was approved about two weeks ago, but I haven't heard anything since then. Just wondering if I should have heard by now!

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

    Sandy

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally posted by gtpeach View post
    Hey everyone,

    I just discovered this forum as I'm preparing for the AICP exam. If there is a Facebook group formed, I would love to be a part of it. Just to add some additional information, the Utah Chapter of the APA has a ton of recorded webcasts from last year covering the major exam topics. If there are areas that you are less familiar with, they will be helpful in organizing material coverage. I did not go to school for planning (B.S. in engineering, M.S. in Public Policy), so our professional development officer told me I would probably need to spend the most time on the history and legal sections. If anyone has any good resources for those, please let me know!

    On an unrelated note, has anyone received their approved to test notification yet? I was notified that my application was approved about two weeks ago, but I haven't heard anything since then. Just wondering if I should have heard by now!

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

    Sandy
    Cheers for the Utah Webcasts suggestion! I was an early bird application so got my approval in Jan but still don't have an exam date yet but I'm taking it in London so it's a different arrangement for international exam takers.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    Explain this to me. How could it possibly be an ethics violation to save money or share information that was legally obtained?
    I agree.

    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    As an AICP Exam Instructor and a former ethics officer, it is highly frowned upon (and a possible ethics violation) to openly share AICP Exam study material.
    It is comments like this that make me wonder the real validity of the organization. I don't really need the certification and if that is the sort of thing AICP is worried about while there are real ethic problems they should be dealing with, maybe I am better off spending my time and energy elsewhere.

  14. #39
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    For any future test-takers

    I took the exam last week (May 2013) and passed. I have an M.S. in Public Policy and a B.S. in Materials Engineering. I have worked as a county planner for 4.5 years.

    I started familiarizing myself at a very high level with material about 8 months before I planned to take the exam. By that, I mostly mean participating in the free webinars produced by several of the state chapters and housed on the Utah chapter's website and looking through reading materials as I had time. Once my application was accepted, I signed up for the Planetizen web-based class. I also ordered the reader that goes along with the class, and although it was interesting and some of it was useful, it probably did not strongly influence my score on the test. The web-based class was really helpful as far as just giving me a starting point to help me structure my studying. The practice tests and test-taking strategies were also very helpful. I cannot emphasize enough, though, that this course should probably not be your only source for exam preparation unless you truly just need a refresher!

    In addition, I read the Green Bible (1988) cover to cover, used the study notes from the Pennsylvania chapter, used the AICP Exam Guide 2.0, and read Everyday Ethics for Practicing Planners. I found that reading the Green Bible was helpful to give context to all the other facts, versus just trying to learn random information without really being able to fit it all together. I relied on the PA study notes largely to retain more detailed information, and the AICP study guide was helpful for quick facts (although there were very few actual fact-based questions on the exam). The study notes and the guide were the most helpful for making flash cards, which I did use. The Ethics book was helpful to work through scenarios, but I found the ethics-based questions on the actual exam to be much more straightforward than the issues discussed in the book.

    Overall, the test was very comprehensive and required the ability to not simply recall information, but to apply information and make intelligent conclusions about impacts and effects. I would strongly recommend using a wide variety of resources to draw from, as they each approach information from a different angle.

    Good luck!

  15. #40
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    Any one plan to take the Nov test?

    I just start preparing my application and all. Any one working on it?

  16. #41
    I am planning on taking the November 2013 exam and am curious to see what new questions will be on this version. I failed on my fist attempt by one point and I now know my areas of weakness. I would love to be able to see what questions I missed. When I took the exam in May 2012 I only had transportation experience, now I have county level experience as well and I hope that will put me over the edge.

    I assume that some 2010 Census data will be on the new exam, but am wondering if the questions will be regarding high level statistics like total US population, or more narrow geographically like greatest city level population decline.

  17. #42
    I'm working on my application now & plan on taking the exam in November!

  18. #43
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    I am planning to take the November 2013 exam. I am in the Triad of NC and would like to do a study group with anyone planning to take the November exam.

  19. #44
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    Application Essays

    I am planning to take the exam in November 2013 and am working on finishing up my application essays.

    I have no problem writing fluid staff reports about site plan and subdivision applications, I have stood in front of hundreds of angry stakeholders at countless visioning and regional plan development meetings, and I can answer complex questions about my employer's planning program from citizens, the media, and the development community, but I am absolutely beating my head against the wall trying to describe how my experience over the last five years in this job meets the professional planning criteria. I work under the Planning Director in a growing town of 8,000 people with a daytime population of 24k, I staff the Planning Commission (Long Range) Development Review Board (Subdivision/Site Plan review) and the Design Review/Historic Preservation Committees. I am the GIS lead in our organization. I do a ton of current planning but I have certainly been in the lead on a couple of long-range projects over the years.

