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What did you do right? April 2006

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It's possible. If you felt condifent about 48 of them, and just for argument's sake, got 3/4 of those right, that's 36 right there.

And even if you guessed randomly at the rest, you're bound to get a few of them right.

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This is what worked for me:

- Start studying early (I started preparing for the April 06 exam in Aug 05)

- Start out slow, review every chapter of the CERM and work as many of the Practice Problems for the CERM as you can stand.

- With about 3-4 months left, work all of the 6-Minute Solutions for your depth. and the morning problems for the other sections. For example I took transportation, so I worked all of the transportation, water resources, and geotechnical problems. I then worked the morning problems for structures, and environmental.

- Take a review class and use it for that - a review. Study hard long before the class begins and use the class to refresh what you have studied. My review class started in January, and I had already reviewed the CERM, worked the practice problems, and work the Six-Minute Solutions.

- With about 2 or 3 weeks left before the test, let your brain rest. Just do some light studying to keep things fresh in your mind.

- I took a lot of references in with me. Don't even think that you will use all of them; you may not even use any, but you never know what you might need. I would't spend a lot of money buying a bunch of references, but make sure that you take the ones you can get your hands on.

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- I took a lot of references in with me. Don't even think that you will use all of them; you may not even use any, but you never know what you might need. I would't spend a lot of money buying a bunch of references, but make sure that you take the ones you can get your hands on.

You'd be amazed at what you can find online as far as reference material, without having to buy really expensive books you may only use once.

I got a lot of information online, printed it out, and put it in a binder. Tables, charts, OSHA regulations, etc.

There's some great stuff out there, you just have to be careful where you get it from. I figured stuff from state/federal government and university websites were probably legit.

The information I found about radiological health I found on an anti-nuclear power site I didn't trust.

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I found this detailed post by someone about how he/she passed the test. Prolly you guys might have seen this one too, but anyhoo here it is:

My Strategy for Passing the PE Civil Exam

I first took this exam in October 2004.  I went through a review course produced through ITRE and worked what I thought was a lot of problems.  I didn?t put enough effort into working them though.  I feel that my biggest reason for failing the first time was, 1) I didn?t work enough problems all the way through.  2) The problems that I did work, if I had trouble, cheated and looked at the answer, and 3) I thought I could just ?wing it? and would pass.  You cannot just ?wing it? and pass unless you get extremely lucky.  I was not extremely lucky.

Below, I will list what steps I took that enabled me to pass the April 2005 PE exam:

? Buy all five of the Six-Minute Solutions manuals.

? Get all of the sample exams you can. 

? I took my diagnostic and figured out how many problems I got correct for each breadth subject and each area in the depth subjects.

? Once I had these values, I saw that I was a little deficient in all the areas of the AM section (5/8 for three subjects, 4/8 for (get this!) Water Resources, my supposed specialty, and 2/8 for Structures!  Pretty horrible!!

? In the afternoon section, I was also deficient in Water Resources (25% correct!) and Transportation Planning/Safety (about 50% correct).

? I wrote tons of notes in the margins of CERM and anywhere else I felt was easy to find later on.

? I tabbed the HELL out of my CERM and any other books that I thought I might use.

? I used about five spiral notebooks with specific subjects in each for solving the problems.

? I printed out a calendar for January, February, and March.  Using this, I wrote down on each week/day what I would be working on. 

? When I worked problems each night, I wrote down how long I worked and what type of problems I worked.

? I only worked problems Monday through Thursday for about 3 hours each night.

? I bought all of the Six-Minute Series books, worked ALL the Breadth problems in each book and about three-fourths to all the problems in the Depth section.

? All of those books added up to 500 problems.  I can tell you right now, Structures is my very weakest subject then Environmental, so I only worked the Breadth problems in Structures and attempted some of the Environmental Depth!

? I also bought the newest edition of Lindeburg?s Civil PE Sample Exam and worked all of those problems, except for a lot of structures problems (they are just way past my ability)

? I worked the older version of the PE Civil Sample Exam, the one where each problem is not independent.

? Threw in some of the problems from the CERM Practice Problems pertaining to WR, Geo, Env, and Trans.

? Re-worked the problems in the review course material.

? I worked problems from the Passing Zone as well.  Those are some pretty good examples of what you will see on the exam.

I took a lot of books/references with me to the exam.  I only used Metcalf & Eddy?s Wastewater book, Holtz & Kovac?s Geotech book, CERM, my review notes, Six-Minute Water Resources for a couple problems and maybe looked a few things up in a Civil/Environmental dictionary.  All the other references I took were for Transportation, which I didn?t need this time, and were basically a security blanket!

The biggest thing for me was to be able to work the practice problems without looking at the answers all the time.  You have to know how to do the problems because you will not have time to look up a problem that?s similar.  You have to know how to use/read the charts in CERM and where to find your formulas.  Make a sheet or two of all the formulas you know you will probably use.  Put these in the front of your notebooks.

