California Civil Engineering Surveying Exam FAQs

If you’re taking the CA Civil Engineering Surveying exam, then you likely have a few questions. In this article, we gathered all the essential information in one place so that you can use it as a reference while preparing for the exam. Take a look at these commonly asked questions and the answers to them below.

Commonly Asked Questions about the CA Civil Surveying Exam

What is the California Civil Engineering Surveying Exam?

The exam tests the entry-level competency of a candidate to practice civil engineering within the profession’s acceptable standards for public safety. It is administered by the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists in California. You must pass the PE Civil exam, as well as both the CA Civil Engineering Surveying exam and the California Civil Seismic Principles exam in order to be licensed as a Civil PE in California.

What is the format of the exam?

The exam is 2.5 hours long with 55 multiple-choice questions. It’s a computer-based exam, but you are allowed to bring in as many reference materials as one trip and one box will permit. See for the latest guidelines.

What are the exam topics/specifications?

You can view the exam topics and specifications here.

What is the passing rate for the exam?

The passing rate for the exam is 46 percent. Taking a prep course can help you feel more prepared and confident on exam day. Check out prep course options here.

How do I qualify for the exam?

It’s recommended that you submit your application for licensure to the Board after you have passed the NCEES Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE Civil) exam. You must schedule and sit for the exam in the quarter following the quarter in which your application and exam fees are processed and approved by the Board.

What should I bring to the exam?

You should bring your ID and reference materials. You can find the limitations and guidelines on the quantity of materials you can bring on the Prometric website. Make sure you are familiar with all your reference materials and have used them to study, so you know how to find the information you need in them quickly. You can see a list of suggested reference materials from the Board here.

You can bring two non-QWERTY calculators to the exam, but they must meet the requirements outlined on

What will I be provided with at the exam?

You will be provided with pencils and two scratch paper booklets (they must be returned on completion of the exam).

When is the exam administered?

The exam is offered on a quarterly basis.

What happens after you pass the exam?

Once your score is finalized, you will be emailed your exam results. Your exam results report will show a passing designation but no score.

Preparing for the PE Civil exam? Test your skills with a free sample quiz.

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