ASTD Certification Institute
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The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD)

Establish yourself in the talent development field.

How to Prepare for the APTD

There is no single, best way to prepare for the APTD examination. Preparation methods and duration all depend on a candidate’s personal experiences and knowledge base. There is not a mandatory test preparation or study requirement for the APTD program, nor a preferred preparation method. However, below are some basic steps that we recommend to all candidates, as well as resources to assist in your study plan. (Please note: Study materials are not included as part of your exam fee, other than the resources provided below. Additional study materials are optional and may incur a fee).

In post-exam surveys, candidates report that they have spent an average of 60-80 hours preparing for the exam and have allowed three to six months for the process, including taking the exam.

Step 1: Assess Your Knowledge Level

Download and use the APTD exam content outline and gap assessment tool to identify strengths and prioritize areas for growth.

Step 2: Develop a Study Plan

How do you typically tackle something that you need to learn? Do you like to focus on the areas that you know the least about? Do you prefer working in groups? Do you dive into information in a deep, thorough way? Consider your learning preferences when identifying your best study options.

Step 3: Evaluate Preparation Resources

APTD Candidates use a variety of resources to prepare depending upon the way they study best.

  • APTD Study Planning Guide: This free APTD Study Planning Guide provides additional information about creating a study plan and preparing for the exam. Review APTD sample questions to get a feel for the type of questions asked on the exam.
  • TDBoK™ Guide: Talent Development Body of Knowledge, Second Edition: The TDBoK Guide, second edition, is the definitive resource for TD professionals and as such can be a valuable resource for individuals preparing for the APTD certification exam. If you enroll in an APTD prep course, the TDBoK Guide is included with the cost of the program. (Please note, the cost of the preparation resources is not included in the exam registration fee.)
  • APTD Practice Test: The APTD Practice Test is great opportunity to get a feel for the final test-taking experience and build the confidence you need to be successful on your APTD certification exam. *The APTD Practice Test is now available in Arabic. You can choose the language for your practice test after completing the purchase, when you are "scheduling" your practice test attempt.
  • APTD Preparation Courses: The APTD Preparation Course is a comprehensive on demand self-paced course you can access through a 12-month subscription.
  • Bookmark the Active Candidates Page: The active candidates page to find the most recent versions of the Candidate Handbook and other important documents.
  • APTD Candidate Preparation LinkedIn Group: Join our APTD Candidate Preparation LinkedIn Group for tips and resources.
  • Form Your Own Study Group: If there is not a convenient study group available to you, consider creating your own. This study group guide can help you to plan your group.

APTD Preparation Resources
Are you prepared for the APTD exam? Ensure success with these study tools.

Download this Certification Reference Reading List to see what publications may help fill in knowledge gaps aligned to specific capabilities of the Talent Development Capability Model.

The TDBoK Guide, second edition, is the definitive resource for the TD profession. It covers all 23 capabilities in the Talent Development Capability Model and can serve as an important resource for exam preparation.

On Demand Course

This course helps one prepare for the APTD exam with content review, prep strategies, a full practice test, and more. It includes access to an expert facilitator and the TDBoK. Save 10% if you add it in checkout when paying the APTD application fee.

Unleash Your Potential
Increase your confidence and validate your experience when you become an APTD.
Ready to take the next step? Exam windows are available into 2024. Find the timing that works for you and apply today.
Watch Our Recently Recorded Webinar: Preparing for the APTD Certification Exam
If you are considering or planning to take the APTD exam, watch this recorded webinar to hear from a panel of successful APTD candidates as they discussed different strategies for preparation.
Get advice to help you determine which type of preparation is best for you.
Send questions or request a conversation by emailing [email protected].
APTD Certification Handbook
Save When You Certify and Prepare as a Team
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APTD and CPTD Exam Preparation Tips From Current Credential Holders
You can’t pass the exam by learning and remembering only. You have to understand the concepts and models.
One of the things that made all the difference for me to get the maximum benefit from the learning journey was my mindset. I embraced an open/growth mindset...
The Talent Development Body of Knowledge has a feature that creates them.
I was fortunate to make friends with someone I’d never met before. We kept each other accountable, keeping up with the notifications and updates (being a new...
Use your projects as cases and apply the concepts. Did you use best practices?
There are no right and wrong ways of doing this. They are an amazing tool to represent the main topics visually and to link between them.
Immerse yourself in the content and in what it means to you and the profession. Recall how you best remember and acquire the knowledge and do that. It will...