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My LSIT Study List

I’m a student a Sacramento City College working towards the Surveying Certificate of Achievement. I took the FS(Fundamentals of Surveying) test in April 2008 and passed. Here’s my study list for what it’s worth.

Elementary Surveying: An Introduction to Geomatics 11th edition (Now 12th)
Paul R. Wolf and Charles D. Ghilani

The textbook for the first two survey classes at Sacramento City College. I saw the 11th ed online, published in 2005, for as little as $6. I paid over $100 at the college store. The 12th edition lists for $149.
I read it from cover to cover and did most of the problems either for assigned homework or otherwise.

Surveying Solved Problems for the Fs and PS Exams
Jan Van Sickle, PLS

Listed as the “Expanded edition of 1001 Solved Surveying Fundamentals Problems
I don’t know the difference between the two versions other than that 1001 only seems to be available at a reasonable rate from Paul Cuomo Press
Lots of the kinds of problems found on the FS test with their solutions. Going through this book I found my strengths and weaknesses and supplemented the later with Elementary Surveying and google.

Fundamentals of Surveying: Sample Questions & Solutions

Just what it says.

FS Supplied-Reference Formulas

This is supplied in the test booklet at the exam.
You don’t have to memorize all those formulas but you do need to know how to apply them.

HP 35s
Before this I had a TI-36X Solar. Before that I had a casio something or other. Buy this or the 33s now! Buy 2 of them or 1 of each. I bought one 5 months before the test and a second as a backup just before hand and carried it with me wherever I went. I stayed up late and read the book, which you CANNOT take to the exam, over and over. When I sat for the exam, a couple of people had actually brought calculators not on the approved list IF you insist on using one of those other calculators make sure it is on the list. You may benefit from the kindness and generosity of your fellow test takers with a spare, but why?


  • RPN: learn it now, forget algebraic.
  • Programming: I wrote some programs for it, but mostly used them to check my long hand results.
  • HP Solve: my algebra ain’t what it used to be. Enter an equation, tell the 35 which variable to solve for. It may just spit out the right answer.


  • HMS→ →HMS the HP won’t tell you which mode you are in and the trig functions assume decimal degrees. The TI will work on either, and display which mode you’re in. Don’t forget to convert and don’t forget which mode you’re in.

There’s no solar on the HP’s. Buy these when you buy the calculator and keep them with it.

Exam Day

Wrist Watch
I’ve become so reliant on my cell phone/computer/gps/sirius radio to tell me what time it is, I didn’t have a functioning watch. There was no clock in the room. They’ll tell you when the test is almost over, but that’s it. When I asked a proctor what time it was, they didn’t know. I finished both halves of the test with time to spare, but with a watch, I would have been able to pace myself better and I would have been able to sleep better in the 3 months it took to get the test results back.


  • lunch: I packed a couple of sandwiches and power bars (preferably not made of apple cores and old Chinese newspapers)
  • bottled water: dehydration make you tired and um…. unsmart
  • Coffee Thermos: I like coffee. I’ve even been known to roast it myself Bring a thermos with you to avoid having to leave the test site.