REsonance503

So...How long did you study what was your game plan and what was your result

60 posts in this topic

I took ME Mechanical systems and materials this October and passed.

I studied for about 4 months every day during the work week for about 2 hours and 4-5 hours on the weekend. The following list of books was essential to my success.

  1. Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam, 12th Edition [Jun 01, 2006] Michael R Lindeburg

  2. PE Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical Systems and Materials Practice Exam [Nov 01, 2010] Ncees

  3. Six-Minute Solutions for Mechanical PE Exam Mechanical Systems and Materials Problems, 2nd Ed [Paperback] [May 20, 2008] Cooke PE, Harriet G.

  4. Mechanical PE Sample Examination [Jul 01, 2004] Lindeburg PE, Michael R.

  5. Practice Problems for the Mechanical Engineering PE Exam: A Companion to the Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual, 12th E

  6. Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design

 

  • Motivate yourself to work hard and pass the exam. Focusing on the goal is very important. Pretend your life depends on passing or failing the exam and treat MERM as a Bible. Don’t fall into a trap by thinking you are prepared, always think that more preparation is needed, just in case.

     

  • I think the key for passing is to be able to solve a large number of problems in a short period of time so practicing problem solving is very important. Do ALL the problems in the practice books listed. Do them without reading the answer and see if your answer matches. Have at least one exam practice session that mimics the actual exam to see what score you can get.  

     

  • Having a mental map of where everything is in the MERM is crucial during the exam. If you can find 95% of items without using Index page, then you are in a good shape.

     

  • Read through most of the MERM and work through example problems.

     

  • Don’t ignore studying topics other than your main specialty. For me these topics included heat transfer, HVAC, Thermo. There are a lot of low hanging fruit in these areas that will help to bring up your total score.

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12 hours ago, Phatso86 said:

highly dependent on your position. Meaning if you work for a large company.

I worked for utilities and there is virtually no engineering background needed. Just report writing and following report procedures (that made the work 5-10x more time consuming).

My supervisor even told me my master's was meaningless. (he was much less educated than I was and the little math work I did, he didn't understand)

 

The need for engineering was so minor that the older "engineers" did not have a degree in it.

 

The PE exams are so broad in material that roughly 90% of what you study you'll never use

It completely depends on your discipline. As a structural engineer I design in concrete, steel, masonry, timber, foundations and building codes. I'd say 80% of the depth is relevant to my job and maybe 25% of the breadth.

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Civil - Structural

8hour exam: around 180 hours, CERM and its companion practice book and being familiar with code. (I am familiar with AISC and ACI, I feel I have around 4 questions not sure in am and 10 in pm session)

Seismic: (As I am in structural and do seismic all the time, 30 hours. I feel I have 5 or 6 questions not sure)

Surveying:(40 hours. About 6 or 7 questions not sure)

I passed all three exams at first try with one year experience without going to any courses. I didn't began to study seismic until 8 hour exam day. However, I do feel if I studied seismic prior to 8 hour exam, that would gain me some benefits in the 8 hour, like seismic load combinations, rigid/flexible frames, lateral forces distribution, shear wall...etc.

I think NDS and TMS is very worthwhile for investing time on it. Compare to other deep advanced concepts like indeterminate structural analysis or Moment distribution, plastic analysis..etc, masonry and wood is something I recommend to study in prior order. Most people are usually not familiar with these but could understand in a few hours. I gave up ASSHTO since it is just huge and frightened me.

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On 12/29/2016 at 1:52 PM, I.ELKADY said:

yes, I nailed the two sessions and I got a really great score, and what took time from me that I solved almost all the problems in  the PPI practice problems book they were maybe 500 to 600  and unfortunately I studied everything about Mechanical thermal and fluid , and Mechanical system and material, because  I wasn't sure from the morning session questions because until last Mechanical PE exam the morning session was general on the three disciplines (NCEES changed this system after October2016 exam and now the both sessions are specific) , so I did not want to take the chance since I had the time , and I as I mentioned before I Preferred to not to sleep but not to loose that chance and fail the October exam. for me was the biggest step in my carrier, and I had to get it done .  I don't know what  your discipline is, but believe me studying for the PE improves your work and you technical background strongly, so good luck to you     

I took HVAC and passed this October. Seeing in that you took the time to do all the PPI problems, the time you studied seems reasonable. I took one look at them, and pretty much skipped the entire book. Only skimmed the reading and then just did the realistic problems. From NCEES and 6MS

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Discipline? Prepare time? What study materials did you use, bring to the exam? How did it work for you? What would you have done differently?

First time in Civil - Construction. I passed.

I used EET On Demand for the breadth and the depth. I cannot say enough about EET. I fully credit them with my passing score. I highly recommend it. Send them your fee and be done with the test in one shot. Between their course (About 90 hours or so) and problem solving outside of the course, I studied for 239 hours. I studied for 1.5-2 hours every week day and 3-4 hours every weekend day from July 4th weekend until exam day. I logged every study session in a small notebook to keep track. I took a week of vacation in August and didn't study on my vacation. I also took Labor Day weekend off from studying. In the final weeks leading up to the exam I did a few full four-hour practice exams to gauge my performance. I used the following practice exam books during studying:

CERM practice problems - the least useful practice problems

Every Goswami Civil Breadth and Construction book available. Very helpful.

