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Posts: 9
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Joined: 4 years ago

All -

I'm just about to submit my paperwork to sit for the MA PLS exam.

Starting with the oral exam.

Anyone care to share hints/tips regarding what I should be expecting at the Oral Exam ?

Thanks in advance!

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Joined: 7 years ago

50+ posts
Posts: 63

Land Court rules ..........  Know the difference between them and "normal" rules.

Zoning & Subdivision law

That test a very tough one.

Larry Best
Posts: 494
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I  don't know if my experience from the MA oral exam about 30 years ago is relevant but I won't forget it.

They asked "You do a survey in a city where a state highway goes through the property. Your client wants to build right at the R.O.W.  You find all the highway bounds but distances between the pairs are way off the layout width. Where do you put the R.O.W. lines? "

I answered something like "Well I would reject anything that might have been disturbed. I know MA law is to hold the nominal width. Maybe I would contact the MA highway dept. and ask their engineers. I really don't know what I would do." 

I walked out terribly discouraged. Felt like a fool. But I passed.



Peter Lothian
Posts: 385
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Joined: 7 years ago

Don't try to BS your way through the oral. If you don't know the answer, just admit it, and move on to the next question. I also had a highway law question that stumped me, but got still got through the oral and sat for the written.

Also, one of my friends got bogged down arguing one particular boundary resolution from his sample package of past work. The interviewer told him that the resolution was not done correctly, and they spent 3/4 of the session arguing about it. The correct answer would have been, "that's the resolution my P.L.S. told me to use." Next question. You are there to demonstrate your knowledge, not defend one boundary determination that someone else stamped.

If you have a B.S. degree in surveying, don't think of it as a golden ticket. The experience you have counts heavily, and you must demonstrate a wide variety of surveying projects, and increasing levels of responsibility through your "apprenticeship" period.

Posts: 996
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Joined: 7 years ago

Same experience in my interview with the highway layout and bounds not matching record.  Record rules is the answer they're looking for.

Be confident but not cocky.  That'll should do it.

Posts: 2734
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Joined: 8 years ago

I recall being asked about a survey and they were looking for me to state the term Operative Document.  I did not spit out the term but rather the definition.  Just remember, they are not there to deny you.  They are there just to make sure you can talk the talk.  Sit down and enjoy the conversation if you can. 

The 15 minute break between the federal and state exams means your exam will end at 4:15.  The engineers wrap up at 4:00 and are asked to be quiet for the surveyors in the back.  They fail in their attempts.  Resist the urge to throw a chair into the group.

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