How to Study for the PS Exam

Principles and Practice of Surveying Exam Prep

The Principles and Practice of Surveying Exam is the final exam for licensure as a professional surveyor. The PS Exam has 100 multiple-choice questions and covers not only academic surveying knowledge, but also practical knowledge gained through working as a surveyor.

Candidates for the surveying license can take the exam once they have passed the FS Exam and gained at least four years of experience. You should start studying for the exam as soon as you have a test date set.

Visit the website of the NCEES to learn how the PS Exam is organized. Of the 100 questions, approximately 15 cover standards and specs, 25 cover legal issues, 30 cover professional practice, 15 cover business, and 15 cover types of surveys. The exam contains much more practical than theoretical material.

Be sure to learn the format of the exam as well. The PS Exam is open-book open-note--subject to some restrictions your board of licensing may impose. You can bring any print materials you wish to the exam. Some things you may want to bring are study guides, references tables, notes, and solved practice questions.

Be mindful of the PS Exam timing. The test contains 100 questions distributed over 6 hours. You will answer 67 questions in the 4-hour morning session, and 33 in the 2-hour afternoon part. This gives you about 3 and a half minutes per question.

Get the NCEES official booklet with PS sample questions from past surveying exams. Other good reference books are listed in the sidebar and carousel below. When you study, you should practice answering questions under time constraints.

Before the exam, become familiar with all of your books so that if you bring them to the test, you know where to find the information you need. You don't want to spend precious exam time flipping through pages. Get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast with carbs, and pack a healthy lunch for the break so that you have enough energy to finish the second half of the exam.

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