Planetizen AICP Exam Prep Class Logo

Are you ready to take the AICP* exam?

84% of students who took Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class last year became AICP* certified. The national pass rate for the AICP* exam is only 66%.

6 full-length

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12 hours of

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Mobile and tablet

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Essential Readings in Urban Planning

The reader consists of assembled readings that are recommended by your instructor and some which, in our opinion, represent the key knowledge necessary to become a certified planner. Please note that the reader is not required for this class.

Local Planning Thumbnail
Local Planning: Contemporary Principles and Practice

Considered the “Green Bible” by planners, this book is a valued resource when preparing for the AICP* exam. Please note that the book is not required for this class. Find out why this edition is included in the APA’s recommended reading list.

Registration Dates

Preparing for the May Exam?

Class access is open starting January 15th through June 15th. Registration for the spring term is open from December 15th – May 15th.

Preparing for the November Exam?

Class access is open from July 15th through December 15th. Registration for the fall term is open from June 15th – November 15th.

Please consult the American Planning Association website for updates on exam dates.

AICP Class instructor Emily Talen headshot
Meet Your Instructor: Emily Talen

Emily Talen is Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago. Prior appointments were at Arizona State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has a Phd in urban geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research is devoted to urban design and urbanism, especially the relationship between the built environment and social equity. Her books include: New Urbanism and American Planning, Design for Diversity, Urban Design Reclaimed, and City Rules. She also has several edited volumes – the most recent one is Retrofitting Sprawl: Addressing 70 Years of Failed Urban Form. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2014-15), and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Her next book is called Neighborhood.

Introduction Video

Watch a short introduction to the class with instructor Emily Talen.


  • Learn on your schedule—proceed as quickly or slowly through the lessons as you need and retake the practice tests as often as you like.
  • Test your knowledge with 6 full length practice exams with explanatory feedback for each practice question.
  • Understand the subjects covered and organization of the exam with 6 class topics and over 50 fact-filled lessons that introduce a variety of topics, from History, Theory, and Law to Ethics, Public Participation and Social Justice.
  • Over 25 summaries of the APA Policy Guides created by students.
  • 12+ hours of streaming video training with 5 hours specifically on the AICP* code of ethics (Carol Barrett, FAICP), code drafting (legal expert Mark White), and the Takings Clause (legal expert Thomas Hawkins).
  • Interact with your fellow students and the instructor, who is on hand to give advice and promptly respond to questions in the discussion forums.
  • Read hundreds of comments and advice from students who have previously taken the exam.

I just signed up for the AICP* Exam Prep Class. When will I be able to access the class?

If you signed up while the fall or spring term class is in session your account is active upon purchase. Your account and access information is included in your receipt. Early bird registrants will have access when the class becomes open for the term.

What if I am unable to take the AICP exam?

Your registration fee is for one term only.

We do not offer deferments or refunds if your application to sit for the exam is denied by the APA, you decide not to take exam, or for personal hardship.

If you are unsure of your application status for the exam with the APA, we advise you wait to enroll in this class since we do not offer deferments or refunds.

If you have questions about the APA's exam window, eligibility requirements and application status, please visit the American Planning Association's website for more information.

If you wish to continue your access to the class, you will have to re-register at a reduced fee for the next term.

When is the class open?

Preparing for the May Exam?
Class registration for the spring term is open from December 15th – May 15th. Class access is open starting January 15th through June 15th.

Preparing for the November Exam?
Class registration for the fall term is open from June 15th – November 15th. Class access is open from July 15th through December 15th.

Do I need the Essentials Readings in Urban Planning or Local Planning books for the class?

The books are not required for the class. Planetizen offers Essential Readings in Urban Planning as an extra resource curated by former course instructor, Jennifer Evans-Cowley, PhD, AICP, that represent key concepts necessary to become a certified planner.

We also carry Local Planning: Contemporary Principles and Practice since it is considered the "Green Bible" by planners and is a valued resource when preparing for the AICP* exam.

Are the books available digitally?

We are unable to offer the books in a PDF or e-book format due to copyright restrictions from the publishers. The price of the reader reflects the cost of obtaining publishing rights from all of the titles. Many of these titles are difficult to obtain from public sources and to purchase each book individually would be very expensive.

Is the class online? How does this work?

