PE&RS September 2014 - page 825

September 2014
the test taker knows at that time. There are basically two
types of questions residing in the question bank main-
tained by ASPRS. One type of question is more basic and
is designed to measure an individual’s breadth of knowl-
edge in the spatial sciences. The other questions are more
specific and detailed. Each specialization has different
weights for the topics covered in the exam. For example,
for the photogrammetry exam the breakdown is as follows:
Topical Area
Mathematics and Science
13 – 15
Engineering Surveying
6 – 7
9 – 11
12 – 15
25 – 27
12 - 15
Ethics and General Knowledge
For the remote sensing exam the breakdown is:
Topical Area
Mathematics and Science
14 – 16
Engineering Surveying
5 – 6
9 – 10
25 – 28
10 – 14
12 - 15
Ethics and General Knowledge
For the GIS/LIS exam, the following table describes the
topical breakdown:
Topical Area
Mathematics and Science
14 – 16
Engineering Surveying
5 – 6
7 – 9
18 – 20
10 – 13
21 - 23
Ethics and General Knowledge
Note that in these tables the topical area “Imaging” refers
to Remote Sensing.
It should be pointed out that the “depth” of the question
will be great in the test taker’s specialization and more
general those areas outside of the specialization. For
example, an applicant taking a photogrammetry exam
should expect that the photogrammetry questions be more
specific to that specialization than, say, a remote sensing
question which would be more general in form. This is not
inconsistent with other professional exams. Engineers and
surveyors are required to take two different exams, a prin-
ciples exam that tests the applicant’s general knowledge of
engineering or surveying and a more specific professional
exam designed to narrow in on the area of specialization.
How does an applicant prepare for the exam? Are there
suggested study protocols?
Preparing for the ASPRS exam is like preparing for any
other type of exam - read and study. Generally, the appli-
cant’s specialization should only require shoring up what
that person is already doing in the workplace. What are some
of the underlying principles to the workflow they are already
familiar with. In the areas outside of their specialization,
read a good general textbook on the topic. Remember that
these questions are more general in nature. For example, as
a photogrammetrist I might need to have an understanding
of the relationship between the different sensor and mapping
planes in a mobile mapping environment whereas as a GIS/
LIS exam I need only know that mobile sensors can be
corrected for the effects of sensors in motion. Be smart when
preparing. For topics outside of the area of specialization,
concentrate on definitions. For questions in the area of
specialization, understand the principles.
ASPRS also offers a Preparing for ASPRS Certification
workshop/webinar that is offered periodically through
the year. This is an 8-hour workshop designed to show
participants what kinds of topics and questions they may
encounter on the exam. It does not cover specific exam
questions though.
When taking the exam, answer all of the questions. You
are not penalized for wrong answers. As you go through
the exam initially, answer those questions that you know
first and skip those that you are unsure about or have
to look up in your bound reference. Then come back and
answer the rest. Finally, do not read too much into the
questions. Self-doubt is the nemesis of test takers. Because
of that, your first response is probably correct more often
than your second response.
What is the pass/failure rate on the exam?
The pass rate is very good for this exam if pretty good,
averaging in the mid 80% range and higher. As a general
rule, those who fail miss the cut-off by a large margin and
this indicates that the applicant has not properly prepared
for the exam.
If an applicant fails the exam, can they retake it again?
If an applicant fails the exam they can retake another
certification exam again within 6 months. An applicant
who does fail can contact the chair of the Certification
Committee to find out what topical areas he/she were weak
in. Unfortunately, they do not have the opportunity to
review the exam results personally.
Does the certification expire?
Once certified in the ASPRS Certification program that
individual is always certified but they cannot use the
title “Certified” if they do not renew their certification.
Certification lasts for 5 years. If the certification lapses for
more than one year, the individual must start the process
for certification all over again. This also means that they
must pass the certification exam again.
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