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klnsdwn
(@klnsdwn84)
FNG Member

If you have failed the FS Test twice and managed to pass on Lucky Number 3, what did you do to pass it finally? How did you do your study schedule? How long did you study for? What materials did you use to study? What was your primary focus?

Also, I'm a weak test taker, and I'm weak in math. Was any of you the same? If so, what did you do for that?

Please help!

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Topic starter Posted : March 8, 2022 6:44 pm
half bubble
(@half-bubble)
500+ posts Member

Up at 4am and study until you have to do something else. Get the practice test and see how you do working it cold in the time allotted. You could probably spend a morning researching each question and formulating a strategy for how to attack that kind of problem on the live exam (or in the field).

Figure out how to run the calculator with your non-writing hand. If you are not using an HP35 consider doing so, because the HP "reverse Polish" way of doing things will help in writing out your intermediate calcs. If you are not writing out all your intermediate calcs on scratch paper as you work the exam, you are handicapping yourself.

 

 

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Posted : March 9, 2022 3:58 am
Chris Bouffard, Jitterboogie, dmyhill and 1 people liked
dmyhill
(@dmyhill)
1,000+ posts Supporter

Test taking is a skill. So is mathematics. If you cannot develop those skills, perhaps being a PLS isn't for you.

Success, generally speaking, isn't about pushing through your weaknesses as much as it is highlighting your strengths. I am not saying to quit when things get hard, but an assessment of your strengths and weakness is critical.

Perhaps you are great at getting business in the door and finishing projects. Many surveyors are not, that stuff isn't on the test.

I am not saying that you need to run from the industry if getting licensed isn't for you. I know guys making a lot of money without a license. 

But, if you assess that this is indeed for you:

  • Get as much practice test material as you can.
  • Take practice tests as close to the real things as you can.
  • You have taken it twice, so you know what it is, set up conditions as close as possible to the test.
  • Take 4 practice tests that last the length of the real exam over a period of a month or two.
  • Reuse questions if you have to, rewrite them if needed. (Ask your mentor for help if needed.)
  • If you can, save enough questions for a "real" test at the end.
  • The last practice test should be scheduled to leave you a weekend to study what you need to study.

 

Hopefully, you pass it by that point. You will have a clock in your head, you will have a good strategy, and you will have confidence (especially if you passed the final practice test).

This post was modified 4 months ago 3 times by dmyhill
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Posted : March 9, 2022 8:10 am

dmyhill
(@dmyhill)
1,000+ posts Supporter

BTW, test are an area where engineers have an advantage. By the time they get to test taking they have taken dozens of finals over their areas of expertise. You go through OJT from chainman to project surveyor and you never sit down for so much as an hour and take a test.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 8:16 am
RADAR and half bubble liked
WA-ID Surveyor
(@wa-id-surveyor)
500+ posts Member

Just remember you only have to pass it once.  I despise tests and will never take another one as long as I can help it.  Passing the test doesn't make you a good surveyor.  The smartest surveyor I ever mentored under couldn't manage his way out of paper bag, but he new his book stuff well.  I took over his position while still being unlicensed back in the day.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 8:24 am
Tim V. PLS
(@tim-v-pls)
200+ posts Member

The most important thing about a licensing test taking is this: It's not about getting the right answers. It's about accumulating enough points in the allotted time to pass the test.

So as a strategy:
when beginning the exam, skim the test and flag (mentally or on notepad) any question that you know will take extra time to solve. Categorize, say, by 1 to 4 scale on how hard they are.

Next answer all the not-flagged questions, thereby accumulating points.

Then, go back and attempt the flagged questions, easier first, progressing to harder.

Accumulate points, not correct answers.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 8:51 am

jflamm
(@jflamm)
100+ posts Member

Don't stay up all night cramming.  Get a good night's rest.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 8:58 am
Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @klnsdwn84

How long did you study for? What materials did you use to study?

