To honor the intent of this particular thread, i figured i would put my 2 cents into the pile. I appreciated reading what books everyone used and how much study time was needed. I have a geotech background which includes some survey field work.
For the Surveying Exam:
I used Civil PE Surveying Review (CPESR) from Torossian. I took both his online course and reviewed from his book. I really liked his book and how he covered the topics. The only con to his lectures is he swears by a particular variety of TI calculator (89?), which i found slower than the casio 115 or TI-36 for surveying unit conversions. Torossian is very articulate and easy to understand during the recorded lectures. I also supplemented the lectures by reading the Survey reference manual from PPI. This book was good but not great, i would rate it overall second to Torrosian. I studied for a total of 140 hours on this topic. Due to the recent shift in survey exam topics there might be some updating needed in Torossian's book but overall i thought it was nearly perfect.
During the exam you feel the pressure and definitely cannot answer every question withing the 2.5 hour time frame but i did not feel overwhelmed. I passed this test on the first attempt.
For the Seismic Exam:
I used Hiner's review manual and his on-demand course. He is articulate and moves pretty slow during the lectures. His book is laid out logically with the first section being the seismic topics, the second section is example problems, third is home work problems then fourth is home work solutions. He also provides some fast reference sheets which are worth their weight in gold for SDS, SD1, Ta and many more. This saved me more than minutes during the exam!! These literally are worth their weight in gold if not more, seriously, I cannot say enough of these quick reference sheets. His course comes with 1 practice exam and the end of the book, which is very good. He also offers with purchase of all of his on-demand courses an online timed exam, which is also really good.
I also bought PPI's seismic reference manual, i read about the first 1/3 of the book before laughing it off. This book is laid out very similar to the CERM, which is a good thing. The downfall of this book is they cover an almost absurd level of detail. Recall in the CERM the sections covering slugs and international units etc etc.
Since i have 0 hours of actual seismic/structural experience. I decided to purchase PE prepared practice exam for seismic. This exam booklet was used as a practice exam then i would work 10 problems here and there. The benefit to this is you're working problems from a different author, which i think is important. That being said, i really liked this practice exam.
For seismic overall, i studied over 200 hours but remember i had no practical experience on this topic. There was no major preference on calculator for this exam, i liked the casio 115 more because it can record a string of numbers versus the TI-36 which is single line. I also purchased the ASCE 7-10 and IBC. The were a number of questions that force you into the ASCE 7-10 footnotes for a certain chart/table. So those books were vital, dont skip them.
The prometric front desk lady told me i was packing light, i chuckled and she mentioned some examinee's would take the biggest bankers box they could find. My only thought on that is how do you have time to rifle through so many books on a timed exam.
I just took the test on Friday, so no results yet but i feel comfortable with how the test went.
About 2 weeks out from my seismic test day i fell ill with the flu and decided to postpone the test. It cost the $60 as noted on Prometric website. My only concern was I purchased a 3pm slot because that was all that was left. Since i am an early-bird i was concerned about waiting until the afternoon to test. I called the local testing center the day of my exam and they allowed me test as soon as i could get down there. The ladies were happy to allow me to take the test early because they had seats available. So the take away is, if you aren't juiced about the time-slot you can call and see if they can accommodate. Prometric staff was easy to deal with.
Survey: Torossian's review course & manual and then PPI's if you need additional information. No input on practice exams.
Seismic: Hiner's review course & manual, ASCE 7-10, IBC and PE prepared's practice exam as additional problems. You can skip PPI's review manual and their practice exam is even worse.
I hope this helps. Good luck to everyone fighting the good fight. If i happen not to pass seismic, i will update my thread to adjust hours etc.