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Thread: AICP exam 2013

  1. #51
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    You Tube - Valuable resources

    You Tube has a feed that is a great resource of previously recorded Planning Webcasts.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/PlanningWebcast/videos

  2. #52
    Cyburbian
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    Did anyone take the test this cycle?I decided to pop in and see how everyone did. I got a 54, so needless to say you need to answer at least 110 questions right to pass.

  3. #53
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    I took it last week and passed. I don't recall much about the questions that I "guessed" about but I am thankful that I went back and reviewed statistics, FAR, important persons, and legal cases the week before I took the exam.

  4. #54
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    Passed

    Thanks to Raf and Suburb Repairman for the advice on just getting down and getting it done with my essays. I did that, bought the Planetizen course, and sat for the test on Friday and passed. Whoopee. My advice- you need deep analytical skills and problem solving/common sense skills as they apply to planning process and ethics. Then you need wide, wide but shallow knowledge about history, theory, the law, census, types of statistical analysis, etc. Planetizen was good for the structure and when I couldn't stand reading any more I could watch a video lecture. Practice tests in the course and on PlanningPrep have more obvious wrong answers in the multiple choices than you'll be able to ferret out on the actual exam. A lot of people complain about having to ignore their common sense and give the "APA" answer: I'd say, if it makes you feel better, don't call it the "APA answer," but rather the "AICP exam answer." OF COURSE in real life you'd be able to tap colleagues, request more information from applicants, look stuff up, etc. That isn't what the exam is about. It's about being sharp on the questions and what information is given away in them and just as importantly what they have not told you that you cannot assume.

    I'd say practice test scores (especially first time through a test where you haven't built any memory yet) with 85% right or better probably correlate well to a passing score on the actual exam.

    I used the Planetizen reader (lightly) but did not find it necessary for the course. Way more depth in there than you need but if knowing the whole story of the Housing Act of 1954 helps you recall that it involved 701 plans, then by all means go for it. If you can put "701 plans" on one side of an index card and "Housing Act of 1954" on the other and learn it that way then go for it. The only place I wished for a little more depth in my knowledge was on process/management questions. I used a newer Green Book a bit, the APA ethics workshop guide, census briefs from 2010, Google when i sensed I was missing something, oh and the app from flashcardmachine to drill on factoids when i couldn't stand videos OR reading anymore.

    The APA suggested reading list is nuts. Way too daunting without having some structure or knowing what your weak spots are or where to focus.

    YMMV.

  5. #55
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Derek Lloyd View post
    I took it last week and passed. I don't recall much about the questions that I "guessed" about but I am thankful that I went back and reviewed statistics, FAR, important persons, and legal cases the week before I took the exam.
    Congrats!
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  6. #56
    Cyburbian
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    I'm definitely not a fan of the question format. It most definitely is what's the AICP answer. I am just super bummed I was so close to passing, and failed. I'm sure they didn't take too kindly to me not doing so well on the ethics portion either.

  7. #57
    I also took the exam last week. I passed, this time. I attribute my ability to pass the second time around to gaining more experience in different sectors of planning. My first attempt was with just Transportation Planning experience. I now work in land use and zoning and I believe that helped push me over the edge.

    The weak areas, as pointed out by APA, on my first attempt were history, theory, and law. While I studied heavily in those areas I did not feel that it helped me much.

    Congrats to everyone who passed!

  8. #58
    Cyburbian
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    I passed the exam last week. I have a bachelor's in urban & regional planning from a state university whose undergrad program is not accredited by the PAB. I worked as a small town planner for 7 years. I paid about $150 for the Planetizen online course (strongly recommended). I used EverNote to take notes. I studied lightly and didn't even go through all the Planetizen material. I studied about 30-40 hours total. I did not crack the "green book", nor did I buy the $400 worth of supplementals that Planetizen advertises. Despite severe test anxiety, I passed the AICP with a 57 (76%, the passing score is 55).

    In hindsight, I cut it really close. If I could do it again, I would study more, join a study group, and make flashcards.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Congrats!
    Thank you!

