5.19.2009

LEED AP

I can now put the initials "AP" behind my name. Woo. Hoo.
Granted, this may make the difference when I'm hired, but truth be told, I'm not a big fan of proclamations of achievement. MD or PhD or Esq., I can see. They require years of study and rigorous effort. AP because I took one test? Meh. Not so much. And then there's the ones like AIA, which are just a notation of what organization you happen to be a member.

I studied for about three weeks or so. This was for accreditation for a sustainable building program, by the way. There was a lot of data and I wasn't sure what information would be tested. Buildings that are attempting to get LEED certified can accumulate credits toward the certification by achieving certain goals. As might be expected, in order to quantify these achievements, many of the credits require a percentage of improvement over baseline or a certain percentage of the cost to be spent on certain things. So, there were a lot of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 50%, 75%, 95%, etc. to keep straight! If I don't see a percent symbol for a long time, I will be a happy woman. There were also all the credits and their interrelationships to keep straight. One of the things that popped into my head (because I was having trouble turning off the images in my brain of a game I've been playing lately) was someone telling me about a mnemonic device in which you imagine your memory as a big building with lots of rooms and each room contains a piece of information. Most big buildings with lots of rooms are, in my experience, pretty boring. I decided, instead, to construct a virtual landscape (the first one was a farm with a nine sectioned grid layout) that had the concept of a credit or prerequisite in each square. The concept was represented by an image (a stand of trees = density and connectivity, a police station = commissioning (police commissioner, get it?), etc.) and I could close my eyes and imagine the farm or town or whatever, and each piece would remind me of a concept. I had four of these, one for each major section (the fifth section had a small scale visual for its three parts). Being an extremely visual and symbol-keyed person, this worked pretty well for me, up to a point. I couldn't keep details memorized like that. One concept might include the information on the credits as being "achieve 10%, 20%, and 30% for each increment" and the one immediately next door might be "achieve 10%, 20%, and 40% for each increment". I just hoped for the best.

And I passed by a good margin. So some combination of my study methods worked! Yippee! I think I'll keep that virtual landscape in my bag-o-tricks, but I hope I won't have to take another test for a long time!

13 comments:

Karen said...

Annie, you are not the only one who sees the Farmtown images while away from the computer. Now if I could only come up with a way to make them a study device, too! Good job.
And people have no idea how detailed your little spreadsheet for Farmtown is ;-)

Nathan said...

Congrats. Good work!

vince said...

Great job, Anne. And a very clever way to study.

onewandering said...

Congratulations Anne! I'm so happy for you, even if it was "just a test and two letters behind your name." A huge accomplishment, nonetheless, and totally deserving of the package that should reach your doorstep oh, tomorrow?!?!! ;) hehehe *HUG*

Still, I'm formally submitting my request for a visual, please -- Farmtown!!!

Tania said...

I know I said it before, but....

HURRAH!!! YAY!! :)

Janiece Murphy said...

w00t! Anne passed and is all "official" now.

Back to fiction, baby...

Anne C. said...

Jen, I've got a post about Farmtown bubbling in my brain cauldron. Probably tomorrow. :D
And I am trying to get together something for you! (Darn it!) I wanted to get it to you by your birthday, but then studying took over my brain. Or, maybe I'm just being unpredictable... yeah, that the ticket. ;)

And thanks for the congratulations, everyone. I am officially something. Your support is awesome. And now, back to your regularly scheduled fun and games.

kimby said...

Yay for more letters! Very creative way of using Farmtown in a non traditional way..thinking outside the box=good!

mattw said...

Congratulations Anne! From my limited understanding, LEED is in big demand right now. I hope it works out for the best.

brenda113 said...

good on you, love. Here in Argentina there is always work for architects (although not so well paid). Your relations have all said "tell her to come here." I noticed that they weren't guaranteeing a job, though. Think I will put them on the spot.

John the Scientist said...

Anne, this is an achievement worth celebrating. Professional Engineers put P.E. after their name, too, and that's "only one test".

But Joe Schmoe walking in off the street can't pass that test - it takes the years of undergrad and actual practice you or the engineer put in to be able to understand the material at that level.

It's like me handing you a chemistry journal article. I could read it, and you probably couldn't, but the simple fact that I can reflects years of study. That fact that you passed that test and I could not reflects your years of study you put into an area I didn't. Hell, as Wally pointed out, the Ph.D. is awarded after only one oral exam. :D

Don't sell yourself short.

Anne C. said...

Thanks, Brenda. I'll keep that in mind. Seems like a long way to transplant my life and kitties away from my family just for a job. Maybe when I've started delving into my savings I'll prioritize it higher.

John, I understand your meaning, but this is "just" a certification... meaningless because it's information that in the real world would be available at your fingertips in a reference book. Anyone who could memorize well could study for the same amount of time that I did and do as well or better on the exam. This is different from the licensing exams that I took last year. Those were the culmination of years of effort -- much closer to the PhD and PE examples that you are using.
But I appreciate the sentiment nonetheless.

MWT said...

Congrats!

I guess I'm a bit late. Need to pay more attention...