Surveying Exam FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
about the Surveying Licensing Exams

What is the format of the FS exam?

The Fundamentals of Land Surveying (FS) exam is an 8-hour test consisting of 170 multiple-choice problems. There are two sessions, morning and afternoon, each with 85 problems.

The ONLY reference material that may be used during the FS exam is a small reference handbook that is provided at the exam site.


What are the FS exam dates?

The 2013 FS exam dates are:

April 13, 2013
October 26, 2013

The FS exams will be given via computer-based testing beginning in 2014. When that happens, they will be given during assigned windows of time rather than specific April and October dates.


What is the format of the PS exam?

The NCEES-developed Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exam is 6 hours long. Many states administer this exam in conjunction with a state-specific exam. Contact your state board to determine the exam format in your state.

The PS exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions. It is administered in two parts: 67 questions in the morning session (4 hours) and 33 in the afternoon session (2 hours). The exam is closed-book. Examinees will use NCEES-supplied reference materials during the exam, and are not allowed to bring other reference materials into the exam room.




What are the PS exam dates?

The PS exam is given on the same date (and always on a Friday) in every state. The upcoming dates are:

April 12, 2013
October 25, 2013
April 11, 2014
October 24, 2014
April 17, 2015
October 30, 2015
April 15, 2016
October 28, 2016
April 21, 2017
October 27, 2017


How far ahead do I need to register for the FS and PS exams?

This varies significantly by state, ranging from 45 to more than 180 days before the exam date. Contact your state board for the exact application deadline that applies to you. Your board will also tell you what locations are available for taking the exam.


What units of measurement are used on the FS and PS exams?

The FS and PS exams use US Customary System (USCS) of units.


What kind of calculator can I bring into the FS and PS exams?

Your calculator should be battery-powered, silent, and nonprinting, and it must not have word-processing capabilities. Actually, you should bring two calculators of the same model in case one fails.


Some states have restrictions on what models of calculators are allowed into the exam, and a few restrict the use of ROM cards in calculators. It doesn't hurt to contact your state board to get definitive information.


If I don't know an answer on the FS exam, should I guess or leave it blank?

Guess! No points are subtracted for incorrect answers.


What are the passing rates for the most recent surveying exams?

The passing rates for the October 2012 exams are:


Exam 1st Timers Repeats
FS 70% 43%
PS 65% 30%

Where can I find study materials for the FS and PS exams?

Reference manuals, sample exams, and other materials to aid your preparation are located in the PPI store.