FS 2020: Expectations

Fundamentals of Surveying Exam: The BIG Difference Between the Morning and Afternoon Sessions

You’ve studied hard, you’ve burnt the midnight oil and feel prepared to finally take your Fundamentals of Surveying Exam. Now that exam day has arrived, here is what to expect. The exam is 5:20 minutes long and broken into two sessions: Morning and Afternoon. A lot of first time FS exam takers go into the exam not realizing that those two sessions are each very different from each other.

The morning session is undoubtedly the tougher of the two sections. Many test takers go into the morning section and come out feeling like they’ve spent 10 rounds in a boxing ring. What makes the morning session so difficult is that the morning session includes all the heavy math: Calculus, Trigonometry, Algebra, Matrix Algebra, just to name a few. Don’t expect every question to be math related, but the morning season is heavily math based.

The afternoon session is much easier in that it has very little math. There will be some calculations but nothing as heavy or involved as the morning session. The afternoon will have more higher-level concepts like Legal Aspects, Boundary Determination, Types of Surveys, all the soft stuff that doesn’t require high level math calculations. However, since the afternoon session focuses more on higher level concepts, some questions may take more thought to answer correctly.

Now that you understand the differences between the morning and afternoon sessions, you may begin to see the problem; especially for first-time test takers. The problem that occurs is an issue with time. Managing your time and utilizing it effectively can mean the difference between a pass or fail score. Students tend to imagine that they will split the time evenly between each session. This strategy may work for some, but for most test takers splitting the time evenly does not work.

The best way to approach the FS Exam is to understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If your strength is in math, plan to allow more time on the afternoon session. If high level concepts come to you easily, plan to spend more time in the morning session tackling those heavy math or survey computation problems.

In the end, understand the differences between morning and afternoon sessions, and knowing where to best spend your time, is the key to passing the FS Exam and getting licensed.

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