For me, I broke each subject out and put into a separate notebook and in this notebook I added sheets with formulas, most used conversions, notes that would be easier to find there than in CERM.  This really helped me a lot.  I liked having a notebook with only one subject in it.  That way, I really only used 3 notebooks.

As I stated above, I only worked problems Monday through Thursday, 3 hours a night.  Took the weekends off until two weeks before the exam, then I spent that time (weekends) tabbing, tabbing, and tabbing, more margin writing.

I didn?t take any days off before the exam.  If you don?t know it by then, you?re not going to learn it!!!  The Monday before the exam, I did take off, just to relax and do a little reading, clear my head and forget about the exam.  Worked all day the day before as well.

Don?t freak out when you get the exam.  Skip the first couples of problems or find one that you just know you can get correct.  Work a few of those till you get your confidence going, then tackle the harder ones.  Don?t second-guess your original answers!  I did the first time, changed some answers that were initially correct and this could have been the difference between passing and failing.

When you finish the AM portion and go to lunch, don?t talk to anyone about the exam or the problems.  There will be some second-guessing going on if you do!  Just clear your head and get ready for the afternoon beating.  When you finally finish the exam, go home, have a drink or smoke (if you do either), get a good dinner and FORGET about the exam.

I refused to discuss the exam with anyone at work or my friends or even think about the problems afterwards.  If I had allowed myself to do this, I would drive myself crazy with the second-guessing!  Don?t bother checking your Board?s website.  Only doing so, will just cause you pain.  (Why does it take so damn long?)  You will know when you know.  First time it was 7 weeks later for North Carolina and the second time it was 8 weeks and 3 days!

Well, that?s all that I can think of at the moment.  If anyone has any questions or if I could possibly be of any help to passing the exam, feel free to email me at khgulledge@gmail.com

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How I Passed the April '06 EE Exam: :true:

1. Didn't waste any money on "the other board" materials.

2. Borrowed a copy of the National Electrical Code.

3. Didn't worry.

4. Only studied 44 hours.

5. Got laid the morning of the exam.

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Albeit my previous post was true, here is a more serious response to the discussion:

1) Maintain your perspective: Yes, it is an important test, but don't choke. There is no shame in not passing, as I have met exceptionally gifted engineers who bombed on their first or second attempt. If you fail, expect to be disappointed, but it's not Auschwitz 1945.

2) Study concepts: you would not believe how many problems you can solve by inspection. It's almost too easy, to the point that you think "Hey, this problem is too easy for the PE exam. There's got to be a trick somewhere". There were some ridiculously easy questions on the EE exam of this nature. By studying conceptual knowledge, you can look for shortcuts.

3) An engineering handbook is a real plus. I solved at least three problems with a book I borrowed and never used before. I merely looked in the index at the back of the book and flipped to the relevant page.

4) Before you answer a single problem, read the entire test and categorize each problem as E, M, D (easy, medium, difficult) and solve them in that order.

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2) Study concepts: you would not believe how many problems you can solve by inspection. It's almost too easy, to the point that you think "Hey, this problem is too easy for the PE exam. There's got to be a trick somewhere". .

I agree wholeheartedly here. So many people on the other board keep preaching to do as many problems as humanly possible and build up your skills by repetition.

I don't agree with that method. I spent about 2/3 if my study time reviewing old textbooks, taking notes, and assembling reference material. Based on problems in a practice book that I used more for diagnostic purposes - what are they asking, how tough is it, what's emphasized, etc. - than for preparing for test conditions.

I did 3 the full practice tests in the PPI book, a few problems at a time under test conditions. And then the full NCEES practice for 8 hours one Saturday a couple weeks before the test.

4) Before you answer a single problem, read the entire test and categorize each problem as E, M, D (easy, medium, difficult) and solve them in that order.

To me, this seems like it would suck up too much valuable time. Plus, I think for me, the questions would blend together when I went back to actually answer one, and I would make some goof-ups.

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Now since I DIDN't pass.....this seems like an odd place to post....but.....

I really believe that what cost me (I couldn't have been more than 2-3 from passing, by the analysis report) is that I did NOT have all of the "Resource" books that the NCEES recommended.....I saw at least ONE question that would have been a simple lookup type question from each reference book...had I had the book......and since I didn't......it was a guess.......AND since I know that the structures, and environmental portions are going to be a lot of guesses already.....that MIGHT explain why twice now I've hit at about the 50-55 mark on the correct answers.....I can't give up the lookup questions.

What do the others that have taken the Transpo afternoon exam feel about this? or any of the other pm exams as far as that goes.......:study

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NC,

I completely agree with you on the lookup questions. I took the transportation afternoon and KNOW that I would not have passed if it weren't for having a manual for some of the look ups. Several manuals were only used for one question, but sometimes that's all it takes to get over the edge.

