CA Civil Surveying Exam - Study Recommendation

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W.WW KG Engineer

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I took the CA Civil Surveying Exam in Q2 2021 and I found out I passed on my first attempt. I used the CPESR Course (Pass the California Civil PE Survey Exam With CPESR | Civil PE Surveying Review) to prepare for the exam. I think the course was extemely well done and I felt very prepared going into the exam. I would HIGHLY recommend taking this course. The lectures were engaging and Kirk really walked through all concepts in detail. The quizzes were great as they included questions from previous lectures to keep all information fresh. The five practice exams were really good - I took most of the twice in preparation for the exam.

Thanks to CPESR, there were only two to three questions I wasn't familiar with, but I was still able to make solid attempts. Further, the actual exam questions were easier than the practice exams in my opinion.

Best of luck to all future test takers!
 
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I second the CPESR course. Never had a surveying course before, so I signed up for this one. Got through the lectures and the 5 practice exams in about 2 weeks and they left me fully prepared (maybe even a bit over-prepared, but that's not such a bad thing!).
 
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I took exam twice with this class and found it fairly useless besides the practice exams. Reza's workbook and lectures were much better in preparing me for exam like questions.
 

lmoz

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I recently found out that I passed Survey and I am so happy. This was a huge relief as I need it for promotion. This was the last test I needed and the 2nd time taking it.

Preface: I am an civil engineer who has virtually no survey experience. (I think I took one class in survey in college many years ago.)

The first try I used exclusively the Reza workbook and on demand lecture. His lecture videos are him writing on a pdf. I think he provided some helpful tips and went over the material through the book. Most of the lecture was solving problems. The workbook is a bunch of problems in each chapter, then 5 quizzes and 1 practice exam. Writing using what I think was a mouse is kind of messy on a screen so sometimes it was hard for me to follow. While I think his book has great practice questions, many of the question solutions were not detailed enough and I spent a lot of time trying to figure them out. Again I am a novice. In addition on his website it say he offers computer based tests however it seems to just be a pdf that is sent to you and you need to score and time it yourself on a piece of paper. Not sure I would call that a computer based test. All in all I thought the practice questions were good overall and the instruction was good. Unfortunately I did not pass the first time.

The second time a friend recommended CPESR. I believe it was last updated a couple months ago. I very much enjoyed this course more as the instructor Kirk breaks down the topics on a base layer than builds up through quizzes and practice questions. The videos are edited and well produced and easy to follow along. He also was quick to respond to emails to help with questions and I did have a technical issue with my computer that he helped with as well. The practice questions on the quizzes and practice tests were also good. There are 5 unique practice tests that are actually a computer based test with detailed explanations and they are excellent. They really put you in the position of taking an exam as it is timed and scored like the real exam. I would say the last 3 were most representative on the test. They are broken down into 1 easy test, 2 medium tests, and 2 hard tests. The real exam for me was about a medium test tilting toward hard. Also I did see different types of questions than the first time I took the test so I guess there is an aspect of luck as well. Like the other commenter, I felt over-prepared for the exam and the reference manual was great to find equations and concepts quickly.

Overall I think both courses are good and one can pass with either. But if you are a beginner, definitely start with CPESR course. I think as a package it is excellent. If you only want some questions or have more time after taking the CPESR course, the Reza workbook is a good source for questions.
 

jr_inthefog

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I took exam twice with this class and found it fairly useless besides the practice exams. Reza's workbook and lectures were much better in preparing me for exam like questions.
I had the exact same experience. I was an ME and never had a surveying class. I took the test twice with CPESR and went nuclear and got the Reza class and passed on the third. (Sorry, Kirk). I passed seismic 1st time with Hiner.
 
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I had the exact same experience. I was an ME and never had a surveying class. I took the test twice with CPESR and went nuclear and got the Reza class and passed on the third. (Sorry, Kirk). I passed seismic 1st time with Hiner.
Yep and to clarify

I got Deficient for every category both times off CPESR. passed next with Reza. I had a friend with a similar experience with cpesr, took reza the next time and passed. whatever floats peoples boats I guess not trying to derail the thread
 

DA P.E.COK

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From my experience, I found the CPESR course and Reza workbook combo to be very efficient in preparing for this exam!
 

lmoz

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Definitely to each his/her own and whatever floats the boat. I think there are many ways to study and pass. In my experience and of my friends, the CPESR course was most helpful and supplemented with the Reza workbook for some good additional practice was a winning combination. Good luck to all future test takers.
 

jr_inthefog

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Same- i used CPESR and Reza. The cost of retaking a test is approaching the cost of an additional course. So just get both courses, take the test once. If you take both, you will be prepared. Each course had strength and weaknesses. If had to pick one, it would be Reza.
 

XrayCP1

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I took the EET surveying course after I used them for both portions of the 8 hour exam review courses, and I was able to pass the first time for surveying. I did as they recommended, probably studied for about 4-6 weeks just from that course and it was enough. I have to say though that I have had a lot of exposure to survey-related activities, working with surveyors on construction projects, working in the office with a PLS. That experience could have made any review course good enough, but that's my two cents: I thought EET was worth the money and had a good, complete review course.
 

TranspoPE2020

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Hi everyone. I highly recommend Reza Mahallati's book for the survey test. This is the only book I studied less than 2 months and passed on my first try. I have the book for sale. It's the most updated version (spring 2021), tabbed and highlighted (tabs are removable). I have added some notes and questions from other sources. Selling for $80 + Shipping.
DM me if you are interested.
image.jpg
 

bridge_guy

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Thanks for the tips. It looks like Kirk did an update to his book and its grown to 150 pages as per his website. I recall in the past it was maybe 20 pages or so and his videos were 12 +/- hours.
 

Vin

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Civil PE Surveying Review course
Very happy to have taken the Civil PE Surveying Review course (CPESR) course offered by Kirk Torossian, I successfully passed the exam recently. The lectures, quizzes and practice exams offered conceptual clarity, and helped me understand & avoid the common mistakes we make in solving problems. Given my non survey background, I required a lot of practice to be up to speed. This coursework offered a lot of practice problems and mock exams that greatly helped me improve speed. I highly recommend the course.
 

Saidev

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Hi everyone. I highly recommend Reza Mahallati's book for the survey test. This is the only book I studied less than 2 months and passed on my first try. I have the book for sale. It's the most updated version (spring 2021), tabbed and highlighted (tabs are removable). I have added some notes and questions from other sources. Selling for $80 + Shipping.
DM me if you are interested.
View attachment 22840
Do you still have the book for sale?
 

Derek S. Lee

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Hi everyone. I highly recommend Reza Mahallati's book for the survey test. This is the only book I studied less than 2 months and passed on my first try. I have the book for sale. It's the most updated version (spring 2021), tabbed and highlighted (tabs are removable). I have added some notes and questions from other sources. Selling for $80 + Shipping.
DM me if you are interested.
image.jpg
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