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owiewave

Reference Manual-Does it really matter?

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I am taking the PE exam in April (Enviro/Water Resources), and am gathering materials together. A co-worker lent me his Civil Engineering Reference Manual, dated 2002 (8th edition I believe). Does it really matter if I use this one versus paying for a new or slightly used one that is more current? In addition to that manual, I am using the 6 minute solutions books for practice problems, using the reference book more for the equations and tables. I can't imagine that the information changes much over the years, especially when the equations I've referenced so far were derived in the 18th and 19th century!!

I also wondered how much use the quick reference guide that accompanies the Reference Manual was to anybody during the exam. What I planned to do was to use the reference manual, but as I do practice problems, start to build a 3 ring binder with equations, tables, etc. to bring in with me. I figure if I put it together, I will know where to find things, and won't have to reference an index as much on the exam. Of course I won't think of everything, but with my other reference materials I hope to have everything covered.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by owiewave

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 passpe

I used the reference manual more than anything. I think I only opened 3 other books during the whole test and none of them were water resources/environmental books.

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I used the CERM and my bound notes more than anything. I used the other Water/Enviro books maybe 3 times. I didn't even bring the "quick reference" because its just a truncated duplicate of the CERM. I'm not sure how much the edition matters, but I used the latest edition available from PPI.

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I don't know specifically how much a current edition of the CERM would effect you on the Water/Enviro exam. I took the transpo exam and I had a current edition CERM (10th edition) but an out of date practice problems for the CERM (7th edition). What I found was the methodology used to solve problems had not changed, but in many cases the references material used solve the problems had. It's really a judgement call on your part on whether to use an "out of date" reference. Doing so opens up the opportunity for you to draw outdated and incorrect information from your reference. I didn't want to take that chance, so I bought or borrowed the current edition for all my references. I didn't worry so much about getting a current edition practice problems, I just had to remain aware that sometimes my answers weren't going to match the solutions provided.

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I am taking the PE exam in April (Enviro/Water Resources), and am gathering materials together. A co-worker lent me his Civil Engineering Reference Manual, dated 2002 (8th edition I believe). Does it really matter if I use this one versus paying for a new or slightly used one that is more current? In addition to that manual, I am using the 6 minute solutions books for practice problems, using the reference book more for the equations and tables. I can't imagine that the information changes much over the years, especially when the equations I've referenced so far were derived in the 18th and 19th century!!

I also wondered how much use the quick reference guide that accompanies the Reference Manual was to anybody during the exam. What I planned to do was to use the reference manual, but as I do practice problems, start to build a 3 ring binder with equations, tables, etc. to bring in with me. I figure if I put it together, I will know where to find things, and won't have to reference an index as much on the exam. Of course I won't think of everything, but with my other reference materials I hope to have everything covered.

Thanks in advance!

I used the 8th edition when I passed last April, but I took geotech in the afternoon. It didn't have construction section, but chapters 80-85 cover most of what you need for the morning construction questions.

So you will probably be okay, but if you can afford a new CERM I would suggest buying one, it is a good reference book, especially since it will be tabbed and you will be very familar with it after passing the the PE.

If you do use the older version, go to PPI (Lindeburg's site and get the erratta for the 8th edition, there is quite a bit. Also either way use the CERM as your reference to answer the 6 min soln problems and NCEES sample problems.

Good luck.

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I second what roadwreck said, especially for the morning part where you'll see other disciplines.

Not so important to have the most current version for the afternoon part. Good luck.

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My advice is do not depend environmental section of the CERM. I took twice and I could not find any of the relevent answer.

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Good information about CERM. What about other reference materials? I am working through the NCEES sample questions, and the solutions of course reference a number of reference and code books, for example the Highway Capacity Manual.

A number of these questions seem to require material that is not in the CERM. But the cost of most of these books is prohibitive (I think), at least I am not about to spend $1000 on discipline-specific reference books I will never use at work. What do most people do, just depend on CERM and their other notes and texts?

Thanks!

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The biggest "issue" that you will run into with using a CERM reference that was published prior to 2008 is that it will not contain Construction Module study material. This is 20% (8 problems) of the morning section. That puts you at a HUGE disadvantage right from the start because there will be 8 problems that you may potentially have never seen before and the chances of you getting them right are very slim. I would strongly recommend that you obtain the latest CERM (11th edition I think) if possible.

I think too many people mistakenly focus most of their studying on the afternoon topics and "skim through" the morning topics. The morning problems are going to be easier than the afternoon problems by default. This is a very good reason to study hard to nail the morning section. If you "ace" the morning section that takes a lot of pressure off for the afternoon portion of the exam.

If you manage to get 35 problems correct in the morning, you can "afford" to get 20 problems wrong (give or take) in the afternoon and still pass the test!

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Not sure where you are taking the PE, but my husband was told by someone at the board here in SC that if you take notes in a 3-ring binder and you open the binder and remove papers during the exam you can get kicked out. It has happened. Just a heads up. Might be best to actually bind your notes. Even if you know not to open it, you might do it without thinking.

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The biggest "issue" that you will run into with using a CERM reference that was published prior to 2008 is that it will not contain Construction Module study material. This is 20% (8 problems) of the morning section. That puts you at a HUGE disadvantage right from the start because there will be 8 problems that you may potentially have never seen before and the chances of you getting them right are very slim. I would strongly recommend that you obtain the latest CERM (11th edition I think) if possible.

I think too many people mistakenly focus most of their studying on the afternoon topics and "skim through" the morning topics. The morning problems are going to be easier than the afternoon problems by default. This is a very good reason to study hard to nail the morning section. If you "ace" the morning section that takes a lot of pressure off for the afternoon portion of the exam.

If you manage to get 35 problems correct in the morning, you can "afford" to get 20 problems wrong (give or take) in the afternoon and still pass the test!

I couldn't agree more. Study the morning portion enough to do very well, given the afternoon will be much more difficult.

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