Our instructor in Houston Testmasters told us to bring the ASTM manual. I thought " what a crock" we'll it turns out, I probably could have used it.

The bottom line, in my oppinion, is take everything listed on NCEES' site and then some. You never know what might pop up. The cost of the manuals is nothing compared to having to take the test over, because you couldn't find one definition or size out of a chart.

Good Luck!!

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Some people beleive that that you need to start studying multiple months before the exam to really learn the material. I started studying about 3 months before the test and actaully felt like it was a little too much. I noticed that after the end of the 2nd month, I forgot the details of the stuff I studied at the beginning. For me the "critical mass" of time would be about 8 to 10 weeks. However, I agree that you need to set a schedule, stick to it, and study almost every day.

Good luck.

Brian

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^ I studied for about 19 weeks. I did it slow and steady.

I agree, you need to find a timeframe that works best for you. You don't want to peak too early and burn out before the test.

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Another thing I remembered...when all else fails on the exam (can't seem to find the right equation, etc.), try manipulating the "givens" to come up with the answer in the units required by the problem.

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When I passed, I knew that studying wasn't the key since I seemed to give out at the end of the test.

I did these things:

Worked out more to help improve endurance and IQ points.

Stayed an extra night at the hotel in the city I was taking the test so I could sleep better the night before the test. I can never sleep the first night in a hotel.

I got a massage 2 days before the test, and then one the day before the test to help mentally relax.

I then did great on the exam.

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I took the Exam on April 2006 in Geotech, and passed it. It was my Second time taking the exam. I think that the first time one does not know whats in it or what is expected so it takes a little getting used to.

I used the CERM by Lindeburg, it was great for the morning, the afternoon, you have to start by getting used to your old text books. You have to two weeks and you should get the 6 min. solutions, it was great, also the soil and foundation design, 201 solved problems. GET THEM BOTH, invest in an environmental engineering dictionary, IT it worth its weight in gold. Good luck, and eat light the night before, make sure you eat breakfast and bring some pain killers, such as Advil, Tylenol or something of your choice.

After you get through all the problems in the practice test, and you have label everything, you are ready, good luck you wont need it if you did all of these things.

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I'm not ashamed to say I'm not the brightest crayon in the box. I studied.

I started preparations for the April '06 FE exam this time last year. I had been out of college and working in the manufacturing area (PE not required) for 20 years. Since moving to a consulting firm, the pressure was on to get licensed. I put in approximately 400 hours for that exam including a review course, "the other board" materials, and NCEES materials.

I started preparation for the Oct. '06 PE exam in May of this year. I followed the same course of action that I used for the FE. 3 - 4 evenings a week and at least one day of every weekend.

I know that some need less preparation than others. And, I know what I needed to do. So, I've put in about 800 hours over the past 10 months to pass both the FE and PE tests this year. It was a long road that I am so relieved to put behind me.

The best advice I can give is this: Be honest with yourself, determine what effort it's going to take to get there, then do it. There is no magical number of hours. Don't practice what's easy or what you already know, unless you need to build your confidence when the going gets tough in the areas that you're trying to master. You don't have to be brilliant to do this - you just have to want it and work for it.

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I have 4 kids and i have to work long hours along wtih all teh practices. So there was no studying time for me. Always some kid event / emergency, along with being the office manager for a small engineering company.

I failed the first time, i hardly studied.

I took the school of professional engineering review class and workshop. 5 saturdays and sundays in another town. It was hard, but i had to make the commitment to go away every weekend for the 5 weeks. I did not study during the week between the classes.

the classes are outstanding.

I also took the week off from work before the test and had a hotel room in the city (away from the family and work) where the test is - that i do not live in.

I studied that entire week for the test.

I am very confident i passed this time.

This is the only way i could of passed - i hope.

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On morning and afternoon, before I worked any problems, I read every one and graded it for difficulty- 1,2,3,4. I did all of the 1's first, then the 2's, etc. Some of the numbers were adjusted, but overall, this worked well for me. The ones that were the hardest were left at the end and I probably couldn't work them, anyway, so it wasn't a big deal that there was no time.

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On morning and afternoon, before I worked any problems, I read every one and graded it for difficulty- 1,2,3,4. I did all of the 1's first, then the 2's, etc. Some of the numbers were adjusted, but overall, this worked well for me. The ones that were the hardest were left at the end and I probably couldn't work them, anyway, so it wasn't a big deal that there was no time.

I did it a little different... I spent two minutes working on each problem and then made a decision whether I'd get it done in another four. If I thought I'd get it done, I got 'er done. If I wasn't sure I'd get it done, I rated the difficulty (1,2,3) and then moved on. My thought was 1) I didn't want to waste time reading/grading a problem that I was going to get done easily and 2) Sometimes I might have thought a problem was easy or hard and after just a minute or so realized I was completely wrong.

But bottom line: you don't want to get stuck on a problem for ten minutes before you realize you're not going to get it.

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