The National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) assesses qualifications of candidates seeking licensure as professional geologists. The ASBOG administers two examinations, the Fundamentals of Geology and the Practice of Geology. The tests offer a consistent method to measure competency in the practice of Geology while ensuring the public welfare.

Basic information

Each state sets the statutory and regulatory prerequisites required for registration or licensure as a professional geologist. Educational and professional experience required may vary state by state, but all states utilize the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology and Practice of Geology examinations as a method to determine competence.

The Fundamentals of Geology (FG) exam is geared to individuals in their final year of study or for those candidates that do not have the state’s required professional experience. The Practice of Geology (PG) is for those individuals who have passed their FG exam and have accumulated the required professional experience. You need to pass both tests to receive licensure.

To sit for either exam, you must meet statutory and regulatory prerequisites set by the State Member Board and follow the procedure to register for the exam. The application fee is often separate from the examination fee. For information on state requirements, check with the Member Board Administrator in your state.

Test Design

The FG exam consists of 140 multiple-choice questions, and the PG exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. Both exams are paper-based with a four-hour time limit. Both exams consist of the same eight domains with the knowledge used in domain one providing the foundations for domains two through eight. Questions presented utilize tables, graphs, multiple-choice, vocabulary, and scenarios. Each question has four possible answers, but there is only one correct answer.

The domains consist of:

  • General and Field Geology: 21% of the FG exam, and 20% of the PG exam. This domain is the foundation for the other domains in the examination.
  • Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry: 11% of the FG exam, and 5% of the PG exam.
  • Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and Paleontology: 12% of the FG exam, and 6% of the PG exam.
  • Geomorphology, Surficial Processes, and Quaternary Geology: 13% of the FG exam, and 8% of
  • Structure, Tectonics, and Seismology: 11% of the FG exam, and 8% of the PG exam.
  • Hydrogeology: 12% of the FG exam, and 19% of the PG exam.
  • Engineering Geology: 11% of the FG exam, and 19% of the PG exam.
  • Economic Geology and Energy Resources: 9% of the FG exam, and 15% of the PG exam.

While both exams utilize the same domains, knowledge needed for the FG exam emphasizes the knowledge and skills you receive in a baccalaureate degree program. The PG exam assesses the additional skills and knowledge you receive through experience.

How to register

To schedule either exam, you first apply to your state board of licensure. Application, exam, and test center fees and test dates differ from state to state. For information on application deadlines, test fees, and test dates, check with the Member Board Administrator in your state.

Once your application is approved by your state Member Board, instructions are provided to register for the exam. Generally, states conduct the assessments once in the spring and once in the fall with each state determining its testing schedule. Acceptable payment methods also vary state by state but generally include credit or debit card and personal check.

Veterans with G.I. Bill or vocational rehabilitation benefits may be able to request reimbursement.

Test Day

Arrive early to the exam location to ensure you have time to complete any paperwork required. The exam is closed-book, and you are provided an exam booklet, with tear-out scratch paper, and a mechanical pencil. You are allowed to bring your protractor, straight edge, engineer’s scale, and a portable, silent, non-printing, non-programmable calculator.

You will be asked to sign a Statement of Examination Compliance form before you begin your exam. Please make sure you understand the expectations and follow the rules of the testing center. At the conclusion of your exam, return any materials provided to you, including the exam booklet and answer sheet, to the test facilitator.

Exam scoring and results

Your exam results are reported to your State Member Board Examination Administrator within 60 days of test completion. Results are not reported to individual test takers. To find out whether or not you passed the examination, contact your State Board.

Your raw score is determined by the number of correct responses provided. Unanswered or incorrect answers do not receive any points. The scaled score is determined by the Council of Examiners and is based on the minimum competency required and the difficulty of the question. A minimum scaled score of 70 is required to pass the examinations.

Candidates who do not pass the exam receive feedback on their testing performance in the content domains. There is no limit to how often you can retake the exam, but you will have to pay the examination fee each time you register for a retake.

How Can I Prepare for the ASBOG Exam?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: June 21, 2021