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FAPA Conference 2006 AICP Info Session Presenters: Wiatt Bowers, AICP Tina Demostene, AICP Mindy Heath, AICP Alan Steinbeck, AICP AICP Exam Preparation Agenda I. Introductions II. Eligibility and Registration a. Requirements b. Deadlines c. Information Bulletin d. Testing Locations

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fapa conference 2006 aicp info session

FAPA Conference 2006AICP Info Session


Wiatt Bowers, AICP

Tina Demostene, AICP

Mindy Heath, AICP

Alan Steinbeck, AICP

AICP Exam Preparation

session outline

I. Introductions

II. Eligibility and Registration

a. Requirements

b. Deadlines

c. Information Bulletin

d. Testing Locations

III. Study Resources

a. AICP Study Guide and CPC Manual

b. Private Online Courses

c. Reading Lists

d. AICP Online Tutorial

V. Subject Matter Outline

a. AICP info on test topic areas

b. Plan Making – “The Big Problem area”

c. Background on other topic areas

V. Situational Questions VI. Code of Ethics

VII. Helpful Tips

VIII. Questions

Session Outline
fapa conference 2006 aicp info session3

FAPA Conference 2006AICP Info Session

Eligibility and Registration

eligibility requirements
Eligibility Requirements
  • Be a current member of the American Planning Association (APA).
  • Be engaged in professional planning, either currently or in the past, as defined by AICP.
  • Have completed, at the time of application submission, one of the combinations of education and corresponding years of professional planning experience listed in the chart below:
    • Graduate degree in Planning from a program accredited by the PAB - 2 yrs
    • Bachelor's degree in Planning from a program accredited by the PAB - 3 yrs
    • Graduate degree in Planning from a program not accredited by the PAB - 3 yrs
    • Any other post-graduate, graduate, or undergraduate degree - 4 yrs
    • No college degree - 8 yrs
  • The education may be obtained before, during, or after the experience.
  • Application Submission Deadline
    • AICP's computer-based exam will be offered each year in two 2-week testing windows (May and November) at more than 300 testing centers in the United States and Canada.
  • Application Review and Notification
    • Once your completed application (including all education and employment verification) is received, it will be reviewed and you will be informed of your status to sit for the AICP exam in about six weeks.
  • Previous Applicants
    • Previously approved applicants may come back and use the same new application form to pay for the next exam. Once logged on, the system will recognize the applicant's approved status with prompts to complete only the contact and exam information pages of the form and pay the exam fee. NOTE: Once approved, you will have four testing periods, or two years, within which to take the exam. After two years, you will be required to complete a new application and fulfill all the submission requirements again.
  • Test Results
    • Exam takers will receive their test results before they leave the testing center.
  • Beginning with the 2005 exam cycle, AICP is introducing a new application that combines the application and registration steps into one form and one fee. This eliminates the previous two forms and separate fee payments. The intent is to make the application process more customer-friendly and efficient. Education and employment verifications for each degree and job listed in the application will continue to be required in order for your application to be considered complete for review.
aicp study resources
AICP Study Resources

Treasure Coast Section FAPA


  • Comprehensive list of AICP Study links – prepared by our local Treasure Coast Section FAPA (Free)
  • Special thanks to the Treasure Coast Section of FAPA (and Henry Bittaker) for putting this website together

Study Stack (www.studystack.com)

  • Really Cool [and fun] flashcards, tables, charts and teaching games (Free)

APA (www.planning.org/tutorial/index.htm)

  • Practice test by APA (Free to APA members)

APA (www.planning.org/certification/selectedread.html)

  • Selected Readings – suggested by APA (Free to APA members)
more aicp study resources
More AICP Study Resources

Planetizen (www.planetizen.com)

  • Planetizen – Planning Website (Free, but requires membership)

Cyburbia (www.cyburbia.org)

  • Cyburbia – planning website (Free, but requires membership)

Planning Prep (www.planningprep.com)

  • Planning Prep – AICP Exam Prep website. (Free question of the week, but costs $120.00 to join)

ICPE (www.icpeweb.com/tips.html)

  • Institute of Continuing Planning Education (Cost $$ to Enroll)
more aicp study resources10
More AICP Study Resources

APA (www.planning.org/LBCS/index.html)

  • APA’s accepted Land Based Classification System. LBSC provides a consistent classification methodology for land uses.

