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2002 AICP Exam

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Well I just took the AICP exam. It really really sucked. More than I could have even imagined. (Bear with me while I vent.) Based on conversations with people who took the exam last year, this test was completely different. I don't recall even a single question about zoning (but who knows, it is all kind of a blur...). The test did not at all follow the format with regard to percentages of questions per subject. I only used my calculator three times. This test was ridiculous and I can't believe I sacrificed my social life to study these last three or four months.

I would be very interested in hearing everyone else's thoughts on this year's exam.
 

alan-h

Member
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just finished also

I just finished also- took it in Connecticut at Yale. I thought the exam was fair and but I was also surprised at some stuff. Specifically the lack of history and law questions. I remember alot of ethics and scenario questions. I also remember questions about how technology was influencing land use. I don't know if the exam is the same nationwide.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
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9,884
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38
It's the same exam

The exam is the same for everyone that takes it. Scenario questions have become popular the last few years...there were several last year when I took it.

Relax...it's over, and in a few months you'll know how you did. Remember, the exam is scaled nationwide, so your chances are pretty good that you passed.

Good luck to all the '02 exam takers!
 

Ksignore

Member
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Exam

I agree. The exam was totally ridiculous. I just my Exam evaluation form. I can't wait to fill it out. Anyway, I know several people who took the exam last year and they were done within an hour and a half and they are no smarter or have no more expiernce that several people I know who took it this year and it took us the entire 3 hours.

Not only did the exam not cover the entire field of planning, but the questions were ridicolous and difficult to answer. I think what has me most upset is that the AICP study materials, such as the local chapter guise, Mike Wazcias Exams and study material, and the AICP CD's were basically of no help. I too spent 3-4 months studying and I could have studied for 2 weeks and had just as good of a chance of knowing the answers. I am VERY upset that these study materials did not prepare me better.

I'd like to hear what others think.
 

Jen

Cyburbian
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If you thought the test was ridiculous just wait until you get your pin and placard!

Jus' kiddin' Best wishes to all for good test results-

Question:Is it possible to fail the test once you've met the application criteria?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
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17,759
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Jen wrote:
Question:Is it possible to fail the test once you've met the application criteria?
Yes. Passing the AICP exam is just one prerequisite for certification; the rest are the AICP qualification criteria (education, relevant employment, etc.)

The scoring of the test and scaling methods are too complicated to explain in a few hundred thousand bytes. The AICP text has 150 multiple choice questions; you have to get at least 110 to 120 correct (depending on the scaling used that year) to pass.

BTW, last year's most challenging 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. Sign regulations permit 1.25 square foot of building signage for each linear foot of wall. 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 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. Yellow=residential, red=commercial, grey=industrial
C. Green=residential, yellow=commercial, red=industrial
D. Might as well paint it all red, damnit ... y'all a bunch of damn 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 minority communities.
C. A mullet, to establish rapport with general contractors in the field.
D. It's all moot, because you'll lose all your hair after a couple of years of this.
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
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AICP exam

I also took the exam on Saturday and I have to agree, I was very disappointed with the content of the exam. I studied for 6 intense weeks and also gave a good portion of my social life up for that forsaken test and about 10 percent of the stuff I studied was on the exam. That was not due to me studying the wrong information, but simply due to the fact that about 75% of that test was scenerio based questioning and VERY LITTLE history and law (which I was told has been heavy on past exams). I am not sure how I did, but whether I pass or fail, I still the think this years exam WAS NOT a fair sample of what the AVERAGE planner deals with in his/her job or should know. Oh, one more thought, people should not be able to use palm pilots during the exam---I have my suspicions.
 

smarty

Cyburbian
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88
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4
TEST!?!?!?!!

Ok, so three of us here took the exam. We were the only three in our jurisdiction that took the exam. We all studied at least three months for this damn thing. Used the Green Book, AICP CD's, the CPC stuff, recommendations from other co-workers that took the test and nothing, I mean, nothing could have prepared us for this 'exam'. It would have been one this if I was the only one out of the three of us that felt robbed in the questions, but all three of us??? I'm glad I didn't pay for this exam.
It's one thing to not study and fail, but when you study materials supplied the testing organization, (which the LanPlan sample tests where another complete joke), then NOT be tested on that material....................please. I can fully understand a few questions not based on material provided, but come on......

Well, it's over and that's that.
 