  10. #60
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Faust_Motel View post
    My advice- you need deep analytical skills and problem solving/common sense skills as they apply to planning process and ethics. Then you need wide, wide but shallow knowledge about history, theory, the law, census, types of statistical analysis, etc.

    The APA suggested reading list is nuts. Way too daunting without having some structure or knowing what your weak spots are or where to focus.

    YMMV.
    I just wanted to pull out these points you made because I think they're critically important insights about the exam. If I had known these two facts I think I would have had an easier time studying. I got bogged down in overstudying for case law (because I enjoy it the most) when I probably would have been better served just going for breadth instead. I never even got started with the suggested APA reading list because it seemed like overkill. Great points.

  11. #61
    Cyburbian
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    I just wanted to say that it's been 8 weeks since I took the AICP exams, and I still can't call myself AICP certified because I still haven't gotten my test scores and invoice from APA yet. Just getting approved to test was enough of a bureaucratic nightmare; they seem to run a really poor ship. I guess I'll give it another week and then try calling. Has anyone else still been waiting for their official exam results or invoice? Jeez, APA, just take my money already.

  12. #62
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by andromeda View post
    I just wanted to say that it's been 8 weeks since I took the AICP exams, and I still can't call myself AICP certified because I still haven't gotten my test scores and invoice from APA yet. Just getting approved to test was enough of a bureaucratic nightmare; they seem to run a really poor ship. I guess I'll give it another week and then try calling. Has anyone else still been waiting for their official exam results or invoice? Jeez, APA, just take my money already.
    Same here. When they say "6-8 weeks from the close of the testing window." they really mean it. By my count Friday January 18th will be 8 weeks on the nose. If i don't see anything by Monday morning I'm calling, and I'm sure lots of other people will be too.

  13. #63
    Quote Originally posted by andromeda View post
    I just wanted to say that it's been 8 weeks since I took the AICP exams, and I still can't call myself AICP certified because I still haven't gotten my test scores and invoice from APA yet. Just getting approved to test was enough of a bureaucratic nightmare; they seem to run a really poor ship. I guess I'll give it another week and then try calling. Has anyone else still been waiting for their official exam results or invoice? Jeez, APA, just take my money already.
    I contacted them last week and was informed that they would mail the test scores and invoice early this week. So if you don't get it in the mail by 1/22/14 it may be worth a call to APA.

  14. #64
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    Well, I got my score report and invoice in the mail today, FWIW.

    The letter says it can take up to FOUR weeks after the invoice is paid to get the certificate and pin. Geez.

  15. #65
    Cyburbian
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    Hey, I got mine in the mail today, too! Once I send them the prorated dues it will take another 4-6 weeks to get my pin and certificate, allegedly.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally posted by andromeda View post
    Hey, I got mine in the mail today, too! Once I send them the prorated dues it will take another 4-6 weeks to get my pin and certificate, allegedly.
    Ditto. I just received my official letter and score yesterday and I'm sending my prorated payment off today.

  17. #67
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    At least we get almost three full years for your first round of CM. I was surprised by that and thought I'd have to jump right in.

  18. #68
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    Questions

    I am planning on applying to take the upcoming test in May. One new feature to AICP is that you do not have to write essays for each job you have had that sums up your experience now. I have worked in three localities which will make up my 4 years of experience. Does anyone have experience with writing their criteria essay involving more than one position in a different locality? If so, could you share some hints as to how you handled this?

  19. #69
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    I used experience from two jobs to write my essays. My advice is to look at each of the criteria you need to address and think of one thing you worked on that meets the criteria for each job. Rough out the essays, then go with the strongest ones. I struggled for a very long time with writing these essays. What got me over the hum was a combination of "just do it!" encouragement from Cyburbia and leaning heavily on what AICP said they wanted the essays to be about. There's a document somewhere in the applicant resources page that explains not just what you should address, but HOW you should address it. Mostly, write about what YOU did that meets the criteria, don't waste a lot of time describing the project or elements you didn't work on. Early in your career, you OBSERVE lots of activity that meets the criteria, but what did YOU do? Where was YOUR judgement critical to the process?



    I'd be happy to answer more specific questions. Not having to come up with an example fro each job you have had sounds like a blessing.

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