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SIT/FS...Here we go again

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Had my first study group last night for the SIT/FS exam here in Texas.

I've sit for the SIT before, twice, but this is the first organized study group I've attended. I'm hoping to gain some clarification on some things.

It should be noted that I HATE tests, they stress me out, always have. My mind goes blank and I second guess almost every answer. This group offers test taking hints/tricks so I'm hoping I can use some of those. I'm looking to be overly prepared this time around so I can feel confident and sure in my responses.

Our "instructor" has provided a wealth of reference material and guidelines which is very helpful. I've heard success stories and know others who attended this study group and have since passed their SIT/RPLS exam.

Posted : November 11, 2022 7:58 am
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I always drink one beer in the parking lot before a test.  Relaxes just enough, but two is too many

Posted : November 11, 2022 8:38 am
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Posted by: @squirl

It should be noted that I HATE tests, they stress me out, always have.

Consult your Physician and explain your "fear" to him/her. A very mild dose of Alprazolam prior to the exam may make a huge difference.  😎 

Posted : November 11, 2022 8:38 am
Brad Ott reacted

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Posted by: @jph

I always drink one beer in the parking lot before a test.  Relaxes just enough, but two is too many

yup, then ya gotta pee...... 😉 


Posted : November 11, 2022 8:40 am
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Tests are easier if you trust yourself. You know the answers. Go with your first instinct and trust it to be correct. Don't second guess yourself. Don't create unnecessary anxiety. Anxiety causes problems. It is very easy to walk a balance beam when it is painted on the ground. Put the same thing 10' in the air and your anxiety will cause you to fall off. You know this stuff. Don't be nervous.

Posted : November 11, 2022 8:46 am
Kevin Hines
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Here is some advise that was given me may apply to your situation.

1. Read each question in it's entirety and understand exactly what they are asking you to answer. Many times, the preamble to a question, while being related to the question, is designed to make the test taker think in an entirely different direction from the actual question.

2. If you are questioning your first response, skip the question and proceed with the remaining questions. Time is critical, so get as many answered that you are comfortable with in a short amount of time, then spend your remaining time concentrating on the ones that are more thought provoking.

3. Take a backup calculator to the exam site.

Speaking from experience, items 1 and 2 have bit me in the rear on more that 1 occasion.  Good luck!

Posted : November 11, 2022 8:46 am
SReeserinPA, Jitterboogie, Jon Payne and 1 people reacted

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You can do it. Just take a deep breath and do what you know how to do. It is the process that stresses you not the questions as you know those don’t let the time or any of the process of getting into the exam rob you of the knowledge you have gained over the years and the time you have spent studying.  You have 8 hours. You don’t need but half of that time. 

it is pure psychological that you internally beat yourself  I know this as I am the same way  example  When my Marines would show up for PT   Exercise  I could tell them we were only going to run a mile and call it a day , I could run them 5 miles literally and they mentally would not connect the distance and I would have no issues  Now that same group I could say we are running 5 miles and a half mile down the road people were falling out  they mentally beat themselves  We you and I do the same exact thing on test/exams   Go in with whatever you have to do and say I got this no problem  don’t stress. Be aware of time but don’t let all the hype of saying i have literally 2 minutes per question at 8 hours for 110 questions  half of those questions are you know it or you don’t  no computation its just recall   And Every question that is math related most of those you should be able to read and have a good idea of guessing what it should be  I am not saying guess but if i told you to stake the curb and gutter at an entrance you already as a crew chief know about where it should fall  approach the test from your strengths just like that  and then solve the problem  pay attention to the questions and units  vs what answers are in  the given info of a simple problem could have feet but they want answer in meters  there will be a numerical answer in feet but they asked for its meter answer. Pay attention to details  you got this its like putting on your underwear you can do it without knowing you have done it  sleep well a week or two before exam  don’t cram the last minute  relax and win  

