PS exam

The PS exam tests your ability to practice the surveying profession competently. It is designed for surveyors who have gained at least four years’ experience.

PS exam transitions to a computer-based format

Registration and scheduling opens June 2016 for the new computer-based testing (CBT) PS exam with first testing appointments available in October 2016. The new computer-based PS exam will allow for year-round testing at approved Pearson VUE test centers. This gives examinees the freedom to pick the exam time, date, and location. The new format will include a digital PS Reference Handbook. Examinees will receive their results 7–10 days after the exam. Learn more about the transition.

PS exam specifications

The CBT PS exam contains 100 questions. The total appointment time is 7 hours—2 minutes for nondisclosure agreement, 8 minutes for a tutorial, and 6 hours for the actual exam. There are two sections of the exam that are approximately 50 questions each with an optional 50-minute scheduled break offered at the end of the first section. The PS exam uses USCS measurements.

View the PS exam specification (PDF)

The computer-based PS exam also introduces a new testing component: alternative item types (AITs). AITs are questions other than traditional multiple-choice questions. Learn more about AITs.

Reference materials

The PS exam is a closed-book exam. Examinees will be provided with a PS Reference Handbook (PDF) on exam day.

Scoring and reporting

Exam results are typically released to the licensing boards 8–10 weeks after the exam. However, with the new computer-based exam, you should receive your results in 7-10 days. Depending on your state, you will be notified of your exam results online through your MyNCEES account or via postal mail from your state licensing board. Learn more about how NCEES exams are scored.

PS pass rates

Pass rates are from the April 2016 exam administration.

Exam First-time takers Repeat takers
Volume Pass Rate Volume Pass Rate
PS Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) 258 72% 126 38%