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### Surveying formulas

I am a rodman and i have three years of land surveying exp. but i am now doing industrial surveying work and next year i want to go retake my cst level 2 test. What i am wondering is there a easier formula basis to go off of then what is in the back of the field books so i can pass the test this time. I have already started studying a lil bit and know a lil bit but i want to know more from people who are better at surveying then me. The calculator i am using to practice and take my test is a ti 83, is that a good one also. Thank you for any help you can provide to me so that i can work my way up in the surveying industry.

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#### Replies

Billy Brooks

• Brian,

I have taken many tests over the years and what I have found that helped me is mastering the calculator. Being really proficient with the calculator is one of the best things you can do. You don't have to learn all of it's functions or every button. Only those that you will use on a daily basis. Converting from DMS to DDD and DDD to DMS is a must. How to effectively use the X<>Y button and understanding the stack. I have used a standard calculator, the one that has the equals button and I have used the RPN calculator. The RPN calculator is my favorite and I use it every day. Once you master it, you can do complex calculations quite easily.

Another thing I have done is to create my own list of formulas and rearranged them to quickly solve a problem. For example:

The Law of Cosines: Cos A = (b² + c² - a²) / 2 * b * c

I rearranged it to read: A = ArcCos((b² + c² - a²) / 2 * b * c)

I have done this for many surveying formulas. All I have to do is walk through the formula with the calculator. This process works best with a RPN calculator. Using the Texas Instrument calculator takes a few more steps than an HP however you can master it by thinking through each step so that you press the buttons in the proper sequence. One wrong button push and you have to start all over.

Recently I have taken all of the formulas and methods I use and compiled them into ebooks and made them available to everyone. When you get a chance take a look at the ebooks and sample pages at www.cc4w.net/ebooks.html

There is no substitute for practice, practice, practice. You need to build the muscle memory with your calculator to be able to sit through an exam and get through it in the allotted time.

Best of luck.

Jim

Books & Ebooks
• Land Surveyor

Brian, I remember feeling the same way when it was cram time for tests.  I can imagine that many others have felt the same.  What I have found is that it matters less which calculator you use than how well you can use it.  The three formulas you should memorize an know inside out and backwards are the Pythagorean Theorem, the Law of Sines, and the Law of Cosines.  Also a more than basic understanding of ratios will help you understand some of the harder stuff.

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