The Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam is generally your first step in the process to becoming a professional licensed surveyor (P.S.). It is designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate surveying degree from an ABET accredited program. The FS exam is a computer-based exam administered year-round in testing windows at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers.
The FS exam is a 110-question test. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long and includes the following:
- Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
- Tutorial (8 minutes)
- Exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
- Scheduled break (25 minutes)
Learn more at the NCEES YouTube channel.
You can register for the FS exam by logging in to your MyNCEES account and following the onscreen instructions. Special accommodations are available for examinees who meet certain eligibility criteria and sufficiently document their request.
Be prepared for the FS exam by
- Reviewing the FS exam specifications, fees, and requirements
- Reading the reference materials
- Understanding scoring and reporting
- Viewing the most up-to-date FS exam pass rates
Exam specifications, fees, and requirements
NCEES offers the specifications for the FS exam (PDF) for free download.
Starting July 1, 2017, the computer-based FS introduces a new testing component: alternative item types (AITs). AITs are questions other than traditional multiple-choice questions. Learn more about AITs.
A $225 exam fee is payable directly to NCEES. Some licensing boards may require you to file a separate application and pay an application fee as part of the approval process to qualify you for a seat for an NCEES exam. Your licensing board may have additional requirements.
Reference materials and exam prep
The NCEES FS Reference Handbook is the only reference material that can be used during the exam. You will be provided with an electronic reference handbook during the exam.
In addition to the FS Reference Handbook, NCEES offers practice exams. These practice exams contain questions that have been used on past exams and questions written just for study materials to give you extra practice.
The NCEES practice exams now come in paperback print copies. Online practice exams are no longer available. If you have already purchased an online practice exam, you will have access to the exam until the exam is completed or until your purchased time expires.
Learn more about NCEES exam prep materials.
Scoring and reporting
FS exam results are generally available 7–10 days after you take the exam. You will receive an email notification from NCEES with instructions to view your results in your MyNCEES account. Results include information specific to your licensing board regarding how you should proceed based on your performance.
Learn more about the exam scoring process.
The pass rates below represent January/February/March and April/May/June 2017 FS examinees.
|Exam||First-time takers||Repeat takers|
|Volume||Pass rate||Volume||Pass rate|
|Fundamentals of Surveying (FS)||390||49%||200||25%|