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#1 wvgirl14

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:25 PM

So I planning to take the civil PE exam (Geotechnical) in April 2012. I have already started studying for it back in August and I am feeling overwhelmed. I have the CERM, have the six minute solution for water/transp/and geotechnical. I worked through the six minute breadth problems for water and have started working through the CERM companion problems. I guess my thinking is there is no way I can do a chapter of these a night. I have a full time job, a baby, a preschooler, hubby, house and a hr commute each way. It takes me an hour or two each night to just do four problems in the CERM companion. I want to read the chapters of the CERM but I don't know when I would have time. I bought the All-in-one by Goswami which seems to be much more manageable, but then I am afraid I will be under prepared. I hope to have the morning completed by December and then work on the Depth the rest of the way through. I have the Lindeburg practice exam and the NCEES practice exams (2 of them) plus the Das books, Navac, Chelapti, 201 solved geotechnical problems, that I plan to go through from Dec-March. I guess I just feel I am not going to make through all this. I have the NCEES outline and I am trying to focus only on the chapters it covers, but I am already feeling behind. Did the rest of you feel like this and how did you manage it?

#2 Jacob_PE

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:34 PM

QUOTE (wvgirl14 @ Sep 19 2011, 12:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I planning to take the civil PE exam (Geotechnical) in April 2012. I have already started studying for it back in August and I am feeling overwhelmed. I have the CERM, have the six minute solution for water/transp/and geotechnical. I worked through the six minute breadth problems for water and have started working through the CERM companion problems. I guess my thinking is there is no way I can do a chapter of these a night. I have a full time job, a baby, a preschooler, hubby, house and a hr commute each way. It takes me an hour or two each night to just do four problems in the CERM companion. I want to read the chapters of the CERM but I don't know when I would have time. I bought the All-in-one by Goswami which seems to be much more manageable, but then I am afraid I will be under prepared. I hope to have the morning completed by December and then work on the Depth the rest of the way through. I have the Lindeburg practice exam and the NCEES practice exams (2 of them) plus the Das books, Navac, Chelapti, 201 solved geotechnical problems, that I plan to go through from Dec-March. I guess I just feel I am not going to make through all this. I have the NCEES outline and I am trying to focus only on the chapters it covers, but I am already feeling behind. Did the rest of you feel like this and how did you manage it?

Yea, it's a ton of stuff, I felt overwhemed when I started studying but after a while it's just a way of life. Remember that there can no victory without sacfrifice. As others have touched upon, family life suffers when we engage in this quest for PE - awesomness. Manage it as best you can and good luck.

#3 snickerd3

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:42 PM

my books were always at my side. Both breaks and lunch periods were spent reading and solving problems. If i had a spare couple minutes I pulled the book out and studied.

#4 Dexman PE

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:43 PM

The one thing that helped me was knowing that I didnt have to know everything. You dont have to memorize every equation or unit conversion, you only have to know where to find them. Getting the right references to help with the "how to" part of the equation is critical. At least thats how I approached it.

#5 PJ3346

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 06:12 PM

I took the Geotechnical exam this past April. I was pretty busy with a lot of stuff as well with work, but tried to find whenever I could. I used lunch breaks to read chapters in the CERM, at night, and took full advantage of weekends whenever possible. One big peice of advice that was already mentioned above is, you don't need to know everything, just need to know where to find that information fast. 8 hours may seem like a lot of time to take a test, but it sure does fly by!

#6 csb

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:39 PM

Definitely it's not knowing everything, it's knowing where to find it.

I took the PE three times. The first two times I studied, I spent it feeling guilty that my husband was watching our young son. The final time I devoted an hour a night Monday-Thursday. My husband assured me that taking the time was fine. It was much better for me to be distant during that attempt than for it to compound over many attempts. I even studied while he was in the hospital for a brief health scare.

It sounds like you're trying to take everyone's study philosophies and do them all. Sure, reading the CERM worked for some people, but I can assure you I didn't do it. I glanced through each chapter to see what was in them, but I didn't read them like a book. Would it help you? If the answer is no, don't stress it. You're way ahead of the game studying now for April. Work your six-minute solutions and see what seems to be lacking and focus there.