I studied at least some everyday for most of 2 years before the FS. I accumulated a small library of surveying books. I read Brown's books cover to cover and wore out my LS asking questions about what I thought it said.  I attended a night class on exam prep at Oregon State University. I watched all the Caltrans videos. I acquired 3 different sample exam books which totalled over 1200 questions. These last were, perhaps, the most useful to me. 

All this was prior to my first internet experience. If I was doing it today I'd take advantage of a lot of free online courses and a million youtubes.   

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Posted : March 9, 2022 9:28 am
T Ford
(@t-ford)
50+ posts Member
Posted by: @tim-v-pls

The most important thing about a licensing test taking is this: It's not about getting the right answers. It's about accumulating enough points in the allotted time to pass the test.

So as a strategy:
when beginning the exam, skim the test and flag (mentally or on notepad) any question that you know will take extra time to solve. Categorize, say, by 1 to 4 scale on how hard they are.

Next answer all the not-flagged questions, thereby accumulating points.

Then, go back and attempt the flagged questions, easier first, progressing to harder.

Accumulate points, not correct answers.

Great advice.  The clock is your enemy not the test or the questions. Stay positive.  

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Posted : March 9, 2022 9:40 am

FrozenNorth
(@frozennorth)
500+ posts Member

What do you have in the way of formal education?  Just two courses would go a long way to making you more comfortable with both the math and the test-taking.  I think the two most important ones would be Plane Surveying and Curves & Earthwork (Highway surveying).  Developing a high comfort level with that kind of material would really smooth things out for you if you haven't taken those yet.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 9:46 am
Skeeter1996
(@skeeter1996)
1,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @klnsdwn84

If you have failed the FS Test twice and managed to pass on Lucky Number 3, what did you do to pass it finally? How did you do your study schedule? How long did you study for? What materials did you use to study? What was your primary focus?

Also, I'm a weak test taker, and I'm weak in math. Was any of you the same? If so, what did you do for that?

Please help!

If you have to study for it, you shouldn't be taking it

 

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Posted : March 9, 2022 9:53 am
thebionicman
(@thebionicman)
1,000+ posts Member

@skeeter1996 and if you don't study you're a fool....

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Posted : March 9, 2022 11:35 am
Spotteddotdog, Kevin Hines, BushAxe and 5 people liked

dmyhill
(@dmyhill)
1,000+ posts Supporter
Posted by: @skeeter1996
Posted by: @klnsdwn84

If you have failed the FS Test twice and managed to pass on Lucky Number 3, what did you do to pass it finally? How did you do your study schedule? How long did you study for? What materials did you use to study? What was your primary focus?

Also, I'm a weak test taker, and I'm weak in math. Was any of you the same? If so, what did you do for that?

Please help!

If you have to study for it, you shouldn't be taking it

 

Ask me the last time I calculated any curve by hand or even with a calculator. It has been many years. Sure, I know how, but I would need practice (study) to be fast enough at it to make it through a test.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 12:10 pm
SPMPLS
(@spmpls)
500+ posts Member
Posted by: @dmyhill

BTW, test are an area where engineers have an advantage. By the time they get to test taking they have taken dozens of finals over their areas of expertise. You go through OJT from chainman to project surveyor and you never sit down for so much as an hour and take a test.

Funny, I went through the engineering program after I got my California PLS. When the finals schedule came out, my much younger classmates would freak out if they had two finals on the same day. Having already taken and passed an 8 hour licensing exam (10 problems back then and there was no chance of finishing them all) which I studied 5 months for, I would just smile and think "kids these days. I won't even break a sweat on these finals."

I am no help on the FS prep. It wasn't even a dream back in 1986. I will say studying long and hard in a productive way to not only increase knowledge, but time management, was the key for me back then.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 12:21 pm
Dave Drahn
(@dave-o)
100+ posts Member

Not sure how much these would help if you don't like math or tests, but I've got a couple papers that helped me.  One is Problems Solved for the FS/PS and the other, Math for the Surveyor by James Coan.  Happy to share if you'd like.

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Posted : March 9, 2022 1:03 pm

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