About Planning (www.aboutplanning.org)

  • About Planning- If you can't find it here, then it doesn't exist. Web links, news stories, commentary, university offerings and employment regarding urban planning, growth management, smart growth and new urbanism. Also include the single largest, comprehensive, exhaustive and current listing of urban planning websites on the Internet (~300 links).
more aicp study resources11
More AICP Study Resources
  • Michael Waiczis Study Materials(e-mail contact: mrw36@csufresno.edu)
    • AICP Examination Preparation Guidebook. This study manual is a comprehensive guide to the exam. (App. 125 pages).
    • Practice and Teaching Exams. An exercise book offering 1050 practice questions that teach subject matter. (App. 120 pages).
    • Law, History, and Ethics Study Guide for AICP Candidates-Concise manual covering universal legal topics, key historical events, and planning ethics. (Approximately 60 pages).
    • Glossary of Planning Terms for AICP Candidates. A very good reference manual that defines and summarizes many topics that may appear on the exam. (Approximately 50 pages).
    • “Study Resources” CD – Contains three (3) documents to help you prepare for the exam: Commentary to the List of Subject Matter for the AICP Exam, 58 pages, Notes from the Practice of Local Government Planning, 66 pages, and Study Manual by Subject for AICP Candidates, 188 pages.
top ten planning websites
Top Ten Planning Websites
  • What are the Top 10 Internet Planning Websites?
    • Who would know better than the planning editor who maintains over 300 planning related websites? Rich Carson has been the editor for the "Urban and Regional Planning" category of the Open Directory Project (also known as DMOZ), and is an editor with LookSmart/Zeal. These are the core directories services for the Web's largest search engines, including Netscape, AOL, Google, Lycos, HotBot, DirectHit, and hundreds of others. The Project has 3 million websites and is maintained by volunteer editors. Rich's picks:
    • Source: www.AboutPlanning.org
top ten planning websites13
Top Ten Planning Websites
  • American Planning Association (www.planning.org)
    • Professional association organized to advance the art and science of planning and to foster the activity of planning -- physical, economic, and social -- at the local, regional, state, and national levels.
  • Congress for New Urbanism (www.cnu.org)
    • Non-profit organization that works with architects, developers, and planners, teaching how to implement the principles of new urbanism.
top ten planning websites14
Top Ten Planning Websites
  • Cyburbia (www.cyburbia.org)
    • Planning resource center contains a comprehensive directory of Internet resources relevant to the built environment. Also contains information about related mailing lists and Usenet newsgroups, and hosts several interactive message areas.
  • Planetizen (www.planetizen.com)
    • Urban Planning & Development News, Jobs, & Events. PLANetizen is a public-interest information exchange for the urban planning and development community. We provide a daily, one-stop source for urban planning news, job opportunities, commentary and events.
top ten planning websites15
Top Ten Planning Websites
  • PlannersWeb (www.plannersweb.com)
    • This is the official web site for the “Planning Commissioner’s Journal” magazine. However, it has a lot of great planning resource information for the planning professional, including reports, planning links, and even a comic strip.
  • Planum (www.planum.net)
    • This European planning web site is billed as an “e-zine promoted by journals, associations of planners, academic and research institutes.” Planum has a journal and information on events, news and has essays on a variety of topics.
top ten planning websites16
Top Ten Planning Websites
  • Smart City Radio (www.smartcityradio.com)
    • This is the web site for the National Public Radio show “Smart City.” The show recently went national and Carol Coletta is the host. Carol does a weekly interview with people involved in all aspects of land use planning. You can listen to her broadcast through your computer and subscribe to her e-newsletter.
  • Smart Growth America (www.smartgrowthamerica.com)
    • This is a coalition of nearly 100 advocacy organizations that have a stake in how metropolitan expansion affects our environment, quality of life and economic sustainability. The web site provides information on a variety of planning topics.
top ten planning websites17
Top Ten Planning Websites
  • Urbanicity (www.urbanicity.org)
    • This is another new site and it is one the most international planning web sites on the Internet. Urbanicity’s stated mission is to “explore aspects of urban management.” The site is extensive and has a magazine and lots of information including feature articles, case studies, technology papers and an e-news.
  • Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org)
    • Non-profit education and research institute with focus on the use of land. Information on development, planning and managing growth.
top picks from previous years
Top Picks from Previous Years

About Planning (www.aboutplanning.org)

  • If you can't find it here, then it doesn't exist. Web links, news stories, commentary, university offerings and employment regarding urban planning, growth management, smart growth and new urbanism.

Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy (www.brook.edu/es/urban)

  • Brookings Institution research center focuses on cities and their metropolitan areas, and the impact upon them of government policies, private sector actions, and national trends. Includes articles and research studies.

