Fewer people know the importance of preparation like Professional Surveyors. Much like with any certification governed by the NCEES, it’s crucial to draft a plan of action when preparing for the PS exam in order to have a more fruitful outcome. 

But while a professional land surveyor work site has clearly defined boundaries, PS exam prep can be a little more difficult to prepare for.

So where do you start looking for PS exam prep?

We’re prepared to help you prepare for and pass your exam and become a licensed surveyor. The information listed below combined with your effort will almost certainly result in you becoming a professional surveyor. 

So let’s jump right in and see which of these PS exam prep courses will be the perfect fit for you!

1. School of PE

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School of PE offers a comprehensive 60-hour course that also includes PS exam practice sessions. Additionally, their emphasis on the NCEES PS Reference Handbook when teaching their students is extremely effective— the end result is quality and quantity.

The course makes sure to focus on key topics from the exam. Throughout this course you’ll be reviewing topics such as standards and specifications, professional surveying practices, and legal principles. Additionally, information regarding areas of practice as well as optimal business practices for professional surveyors are also covered in the course.

But what if you don’t want to study by yourself? 

School of PE offers its exam prep in both Live Online and On-Demand format. The Live Online option is designed to keep you accountable by having you attend scheduled online class sessions. It also includes live practice sessions as well as instructor support.

Alternatively, for those looking to get started sooner and not have to adhere to a schedule— the On-Demand option is probably more your speed. The course content isn’t too dissimilar from the Live Online course, as you’ll still enjoy lectures and practice sessions. The main difference to note is that lectures are recorded and available to view at your own pace. This format is available on a monthly subscription plan, though longer subscriptions can also be purchased.

School of PE Bottom Line

School of PE stands out as one of the stronger online options for PS exam prep. Their bundles are truly comprehensive, and the support across all devices ensures that you can take them on the go with you at all times. 


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PPI2PASS has roots extending all the way back to 1975. However, they just recently joined forces with Kaplan, which is a hugely beneficial partnership for anyone enrolled in their professional surveyor state licensing courses. Kaplan is also a provider of well-respected exam review courses for other high-skill trades, such as securities representatives. Consequently, their expertise is clear in PPI2PASS’s course materials.

This professional surveyor state licensing prep company has an appealing PS exam prep bundle on offer— alongside several educational supplements. Just one of their exam prep books includes 900 practice questions to test your knowledge of surveying theories and equations. Once you’ve taken the time to complete some of these, you can then move on to the next part of the bundle, the Principles of Surveying Practice Exam.

One standout feature of PPI2PASS’s practice exam content is the knowledge section that includes new problem types. This will allow you to gain exposure to newer content prior to the day you take your exam. Additionally, this course pushes your practice problems even further with the inclusion of a third book, the NCEES Principles and Practice of Surveying Practice Exam.

All of these items cost just over $200, which is an excellent deal. But if you feel the need for additional study materials. PPI2PASS has several reference guides and items like graphing calculators available as add-ons to the standard bundle. 

Not looking for a bundle but still want to check out what PPI2PASS has to offer? They’ve got you covered:

Finally, the ability to purchase items piecemeal instead of as part of a bundle really makes PPI2PASS’s course offering feel customizable. The fair pricing of these items is the icing on the cake.

PPI2PASS Bottom Line

PPI2PASS is impressive because of their competence and flexibility. Whether you opt for a single product or an affordable bundle, their professional surveyor study tools will help you obtain the edge you need to start your PS career!


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3. Varsity Tutors

Varsity Tutors doesn’t just have that name to show off; they really are an A-team test prep company. They offer private PS courses for surveyors looking to attain their credentialed status— courses so good, they’ve won awards!

Students are assigned personal instructors in order to create a completely customized approach per individual. That’s right, there’s absolutely no “cookie-cutter” or “one size fits all” method to be found. Even just signing up for the course is highly personalized. All you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • Are you looking for group study or 1-on-1?
  • How soon are you looking to start?

It might seem like a small feature, but this process ensures that your specific needs are addressed throughout the course.

Each Varsity Tutor will take the time to assess your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re stronger in common law boundary principles but not with monumentation standards, your tutor will take note of that. They will continue to reevaluate your targeted areas of focus each week and adjust your study schedule accordingly.

In addition to your highly personalized study plan, Varsity Tutors makes sure to keep you on track so that you’re prepared for what’s actually on the PS exam. The end result is an entirely unique tutoring experience that’s on par with many full prep courses!

Varsity Tutors Bottom Line

This company has a clear respect for their students’ time. From start to finish, they will listen to your needs and concerns and make sure that your experience is adjusted accordingly. If you prefer something unique and highly personalized, definitely pay Varsity Tutors a visit!

4. NLC Test Prep

You’ve seen course providers that cover wide ranges of topics and those that embrace a highly personalized approach.

Now let’s take a look at NLC Prep, a PS exam prep course that emphasizes a highly specific focus on 7 key subjects for the exam. Each key subject is referred to as a module with an entire course built around it. Additionally, you’re able to purchase all of these modules together as a comprehensive bundle to save more money.

Do you just want to learn more about the PS exam? If so, you can enroll in their Welcome and Test Tips module. This module gives you an overview of the exam as well as tips on getting started and how to do better come exam day. But if you have more exposure with the topics on the exam, then you might be more interested in the Practice Exam module. 

As previously mentioned, you’re able to bundle all of these modules together for less than $500. But unlike other providers who only give you a discount for buying in bulk, the modules on their own are also extremely affordable. It’s less than ten dollars to enroll in the Welcome bundle we just mentioned— and it comes with an entire course outline that’s easily worth ten times that!

NLC Prep Bottom Line

Some providers will take bundles as a chance to make a greater profit by including items that you may not actually need. NLC is fantastic because they allow you to make that choice for yourself— and they treat you fairly at every step.

5. PLS Exam Prep

PLS Exam Prep may not be your first (or second) choice, but they offer an appealing self-study program that grants you lifetime membership. You read that correctly: once you’re signed up for PLS, you’re a member for life and are guaranteed access to their content whenever you need.

So once you’re a lifetime member, what content do you have access to?

This prep course is broken down into 12 classes covering separate topics. Depending on your budget and educational need, you can enroll in single courses or bundle them all together. There are about 38 hours of lectures here at your disposal which are accompanied by materials to help you follow along. 

In contrast to many other companies, PLS Exam Prep keeps their recorded lecture content more personable by recording them in a live audience setting. This helps evoke the feeling of being in a class while still allowing you to completely control your schedule.

PLS Exam Prep Bottom Line

So with all these appealing features, why is PLS Exam Prep so low on the list? Simply put, there are so many better courses available, like PPI2PASS. Still, this is a very competent option for students on a tight budget.

PS Exam Course Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the PS Exam?

Takers of the PS exam have 7 hours to complete 100 total questions split across 2 parts.

Do these PS exam prep courses support mobile devices?

Unfortunately, no. For example, the main bundle mentioned above for PPI2PASS includes physical textbooks. If you’re looking for a more digital solution, we recommend taking a look at School of PE, as they support all mobile devices.

Is there a difference between the Principles and Practice of Land Surveying exam and the Professional Land Surveyor exam?

No, these are the same exam. The correct name is Principles and Practice of Land Surveying, but people often refer to the exam with the Professional Land Surveyor moniker.

Is passing the PS Exam the only requirement for becoming a Professional Land Surveyor?

No. While all states have their own guidelines, you’ll typically need to pass the PS & FS exam in addition to a state-specific law and ethics exam.

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.