Hello, and thanks for stopping by! I’m putting together this site to collect what I’ve been learning while preparing for the WELL AP exam. Hopefully, this site will be helpful for others and will be a chance to connect to a community of people who are interested in health and buildings.
Here’s a little more about me.
For now, I’ve posted some study notes, starting with health statistics referenced in the WELL Building Standard. I plan to post more, so check back if this is helpful. In the future, I might expand this site to collect healthy building resources beyond what’s directly relevant for the exam.
Here are a couple of questions that I had when I first started learning more about the standard and the exam:
How Hard is It?
I’ll report back once I’ve taken the exam myself. For now, there are a few blogs on the web from people talking about their experiences taking the WELL exam. Some have said that that it was easier than the LEED AP exam. Others have said it was harder, so I imagine that the two are roughly comparable. When I studied for (and passed) the LEED AP exam a number of years ago, I went through the material twice. For WELL, I’ve gone through the material about 4 times. This might be overkill, but I guess I’ll find out once I’ve taken the exam myself. If you’ve have taken the AREs (Architectural Registration Exams), I can’t imagine this even comparing to that—good to reminisce about that to make your current task seem easier!
From around the web, here are two post-exam blogs that I thought were useful:
One take-away from these and other comments elsewhere is that it’s good to be familiar with the health statistics (in a general sense, at least) and calculations. As I’m studying, I’m rounding some of the statistics to easier-to-remember numbers, e.g., easier for me to remember that 2/3, instead of 69%, of American adults are overweight. I’m also drawing and diagramming where I can as I find visual learning to be helpful.
I’ll update with my own experiences.
What to Study?
There are study materials available, both from IWBI and from 3rd party vendors. It’s confusing that the WELL Building Standard gets updated every few months. Also, I can understand 3rd party study materials, but I do think it’s confusing for IWBI to offer material for free as well as for sale. Will the exam test anything that’s in the paid materials that’s not in the free documents? Or is the paid material just enrichment?
I emailed IWBI about these questions, and their official word (as of April 24, 2017) is that:
“The current version of the WELL AP exam is based on the September 2015 version of the WELL Building Standard and WELL Certification Guidebook. You are correct that the additional resources available to prepare for the exam would be helpful, but all exam questions are based off the 2015 version of the WELL Building Standard and Certification Guidebook themselves. Therefore all exam content is pulled directly from those two core documents.”
This will likely change in the future, of course.
Where to Start?
An overview is helpful.
I had heard about WELL for the first time when I signed up for a session and building tour at Greenbuild 2015 in D.C.
Here’s a video that I thought was pretty good and was also WELL-received by others:
Also, here in Boston, the local chapter of USGBC has some day-long prep classes.
Personally, I think the live classes are good way to network and connect to others who might become future collaborators. But for the purpose of preparing for the exam, I think a day-long seminar alone wouldn’t be enough for me, and I personally prefer to hunker down on my own and just work through the material.
Given my background in psychology, I’m very curious to see how WELL will impact the architectural profession over the next few years. I’m also curious to hear why others might be taking this exam.