Desantis Construction practice problems. Very helpful. I found the problems easy but that was probably a reflection of my preparation.

Six MInute Solutions for Civil Construction. This one was surprisingly useful. It gave a different viewpoint than Goswami or Desantis.

 

I brought my two 3" binders from the EET course. I also took a few 1.5" binders of solved problems and never looked at them. It was cheap insurance that I ended up not needing. I took every recommended reference manual from NCEES exam specification. There were some that I did not use. I took also "Construction Planning and Methods" by Peurifoy et al. This text saved me one or two times. I also brought my favorite Soil and Foundations text from college. I would not have brought more or less books with me. They were expensive but it was an insurance policy at the time and now I have a nice library of reference manuals.

One thing I should have done is at least one entire 8 hour practice exam before the big day. I did plenty of four hour days. With two little kids it was tough to block out 8 hours on a Saturday or Sunday to do a full exam. My wife was great, totally supportive, but let's face it, 8 hours straight on the weekend is rotten. So I did many (8) four hour exams but never twice in a day. In the exam I found that a big part of the test is the stamina to rapidly solve diverse problems for 8 hours straight. I had only done it for four figuring, well, I put my head down at work for 10 hours every day. But the exam is different. It's like your long run when training for a marathon. You have to get close to covering the distance to give yourself the stamina and confidence to reach the finish. I should have done that. 

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On 12/20/2016 at 5:24 PM, REsonance503 said:

Discipline? Prepare time? What study materials did you use, bring to the exam? How did it work for you? What would you have done differently?

 

I had passed my nationwide Civil Eng. PE around 18 years ago. Moved to California recently and had to take the Seismic and Survey. I have worked in transportation related work and had taken classes in college, so had a background in survey. I have done Structural Dynamics in Grad school but Seismic is more about codes, and my classes were taken over 20 years ago. I started studying in full earnest from July for the October exam. I was so glad when I received the email notification from the CA Board stating that I had passed.

Survey - I had the Mansour book and got Reza's workbook from someone here. Thanks to the benefactor. I also got the 120 solved problems from a coworker. I solved every problem I could lay my hand on and solved Reza's book twice. I still felt that time was my enemy and enrolled for the CSPER course mainly for the four CBT that they have. I solved them twice and that helped tremendously. 

Seismic - Enrolled in EET's course and I just can't stop saying good things about the course and the instructor. I had looked at Hiner's course, but the fact that he limits viewing hours, and just has one exam and that two can be attempted twice, turned me off. It looked more of a commercial enterprise than a educational institution with the students' well being in mind! I solved every problem in EET's course homework, workshop and mini tests twice. I then worked out the total five tests including the three CBTs as prescribed.

I put in over 200 hours total over the July, August, September and October. Probably because my retention capabilities have reduced over the years, I needed extra studying. I felt I should be over prepared than under prepared and that is how I approached the exams. In each of the exams, I was able to answer over 45 questions out of the 55 with reasonable confidence of being correct. I made informed guesses on about 5 problems and guessed wildly 5 problems. 

It worked for me and I really learned Seismic Engineering and how to read/interpret the codes. I may have gotten by with studying less but I didn't want to take that chance. I have to give credit to my wife for standing beside me during these months. She was supportive and gave me just the right amount of nudge. 

My advice to the future test takers for the CA Civil Specific Exams are as follows:

1. Prepare to study about 80 hours for survey and 120 hours for seismic.

2. Get your hand on CBTs. The practice they offer pay off at the real exam.

3. If you have to get a course in Seismic, go for EET. Dr. Ibrahim is a great teacher and I have seen many over the years I have spent in universities. I am not exaggerating when I say he is in the top 1-2%.

Good luck everyone.

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Discipline?

Civil - Structural

Prepare time?

I initially was going to take the April '16 exam but missed registration and had probably 150 hours of review by this time. Started again hard in August for October '16 exam and probably put in another 100 hours. All self study, used a variety of materials and mostly took practice exams for the two months up to the exam. I don't do hardly any design work for my job so this was a big effort on my part to pass.

What study materials did you use, bring to the exam?

I used everything I could find. Goswami Exams, NCEES practice exam, PPI2Pass practice exams, CERM, SERM, etc... Just brought the codes into the exam.

How did it work for you?

I felt like I got a 95% in the morning breadth section and went into the afternoon overconfident. I was completely convinced that I had failed but by a close margin. I did end up passing, so I guess my method worked but it was so much work considering how the whole afternoon is structural design and was not super natural to me.

What would you have done differently?

Get more familiar with the codes, I went through and tabbed a bit but could have done much more. I know I wasted at least 10-20 minutes during the exam looking things up that I could have familiarized myself with previously.

