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AICP study materials - APA prep course useful or useless?


My employer is pressuring me to get AICP certified. I have no real interest in it, as I work internationally in urban design for a private sector company, and already have two degrees in planning and over 10 years of experience. I don't mind learning new things at all, but most of what I've studied is just not relevant to what I do.

I do have the APA prep course and have been studying it. However, I find that when I go through the materials, they keep saying "make sure to review this and that" suggesting there are other materials that aren't explicitly stated and I'm not even sure they are included. It seems to be summarizing what I need to study and not providing the actual materials. Isn't that the whole point of having the course - to provide the materials to study so that you'll pass?

I have looked at a couple of practice exams and I'm not sure whether they are more difficult than the real test, but it seems the APA exam course materials don't go into enough detail, as I am getting most of the questions wrong and I have no idea how to answer them.

The exam is in a month and I am not feeling very confident... but perhaps if I found another source of materials to study, that would help me out? Are the APA materials not enough? Am I overreacting?

Anyone who has insight into the APA exam prep course or other materials to study, I'd greatly appreciate your advice!


Cyburbian Plus
I believe it has been repeated in other threads - The Green Book

I posted this back in April 2014

Consider this resource from Planning Webcast Series http://www.youtube.com/user/PlanningWebcast/videos

AICP Exam Review Series

Planning History and Theory 2 hrs7min, 492 views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM4-i96AVZw

Planning Law 1 hr29 min, 388 views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTP7einBXf0

Plan Making and Implementation 2hrs1min, 476 views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r3pq8mgZDM

Research and Quantitative Methods 2 hrs15min, 185 views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xeoL41HTgs

Public Participation and Social Justice 2hrs13min, 231 views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwKOG-tRyH0

Functional Areas of Planning Practice 2hrs13min, 314 views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7UF4wPvVb4

Exam Overview and Spatial Analysis 1hr50min, 233 views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSjmTIllTDE


There's an AICP sticky thread in the professional development section where people have posted tools they used and what was helpful for them. Read through that for suggestions!


If you're doing okay on the practice tests, provided they are good practice tests like Planetizen or APA you should be doing okay.

I always thought the material was a little light on the review. It gives you the broad overview, but none of the detailed stuff. The questions they ask on the test can go either way. For example:

Which is a takings case A, B, C, D.


Which case set up aesthetic standards relating to clothes lines in the front yard.

If you know the basic concept of everything you'll do fine, but it helps if you know a little more detail like these questions:

Which defines an arterial road? A, B, C, D


How many trips per day can one mile of a six lane arterial road handle. ?

The majority of questions, at least in my opinion were broad scope questions that just knowing the topic I was able to get it. Dolan was some kind of takings case, etc.., but there are a few detailed ones out there. Just don't sweat them all.
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