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TehMightyEngineer

Good luck, everyone!

70 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, BamaStrucPE said:

Easier said than done, but try not to beat yourselves up too much.  I took and passed both parts on the first try (vert Apr 2016, lat Oct 2016) and walked away from both confident that I failed miserably and that someone would find out how bad and come and take my PE away for the safety of the public.  Everyone remembers the few they couldn't figure out and focus on them as opposed to thinking about the others that you completed in 3 minutes and had no concerns about.

Ooof, I heard that the 2016 October lateral was just as rough as this years vertical, congrats for passing that on the first try while not feeling confident.

I've been getting more feedback from the PPI review course takers and continue to get comments on problems where people felt they had the correct method but didn't have a matching solution listed for the morning. I wonder if we'll get a few questions thrown out for this exam due to being misleading or otherwise having a high amount of incorrect answers?

It also definitely appears that NCEES is possibly in a shift toward topics that are either "trick" questions (ones where small exceptions or caveats make a difference) or problems that differ from the typical study topics (such as in the practice exams, SERM, etc.). Either way, when NCEES does their statistics the "cut score" for this exam should be lowered if it was indeed more difficult than past exams. Good news there at least.

Also, to add to Bama's, there's been a number of other SE exam takers who have thought for sure they failed the exam but got passing scores in their inbox 6 weeks later. Obviously cautious pessimism is best to avoid any huge disappointments, but don't start studying for another attempt just yet; you've probably all done better on the exam than you give yourself credit for.

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3 hours ago, BamaStrucPE said:

Easier said than done, but try not to beat yourselves up too much.  I took and passed both parts on the first try (vert Apr 2016, lat Oct 2016) and walked away from both confident that I failed miserably and that someone would find out how bad and come and take my PE away for the safety of the public.  Everyone remembers the few they couldn't figure out and focus on them as opposed to thinking about the others that you completed in 3 minutes and had no concerns about.

This post makes me feel better!  Thanks for encouragement think we could all use some now.

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Yeah, it is true. The Time I passed Vertical Bridges, I was 100% certain I passed the morning, but thought I completely biffed the afternoon 2nd and 3rd question, but got a passing score.

On the time I passed Lateral Bridges, I knew I did the best I had ever done in the morning, answering 31 of 40 questions before having to go through them again. On the afternoon, I was confident I did the first 2 essays dead on, got perfect answers, they made sense, my checks were spot on. The 3rd problem, I honestly said to myself after, I don't even remember what I wrote down because I thought I was completely lost in steps D through H. I think I actually wrote an apology at the end to the reviewer for my chicken scratch, then summarized my thoughts and steps at the end so he or she could actually follow what I was doing...and I passed. So hold out hope, it isn't always bad.

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19 hours ago, FL_Structural_PE said:

So you signed up for the lateral test before the vertical results came out? I'm debating on whether to sign up for the lateral portion or just going and sticking my head in the sand.

I wish the results came out before the application for the next session is due.

Unless I'm mistaken, registration may open before final results are out, but doesn't close until 1.5-2 months before exam. I don't think I signed up for the fall exam until late August, 2 months after I knew the results. Also, I knew I would have to take both, so pass or fail vertical, I was going to take lateral in the fall.

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1 hour ago, BamaStrucPE said:

Unless I'm mistaken, registration may open before final results are out, but doesn't close until 1.5-2 months before exam. I don't think I signed up for the fall exam until late August, 2 months after I knew the results. Also, I knew I would have to take both, so pass or fail vertical, I was going to take lateral in the fall.

You are lucky in Alabama. In Florida the application for the October exam is due in early may.

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8 minutes ago, FL_Structural_PE said:

You are lucky in Alabama. In Florida the application for the October exam is due in early may.

Once you have been accepted to take the SE or PE you don't have to apply again and you just sign up for the test on NCEES's website which for the fall doesn't open until mid June.

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4 hours ago, Chillhaus said:

Once you have been accepted to take the SE or PE you don't have to apply again and you just sign up for the test on NCEES's website which for the fall doesn't open until mid June.

Agree, might be different in Florida, but in Texas (where I currently reside, went to school in Bama) I didn't have to do any extensive applications for the SE once I passed the PE, went to the NCEES website and signed up. I called Texas board to make sure I didn't need to do anything else and they were confused on why I would want to take another test once I had my PE.

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Buildings SE Vert/Lat: I felt the exam was tough, but fair. For the vertical AM, the questions were similar to the practice exams but with greater depth in some cases. For vertical PM, I was expecting a concrete problem similar to the practice exams but was surprised by the question. Question was still fair I suppose. Lateral AM/PM were tough. I had enough time but not enough knowledge. For Lateral AM, I answered about 20 on first go around and think I answered another 5 or so second go around. I felt about 75-80% confident on those 25. For the life of me, there were about 5 or so questions where I would get answer close but be off by a few from the choices. Then there were another 10 questions where I either took a 50% guess or complete guess. Lateral PM was interesting. NCEES definitely threw a surprise question in there, but after thinking about the study outline they provide I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised. Finished it all, but toss up if my methodology was sound. My strategy for PM was to use approximate shortcut equations where I could and explain in writing "if more time..." the complete process including equations. I hope that is sufficient for concrete portion and masonry question.

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22 minutes ago, StandardPractice said:

For the life of me, there were about 5 or so questions where I would get answer close but be off by a few from the choices.

You're like the fourth person to mention this that I've talked to. Something weird going on with some of those questions for sure.

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19 hours ago, TehMightyEngineer said:

You're like the fourth person to mention this that I've talked to. Something weird going on with some of those questions for sure.

Have you hear that about the vertical and the lateral morning portion?