Links for Planners (www.crp.cornell.edu/lfp)

  • Directory of links set up for Cornell's planning students; but is useful for anyone involved or interested in Urban Planning.

New Urbanism (www.newurbanism.org)

  • New Urbanism is the most important planning movement this century. It is the revival of our lost art of place-making, and is essentially a re-ordering of the built environment into the form of complete towns. New Urbanism promotes the creation and restoration of compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, towns, and cities.

Smart Growth Network (www.smartgrowth.org)

  • The Network was formed in response to increasing community concerns about the need for new ways to grow that boost the economy, protect the environment, and enhance community vitality. The Network's partners include environmental groups, historic preservation organizations, professional organizations, developers, real estate interests; local and state government entities.

Sustainable Development Center (www.sustainable.doe.gov)

  • U.S. Department of Energy site offers a host of useful information to help you understand the concept of sustainable development. You'll find overview articles, slide shows, links to other sources of information, recommended books and videos, and educational materials and programs that can help your community in its sustainable development efforts.
apa planning magazine
APA – Planning Magazine
  • Planning Magazine
    • Review Recent Issues
      • Recommend review of 1-2 years of previous issues
      • But not current year—those are too soon to have made it into the test
    • Magazine mailed to APA members
    • Also can be found on APA website
      • Publications / Planning Magazine / Previous Editions
      • www.planning.org/planning/nonmember/previouseditions.htm
local aicp study courses
Local AICP Study Courses
  • Orlando Metro Section AICP Study Course
    • October 13- 14, 2006
    • Orlando, Florida
    • For Information Contact: Andre Anderson
      • Phone: 407-207-0101
      • e-mail: aanderson@pdgfla.com
  • Suncoast Section AICP Study Course
    • Spring 2007
    • Tampa, Florida
    • For Information Contact: Alan Steinbeck
      • Phone: 813-273-3774 ext 336
      • E-mail: steinbecka@plancom.org
subject matter
I. History, Theory and Law 15%

A. History of planning, including legal decisionsB. Theory of planning C. Patterns of human settlement

II. Emerging Issues and Trends 10%

A. Social, economic, demographic, and technological trends B. Current topics (e.g., smart growth, neo-traditional, sustainable development)

III. Plan Making 20%

A. Strategic planning/visioningB. Goal settingC. Survey research methods and data collection D. Organizing, analyzing, and reporting informationE. DemographicsF. Information systems (GIS, MIS)G. Fiscal impact analysis

IV. Functional Topics 20%

A. Natural resources and environmental qualityB. Land useC. Infrastructure (e.g., water, sewer, power, telecommunications)D. EnergyE. Public services (e.g., public safety, education, human services)F. TransportationG. RecreationH. Economic development and revitalization plansI. Historic preservationJ. Urban designK. HousingL. Neighborhood issuesM. Rural and small town planning

V. Plan Implementation 20%

A. Land use regulationsB. Application of legal principles (e.g., takings, aesthetics, etc.) C. Environmental impact analysisD. Growth management techniquesE. Budgets and public finance (including capital improvement programs)F. Plan and development project review (including maps, site plans, and design review)G. Program evaluationH. Communications skills, including public presentationsI. Intergovernmental relationsJ. Project and program management

VI. Code of Ethics, Public Participation, and Social Justice 15%

A. AICP Code of Ethics B. Multi-cultural and gender issuesC. Public participationD. Negotiation and coalition building

Subject Matter
plan making the big problem area
Plan Making – “The Big Problem area”
  • aka Methods and Techniques
  • Information from AICP Study Guide
  • Slides from APA National Conference
background on other topic areas
Background on other topic areas
  • Legal Update
  • Census/Demographics
  • Hot Topics – Eminent Domain, Affordable Housing
  • Others?
fapa conference 2006 aicp info session25

FAPA Conference 2006AICP Info Session

Situational/Narrative Questions

narrative questions
Narrative Questions
  • Carefully read the question
  • Determine what is being asked
    • Overall topic or scope
    • Specific Details
    • Inference Question
  • Determine if the question has multiple parts
  • Decide if specific notes would be helpful

Notes should be comprehensive and concise – Testing center will provide scratch paper

answering questions
Answering Questions
  • Topic or Scope

Refer to the main idea in notes

  • Specific Details

Refer to notes that will lead you correct text

  • Inference

Refer to and apply knowledge of planning

Inference questions appear frequently and you must feel comfortable applying planning knowledge – not all the relevant information is in the text

narrative questions preparation
Narrative Questions - Preparation

Study through discussion and dialogue about planning topics, processes and trends

