Who Else Wants to Master Site Inventory Skills for the California Supplemental Exam?

Site Inventory Series Logo for the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for landscape architects.If you are like me, you are an aspiring landscape architect who is trying to get a landscape architect license in California.

We have already taken and passed the Landscape Architect Registration Exam (LARE).

Now, another daunting obstacle stands in our way: the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for landscape architects.

The CSE is a formidable exam with eight landscape architect practice areas, dozens of job tasks, and almost one hundred associated knowledge areas to master. There is a lot to know if you want to pass the exam. However, victory is within your reach!

Fear not! We will attack this beast one subject area at a time.

How to Prepare for the CSE One Topic At A Time
Victory can be achieved if you attack the CSE exam one topic at a time. It can be overwhelming to read candidate packet for the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects. There is so much information to know. Where do we start?

Since we need to chose a starting point, let’s pick the CSE topic of inventory. Almost a quarter of the California Supplemental Exam consist of inventory questions, job tasks, and professional knowledge areas.

The CSE Inventory section of the exam has two sub areas:

  • Site Inventory
  • Regulatory Assessment

We will now look at the two inventory sub-areas and get an overview of what topics are covered on the CSE exam for landscape architects.

Site Inventory
Site inventory is the largest sub-area and has about 14 percent of the CSE’s exam questions. This seems like a meaty place to sink our teeth into.

Site inventory consists of four job tasks:

  • Identify existing site conditions to determine influences that affect development of project site.
  • Identify data needed to assist in development of project site.
  • Identify off-site conditions to determine influences that affect development of project site.
  • Identify potentially hazardous areas of project site to address in development of project site.
Site inventory job tasks for the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for landscape architects

Site inventory job tasks for the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for landscape architects

Now, you are probably thinking, “That doesn’t look too tough.” But it gets better. Each job task has more associated knowledge areas to master.

Site Inventory Job TaskAssociated Knowledge
Identify existing site conditions.Knowledge of procedures used to identify existing site conditions.
Knowledge of types of natural conditions that should be identified.
Knowledge of types of cultural conditions that should be identified.
Knowledge of types of site features that should be identified.
Knowledge of types of infrastructures that should be identified.
Knowledge of procedures used to identify environmentally sensitive resources.
Knowledge of purposes for identifying existing site conditions (e.g., natural, cultural, site features, infrastructure).
Identify data.Knowledge of procedures used to identify data needed in development of project site.
Knowledge of types of data used in development of project site.
Knowledge of purposes for identifying data used in development of project site.
Identify off-site conditions.Knowledge of procedures used to identify environmentally sensitive resources.
Knowledge of types of off-site conditions that should be identified.
Identify potentially hazardous areas.Knowledge of procedures used to identify potentially hazardous areas.
Knowledge of types of areas that would be considered potentially hazardous.

Don’t Panic! You probably know a lot of this stuff. We will prepare for the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects one topic and sub-area at a time. After you finish preparing for the exam. You will know this information like the back of your hand.

But Wait…There’s More
The inventory area has another (albeit, more manageable) sub-area: regulatory assessment. Fortunately, the regulatory assessment sub-area of the California Supplemental Exam only covers eight percent of the exam’s content.

There are only three job tasks associated with regulatory assessment:

  • Evaluate project site to determine relevant laws, codes, and regulations that govern the project.
  • Identify required approvals to implement the design of the project.
  • Identify sources of data required to evaluate project site.
Site Inventory Regulatory Assessment Job Tasks

Site inventory regulatory assessment job tasks associated with the regulatory assessment sub-area of the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects.

You guessed it! Each job task has more associated knowledge areas that we need to master.

The table below shows what knowledge areas relate to the regulatory assessment job tasks.

Regulatory Assessment Job TaskAssociated Knowledge
Evaluate project site to determine relevant laws, codes, and regulations that govern the project.Knowledge of procedures used to evaluate project site to determine relevant laws, codes, and regulations that govern the project.
Knowledge of laws, codes, and regulations that govern types of work to be completed on project site.
Identify required approvals to implement the design of the project.
Knowledge of procedures used to identify required approvals.
Knowledge of types of required approvals needed to implement the project.
Identify sources of data required to evaluate project site.
Knowledge of procedures used to identify sources of data regarding project site.
Knowledge of types of sources of data that should be identified.

If you have been working in a landscape architect or multi-disciplinary office in California, you probably have been exposed to some of these topics while working on client projects. However, if you are licensed in another state, you will soon find that California is a different world and there is much to learn.

Words of Wisdom and the Road Map to Success
An ancient Chinese proverb says that all great journeys start with just one step. Today, you have taken your first step on the road to passing the CSE exam.

Now you know what paths to follow to prepare for the CSE. As that modern philosopher G.I. Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle”. Now you know.

Don’t worry…We will start exploring each job task and associated knowledge area so we can master the content and successfully pass the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects the first time.

About

John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

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Do You Want to Pass the CSE?

You are in the right place. Learn what you need to pass the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects the first time. This site is dedicated to aspiring landscape architects who want to get a California landscape architect license. I'll share my research for the CSE as I prepare for the exam.

Feel free to submit a question and I'll do my best to answer it here.

Good luck,
John

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