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Passion Project: Creating More Inclusive Professional Exam Preparation Options

May 03, 2022
Host: Why did you decide to start the AICP Podcast? How did it go from an idea to reality?
It’s a bit of a funny story really. The short story is, I decided I was going to take the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Certification test back in 2019 and it was then that I realized there is a gap in free materials to help prep for the test. I decided to start a podcast then because really who has more time and money to spend on prepping for a certification test that already costs ~$500. I found myself really pinched for time and not wanting to spend a bunch of extra money on prep materials. I want to be able to have the freedom to be learning while commuting, because that was really the small window of time I had to be able to study. The longer version is that I also think it's really important to have the right tone and timing of things when learning anything. So I thought why not start a podcast that can cover the contents of the certification test and make the episodes short enough that people could listen to them on their daily commute? Short, concise, to-the-point material that cuts through all the fluff and sums up the important information. And also, some of the historical material can get pretty dry and dense, and so making it more approachable and digestible for listeners was important for me. The podcast is an equal opportunity tool, so that anyone can have access to prep materials without having to spend a bunch of money.
Host: What are some of your top episodes and why?
I would say that probably Episode 5: How did we get here? is one of the most popular episodes as it goes over APA History and there is certainly a question about it on the certification exam. I would also say that Episode 14: The Mountains are Calling is another one that many people enjoy listening to because of how interesting and influential John Muir was on wilderness conservation. Some of my favorite episodes are about the tenements (Episodes 9, 12, 18) because they highlight the mindsets of the different players in planning and development.
Host: General advice in getting through the studying season or test taking tips?
Some advice I would have is to make sure you go over the ethics section clearly. They love to throw in questions about which number is which ethic. Also, studying with others can be helpful and flashcards are my favorite. Write things down a few times until it really sticks and try to create a story to remember rather than just facts.
Jonathan Miller, AICP, GISP
Podcast Executive Producer & Host
Planning Passion Projects is an initiative of Your Planning Career to explore and invite creatives within the spaces of planning to share unique experiences and perspectives. With the world facing global crises, planning for sustainable, inclusive and equitable communities requires both long-term thinking and immediate action. This platform will feature the change-makers of today who are setting the stage for brighter tomorrows.
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