wkfrst

Advice on which depth to take

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I am a mechanical engineer by degree, but I work as a project manager for a construction management company.  I graduated in 2013 and will be taking PE in October.  I manage MEP work so I have a surface level knowledge of HVAC, but nothing to the level of someone at a design firm.  I was hoping for some advice as to which exam depth to take.  I believe I am starting on a level playing field with all three depths and will need to study equally to pass any.  I also don't believe I will be in construction long term, so I am not invested in learning one topic over another for my career.  Is there an exam that will be more familiar for someone with a general ME degree, should I go with the exam with the highest pass rate, or should pick a number out of a hat?

 

Thanks for the help.

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One way to look at it might be to try and remember what courses did you have the best professors in? That might make studying the easiest.

My professors in fluid mechanics, heat transfer and thermal-fluid system design weren't very good. I did have a fantastic thermo professor. 1 out of 4 would make it hard for me to decide to take the HVAC or Fluid Thermal exam if I didn't have any more experience in one area over the other.

My statics, dynamics, solid mechanics, and machine design professors were great. Luckily for me the jobs I have had since graduating have been related to machine design so at least I am testing in the depth I am most familiar with.

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I think the Mechanical Systems and Materials exam is the best because it focuses heavily on topics from statics, dynamics, and mechanics of materials.  If you master those topics you have a great understanding of much of that exam.  There is a study guide available for that exam at http://www.mechanicalpeacademy.com/mechanical-pe-exam-study-guides/

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I am a mechanical engineer by degree, but I work as a project manager for a construction management company.  I graduated in 2013 and will be taking PE in October.  I manage MEP work so I have a surface level knowledge of HVAC, but nothing to the level of someone at a design firm.  I was hoping for some advice as to which exam depth to take.  I believe I am starting on a level playing field with all three depths and will need to study equally to pass any.  I also don't believe I will be in construction long term, so I am not invested in learning one topic over another for my career.  Is there an exam that will be more familiar for someone with a general ME degree, should I go with the exam with the highest pass rate, or should pick a number out of a hat?

 

Thanks for the help.

I'd go with the topic that seems most familiar to you and the work you do. Take a look at the exam specs: http://ncees.org/engineering/pe/

Side topic: you mention somewhat casually that you "manage MEP work" and have a "surface level knowledge of HVAC." I am not sure what you mean by that... but do you have any sense of whether you have accrued enough qualifying experience? Might want to check with your state board on this and see where you stand.

Edit: I am presuming you are in the application process right now, and are not already approved. Apologies if I have this wrong.

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I appreciate the responses. My thermo professor was my best professor and I therefore enjoyed and learned the most in that class.

My current job does not provide the needed experience for licensure. In my state you can take the exam after passing the FE. I will more than likely change jobs in the next year or so, and I don't want another year out of school to pass with out taking the exam. 

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On 4/5/2017 at 2:15 PM, wkfrst said:

I believe I am starting on a level playing field with all three depths and will need to study equally to pass any.  I also don't believe I will be in construction long term, so I am not invested in learning one topic over another for my career.  

What did you mean by this? You won't be involved in on-site work or  work that involves any sort of construction (such as working in a power plant)?

judging by the last part of your sentence, i'd say you're better off taking the architectural test. You'll end up studying a bit more but at least you'll have better working knowledge of any building you help design

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I don't do any design. I work for a construction management company managing the install, start-up, and commissioning of MEP systems. I do not work directly under anyone with a PE which I understand to mean that my experience doesn't count.  The architect and MEP engineer are separate from my company and they provide the stamped drawings for construction. 

Also thanks for the links to the Dr Toms videos. He has a new one based on the revised specifications that is really helpful. I'm leaning towards fluids based on his info. 

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9 hours ago, wkfrst said:

I do not work directly under anyone with a PE which I understand to mean that my experience doesn't count. 

Not necessarily - that's what I thought initially, which is why I'm taking the test now, instead of three years ago. I'm in MA and it might be different where you are, check with your state board directly. 

I had a few years under a PE but not enough to cover the full time span. My interpretation of the state code indicated that the applicable experience doesn't necessarily need to be under the direct supervision of a PE, even though the application makes it look like it has to be. I called the board and they agreed with me, and now I'm taking the test in a few weeks. I wouldn't just assume that your work experience doesn't count without checking first. 

Also, I was in the same boat in terms of not knowing which test to take. I have the most experience in HVAC, but after looking at both NCEES practice tests, I'd say I'm glad I chose TFS. The HVAC test is really designed for someone who knows the ins and outs of the ASHRAE manuals and deals with them on a daily basis. I designed HVAC systems for a few years and I spent even more years as a facilities engineer working with them, but I still feel way more comfortable with the Thermo and fluids topics. 

Either way, good luck!

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Thanks for the heads up apford. I'll do some digging with my state. 

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My degree is ME but I've spent my career on the HVAC Controls side of things so I decided to take the HVAC depth rather then the Controls exam because for one I didn't want to wait to take the exam in October of each year and I thought I had enough surface level knowledge of HVAC to pass the test. I should add that I also had been out of school for 22 years at that point as well. I did pass the HVAC using School of PE which helped tremendously. My point of telling the story is go with what you feel most comfortable with and Learn the subject and you will be fine.

Mike

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

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