LEED O+M Exam Guide: Everything You Need to Know

December 14, 2023

Are you interested in becoming a LEED Accredited Professional in Operations and Maintenance (O+M)? If sustainable building practices are your passion, the LEED O+M exam is a significant step towards achieving your goal. This guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to succeed in the exam, including eligibility requirements, exam format, and valuable tips for acing the test.

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What is the LEED O+M Exam?

The LEED O+M exam is a specialized certification test that evaluates your knowledge of sustainable building practices and the LEED rating system’s application to existing buildings. Covering a wide range of topics, from sustainable site management to indoor environmental quality, this exam is designed to ensure that professionals possess the expertise required to manage and maintain green buildings effectively.

Eligibility Requirements for the LEED O+M Exam

Before you can take the LEED O+M exam, there are certain eligibility requirements that you must meet. These include:

  • LEED Green Associate Credential: You must hold a current LEED Green Associate credential or an approved equivalent credential.
  • Relevant Experience: You need at least three years of experience working on an existing building project within the last ten years. Additionally, you should have at least five years of experience in the sustainable building field within the last ten years.
  • LEED O+M Education Program: Completing an approved LEED O+M education program or an equivalent is necessary to be eligible for the exam.

Once you meet these requirements, you can proceed to register for the LEED O+M exam through the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) website.

LEED O+M Exam Format

The LEED O+M exam is conducted as a computer-based test and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. Test-takers are allotted 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the exam, which includes an optional 10-minute tutorial and an optional 10-minute exit survey.

The exam is divided into two parts: the first part comprises 85 scored questions, and the second part includes 15 pretest questions that are not scored. These pretest questions are used for future exam evaluation and do not affect your final score.

To pass the LEED O+M exam, you must score at least 170 out of 200 possible points.

Tips for Success

1. Start Early and Create a Study Plan

Give yourself ample time to study and create a well-structured study plan. The LEED O+M exam covers a wide range of topics, and starting early will allow you to thoroughly delve into each subject. Allocate dedicated time for each topic, making sure to balance your study routine and avoid cramming. A well-organized study plan will not only help you cover all the content but also reduce stress as the exam date approaches.

2. Utilize Practical Experience

As you prepare for the LEED O+M exam, draw on your real-life experience in sustainable building practices. Connecting the theoretical knowledge you gain with practical scenarios from your current projects or work environment will reinforce your understanding and help you apply the concepts effectively. Reflect on how sustainable strategies have been implemented in past projects, the challenges faced, and the outcomes achieved. This hands-on experience will not only enhance your understanding but also provide valuable insights for the exam.

3. Stay Updated with LEED

The world of sustainable building practices is dynamic, with constant developments and updates. Stay abreast of the latest changes in the LEED rating system, best practices in sustainable design and construction, and emerging trends in the green building industry. Familiarize yourself with recent case studies and successful LEED-certified projects to understand how sustainable strategies have evolved over time. Being well-informed will ensure you are prepared for any new concepts or changes that may appear in the exam.


Don’t just passively read or watch your study materials. Engage with them by taking notes, discussing with peers, or teaching the content to someone else. Active engagement can boost comprehension and retention.

4. Focus on Core Concepts

While preparing for the LEED O+M exam, focus on understanding the core concepts of each topic rather than memorizing specific details. The exam assesses your ability to apply sustainable solutions to real-life scenarios, so having a deep understanding of the fundamental principles is essential. Avoid rote memorization and instead, strive to comprehend the underlying principles that drive sustainable building practices. This approach will empower you to address a wide range of questions and challenges in the exam.

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5. Practice Critical Thinking

The LEED O+M exam evaluates your critical thinking skills in the context of sustainability. Practice analyzing complex scenarios and selecting the most appropriate sustainable strategies to address specific challenges. Engage in discussions and debates with peers or mentors to explore different perspectives and solutions. Develop the ability to assess the environmental, economic, and social impacts of various choices, enabling you to make informed decisions in the exam and in your future career.

7. Simulate the Exam Environment

Before the actual exam day, take practice tests under exam-like conditions to become familiar with the format and manage your time effectively. Set aside a quiet and distraction-free space, and adhere to the exam’s time limit. Practicing in a simulated environment will help you gauge your performance, identify areas of improvement, and build confidence in your ability to tackle the actual exam with ease.

8. Revise and Review

Regularly review the topics you’ve studied to reinforce your understanding and identify areas that need additional attention. Create concise notes or flashcards to aid in quick revision. Consistent reviewing of the material will solidify your knowledge and ensure that the concepts stay fresh in your mind as the exam date approaches.

9. Stay Confident and Relaxed

On the day of the exam, remain confident in your preparation and stay relaxed to perform at your best. Trust in your abilities, and remember that you have put in the effort and dedication to succeed. Take a few deep breaths before starting the exam to ease any nerves and maintain a steady focus throughout the test.

The Impact of LEED O+M Certification

Earning your LEED O+M certification is not only a significant achievement for your career but also for the environment and society as a whole. As a LEED Accredited Professional in Operations and Maintenance, you’ll be equipped to make positive changes in existing buildings, reducing their environmental impact and improving their overall sustainability.

By implementing energy-efficient strategies, water conservation techniques, and eco-friendly practices, you can contribute to creating healthier indoor environments, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and conserving valuable resources.

Moreover, LEED-certified buildings often experience increased property value, lower operating costs, and improved occupant satisfaction. Your expertise will be sought after by organizations committed to sustainability, making you an invaluable asset in the industry.

Ready to take the LEED O+M Exam?

The LEED O+M exam is your gateway to becoming a LEED Accredited Professional in Operations and Maintenance, where you can actively contribute to making buildings more sustainable and environmentally friendly. By understanding the exam format, meeting the eligibility requirements, and following the tips for success, you can confidently approach the LEED O+M exam and embark on a rewarding journey in the world of green building practices.

As you take this exciting step towards a greener future, remember that PrepArchitect is here to support you with valuable study materials and expert guidance. Prepare with dedication, stay passionate about sustainable building practices, and let your LEED O+M journey lead you to a fulfilling and impactful career.

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