megs19

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About megs19

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    Intern
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  • Engineering Field
    Civil Engineering
  • License
    Working on it!
  • Discipline
    Civil
  1. Thank you all very much for the support and suggestions. I hate conceding on this topic, but it seems like you all agree that there's no point in pestering NCEES to adjust their process. I find that disheartening when many like me suffer and I don't think helping us out more would devalue the PE license as youngmotivatedengineer stated. The test requires a lot of studying and preparation and I don't think helping those who fail better prepare for a retake would make the PE license an easier venture...it'd honestly just save many people a lot of money and stress and depression. Anyways, since my hopes for that seem to be but me alone. I am taking in all the suggestions you all have made for my next attempt. I will take April off and go on a much needed vacation. I will attempt the October exam, but with a new in-depth subject. I will let go of Geotech and take an exam prep course for a new subject. My second best subject was water resources and it's the in-depth exam that many of my co-workers have taken. Thoughts on the water resources in-depth for someone who has little experience outside college courses? I agree with many of you who said that anyone could really take any in-depth exam if they study hard enough. NCEES was trying to convince me that I'm failing due to my lack of work experience. Although that may help, it doesn't explain why many students right out of college can pass no problem. I think those that pass out of college just excel on all the computation-based questions, which compensates for the few problems that require more experience. As for how I test/prepare to take an exam. I already give myself a cheat sheet of common mistakes I make while doing practice problems. Unit conversions have never been an issue (that I know of) as I have that bold on my cheat sheet and make sure to note what the units are in every problem. This last exam I gave myself enough time to re-do many problems to make sure I did them correctly (in my mind) and took the time to look at units and significant figures. I know it's hard to explain. Believe me, I frustrated my teachers in school because they saw my work and study materials and still couldn't figure out why I made the mistakes I did on an exam. Many chalked it up to test anxiety, but yet I rarely feel anxious during an exam. I feel weirdly calm and confident. Especially this last exam I worked fast, but thought through each question. I finished going through the exam once with an hour to spare, so I went back through and re-worked the problems I felt I worked too fast on and worked on the problems I skipped. I also study every subject. After the first exam, I learned that I was better off studying everything than trying to only focus on my strengths/weaknesses because you never know what problems will be thrown at you. My first exam was heavily embedded with settlement and consolidation questions, but the second had next to none. I was thankful I chose to study up on settlement and consolidation so I could be prepared, but I didn't focus solely on them. So I never sacrifice subjects I feel confident in. For each exam, I review from the beginning and just look for new practice problems to learn from. I did take the Seismic and PE at the same time during my second attempt at the PE. I felt confident I could pass both, but that failed. I took EET for the Seismic depth and loved it. My teacher made it so easy and I passed all his practice exams with more than enough room to spare. I practiced his written and computer based practice exams, improving each time. He was confident in me. It was the first exam I took during that exam cycle and I broke down. For the second time that I've been aware of, I did suffer test anxiety where I felt anxious and "in my head." I hoped my continual passing of practice exams would pull me through, but it didn't. I failed and my teacher, like I've stated above, was in shock. He told me to take a break from the specialty exams until I pass the National, then he would help me study free of charge. I know I can pass the Seismic. I was so close, but I broke down stressing about failing both exams, which is exactly what happened. However, when I took the National during that time, I was slightly worried in the morning, but after working through the problems, I became confident again. By the time I left the exam, I felt I had for sure passed that time. I'm sorry if I didn't address everyone's responses. I read them all. I truly appreciate all of them. I really do. I needed this, even if it wasn't the direction I wanted, it still helps. Thank you.