    Maybe I am over thinking my essay responses here- people I have asked said "Oh, I did my essays in a night, they aren't that big of a deal" and I'm sort of feeling like I'm kind of crazy for having this much trouble with them.

    Any advice? Did you brainstorm and refine? Make a list and flesh it out later? Do all of you just work on fantastic projects that meet the criteria all the time? Am I tainted because in an office of four professionals, we all (including the director) spend more than 60% of our time keeping the paper moving in current planning?

  20. #45
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Faust_Motel View post
    I am planning to take the exam in November 2013 and am working on finishing up my application essays.

    I have no problem writing fluid staff reports about site plan and subdivision applications, I have stood in front of hundreds of angry stakeholders at countless visioning and regional plan development meetings, and I can answer complex questions about my employer's planning program from citizens, the media, and the development community, but I am absolutely beating my head against the wall trying to describe how my experience over the last five years in this job meets the professional planning criteria. I work under the Planning Director in a growing town of 8,000 people with a daytime population of 24k, I staff the Planning Commission (Long Range) Development Review Board (Subdivision/Site Plan review) and the Design Review/Historic Preservation Committees. I am the GIS lead in our organization. I do a ton of current planning but I have certainly been in the lead on a couple of long-range projects over the years.

    Maybe I am over thinking my essay responses here- people I have asked said "Oh, I did my essays in a night, they aren't that big of a deal" and I'm sort of feeling like I'm kind of crazy for having this much trouble with them.

    Any advice? Did you brainstorm and refine? Make a list and flesh it out later? Do all of you just work on fantastic projects that meet the criteria all the time? Am I tainted because in an office of four professionals, we all (including the director) spend more than 60% of our time keeping the paper moving in current planning?
    Easy one mang. pick a project and write about it. Mine were particularity easy because all i did was comprehensive planning. I picked an project for each question and just answered. Do the same. Good Luck, don't over think it. It sounds like you already meet their screening requirements.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  21. #46
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    You are probably overthinking the criteria. You don't have to demonstrate that you're the next coming of Andres Duany or just wrote the be-all-end-all downtown revitalization plan--just that you are a good & competent planner qualified to take the AICP exam. The criteria are very geared toward the process of plan making and analysis--not just the plans & projects themselves. Think about how you approach the long range plans you've worked on. Think about the process you use to analyze development proposals. Apply that to the criteria, perhaps using one project/plan on each as an avenue to walk through your process & issue considerations. Just from the short bit you posted here, it sounds like you should have no trouble citing experiences over the course of your career that demonstrate competence & skill as a planner--certainly enough to qualify you for the big test of planning trivia.

    My advice is to hit up the other folks in your office about how they approached the questions. Ask them to read your responses and provide feedback. Your APA State PDO should also be able to help you.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  22. #47
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    November 2013 AICP Exam Refresh?

    My AICP Exam application is currently in process and I plan to take the exam in November. I understand that the exam will be "refreshed" for this exam window. Does anyone know anything about the refreshed study material? I'm able to find exam prep resources for older exams, but nothing so far for November 2013 - checked all the usual places, APA, Local APA chapter sites, Planetizen, Cyburbia. Anybody have information on the November exam they could share?

    Thanks,
    Emily

  23. #48
    Quote Originally posted by emcf1128 View post
    My AICP Exam application is currently in process and I plan to take the exam in November. I understand that the exam will be "refreshed" for this exam window. Does anyone know anything about the refreshed study material? I'm able to find exam prep resources for older exams, but nothing so far for November 2013 - checked all the usual places, APA, Local APA chapter sites, Planetizen, Cyburbia. Anybody have information on the November exam they could share?

    Thanks,
    Emily
    I am in the same boat. I have read on the APA site that there will be 130 new questions that will replace some outdated/underperforming questions. These new questions will become part of the 600+ questions that each exam pulls from. I would focus on any new trends, legislation, and policies that have emerged since 2008. Good Luck

  24. #49
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    Hey guys! I am planning on taking the Nov 2013 exam also and I was wondering about the refreshed questions myself. If anyone would like to form a study group I love to study with others. I dont think anyone else is taking it in my area.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    I passed the AICP exam last fall. My $0.02:

    -There's enough free study materials out there (APA Policy Guides, the PA APA site, etc) that paying for any exam prep materials is a waste of money
    -Reading the Green Book cover to cover may not be the best use of your time.
    -There were a lot of ethics questions on my test (this may vary test to test).
    -I organized a study group in my city. It was extremely helpful. Talking about planning issues face to face in a group setting helped with memorization and applying theories and concepts.

    Best of luck.

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