***** Read OP the NCEES exam guide where it sais what is allowed and not allowed*******. This is not test related but knowing all of this prepares you for the test experience and the more you know the less stress will happen FYI. I just looked it up . Also if you use a hp35s and you program it or put equations in it. They are not allowed to touch or have you erase it. If i were nervous and such i would have equations and definitions in it. I hardly use my calculator as most we’re easy by long hand. They will make you remove the battery case to make sure you don’t bring in cheat notes. But they can’t touch your property. The exam is more than just surveying knowledge it is also about how you handle the test and test experience itself . Can you follow instructions.  Can you stay focused. Obey the rules. In my opinion the test itself is the easy part you can prepare. What happens is no one prepares for the process. Like making you take your boots off to check your boots for cheat materials. Checking your glasses for RF. Or some computer glasses I guess. I wear a hat from the time I awake to the time i go to bed for as long as i can remember. I wear a hat in a suit and tie. I made myself go hatless for two weeks prior. Why we are people of habit and when my head is not covered i am not comfortable something is missing. So I prepared for that as no hats allowed. No watch etc. those little things are distractions even when they seem miniscule. So prepare now by knowing. Like gi joe use to say knowing is half the battle. No candy no gum no snuff and now that was tough i do have a chaw habit. I prepared before. 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by OleManRiver
Posted : November 11, 2022 11:29 am
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Jon Payne
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Posted by: @kevin-hines

3. Take a backup calculator to the exam site.

Speaking from a different experience, item 3 almost bit me.  I took 1 calculator to the FS (LSIT at the time) exam and it went out on the first problem.  I spent the rest of the exam estimating trig functions and doing some really fast long hand calculations.  Bought a calculator at lunch and didn't need it once in the afternoon.

Fortunately I was just out of school and had been crunching enough numbers that I could get close enough with the estimations.


Posted : November 11, 2022 2:02 pm
Jon Payne
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Don't get discouraged.

I'll relay the story of taking the EIT (now FE) exam at the same time as a friend of mine.  The key part to remember is that my friend is a much smarter guy than I am.  Unfortunately he wasn't as good of a test taker.  I passed, he didn't.   BUT he went back twice more and passed.  Some very very smart people have trouble with standardized exams simply because they are not test takers.

You'll get it.

Posted : November 11, 2022 2:05 pm

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Dave Karoly
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My method is:

1. Don’t take tests in linear fashion.

2. Easy questions first. If you don’t know the answer in 2 seconds skip it.

3. Next easier questions 

4. a bit harder questions 

5. if any question stumps you then move on, don’t dwell on it.

6. Last hardest questions then stump questions.

7. When you are finished put your pencil down, resist the temptation to review or check. You are more likely to change a correct answer to a wrong answer than you are to catch a mistake.

Posted : November 11, 2022 2:27 pm
SReeserinPA, Jitterboogie, Williwaw and 1 people reacted
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@kevin-hines good ideas. But they do not allow but one calculator at a time. And no case and no back up batteries. I just took mine in june. I had a extra calculator extra batteries. All had to be locked into a locker. I could not bring the little case that the hp35s slides into. I could put my eye glasses on but could not bring my eye glass case in nor a eye glass cleaner or cleaning rag. No car keys no wallet. Only my id calculator itself and a key they give you for all your personal belongings like car yeys wallet and my extra batteries and calculator. No pencil or pen they provided that which was a dry erase marker and a dry erase pad. Not even a tissue to wipe it off. The experience was worst than the test. My glasses kept fogging up because i had to wear a mask covid policy was still in place. I was literally told if my mask fell off my nose once more i would be kicked out. I kept dropping it down so my glasses would not fog up. I have a very high clearance TS a d above. Have been in national security areas that were less strict. I saw it as a game they played is all and blocked that out and stayed focus. I said i had to do this so i did everything that was required.  I am older and have less patience these days for stupid stuff. But i just did what i had to do.  Everyone kept telling me extra calculator so i did xtra batteries.  Read the ncees exam prep materials about what its all about. That will prepare you for all the experience stuff and what u can do and not do. I didn’t so if i had I would have known no xtra anything.

Posted : November 11, 2022 2:32 pm
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R.J. Schneider
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You succesfully replied Member

When i went to school our homework assignments required us to write the question and answer, this is good practice while you have the time to study.

