Licensing Process Part 4: Exams

If you’ve been following this for a few posts, you’ll have seen that to get licensed as a cadastral surveyor in New Zealand involves strict experience requirements and a decent amount of work on various projects. The good news is that, by the time you’ve factored in all those other things, the exam side of things is actually relatively simple.

There are two exam events that you need to pass to get licensed. I say exam events because, strictly speaking, neither one is a simple exam in terms of sitting down and answering questions for a few hours.

The first one is what surveyors affectionally call, the ‘laws and regs.’ I’ve also heard it referred to as ‘the hardest exam you will ever sit in your life!’ It is exactly what it sounds like, an assessment of your understanding of the statutes and regulations surrounding cadastral surveying in New Zealand. 60% of the final mark comes from a sit-down exam with direct questions about the various laws in New Zealand. The other 40% of the mark comes from a research component, which basically outlines the most complex boundary definition scenario you will ever face, and which you need to explain how to arrive at a just and equitable decision on where the boundary falls. The laws and regs exam is held once a year, every February.

The professional entrance exam is the big one. This is the final hurdle before qualifying to be licensed. Having fulfilled the experience requirements, and completed the projects, you need to send the projects down to Wellington. There a panel of experts in the various fields I mentioned the other day will look over the projects, and come exam time, will grill you on every aspect of them. The exam is actually made up of a number of oral exams, each dealing with a different discipline within surveying. The goal is as with the projects, to prove competency in certain fields within surveying. Provided they are happy that you know your stuff, you can go away eligible to get licensed, the road finally at an end!

Now before I finish up this series, I need to mention that I have intentionally simplified some stuff, so if you’re actually planning on getting licensed, or just really keen, you should check out the original documents. The best resources to find out more are the Cadastral Survey Act 2002, along with the NZIS Annual Circular, which goes into more detail about what the projects involve. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear them!

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