And carving out time where you can helps...is the hour commute feasible via carpool or public transit? That would open up studying.

Best of luck!

#7 ptatohed

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 08:10 PM

QUOTE (wvgirl14 @ Sep 19 2011, 10:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I planning to take the civil PE exam (Geotechnical) in April 2012. I have already started studying for it back in August and I am feeling overwhelmed. I have the CERM, have the six minute solution for water/transp/and geotechnical. I worked through the six minute breadth problems for water and have started working through the CERM companion problems. I guess my thinking is there is no way I can do a chapter of these a night. I have a full time job, a baby, a preschooler, hubby, house and a hr commute each way. It takes me an hour or two each night to just do four problems in the CERM companion. I want to read the chapters of the CERM but I don't know when I would have time. I bought the All-in-one by Goswami which seems to be much more manageable, but then I am afraid I will be under prepared. I hope to have the morning completed by December and then work on the Depth the rest of the way through. I have the Lindeburg practice exam and the NCEES practice exams (2 of them) plus the Das books, Navac, Chelapti, 201 solved geotechnical problems, that I plan to go through from Dec-March. I guess I just feel I am not going to make through all this. I have the NCEES outline and I am trying to focus only on the chapters it covers, but I am already feeling behind. Did the rest of you feel like this and how did you manage it?



:wv:, I hear you. I understand the feeling. But, if I had to guess, I'd say you are going to make it. It sounds like you are doing fine (if a bit overwhelmed).

If this helps at all:
You don't need to know everything! I skipped plenty of topics in my studies. I am not a Structures person. I hardly studied anything Structures. I hate environmental(chemistry) type problems. I skipped those. If I didn't like or grasp a topic, I moved on. Study your depth topic hard and hit on the AM topics you understand. You don't need a 100%, you just need to pass. I passed the 8-hr (Transpo) this past April.

Most of the practice problems, like you, were taking me 20+ minutes each. Don't get discouraged. I think most of the practice exams/problems are harder than the actual exam. Still do them, but don't beat yourself up when they take over 6 minutes. The NCEES exam is pretty accurate.

It sounds to me like maybe you have too many resources? That in and of itself can be overwhelming. I'd try to narrow it down to a select few, if you can.

Print out and follow the NCEES syllabus for Geotech and stick to it like glue. Don't spend one minute studying a topic not on that syllabus (Ex. I wouldn't do the Water/Transpo 6 minute depth problems if I were you).

I know not everyone can do this but, so that I limit the disruption to my family life, I start studying after my wife and baby go to bed (10-11ish) and I study until 2am (and up at 6:30 - ouch). I do this 6 days a week. (I am still studying for the CA-Seismic.)


You can do it. And you have time too. Keep at it consistently and you'll feel better as the time grows nearer. Good luck.

P.S. bump.gif this thread after Aril 2012 to tell us you passed, ok? wink.gif

#8 Ambrug20

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:47 AM

QUOTE (wvgirl14 @ Sep 19 2011, 12:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I planning to take the civil PE exam (Geotechnical) in April 2012. I have already started studying for it back in August and I am feeling overwhelmed. I have the CERM, have the six minute solution for water/transp/and geotechnical. I worked through the six minute breadth problems for water and have started working through the CERM companion problems. I guess my thinking is there is no way I can do a chapter of these a night. I have a full time job, a baby, a preschooler, hubby, house and a hr commute each way. It takes me an hour or two each night to just do four problems in the CERM companion. I want to read the chapters of the CERM but I don't know when I would have time. I bought the All-in-one by Goswami which seems to be much more manageable, but then I am afraid I will be under prepared. I hope to have the morning completed by December and then work on the Depth the rest of the way through. I have the Lindeburg practice exam and the NCEES practice exams (2 of them) plus the Das books, Navac, Chelapti, 201 solved geotechnical problems, that I plan to go through from Dec-March. I guess I just feel I am not going to make through all this. I have the NCEES outline and I am trying to focus only on the chapters it covers, but I am already feeling behind. Did the rest of you feel like this and how did you manage it?


