How to Study for the FS Exam

Fundamentals of Surveying Exam Prep

The Fundamentals of Surveying Exam is an 8 hour test that contains 170 questions covering the breadth of basic surveying principles. The questions are distributed over 15 subject areas including math, measurement, law, geodesy, physical sciences, mapping, and more. The FS Exam tests the skills that a surveyor needs in the field.

Passing the FS Exam is the first step to obtaining a surveying license, and it is important to prepare thoroughly so you can pass on the first attempt.

Visit the website of the NCEES (the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying) to read a comprehensive description of the exam format and all the topics covered. If you know exactly what is on the FS Exam, you will know what to focus on when you study.

Make a study schedule that gives you adequate time to review in the weeks or months before you take the Fundamentals of Surveying Exam. The NCEES sells a study guide with FS sample test questions. You can also ask more advanced surveying professionals if they have any old study material for the FS exam, or use study questions from the PS exam.

You can piece together your own practice test by combining sets of practice questions from different sources. Remember that the real exam is 170 questions in 8 hours (with a break), so pace yourself at a rate of 2 minutes and 49 seconds per question, or about 21-22 questions per hour.

On exam day, the administrators will provide you with a copy of FS reference formulas. This FS reference sheet is available for free on the NCEES website, and it is wise to study it ahead of time so that you can use it more efficiently during the test.

Scientific calculators are also allowed on the test, but they must come from the list of approved calculators. Many low-numbered models of Casio, HP, and TI calculators are allowed, but not programmable graphing calculators.

Keep in mind that the first-time passing rate for the FS Exam is about 67%. You can avoid joining the other 33% by taking measures to become familiar with the exam and focusing on the concepts that will most likely be tested.

© Had2Know 2010