It's probably nice to have a study group to get direction but, THEY are not going to be there for you when it's time to take that test. Put in your own work where the pencil meets the paper, and make it thorough.

Make the study difficult, as though it were actually w-o-r-k. You can do this.

Do not be afraid to make mistakes, make plenty of them, and learn from that. Put in the work.


Posted : November 12, 2022 8:16 am

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Taking tests has never been my strength but the one thing I've found that helps me the most is getting my anxiety under control. The assumption is that you know the material you're being tested on so that really isn't the issue. Don't study the day before, go to the beach, for a hike, anything to take your mind off of it so you aren't thinking about it. Get plenty of sleep and then just before the test take a few quiet minutes to visualize sitting down for the test and breezing through each question and see yourself acing it, not second guessing anything. The more calm and centered you are, sort of a zen state of mind, the more you'll go through it like a hot knife through butter. If a question trips you up, move on immediately and come back to it later. Don't let anything rattle you and you'll do great. 

Posted : November 12, 2022 9:28 am
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Pack the car the night before.  Don’t forget the can of beer.  Morning sex before driving to the exam site.  Go out to dinner that evening and celebrate your success.

Posted : November 12, 2022 11:33 am
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you got this.

As someone who recently passed this test at the end of August I can tell you this don't waste your time programming all of the functions into the HP 35 calculator.

it's a waste of time the fundamentals of survey reference guide has 138 pages or whatever it is of all the things you're going to need to do.

I'm not divulging what's on the test because I signed the honorable do not discuss topics but everything that you do on a daily basis is potential for being on the test however curve calculations anything that's part of the reference manual it's right there in front of you you don't need to worry about it you just need to know how to use it no memorization required.

as far as the calculator goes it's an all-digital test.

they provide a digital calculator in the screen if you need it to use it I took in a ti-36 and I used it most of the time and after a while I just got used to using the on-screen calculator for the calculations.

I did use copious notes on pages which they provide you and if you need more than the pages provided you just raise your hand look into the camera and they come and bring you another set of notes I used more than 20 pages of notes doing the calculations to verify my work.

in preparing to study I bought Jan van sickles survey solutions problems, but the biggest thing you need to do is pick a test date and then that's your goal.

then between that time figure out how much time you have to work and how much time you have to study. I scheduled at least an hour or two a night but I didn't have any kids or a wife and family to come home too and yet I traveled on the weekends to visit my significant other 6 hours away.

I purchased the PPI test guide which is basically falls under the Kaplan products. It pissed me off because lots of it was irrelevant and even irritating and dated.  They're allegedly revamping it. It's just more practice, and gives the feel of the real test kind of because it's written and not in a computer. it's a full length test so break it into 25 questions at a time, same time limits.

I also downloaded the $14 ncees practice guide which is only 50 questions and then just broke them out into sections for at 25 questions for each of the practice mini  tests and used it in the same time format so for 25 questions.

I would give me the same amount of time I'd have on the test and then after I took the 25 questions I would go back and I'll be grade them and then I look at the ones that I got wrong and then I would go study that material.

I took the first of 3 boundary classes for the degree program I'm in last fall, and have the 2nd And 7th edition of Brown's, and the waddles work book.

Ultimately if I can pass this with barely 6 years of land survey experience, you can crush it once you give yourself the chance to have faith in your knowledge and abilities.  5:45 hours seems like forever and I left with about 1:15 on the clock because I was pissed off at myself for not studying long enough, and just left it in the computer and checked out.  Then I found out I passed, and was completely shocked.

You're going to do well.  The study group might help. For me I gave up on those in college because I always felt like I was carrying the weight of the slackers that didn't want to take the time to read and research, and just wanted the cliff's notes of what we had to know.

Most of them went to medical school, but I decided I didn't want that. 

I'm in survey because I love the work and challenge it's provided me, and you do too or you wouldn't be here.

I'm available to discuss anything that doesn't violate the ND for the club, and that's easy to bypass by just general responses to the questions you have.


You got this!



Posted : November 12, 2022 2:44 pm

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