This chapter provides some background on various terminologies and standard soil mechanics tests. Soil is considered to consist of the soil grains and the voids that exist between them. The voids can contain air and water, and so may be considered fully saturated if the voids are full of water or partially saturated if air and water fill the voids. Generally, soils subjected to moderate stress levels deform through changes in the void space in the soil, although calcareous soils will undergo volume change through particle crushing. A cylindrical shaped sample of the soil is placed into a cell and covered with a latex membrane that is attached to end caps with rubber rings. If the soil is perfectly saturated, then the increase in pore pressure should be equal to the increase in cell pressure. The box consists of two halves and the bottom half is held fixed while the upper half is pushed, thus shearing the soil.