Orientation Exam

The North Dakota Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors is responsible for developing the North Dakota Land Surveying Orientation Examination (NDLS) for candidates seeking licensure as professional land surveyors. The Board devotes substantial time and effort developing a state-specific examination that is a valid measure of competency related to the practice of the profession.


The NDLS Examination is a 60 question, open-book multiple-choice exam. It is the result of careful preparation by a committee comprised of professional land surveyors. These land surveyors supply the content expertise essential in developing a fair examination for measuring entry level competency in the profession.


You need to have taken and passed the Principles and Practice of Land Surveying (PLS) Exam prior to taking this exam. Applicants for registration by endorsement must be approved by the board before you can take the orientation exam.

NDLS Test Blueprint

The NDLS Test Blueprint specifies the content areas/domains for the examination. More weight is assigned to content domains that are most directly related to public protection issues. Some subject areas have specific statutes listed in the first column. The listing does not represent the only sources from which answers to questions about the subject area can be found. Self study is still required. (Sample test questions)


Approved references are:

    1. Digest of Laws, 2015.
    2. Manual of Instructions for the Survey of the Public Lands of the United States 2009 and its appendices. The BLM Glossary is also allowed. These references are available from the: Superintendent of Documents/U.S. Government Printing Office/Washington, DC 20402
    3. Black’s Law Dictionary-8th and 9th editions
    4. Definitions of Surveying and Associated Terms available from the: American Congress on Surveying and Mapping/6 Montgomery Village Avenue, Suite #403/Gaithersburg, MD 20879
    5. Recommended Guidelines for the Practice of Land Surveying in North Dakota available from the North Dakota Society of Professional Land Surveyors/www.ndspls.org
    6. North Dakota Century Code 43-19-1-contained in the Digest of Laws
    7. North Dakota Administrative Code 28-01-www.nd.gov-a link is provided under the “Rules” menu


Re-Take Policy

One administration of the North Dakota Land Surveying Orientation Exam is included with your application fee. If you fail the exam, you may re-take the exam at the next available opportunity for a fee of $100.00. If you fail the exam a second time, you must wait three months before taking it again.