CA PLS Exam Advice
Looking for anyone to give me advice for the California Specific PLS Exam. I took the National and found it to be quite easy, I finished that exam with plenty of time to spare but I have a feeling based upon the pass rates (65% vs 20%) that the CA PLS exam is much more difficult. I do know that there is an emphasis on state specific requirements such as SMA, PLS Act, The Civil Code and the Public Resources Code, but what is making studying difficult is the lack of definition to the exam. For instance the National Exam was very clear and concise on the exam format, breaking the amount of questions into categories and further supplementing with specifics of the exam. The California Exam breakdown is very general, basically you need to know everything applicable and it doesn't provide a question count, so there way to gauge if the problems i'm solving are too long/short. Additionally, the exam does not have any study material specific to the CA exam.
If you passed you California PLS Exam after the switch to computer based testing, what would be your recommendation for studying? Also, did you find any good reference materials that i'm missing?
The test plan, located here, is pretty specific. I can assure you that the questions in the exam will fit the percentages of the Test Plan with regards to the areas covered.
Here is the reference list provided by the Board.
I passed the exam 32 years ago, so I can't speak to the number of questions on the current exam, but I have heard it is around 70. I was involved with grading for several years under the old format, and was on the exam development team the final year (2011) so I know that the Test Plan is the road map for building the exam.
A few examples of CBT questions are located here:
Spiffy, first off, congrats on passing the national. I passed both national and CA state specific a few years ago, after it went to CBT. The biggest issue I saw was people bringing in giant boxes of reference materials and spending too much time flipping through the books and not answering the questions. I took one well organized 3 ring binder in with copies from reference materials that I wasn't comfortable with my level of understanding (water boundaries, public land info). I too finished the national so quickly that I went through all the problems a second time, which was the same for the state specific. I didn't feel the state specific was that much harder than the national (harder yes, but nothing too crazy), I think most people have that fear and over think the exam and psych themselves out. (disclaimer: I took the exam with 18 years experience, so I was pretty comfortable with most survey topics). I don't remember how many questions they were, but SPMPLS mentioned 70 and that seems about right.
Good luck with the exam, if I can find my study materials I took in to the exam with me I will reach out to you. Get that test passed soon, you don't want a 5 digit PLS number for your entire career!
Thank you all for the responses. My experience relating to the exam varies from experienced well in some categories to none in others, I am a Register Civil Engineer with Broad Based LS Experience, so I am taking the exam with out responsible in charge experience. That is not to say that I am not experienced, because I have done ALTA's, ROS's, Parcel Maps, Topo Maps, R/W Maps, Legal Descriptions, Grading Plans, Etc. in the Office and in the Field. I am really pleased to hear that the National and the State are similar in difficulty. In fact I didn't study much for the national exam, so the fact I am putting more of an effort into the State one leaves me with a bit of relief. I will continue studying and putting in the hard work, so I can join the group of PLS's. Thanks guys for the responses and anymore responses are welcome.