The AICP prep class is available as an online class only. You may access the course material on your desktop computer or on mobile or tablet devices.

Am I able to access the materials or download the videos for offline use?

No, the course materials are not available offline and the videos are only available through online streaming.

Do you offer a returning student discount?

We offer a 50% discount if you are a returning student to the AICP prep class. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information.

Do you offer a group discount?

We do offer a group discounts. Please get in touch with us for details at [email protected]

Is Planetizen's AICP Exam Preparation Class affiliated with the APA?

Neither The American Planning Association nor AICP are affiliated with Planetizen or this class. The sample exams in the class are practice questions. They are not real exam questions.

Still Need Help?

Please email us at [email protected].

Class Outline
While preparing for the exam, it is simply not possible to study everything. The Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class helps you to focus your limited time and resources by focusing the information most likely to appear on the exam. Each topic is organized into a series of easy-to-review lessons which can be completed in approximately 20-30 minutes. This makes it easy for the busy planning professional to fit in a lesson anytime.

Topic: How To Prepare For the AICP* Exam

  • Lesson 1 - The Structure of the Exam
  • Lesson 2 - The Nature of the Exam
  • Lesson 3 - Comments from Previous AICP Candidates
  • Lesson 4 - Before the Exam
  • Lesson 5 - During the Exam
  • Lesson 6 - The AICP Exam
  • Lesson 7 - References
  • Lesson 8 - Other Recommended Study Guides
  • Lesson 9 - APA Policy Guides
  • Video Training: How to Study for the Exam
  • Video Training: Exam Tips
  • Topic Quiz: How to Take a Quiz or Exam

Topic: Plan Making and Implementation


  • Lesson 1 - Introduction to Plan Making and Implementation
  • Lesson 2 - Data Collection
  • Lesson 3 - Quantitative Analysis (Statistics)
  • Lesson 4 - Quantitative Analysis (Population Estimate)
  • Lesson 5 - Quantitative Analysis (Economic Analysis)
  • Lesson 6 - Census and Demographics
  • Lesson 7 - Spatial Analysis
  • Lesson 8 - Public Engagement
  • Lesson 9 - Negotiation and Coalition Building
  • Lesson 10 - Communication
  • Lesson 11 - Visioning
  • Lesson 12 - Plan Implementation Site Analysis
  • Lesson 13 - Environmental Impact Analysis
  • Lesson 14 - Project and Program Management
  • Lesson 15 - Budgets
  • Lesson 16 - Multicultural and Gender Issues
  • Video Training: Population Analysis
  • Video Training: Economic Analysis
  • Video Training: Statistical Analysis
  • Video Training: Spatial Analysis
  • Video Training: Public Participation
  • Video Training: Finance and Budgeting
  • Video Training: Codes and Regulations
  • Bonus Video Training: GIS Essentials: Projections and Map Design
  • Bonus Video Training: An Overview of Regional Scenario Planning
  • Bonus Video Training: Introductory Population Analysis
  • Bonus Video Training: Introductory Urban Economics with Excel
  • Bonus Video Training: Form-Based Codes 101: Introduction
  • Bonus Video Training: Planning and Promoting Your Community Engagement Process
  • Bonus Video Training: Economic Thinking for Planners: Local Government and Governance
  • Topic Quiz

Topic: Areas of Practice

  • Lesson 1 - Introduction to Areas of Practice
  • Lesson 2 - Fiscal Impact Analysis
  • Lesson 3 - Comprehensive and Sectoral Planning
  • Lesson 4 - Land Use Regulations (Subdivision)
  • Lesson 5 - Land Use Regulations (Zoning)
  • Lesson 6 - Sustainability Planning
  • Lesson 7 - Transportation
  • Lesson 8 - Infrastructure Planning
  • Lesson 9 - Hazards, Mitigation and Resiliency Planning
  • Lesson 10 - Natural Resources and Environmental Quality
  • Lesson 11 - Energy
  • Lesson 12 - Economic Development Planning
  • Lesson 13 - Urban Design
  • Lesson 14 - Housing
  • Lesson 15 - Parks, Recreation, and Open Space
  • Lesson 16 - Food Systems Planning
  • Lesson 17 - Historic and Cultural Resources Planning
  • Lesson 18 - Institutional Planning and Siting
  • Lesson 19 - Health Planning
  • Lesson 20 - Corridor Planning
  • Lesson 21 - Neighborhood Planning
  • Lesson 22 - Waterfront Planning
  • Lesson 23 - Downtown Planning
  • Video Training: Comprehensive Planning
  • Video Training: Sustainability Planning
  • Video Training: Food, Health, and Institutional Planning
  • Video Training: Small Towns, Parks, Preservation
  • Video Training: Urban Design and Housing
  • Video Training: Transportation Planning
  • Bonus Video Training: Introductory Housing Analysis with Excel
  • Bonus Video Training: Healthy Urban Food Systems: Planning Production Facilities
  • Bonus Video Training: Developing a Fact Basis for Hazard Planning
  • Bonus Video Training: K-12 Master Facility Planning
  • Bonus Video Training: Introduction to Healthy Communities
  • Topic Quiz

