California Supplemental Exam

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    Soo Wai-Kin

    hoped you passed the exam, any new insights to what is already listed here? thanks.

    Jarrod B

    Nanda – I would love to be able to access the flashcards on flashcard exchange….but it keeps saying that they are marked to private…would you be able to share them. I take the CSE on Thursday ….have already gone through all of your other links – thanks much!!!!

    Amy Ho

    Thank you so much for this information. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciated your advices…!
    Good luck for your future. I am sure you will have a great carrear.
    Best regards,

    Soo Wai-Kin

    thank you all for the advice and guidance, pass the test today, seems like the questions have multiple answers, i looked up some answers when i got out and there were indeed true. Anyway, oaks, oaks, oaks…. fire/fuel mod, wetland jurisdiction, everything that nanda mentioned came up! Thank you again…

    Soo Wai-Kin



    Hi all, 

    Thank you for the study tips for the CSE.  I will be taking the test soon and was wondering if anyone had any more recent updates in regards to the test.  Seems like the last post was almost one year ago…


    Seems like this test is sooo broad. The best study guide so far I have found through this chat. Thanks again!  Any imp. websites, topics, suggestions woud be most appreciated!  About how long did most people study?


    Thank you!


    took the test late October 2011.My experience:


    Many more questions on the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance topic. It got specific. Study up on that!

    Legalities of run -off onto other property.

    earthquakes or plant pathology not present

    Native species still very present.

    ADA, too.

    A couple along the lines of “who would seek approavl from if your site had a stream or a bridge or a dock on the ocean.”


    Best of Luck!

    ( I passed)


    Thank you for the update and congratulations ERL! I am taking the exam this Monday. Do you think the exam was simply updated or completely redone? I have a lot of feedback from the exam from people who have taken it, so it would be a shame to loose all that info!


    Anyone else take it lately?


    Thank you ERL for the update!

    Hi Jennifer I am studying for the exam and will be taking it the end of the month.

    I am looking for any feedback from people that have previously taken the exam.. what have you been studying mostly? I have been going through the websites mentioned on the PPI candidate guide the Model Efficient Landscape Ordinance…any other helpful hints on what to study or exam resources would be much appreciated!!


    Thanks in advance! 



    Hello! Took the CA Supplemental exam today and passed!


    The exam has been revised! As ERl noted the exam is VERY heavily weighted on the newish Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and is VERY specific, so know all the numbers and specifics!

    All other comments from ERL are correct. Below are some things that are still on the exam from previous posts:

    Know your natives and adaptive drought tolerants, what to plant under oaks etc.


    Fire issues in Landscape architecture.

    Irrigation pressure per foot rise of water.

    What info do you need for MAWA(water application) calculations?


    What info do you need to calculate precipitation rate.

    Why need a BFP?

    Where do you get your water pressure info from.


    What plants should not be planted in a school design 

    What info do you need to calculate max span of wood beam

    Why steel in reinforced conc.?


    Be familiar with CAGreen

    Responsibilities and limitations of, US fish and wildlife service, Coastal commission, US army corps of engineers, California Department of Fish and game


    Which agency is responsible at various scale and location of projects?

    Be familiar with CEQA, Coastal commission, Dept of fish and Game, USFWS.


    If I have not listed items from Nanda’s previous post, they were NOT present.

    Good luck!


    Congratulations!!  Thank you for the notes.  How long did you prepare for the exam?  Any textbooks that you reread that were helpful or did you spend most of your time looking through the various websites? Thx!!




    Thank you, so grateful to have a LONG (and expensive) process behind me!

    I gathered info. for about a month, but really only studied seriously for two weeks.

    Not really any text books used, all on the web, besides for Sunset.

    I read all the links that Nanda provided, plus Sunset in the CA natives section and what to plant under oaks section.

    I googled things like CA Fire Safety precautions/recommendations and that was enough for the exam ( e.g. know buffer distance recommendations and what are the greatest fire hazard conditions, preventatives in landscape design, etc.)

    Also, when learning your natives, know where they would best be used (e.g. wet/dry conditions, can take coastal salt spray, full sun, etc.)

    Know procedures to maintain a bare slope condition during construction or after a fire situation, to help prevent erosion.


    Know your ADA as it pertains to exterior conditions.


    Know what a registered LA is allowed to and not allowed to design.


    Know the related disciplines LA’s go to for things like, geological, structural, etc.


    Feel encouraged, this test is not as tricky as the LARE (it’s REAL world, so that helps). However, the questions need to be read through VERY carefully. They throw a lot of information in some of the questions that can be a bit confusing, but when re-read a couple of times (or a few times in my case), the question is asking for a very specific answer, so read carefully! 


     Best of luck, let me know how it goes, I have a feeling you’ll be just fine!





    Thank you for the insights and encouragement I really appreciate it!  I will let you know how it goes..time to buckle down and study now..Can’t wait to get this process over with. 🙂


    John A. Denson

    I’m putting together a blog about the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects. Let me know if there is a topic you would like discussed or have questions. I will answer them the best I can.

    Check out the site at


    Hi there! I was wondering if the flash card link could be made accessible.  I tried clicking on it and it was password protected.  Thanks so much!

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