  2. I thank you all for the responses. I want to address and clarify some points. Maji, I have not (or did not) look at the PE Exam as adversary until it has become a hinderance to my advancement in my career. When you are spending months that lead to years of studying for an exam and throwing chunks of money trying to find a study method that finally clicks, you can't help but want to find a different way. No one learns the same and yes 60% of people can pass the PE Exam first try, but that other 40% matters too and they are the 40% that learn different. I have enrolled in a courses for the Seismic exam at EET. Not surveying yet, but I will. The National exam is very different. It is incredibly broad and it's near impossible to practice every problem that could be provided. As for my discipline, I have been doing Geotechnical because it was my best subject in college and I've had a year of work experience in the field. It clearly has not done me any good. CAPLS, I understand what you are saying and I have studied the NCEES practice book, printed out the analysis pages, and practiced problems until I'm exhausted. I do not take tests like a normal person. It is incredibly hard to explain, but when I take an exam I feel confident and can work out every problem. Yet I get back my exams and see my diagnostics and am always in shock. Tangelo, you understand this the most. My last attempt is to do what you are doing and switch my in-depth portion. I fear to do this because I'm heavily invested in Geotech, but clearly I am missing something. However, what do I have to lose at this point. I want to hear from repeat test takers too. First-timers don't understand. I read the boards and did what the first-timers said they did to prepare, but it did not work for me. Honestly, I am at a lost as to what to do because I seem to flip-flop on every exam. Subjects I did poor on before I tend to excel at the next exam, but the areas I excelled at I then fail. The first time taking the exam I admit it was difficult. A wake up call, even though I had spent over 4 months preparing for it. The second exam I felt even more prepared and walked out of the exam confident I passed. You can imagine my surprise with the results. This third exam I had timing down, could work out every problem, and even gave myself time to review all of them. Yet I received only 1 point better than my second exam. I was no longer sad, but livid. The score indicated to me that I am making a common mistake and have no idea what it is. All three exams were very different from the last. I could tell you the layout of each and which types of questions were asked and which weren't. I could probably even tell you how to go about solving most problems as I wrote down what I remembered and showed them to co-workers who said I was on the right path. Thus my argument of how the NCEES can better help the 40% figure out a way to pass. I'll toss out the idea of reviewing an exam for now, but adjusting the diagnostics to show a separation for theory-based and computation questions and offer a general civil discipline seems easy. Why can't things change to help us more? I'm upwards to $4,000 on this exam trying to pass. I don't want to give up. But I see why many do. You just run out of money, ideas, and overall patience. Another engineer lost. The PE Exam does not indicate a good engineer, just like the SAT does not indicate a smart student. I understand you all want to help figure out why I can't pass. Please continue to indulge me with what I have told you. I am willing to hear all suggestions whether I agree with them or not. Thank you.
  3. Hi All. I've retaken the Civil PE Exam with the Geotech depth 3 times now. Every time I change my preparation and, after this last time, my test score did not improve. This leads me to believe I am making a common mistake I can't figure out. I have never been a great test taker, but I study hard, have multiple binders of problems, and never feel stressed on the exam (until my results come). In college, we could review exams to see where we are messing up. NCEES won't let anyone review their exam and, if you live in a certain seven states like me, you can't even have your exam manually re-scored. I was in an email correspondence with a member of the NCEES organization concerning changing policies to better assist those retaking the exam. They basically said I'm out of luck and closed the matter on me without addressing my concerns. Here's how I see it. 1. The diagnostics do little good at showing areas of improvement. I switch on doing good and bad on the same subjects with every exam. Also, I do not know if I am doing worse on computation problems or theory-based problems. That is important to me because one is solved through more problems and the other is solved with experience. What if NCEES provided a better break down of computation and theory-based problems on the diagnostics? 2. There needs to be a general civil option for the in-depth section. I worked as a Geotech for a year and a general civil for almost 3 years now. My firm is a land development firm and, thus, provides an overview of every civil discipline. I, therefore, am not obtaining the necessary in-depth professionalism the NCEES organizations says I should because my civil career is not one set discipline. When I asked why NCEES does not offer a general civil discipline, they refused to answer my question. What do you all think? I've taken the Geotech depth and even if I had stayed at my first firm, I would not be at the level of most of those questions that are asked. I think an extension of the morning exam should be offered for the afternoon as well to support all civil disciplines. The EIT exam offers a general option, why not the same for the PE exam? 3. By not reviewing the exam, I feel like I am going in blind with every test, hoping my new study preparation works better. I was told the questions are intellectual property. What about signing a document stating we won't share the questions with anyone else? All three exams I have taken have been completely different. I was told people who continue to fail are not making a change to their "material preparation." I strongly believe most people are like me and continue making significant changes each time they study for the exam, but are making mistakes they have no idea about. I need to see my mistakes to be able to adjust them. Reviewing the exam I guarantee would lead to me passing it. I am not sure if anyone has taken their concerns to NCEES or questioned about reviewing their exam. I know there are ranges of people from passing the first time to taking 5 tries to pass. I'm tired of spending the money and dealing with the headache and frustration wit re-taking this exam, especially when it seems like NCEES could assist better at providing us with the keys to success. Thoughts?