Ksignore

Member
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Does anyone know if there is anything we can do or anyone we can contact about this? Just so our voice can be heard and they can know the study materials were not helpful and the test was not refelctive our "planning".
 

CCThomas

Member
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AICP Exam

I agree with the general sentiment. The exam bore little resembalance to the sample test exams outside of being multiple choice. As a test it was poorly balanced across planning disciplines, history, law and ethics. The study group I was in (nine Western New Yorkers) agreed to a person that the 2002 exam failed as a certifing instrument for our profession.

Our study groups' recommendation is that in the future the test should be reasonably well ballanced across the CD study guide topic areas while leaving sufficient room for questions de jour. If necessary schedule the test over two several hour sessions.

One of the valuable lessons I learned preparing for this exam is that I have become specialized over my 25 year career and had not kept up on many aspects of our profession. I found great value and challenge in preparing for the test. Even should I pass the exam, in my view the test is flawed.
 
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Being that I missed the cut-off score by 4 measly points last year, I had the fortune (or misfortune) of taking this wonderful exam again. Last year I studied my ASS off and was quite pissed when I received my score. I didn't crack a book this year and only looked at the AICP CD-rom's 48 hrs prior to the exam. Regardless of the outcome, it should be known that the AICP distinction is not an indication of my abilities to perform my job to either my boss', my client's or MY OWN satisfaction.
 

smarty

Cyburbian
Messages
88
Points
4
So, Planderella, was the test any different last year than this year?? Question wise?? Not having the wonderous fortune of taking it last year, I was wondering how you felt about the exam itself.

Oh, how long did it take to find out you missed my four points??
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
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9,884
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38
Exam Results

smarty wrote:
So, Planderella, was the test any different last year than this year?? Question wise?? Not having the wonderous fortune of taking it last year, I was wondering how you felt about the exam itself.

Oh, how long did it take to find out you missed my four points??
The results will be sent to you in early July. Why it takes that long, I'm not sure.

Ksignore wrote:
Does anyone know if there is anything we can do or anyone we can contact about this? Just so our voice can be heard and they can know the study materials were not helpful and the test was not refelctive our "planning".
I would start with the AICP Commissioner for your region (see www.planning.org/leaderbios/aicpcommission.html) and also contact the AICP staff at aicp@planning.org
 
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I hate to jinx myself but I found this year's exam to be easier but it took me almost an hour longer to complete. There were more scenario-based questions but very little on history and law, maybe one or two on environmental planning, none on GIS, and a couple on transportation. The rest of the questions centered on management, budgeting, financing techniques, population projections, and a host of other planning skills that I have never implemented in neither my public nor private sector experience.

Last year, many people, including myself, found out if they passed the exam by going to the APA website and doing a member search. If you passed it, they put AICP behind your name. I was put off by that, especially since I hadn't received the official results. Me and some other people would keep checking our names every few hours or so with the hopes that APA was still updating the member rosters. I gave up after a couple of days and waited for the official results to arrive (which took another week to do so).
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
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1,296
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24
Anyone who took the test this past Saturday remember the question on negotiating and perhaps the right answer. It said something like, what is the most inappropriate action to take when negotiating. Also, the question on the growth management case that gave the two likely choices of either petlauma or ramapo. The question said which earliest case. I put ramapo but several people who I have talked to put Petlauma.
 

Ksignore

Member
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law case

I put Ramapo too, but I was confused on that one. But I didn't think Pentaluma had anything to do with growth management, did it?
 
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test questions

I believe the Petaluma case dealt with quotas on building permits, which the court upheld as an acceptable form of growth management.

Does anyone remember the question about concurrency management? I can't remember the answer choices, but I put the answer that dealt with the master plan. Sound familiar?
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
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1,296
Points
24
Both Petluma and ramapo were growth management cases, but the big point of the question was which was first. Ramapo was in 72 and petaluma was in 75, so the answer is ramapo. I answered the concurrency question with the choice that said it dealt with timed growth management with respect to municipal services. Anyone remember the terrible negotiating question?
 

smarty

Cyburbian
Messages
88
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4
fahgetaboutit!!!!!!!