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2 minutes ago, FL_Structural_PE said:

Have you hear that about the vertical and the lateral morning portion?

Just vertical.

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26 minutes ago, TehMightyEngineer said:

Just vertical.

Make that one more person with an issue on a couple of questions on the morning vertical. I felt like I was doing them correctly but I wasn't getting any of the options.

Of course there is also the possibility that I was just doing them wrong.

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15 minutes ago, FL_Structural_PE said:

Make that one more person with an issue on a couple of questions on the morning vertical. I felt like I was doing them correctly but I wasn't getting any of the options.

Of course there is also the possibility that I was just doing them wrong.

Likewise. Had about 4 or 5 AM Vertical questions where I had to rework them with slightly tweaked design parameters and still wasn't getting exact answers. I probably wasted a fair amount of time on these. Definitely was getting something close, but not in the realm of what NCEES considers "close to..". I'm not even talking about bridge (AASHTO) questions (Buildings guy here). 

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21 hours ago, BamaStrucPE said:

Agree, might be different in Florida, but in Texas (where I currently reside, went to school in Bama) I didn't have to do any extensive applications for the SE once I passed the PE, went to the NCEES website and signed up. I called Texas board to make sure I didn't need to do anything else and they were confused on why I would want to take another test once I had my PE.

I'm in Texas the same thin

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Is NCEES Give us a curve for the SE Exam :( ?

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NCEES doesn't grade on a curve but does throw out questions that were misleading or incorrect and the cut score does change depending on the difficulty of the exam compared to some benchmark.

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1 minute ago, TehMightyEngineer said:

NCEES doesn't grade on a curve but does throw out questions that were misleading or incorrect and the cut score does change depending on the difficulty of the exam compared to some benchmark.

Make Sense, Thank you TehMightyEngineer.

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Posted (edited)

From here (emphasis mine): http://ncees.org/engineering/engineering-scoring/

Licensing exams differ from most other exams. After each administration, every NCEES exam undergoes extensive statistical analysis to determine the minimum level of performance required for entry into the profession...

  • NCEES scans all answer sheets as they are received from the states.
  • A psychometric analysis is performed on a sample of answer sheets from each multiple-choice exam to identify any questions with unusual statistics. These questions are flagged for review.
  • At least two subject-matter experts, who are licensed engineers or surveyors, review the flagged items. In addition, NCEES reviews all examinee comment forms, and the subject-matter experts consider comments on the forms about specific exam questions. If the reviews confirm an error in a question, credit may be given for more than one answer.
  • When the analyses and reviews are completed, NCEES changes the answer keys as necessary. The passing score and final correct answers for each exam are then used to score all the answer sheets. Scanners are calibrated before and during scoring. A percentage of the answer sheets are manually verified, and the results are compared to the machine score to ensure accuracy.

How are passing scores determined?

When an exam is introduced or when its specifications change, a committee of subject-matter experts works with experienced psychometricians (testing experts with a background in statistics) to determine the level of performance that corresponds with minimal competence in that discipline. This becomes the passing score. NCEES does not publish passing scores because they change with each administration. NCEES scores each exam with no predetermined percentage of examinees that should pass or fail. All exams are scored the same way. First-time takers and repeat takers are graded to the same standard.

What is statistical equating?

For subsequent administrations of the exam, statistical equating is used to ensure that this level of performance is consistent across multiple administrations of that exam. Essentially, this means that while the numerical passing score may change with each administration, you are not disadvantaged when one administration of a particular exam is more difficult than another. This process accounts for the 8- to 10-week interval between an exam administration and the release of scores to member licensing boards.

Edited by TehMightyEngineer

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I think they really gauge your understanding of the material. If you know your stuff, it will show, specially in the afternoon. I still dont know if they would forgive mistakes that are made that result in you taking a different path than the correct method. For that reason, I am not getting my hopes up. I know what to do if I get not acceptable. You should be able to gauge you performance and know exactly where you screwed up, so next time to prevent falling for the same trick. We will all see what happens once the results come out. Good luck to all.

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Bridge lateral taker here, 2nd time.  I thought the morning was much harder than my first go with a lot of curve balls.  I did the school of PE course and prepped on a number of review questions and there were a lot from left field.  Both in the bridge section, with just odd situations and things I have never seen in practice before, and on the building side.  

The afternoon questions were not horrible, but were strange.  Both times I have taken this I have encountered things in the afternoon that you would never actually do in practice with factors like hinging or size variability.

On 4/24/2017 at 0:54 PM, Lomarandil said:

Bridge vertical and lateral, first time here too.

There were definitely a lot of curveball questions -- just unusual circumstances to apply the concepts. A couple of AM questions were tough for me (having never done those particular types of projects before), and the vertical afternoon questions weren't quite what I expected (though not too bad in the end -- as long as I didn't overlook some obscure code provision). I also felt the time crunch, which isn't usually an issue when I take tests.

I also thought there might have been a typo on an AM seismic question that had a very low design parameter... or maybe I just messed up the code minimums. Who knows?

I was definitely thankful to be taking Bridges instead of Buildings. I didn't think the 2hr problems really took that long, so I was able to reallocate some extra time into the two shorter problems.

 

Yes, the first question for me definitely had a typo.  I worked it both ways, one with code minimums and the other if you move the decimal and moving the decimal gave exactly one of the answers.  There is nowhere that would have such a high Ss value and so low an S1 (I can't remember what was given but it was something to that effect).

There was another problem I was disappointed in that asked about bracing, but technically none of the answers were correct (did not meet provisions).  It was only after looking at it a while that I realized they were only asking about one provision, though that was not what the problem stated.

I definitely ran out of time on the morning section, whereas I had time to spare the first try on the lateral.  

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