Topic: Leadership, Administration, and Management

  • Lesson 1 - Introduction to Leadership, Administration and Management
  • Lesson 2 - Leadership
  • Lesson 3 - Managing External Relationships
  • Lesson 4 - Internal Organizational Management
  • Lesson 5 - Technology and Related Applications
  • Video Training: Leadership, Administration, and Management
  • Bonus Video Training: Managing a Planning Organization
  • Bonus Video Training: Leadership in Planning
  • Bonus Video Training: External Relations for Planners

Topic: AICP Code of Ethics

  • Lesson 1: Ethics Resources
  • Lesson 2: Ethics Questions
  • Video Training: Planning Ethics with Carol Barrett
  • Video Training: Understanding the Content and Process for Determining Ethical Conduct with Carol Barrett
  • Topic Quiz

Topic: Fundamental Planning Knowledge

  • Lesson 1 - Introduction to Fundamental Planning Knowledge
  • Lesson 2 - History
  • Lesson 3 - Application of Legal Principles
  • Lesson 4 - Law
  • Lesson 5 - Patterns of Urban Development
  • Lesson 6 - Theories of Planning Practice
  • Lesson 7 - Statutory Basis of Planning
  • Video Training: Planning, History, and Settlements
  • Video Training: Planning Law
  • Video Training: Planning Theory and Core Values
  • Video Training: Statutory Basis and Related Professions
  • Bonus Video Training: Code Drafting and the Law
  • Bonus Video Training: The Takings Clause
  • Bonus Video Training: Procedural Due Process
  • Topic Quiz

Topic: Practice Exams and Course Evaluation

  • Video Training: Questions and Answers
  • Sample Exam #1 (**170 Questions)
  • Sample Exam #2 (**170 Questions)
  • Sample Exam #3 (**170 Questions)
  • Sample Exam #4 (**170 Questions)
  • Sample Exam #5 (**170 Questions)
  • Class Evaluation


This course certainly made studying extremely efficient and I felt like I could tailor it to my needs and weaknesses. Phillip Hu, AICP

This class builds confidence and provides a great framework for exam preparation. Roberto Zuniga, AICP (Coppell, TX)

The Planetizen course was the best, most comprehensive overview of material. The test-taking guidance and practice tests were the best. Ron Whitmore, AICP

Planetizen is a great resource because it helps you train your mind to think in a way that makes you able to navigate the actual exam. I absolutely would not have passed without this course. Ashley Powell, AICP

My advice to potential test takers: enroll in this course as soon as it becomes available. Don't hesitate. This is the tool that will help you pass the AICP exam. Ruben Flores-Marzan, AICP (Manati, PR)

I would not have known where to start studying without this course. Emily Talen is a BOSS! Tara Worden, AICP

This course is definitely the reason why I passed! Elise McDermott, AICP

This class really helped me focus my studies and was a great resource overall. Erika Martin, AICP (Long Beach, CA)

This class gave a much needed structure and the practice exams give a good idea of the scope and type of questions. Krtui Bhati, AICP (Ventnor City, NJ)

This class was incredibly helping in knowing what to study and how to study it. Cara Kelly, AICP (Bellbrook, OH)

More Reviews


* AICP is a registered trademark of the American Planning Association (APA) and the APA’s Institute. Neither APA nor AICP are affiliated with Planetizen or this class.

** These are practice questions. They are not real exam questions.

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