Talk with:

  • Superiors, planning professors or colleagues
  • Study groups of others preparing for the exam

The exam is geared toward public-practice planners.

narrative questions subject matter
Narrative Questions – Subject Matter

The Exam is comprised of various planning topics, trends and issues

  • How to prepare:
  • Rely on planning school texts and class notes
  • The Green Book – Second Edition
  • Study the AICP Code of Ethics

(www.planning.org or at fax 1-800-800-1589)

  • APA Code of Ethics (www.planning.org/ethics)
    • These AICP documents offer codes, rulings, and procedures to help certified planners (identified as members of the American Institute of Certified Planners) negotiate the ethical and moral dilemmas they sometimes face.
    • All communications regarding specific situations should occur either in letters or phone conversations with the Executive Director in his capacity as the ethics officer. Because of issues of reliability and confidentiality, e-mail communication is not to be used.
    • This Code is a guide to the ethical conduct required of members of the American Institute of Certified Planners. The Code also aims at informing the public of the principles to which professional planners are committed.
    • ***Know the NEW Code –it was revised in Spring 2005.***
      • code of ethics
  • Everyday Ethics for Practicing Planners
    • Book by Carol D. Barrett, 2002.

Ethical solutions to everyday problems--Barrett dissects 54 sticky, real-world situations. She shows how to recognize ethical conflicts that arise in everyday practice, reason through them, apply relevant sections of the AICP Code of Ethics and the APA/AICP Ethical Principles in planning, and decide on the best course of action. Five especially complex scenarios are structured for group discussion. Her thoughtful analyses and references to planning’s professional code of ethics will help beleaguered planners develop a workable scheme for reasoned ethical evaluations and decision-making.

more aicp resources apa policies
More AICP Resources – APA Policies

APA Policy Guide (www.planning.org/policyguides)

  • APA develops policies that represent the collective thinking of our members, and represents a collective view on positions of both principle and practice. Through the Policy Guide, APA articulates specific policies that establish principles for better addressing our issues and it develops more specific guidelines that recommend specific actions on the part of APA members Together, these two elements — policies and general recommendations — form APA Policy Guides.
apa policy guide
Adopted Policies