You are not along in this pattern. I have done the same thing, started almost a year before the test. Unfortunally, I haven't passed it 3 times (to my shame). My family sick to hear the word "PE TEST". Every spare minute is coming to study and make one more problem. I guess, this is the way to achieve something. Some people take it easy, some have to work hard for it. Good luck and don't get tired of it. its a long way to go, work for it and it will pay off. that's the way I believe.

#9 AMiller

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:54 AM

I would try not to sweat it so far out. I am taking the October exam and feel similar. However, when I sit down with all of my references and try to mimic the test as much as possible I do pretty well. 80% on the NCEES practice exam. It helps to try and study from memory using basic concepts, then when you have the backup of your references everything goes smoothly. Good luck and be happy you started early, by the time April rolls around you will be OK. Also, I have found limiting my studying to 2 hours per sitting helps with efficiency. I study 1 hour before work (7-8), 1 hour on my lunch, then 1-2 hours in the evening. I have also stressed to my wife and friends how important this study time is and they understand and do not distract or try to persuade me to do partake in other activities. Good luck, sounds like you are on the right track.

-Andrew Miller

#10 wvgirl14

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 01:47 PM

Thanks, everyone for your reply. I think my challenge is reading the text in the CERM. I have committed studying 1-2 hours a night, but if I have to read the text then I would never get to work the problems, and I feel that is the most important thing. Plus the most of CERM problems are so tough that it can be discouraging. I think I need to read just to kind get a feel for what I am doing and where things are located. I am going to attempt to read a chapter on my breaks at work. I am 5 chapters behind so I will be playing catch up this weekend. I have a study schedule and I added reading to it yesterday so if I stick to it I should get through everything and be focus on my depth the first of the year. I want this to be one and done. I have already taken time to study and take the FE so I want to get this behind me so I can enjoy my family without something hanging over my head. Thanks again for the reply and Good Luck to you that are taking it in October!

#11 Construction PE

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 10:08 AM

I felt just like you did when I started to prepare for my exam (just look at my screen-name smile.gif ). I was trying to take pretty much the same steps you are... trying to read the CERM and getting behind. Trying to work the CERM problems and getting frustrated...

Then I found these online review sessions from Texas A & M:
http://engineeringre...views/index.htm
These were the trick to my sanity!!

I watched the video, pausing it throughout the example problems, and working every step of the problem on my own along with the video. Then I would spend the next couple of days working problems for the discipline I just watched. Next week, move on to the next discipline.

It helped me immensely!! The videos replaced my "reading" of the CERM and I was able to work problems faster and easier. I still kept the CERM very much by my side and use it a reference rather than a teaching tool.

I guess it depends on how you best learn. But I wanted to send you this option I found. I take the exam in October so I'll let you know how it goes... but this definitely helped get me past my initial road-block and helped me get some momentum!

#12 JKG

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 02:51 PM

CERM is overwhelming for many people, and the questions are far more complicated than they need to be for preparing. I ended up ditching it and using Goswami's All-In-One, along with the NCEES sample questions. When using CERM I frequently felt despair and my studying stalled.

#13 FF8256

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 04:17 PM

The CERM problems were insane and I felt way overwhelmed working those, especially when one problem was taking me well over an hour as I re-learned material. Like others have said though- you don't need to master everything. I took transpo and during my studying I decided to pretty much skip over structural (beyond the basic problems anyway). I went to work early and studied for an hour in the morning, hour at lunch, then an hour after work. On the plus side, looks like you've got plenty of time so if you have to adjust your study schedule don't feel bad about adjusting it- I started out with a schedule to get me through the CERM in a 6 month period, but that was pretty much out the window and it turned into a 3 month study schedule that got adjusted on a weekly basis. Hang in there and remember the most important thing is simply knowing where to find everything...




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