How the LEED exam is graded and scored has always been a kind of mystery in the LEED community. My take is that you should not worry about how the exam is graded, and just worry about getting as many correct answers as possible – but I know we’re all curious, which is why I’m writing this.
Both the Green Associate exam and the LEED AP Specialty exams consist of 100 questions each. In order to pass, you must get a score of at least 170 out of a possible 200 points. However, it’s not as simple as each question being worth 2 points. From an article from my friends at BuildingGreen.com, we learn that it’s a little more complicated than that. Even so, I assure you that the USGBC and the GBCI has done a lot of research and spent a lot of time trying to make the exam process as fair as possible.
We know from the GBCI website and the candidate handbooks for each exam that they are graded on a scale, but they don’t really go into much detail about exactly what this means. Based on the BuildingGreen article, each exam has different versions (how many exactly is unsure), with a different set of questions for each. Instead of trying to make each exam set equally difficult, a “difficulty coeficcient” or “multiplier” is given to each exam. Your “raw score” on the exam is multiplied by that coefficient and your scaled score is the resulting number. If it’s above 170, you pass. Again, they do this so your scores are fair no matter the difficulty of the exam set you take.
Many questions on the LEED exams require more than 1 correct answer. Based on the information from BuildingGreen.com, we can also assume there is no partial credit for answering just part of the question correctly when multiple answers are required.
I recommend reading the article from BuildingGreen.com as it goes a little more in depth with the analysis.
Again, don’t worry so much about this – just do your best to get 200 out of 200, in which case, how the exam is graded doesn’t mean a thing.