California Civil Seismic Principles Exam FAQs

Do you have a question about the California Civil Seismic Principles exam? Chances are you can find the answer in this article. We have gathered essential information for the California Civil Seismic Principles Exam here in one place for easier reference in order to support you in preparing for the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions about the CA Civil Seismic Principles Exam

What is the California Civil Seismic Principles 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 testing 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 see the specifications and exam topics here.

What is the passing rate for the exam?

The passing rate for the exam is 49 percent. PPI offers an OnDemand prep course to support you in your studies and boost your chances of passing the exam.

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 will need to bring your ID, reference materials (see for your exam for the limitations/guidelines on the number of materials you can bring). Make sure you are familiar with all your reference materials and have used them to study with, so you know how to find the information you need in them quickly. This link has the list of suggested reference materials from the Board.

You can bring two non-QWERTY calculators that meet the requirements outlined on Prometric’s website, and you may bring in any two of the following four measuring devices: ruler, protractor, architect scale, or engineer scale. Since the exam is all on the computer, most examinees find a straight edge is sufficient.

What will I be provided with at the exam?

You will be provided with pencils and two scratch paper booklets, which 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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