Agricultural Land Preservation

Billboard Controls

Community Residences

Endangered Species and Habitat Protection


Environment: Waste Management

Environment: Water Resources Management

Environment: Wetlands

Factory Built Housing

Historic and Cultural Resources



Impact Fees

Neighborhood Collaborative Planning

Planning for Sustainability

Provision of Childcare



Smart Growth

The Supply of Public and Subsidized Housing

Surface Transportation


APA Policy Guide
aicp study info at fapa conference
AICP Study Info at FAPA Conference
  • Thursday
    • 10:30 AM - Ethical Challenges (Salon G)
  • Friday
    • 2:00 PM - Recent Developments in Planning Law
    • 3:00 PM - FAPA Ethics Committee Meeting
    • 4:00 PM - 21st Century Ethics–The New AICP Code
  • Saturday
    • 9:00 AM - FAICP Roundtable Discussion
test taking tips
Test Taking Tips
  • Attitude and preparation
  • Particulars of the exam
  • What and how to study
  • Test taking strategies
attitude and preparation
Attitude and Preparation
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Stay in control
  • Do not be intimidated
  • Don’t work the day of the exam
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Stay in a hotel the night before if taking test in another town.
  • CRAM… at least 2 days in advance, then relax. =)
attitude and preparation39
Attitude and Preparation
  • Try to stay in your regular routine of sleeping and eating
  • Don’t drink a lot of coffee or eat a lot of sugar
  • Bring some water with you
attitude and preparation40
Attitude and Preparation
  • Know where the test center is in advance
    • Drive there so you know how long to allow for travel time
  • Get there early – 30 minutes in advance of the scheduled test time
  • Two forms of ID
  • Schedule your time ASAP
attitude and preparation41
Attitude and Preparation
  • Bring your testing slip and identification
  • Simple calculator will be provided to you
  • Scratch paper will be provided to you
  • Prepare a survival kit
    • Water, snack/protein bar
    • Tylenol/Advil/Ibuprofen
    • Bring a Doctor’s note for other medication, etc.
  • Dress comfortably
  • Three hour, thirty minute exam: change in temperature?
attitude and preparation42
Attitude and Preparation
  • Do not be intimidated by the questions
  • Broad brush exam: you will have areas to shine
  • Pass is a pass … by one question or ten
  • Maintain your organized test-taking style
  • Keep your rhythm and cadence; relax
attitude and preparation43
Attitude and Preparation
  • The test is designed for speed
  • Pace yourself
  • No one question if worth more than any other question.
  • Answer every question on the exam
attitude and preparation44
Attitude and Preparation
  • Decide quickly if you know the answer
  • If you do … answer it!
  • If you don’t … mark it and move on!
  • After you finish the exam – take a break before reviewing your answers.
  • Water, snack bar
  • Bathroom break
particulars of the exam
Particulars of the Exam
  • 170 questions (only 150 count)
  • 20 questions are pretest questions randomly inserted into test
  • Over 100 of the questions are stand alone questions (a, b, c or d)
particulars of the exam46
Particulars of the Exam
  • Must get 110 to 115 questions to pass
  • About 1 out of 2 pass the test
particulars of the exam47
Particulars of the Exam
  • Electronic Exam
    • Tutorial is available on
    • www.planning.org/tutorial
    • There will be a tutorial before the exam begins
    • There is a review capability
particulars of the exam48
Particulars of the Exam
  • Be familiar with APA site (www.planning.org)
    • AICP bulletin
    • Practice Test
what and how to study
What and How to Study
  • Decide how much time you want to or are able to study
  • Some say 80-100 hours is needed
  • Skimming and taking notes can be just as effective as extensive reading
  • Know your study style
what and how to study50
What and How to Study
  • Study concepts not details
  • Be able to explain what, when, where, why, who and what effect in short statements
  • Less attention on how – no time for this
what and how to study51
What and How to Study
  • Learn conceptual material first
  • Learn factual material nearer to the test
    • Legal Milestones (Euclid v Ambler; Hadachek v. Sebastian, etc)
    • Famous and Infamous Planners and Ideas
    • http://www.planning.org/pathways/default.htm
  • Go over things several times – better than going over large amount of info once
what and how to study52
What and How to Study
  • “Cram” at least 2 days in advance
  • Cram early and often
  • Cramming Best Practices
    • Flashcards – have a partner
    • Study very basic notes
    • Join a study group
what and how to study53
What and How to Study
  • The Green Book
    • If you want to read it, go ahead
    • Estimated to prepare you for 10-15 questions
    • Suggest reading about planning analysis and management and finance
what and how to study54
What and How to Study
  • Official Reading List
    • If you want to read it, go ahead
    • Focus on weak areas
    • Skim and take notes
    • AICP Code of Ethics
what and how to study55
What and How to Study
  • Practice Exam questions will not be identical to those on the AICP Exam
  • But they may be very similar in topic, scope
  • Any repetition is coincidence
  • Exam Committee is distanced from prep course development – locally and nationally
  • PDOs can audit, but cannot release information for at least a year
what and how to study56
What and How to Study
  • Practice Tests
    • Take as many practice exams as you can
    • Pretend you are taking the test
    • Helps with scenario and judgment questions
    • Ask yourself – “why is the correct answer correct?” and vice-versa – “why are the incorrect answers incorrect”
what and how to study57
What and How to Study
  • Cannot provide specifics, but one might want to be familiar with:
    • U.S. census
    • Emerging design philosophies
    • Recent court case decisions at the national level
    • Planning Magazine, JAPA
    • Basics
      • How to read section/township/range
      • Converting SF to acres
what and how to study58
What and How to Study
  • Planning Magazine
    • Last two to three years are relevant
    • Do this if you have time
    • Skim titles/topics
test taking strategies
Test Taking Strategies
  • Divide and conquer!!!
    • Revised reading list – Planning website
    • Planning Magazine
  • Articles available online
  • Journal of the American Planning Association
  • Study groups and communication
  • Multiple methods: CD, discussion, readings, online – share resources
test taking strategies60
Test Taking Strategies
  • Is there enough time?
    • Pace yourself – don’t go too fast
    • 3.5 hours = 210 minutes
    • 74 seconds per question
    • Many questions will take you 10-20 seconds
test taking strategies61
Test Taking Strategies
  • Scenario and Judgment
    • If you were the Planning Director . . .
    • Can you study for this?
test taking strategies62
Test Taking Strategies
  • Scenario and Judgment
    • Try to answer the question without looking at the answers given
test taking strategies63
Test Taking Strategies
  • If at first you don’t succeed
    • Take the test again as soon as you can
    • Results will tell you the weak areas
test taking strategies64
Test Taking Strategies
  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice