Study Materials

Exam Prep

The Professional Development Officer (PDO) typically holds one Exam Prep Course in Denver in early March of each year and again in the fall during the state conference. The courses are free but may require registration.  

Below are copies of the exam prep materials from previous workshops. Materials include the Power Point presentation, practice test and test answers. Keep reading below for more study materials and information.

AICP Exam Prep Resources

As the 2021 AICP exam windows approach, be sure to refer to the enhanced exam preparation resources webpage to help your prepare for the exam.

An expanded list of resources available online includes:

  1. APA's Chapter Presidents Council Study Guide ($15) - CLICK HERE to purchase
  2. APA Colorado Exam Prep Workshops
  3. APA Colorado Exam Prep Resources 2021 List
  4. 2021 Spring Workshop Practice Test and Test Key
  6. A sample list of available Chapter Resources
  7. Planning and Law Division Foundational Land Use Law Cases List
  8. Chapter Presidents Council Planning History Timeline
  9. An Updated Selected Resource List; and
  10. A recording of the free AICP Exam Prep workshop offered at NPC19

Here are a few resources available from other APA chapters:










Chapter President's Council Exam Preparation Manual

Cost:  $15 for 1-4 learners; Group discounts for 5+ participants.

The Chapter Presidents Council (CPC) of the American Planning Association (APA) AICP Exam Preparation Manual is available for purchase on APA Learn, either for individuals or in groups. ALL proceeds go to support CPC programming, including grants!

This exam preparation manual has been prepared on behalf of the CPC to assist those who are preparing to take the AICP Certification Exam. It has been reproduced for sale to prospective members of the AICP and others who are interested in planning as a professional pursuit.

This manual includes an enhanced introduction that provides broader context about the exam and additional detail on each of the five section topics, designed to provide more clarity about what you will be tested on and to help you successfully prepare for the exam. Additional recommendations on preparing for the AICP Certification Exam are available on the APA website.

Disclaimer: Using this study guide does not guarantee you will pass the exam. This is an overview of compiled by the volunteer Professional Development Officers of APA’s Chapter Presidents Council.



Study Tips

Tip #1: Find a study buddy. I'm happy to try and match you with someone who lives/works nearby - just send me an email!

Tip #2: Make flash cards. Planning theories, pioneers in the field, case law, terms… simply making the cards is a helpful study tool. And a tip from one of your fellow test takers: pretty good flashcards for the test can be found at Studyshack and other websites.

25% of the AICP exam falls under the Functional Areas of Practice category. One way to stay current on the broad spectrum of planning practice is to…

Tip #3: Read the last 2 years of Planning magazine. In case you’ve been recycling your magazines right after reading them, you can find back issues here:

Tip #4 – Review the APA Policy Guides. Ok… skim the APA Policy Guides. These policies have been written by planners and discussed and approved by delegates of from chapter. Similar to reading back issues of Planning, skimming through the Policy Guides will allow you to familiarize yourself with best practices and the ideals the American Planning Association and its members support. You can find the Policy Guides here:

Tip #5: Read the AICP Code of Ethics. If you are planning to attend the prep class on Saturday morning, you should read through the Code today or tomorrow so that you are ready to discuss some of the situational questions that may appear on your test. 

Tip #6: Trade flashcards with a fellow test-taker for a week. Maybe they made different cards than you did. Maybe they wrote down creative ways to remember certain facts. It’s an easy way to spice up your flashcard routine – if only for a few days.

Tip #7: (from one of your fellow test-takers): For Supreme Court case briefs, check out and Planetizen has a series of free podcasts on topics that may be on the test as Current Topics or Planning Practice-type questions. They aren't organized by topic, but could be helpful for those who enjoy listening rather than reading.

Tip #8: Look at Chapter websites for notes, tips, and presentations. APA Colorado has notes posted from a recent test taker (see link below) 

Previous Test Taker's Study Materials

Study Guides created by a 2009 successful AICP exam candidate:

Study Material from a successful 2008 AICP exam candidate:

History of Planning (attached below)
Famous People in Planning (attached below)
Useful Terms/Definitions/Acronyms (attached below)
Important Land Use Law Cases (attached below)

Study Materials for Transportation Section:



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