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Hi,

Passed the Construction module in my second try.  The strategy I used this time and help not only me but another two co-workers was to focus on tests.  For the morning session, had a copy of all the modules (Struct,Geotech, Transp, Water res) from NCEES, and practice solving those tests until I could get an 80% in 3 hours. The morning session can be solved basically with CERM and a good cheat sheet. For the Afternoon (Construction) practice the same concept 80% in 3 hrs, with NCCES, Hartmann, De Santis and Goswami sample tests and try to bring as many references listed from the NCEES for this test. 

Also, another strategy we used was to use the first 10 minutes of the test to look at all 40 questions/session and grade them as 1,2,3 depending on the difficulty ( 1=easy, 3 Difficult) and start with those you can easily solve without looking at books and then move to the most difficult ones. Remember that a question that takes you 10 min to solve has the same value that one that can be solved in 30 secs.  Always keep track of your time with a chronograph watch, and try not to panic if the questions seem hard, remember you are not only competing against the test but also against the rest of the test takers; therefore if the test is hard for you, it is also hard for the rest of people.

Program as many formulas in your calculator as possible, and test them with real problems before the test, that helped me a lot specially with Vertical/Horizontal curves, it saves you lots of time and also you skip some potential mistakes trying to solve the equations by hand.

 

In my opinion, the review classes are a waste of time and money, if you have a degree in Civil Engineering, you should have all the basics to pass this test, I think studying at least 3 hours a day during the week days and at least 6-8 hrs on the weekends for two months its enough.  I always took the last week off work to prepare material and not be too stressed out at the time of the test.

 

Bottom line, solve as many sample tests in an environment similar to the PE as you can and focus on the most typical questions for each section, the test is very tricky, and there are some questions that are so simple you can get easily confused.  After each session, I always get with a group of people and start writing as many as I could remember to have them as reference in case I don't pass.

 

 

 

GOD bless you and good luck.

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On 12/30/2016 at 8:22 AM, iramsey said:

I took ME Mechanical systems and materials this October and passed.

I studied for about 4 months every day during the work week for about 2 hours and 4-5 hours on the weekend. The following list of books was essential to my success.

  1. Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam, 12th Edition [Jun 01, 2006] Michael R Lindeburg

  2. PE Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical Systems and Materials Practice Exam [Nov 01, 2010] Ncees

  3. Six-Minute Solutions for Mechanical PE Exam Mechanical Systems and Materials Problems, 2nd Ed [Paperback] [May 20, 2008] Cooke PE, Harriet G.

  4. Mechanical PE Sample Examination [Jul 01, 2004] Lindeburg PE, Michael R.

  5. Practice Problems for the Mechanical Engineering PE Exam: A Companion to the Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual, 12th E

  6. Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design

 

  • Motivate yourself to work hard and pass the exam. Focusing on the goal is very important. Pretend your life depends on passing or failing the exam and treat MERM as a Bible. Don’t fall into a trap by thinking you are prepared, always think that more preparation is needed, just in case.

     

  • I think the key for passing is to be able to solve a large number of problems in a short period of time so practicing problem solving is very important. Do ALL the problems in the practice books listed. Do them without reading the answer and see if your answer matches. Have at least one exam practice session that mimics the actual exam to see what score you can get.  

     

  • Having a mental map of where everything is in the MERM is crucial during the exam. If you can find 95% of items without using Index page, then you are in a good shape.

     

  • Read through most of the MERM and work through example problems.

     

  • Don’t ignore studying topics other than your main specialty. For me these topics included heat transfer, HVAC, Thermo. There are a lot of low hanging fruit in these areas that will help to bring up your total score.

This sums it up perfect. I also took the Mechanical Systems exam the first time in October. I would say I only studied around 60 hours though (but I probably just passed, so I would recommend the above plan to feel safer). I only had the MERM, 6MS practice exam, and a Lindenburg practice exam (didn't have to pull in a crate like I saw some people doing - at least for mechanical I think to much material to page thru can be a hindrance and felt the MERM had 95% of the needed reference equations).

A good 5 hours of that prep time was just reading the info on these boards for helpful hints (I would not have thought to tab the MERM otherwise - and that really cut down on paging thru the book). Not only did I use the MERM to work through practice exams, I wrote the MERM reference sections that were used on the practice exam solutions. So the practice exams were kind of my index/starting point and that took me to the right tab.

I also agree on knowing HVAC and Fluids, those I didn't study and that is why I hated the AM session, had to guess at some due to time running out. If I would have focused on some Fluids and HVAC, I would of at least had those sections tabbed too (they were in the practice exams, I just focused on Mechanical Systems though). I feel I missed some low hanging fruit there. Of course the PM session was almost all Mechanical Systems and that one I felt really good on (left early). I think future test takers will be lucky and only have Mechanical Systems in both the AM & PM if I read the new changes right, so that might not be a valid point anymore.

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Civil/Structural in Oct 2011 -

Got the Goswami book, no CERM.  Mostly tabbing and re-familiarizing subjects was my study time.  NCEES practice exams were helpful, and passed it.  Only thing I'd do differently was to bring the CERM along, too. I know of a couple of qualitative problems I could have found the answer for in it.

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