AICP Resources

For all those who plan to take the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) exam, this page will serve as a resource throughout the application, studying, and exam taking process.

Before You Begin

Familiarize yourself with the AICP certification by visiting the American Planning Association (APA) website AICP Page. There, you can learn about eligibility, the application process, and find valuable sources for study materials. Nearly everything you need to know about getting certified can be found in the AICP Exam Bulletin. Read this in its entirety!

About the Exam

Starting with the November 2014 testing, APA will be updating or ´refreshing´ the AICP exam with this objective: keep the exam current, unbiasd and reflective of the range of planning practiced nationally.

So what does this refresh do?

  • Eliminates underperforming and/or outdated questions
  • Adds about 130 new questions to the 600+ question pool
  • Focuses on crafting questions that touch on planning issues that have emerged since 2008
  • No change in weighting of each subject matter section and no change to the exam specification subject matter online
  • Expanded Selected Reading list with web links
  • AICP Exam Prep Package 3.0 became available in 2014 and is be web-based as opposed to CD-ROM

About the Process

  1. Apply to sit for the AICP exam: submit early and you will be given the opportunity to revise your application should it not be initially accepted.
  2. Receive confirmation that you are approved to sit for the exam.
  3. Schedule your appointment
  4. Take the exam: On the day of your examination, you must arrive at the test center 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete pre-test admission procedures. To be admitted to the examination, you must present two non-expired forms of identification bearing your name and your signature (one of which must include a recent photo). Acceptable IDs include passport, driver’s license, and photo-bearing employee ID card. If you do not bring the appropriate ID to the test center you will not be able to test.
  5. After the exam: Upon passing the Comprehensive Planning Exam you become eligible for AICP membership. If you pass, we will send you an invitation to join AICP and an invoice for AICP dues. AICP members can use their designation as long as they maintain both their AICP and APA memberships. The AICP Commission has adopted a mandatory continuing education requirement (Certification Maintenance https://www.planning.org/cm/); your AICP status will depend on your successful completion of that requirement.

Resources for Studying

There are dozens (hundreds?) of websites that provide resources for preparing for the AICP exam.  We will not deluge aspiring AICP planners with all of the links but rather we will highlight a few that we feel have been particularly helpful:

  • Pennsylvania APA Chapter´s AICP page
  • Location Quotient Video
  • MD APA belongs to a consortium that conducts Planning Webcasts – the exam prep sessions have been uploaded to the Planning Webcast You Tube Channel (If you put AICP Exam Review series in the search box it will link to the list of review sessions without having to sort through the entire list of webinars).
  • Some test questions in flash card form can be found here and here.
  • APA Policy Guides
  • EPG President, Megan Griffith, assembled this AICP Prep flashcard deck when she was studying for the exam. She recommends playing the Jewels of Wisdom match game—it’s a fun way to study when you just can’t read any more!
  • Some have found that planningprep.com was helpful for getting into the test-taking mindset; however, do note that the questions are COMPLETELY different (and much easier) than the questions on the actual test. Also, the website can be quite pretty slow.

Final Tips

Study constantly, and more than you feel is necessary. When you don’t feel like studying anymore, listen to APA podcasts, or watch planning-related documentaries or movies with even the slightest hint of a planning message.

If you have any questions about resources or would like to get feedback, contact APA Maryland’s Professional Development Officer (PDO), Jacquelyn “Jacqui” Rouse at jmr@annapolis.gov


Do you have tips you’d like to add to this page? Please share them so that we can help others to develop their careers. Contact mdapaemergingplanners@gmail.com with any information!

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