Stop the insanity.............holy multiple choices Batman, all this questioning of questions gone by!?!?!
After that fiasco of a test, I went home tried to find a number of a truck driving school, couldn't, so I fired up the blender for some margs and laid in the sun with my wife and dog and forgot about the test. Until the tequila wore off, then I had a headache from the test and the tequila.
Anyway, at this point I'm hearing so many different things from so may diffferent people about the test that if I passed it, I passed it. If I didn't, I sure as heck won't take it over. Why try and prepare for something you can't prepare for????
Petaluma was a building moritorium and public facilites should be in place prior to development, at least that's how we do it out here...............
 
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I agree with smarty. There's no need in driving ourselves bananas over something which we no longer have control. LOL. However, I DO remember that negotiating question and the fact that MY choice was not listed

E. Open up a can of Whoop Ass on both parties and beat them into submission.

One last complaint - what about the questions that had the list of answers that "may be used once," "more than once," or "not at all?" What was up with that?????
 

Ksignore

Member
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Those questions were strange and the actual questiosn they asked were random, especially the one about which city grew the most in the 50's and 60's. I would not consdier any of the cities listed to be cities that had a tremendous growth spurt then.
 

smarty

Cyburbian
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88
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wicked, evil, nasty Zoot

Yeah, "The City that Grew the Most" was a sequel to "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" that went straight to archives. Vicent Price ran it once on late late late late night TV, but even he pulled the plug early in favor of running Brady Bunch out takes.
GGGGRRRR, and those things about 'once, more than once, not at all', well if 'not at all' why have it on there????

I was talking to another co-worker (just forgot how to spell colleeauge - good thing THAT wasn't on the test - probably will be next year, so study your dictionary) and he was amazed ambiguity of questions (gender sensitivity w/ bathrooms - while i understand it, not really sure what it has to do with planning - kind of like the cover of the new Planning Mag with the moto jumping, but that's another story as to the Why they did that)

Oh, I'm done venting. No, really. I am done.
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
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1,296
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24
Albuquerque, New Mexico was the answer to the city having a large growth rate between 65 and 70.
 

Ksignore

Member
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I thought the growth rate was for the 50's and 60's, but regardless I put Albuquerque. Do you know what the answer to the 2nd part was about in-land water transportation?
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
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1,296
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24
I'm almost positive it is cincinnati, but what do I know, I'm only a planner.
 

CCThomas

Member
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During the time frame of the question the highest growth rates were in the South and South West. I therefor reasoned that Albuquerque was correct because it was the only City mentioned in either of those regions.
 

smarty

Cyburbian
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88
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4
ok..............

so that maybe Albequrque is the right answer, if only I could spell it, but my question is this.............

WHY did it grow so fast??? Who cares which one did, it seems to be a more appropriate question for planners as to WHY it grew so much. Was is easy zoning codes, no moritoriums, good weather, great Tex/Mex?? Why Why Why Why...............
 

alan-h

Member
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question discussion

My .02 about the answers to the questions being discussed

1. For the growth managament question I chose Ramapo, because it was the "first" case
2. For the negotiation question (which was tough) I chose the answer that said something like "when a party comes back with alternative proposals late in the negotiation" I figured people would want to negotiate in that case not back out inappropriately.
3. For the questions about the cities I also chose Cincinnati and Albaquerque

Does anyone remember the question about who to report ethics violations to? the answers did not include the "Executive Director" which is what it says in the ethics advisory. I think that question should be thrown out. They didn't use the same language that is in the ethics code. Is the president of the chapters title the "Chapter President" or the "Executive Director"? I didn't know if they were referrring to the APA and chose AICP commission instead (and probably got it wrong).
 
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I'm not done venting

It's good to know that I was not the only one who was mystified by the choices given for the ethics code violation question. I kept thinking to myself, Executive Director of what???? I chose the AICP commission as well, only because the other choices were too vague.

I chose Alberquerque (sp?) for the fastest growing city - my answer came in the form of a song or famous saying "Go West!!!!" Who cares anyway, except for maybe the people in those fastest growing cities.

I'd like to know how many people attempted to do the calculations required for some of the answers. Even with a calculator, I was like "when in doubt, choose B." LOL
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
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1,984
Points
25
Long time lurker, first time poster! But, after that great test of planning skills that I took I too feel the need to rant. I was absolutely stunned by the exam. I don't even have a good reading on how I feel I did, but I can sure protect your wellheads if you want me to! The exam guide has to be the worst $195 plus shipping I ever spent. I went through all of the CD ROM's painstakingly and took the practice exam at least 50 times. Is anyone else amazed that in the only exam that certifies planners nationwide that there was not one question concerning variances, special exceptions or non-conforming uses? While many planners do not deal with those issues on an everyday basis anymore most of us got our start doing development review type stuff. To not even question us on any of it is ridiculous. I have already written to ask for my money back for the study guide. An utter waste of time and money. And APA wonders why so few people vote in the elections. Sorry this is so long but at least I waited til Thursday. I was really hot on Monday!
 

smarty

Cyburbian
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88
Points
4
Did we even take the same test???

Calculations???? I used it once to refresh my brain on the 160 acre thing, and then twice again??? How many calculation questions were there....................

Wait, wait........never mind......................it's over. O. V. E. R.
 
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AICP Commission

I was surprised at that ethics question also, since the correct answer was not listed. I was going to point it out on that sheet they gave us, but then I changed my mind since I am fairly sure they meant for the correct answer to be the "AICP commission." Therefore, even though the answer is wrong, I sort of hope they don't throw the question out since I need as many correct answers as possible, even if the answer is not "really" correct. (Hope that makes sense!)

As for the calculations, I think I officially used the calculator twice, but could have easily gotten by without it.

Well, it has been about five days since the test from hell, and I am happy to say that I am definitely on the road to mental recovery. And, if I don't pass, I will have to really consider whether or not I want to take the test next year since I have some serious philosophical issues with the very idea of this test. The most serious issue I have is this: We all know by now the Code of Ethics, and that our main responsibility is to our employer/client. With that said, the AICP people expect us to study our asses off for months and months - which absolutely interferes with our professional life (not to mention our social life) - and then they give us a test that doesn't even evaluate what we studied. So, all this time I could have been working extra hours, and getting some extra work done. But instead I studied law cases and wellhead protection techniques.

Maybe its a bit of a stretch, but it sure seems like a violation of the Code to me...
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
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1,296
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24
Our main responsibility is the serve the public interest, not to our client/employer, unless you consider employer to mean the public, which in all fairness you would be right if you work in the public sector. As for your comments regarding the ethics violation of the AICP, I the bigger issue should be that, in my opinion, is the fact that APA/AICP has the nerve to sell that LANPLN cd at such an inflated price. It states in the code that the more experienced planners should strive to educate and train less experienced planners, it does not say make money off of them!
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
What a joke

Ok, I really think the AICP exam is a joke. All if measures is your ability to cram a bunch of irrelevant information and hope you can remember enough to pass. It has no bearing on whether you are a good planner or not.

The AICP, in my opinion, is a feeble attempt by the APA to "legitimize" the planning profession (and raise a ton of extra money in the process). Planners suffer from an inadequacy complex...we are not as technical as engineers, as artistic as architects, as shrewd as politicians, or as knwledgable as lawyers, but we have to know elements of each of those professions and much much more. There is such a wide variety of knowledge, job duities, and laws that planners have to deal with that a 150 question test is a complete joke if the APA is trying to measure what planners "should" know.

Professions such as engineers, architectcs, doctors, and lawyers have extensive certification requirements because if they don't know something, it can have serious results. If a lawyer screws up, the client could wind up in jail for life, if a doctor screws up, someone could die, if an architect screws up, a building can collapse. If a planner screws up, what happens? Some building is too close to a road? A resident has to deal with a McDonalds next door? You get the picture.

If I don't know details about the City Beautiful movement, does that make me a bad planner? If I don't know who wrote some obscure planning book, does that mean that I am unworthy of the AICP designation? I would hope not, but the way the AICP is set up, not knowing who wrote some stupid opinionated book could cost a planner their certification, and that isn't right.
 

smarty

Cyburbian
Messages
88
Points
4
aaaawwwww, yeah!!!!

jt, way to rant. It's funny because the two guys and myself that also took the exam just got a chance to vent at staff meeting. There are three other planners in the office with AICP and they all said the same thing about the AICP exam.....they studied their butts off and really didn't need to because the questions where so obscure that it really didn't matter if they studied, and they still passed. One guy said he studied about two hours the day before and "wouldn've studied more, but it was sunny outside...." and still passed.

I love your reference about how we have to know a little about a lot............perfect.

don't worry though, from what I'm getting from others, you probably passed.

ps, love the Bad Religion..................
 
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