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Critique my PE power review schedule


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#1 zachtos

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:54 PM

Hi, I passed the FE April 2011 and plan to take the PE - Electrical - Power in April 2012. I've been out of school about 9 years and work as a project manager at a utility. I was a electronics engineer, not power. A few of my coworkers passed the PE studying only a month, but I will use the slow time this winter to study across 3-4 months. I bought the PPI Power exam study package and plan to use that as my only source to pass. It come with 500 power practice problems and 2 sample tests (one is the NCEES). I have a proposed study schedule I would like critiqued. Passing the FE last year should make it a lot easier since I don't need to review the math anymore, and I have a light overview on power.

Sections I want to totally ignore or lightly cover: Electronics, Basic Theory, Field Theory. (Electromag / DC circuits). I'm not sure these are really worth dumping time into since they don't have many workable problems and don't appear on the Exam specifications. So below is my schedule based on the Specs.

PE EE Power Exam Review Schedule - Zach

Week #1 - Dec19
1. Entry Paperwork
2. Calculator Workshop
3. Math Review
4. Circuit Theory

Week #2 - Dec26
Circuit Analysis
Analysis 11%
1. Three-phase circuit analysis
2. Symmetrical components
3. Per unit analysis
4. Phasor diagrams
5. RMS

Week #3 - Jan2
Power System Analysis
Devices and Power Electronic Circuits 9%
1. Battery characteristics and ratings
2. Power supplies
3. Relays, switches, and PLCs
4. Variable-speed drives

Week #4 - Jan9
Transformers
Electromagnetic Devices 7.5%
1. Transformers
2. Reactors
3. Testing

Week #5 - Jan16
Transmission Lines
System Analysis 12.5%
1. Voltage drop
2. Voltage regulation
3. Power factor correction and voltage support
4. Power quality
5. Fault current analysis
6. Grounding
7. Transformer connections
8. Transmission line models

Week #6 - Jan23
Transmission Lines
System Analysis... (Fault current analysis)

Week #7 - Jan30
Power System Performance 7.5%
1. Power flow
2. Load sharing: parallel generators or transformers
3. Power system stability

Week #8 - Feb6
Power System Protection 10%
1. Overcurrent protection
2. Protective relaying
3. Protective devices (e.g., fuses, breakers, reclosers)
4. Coordination

Week #9 - Feb13
Rotating Machines 12.5%
1. Synchronous machines
2. Induction machines
3. Generator/motor applications
4. Equivalent circuits
5. Speed-torque characteristics
6. Motor starting

Week #10 - Feb20
Rotating Machines...

Week #11 - Feb27
Measurement and Instrumentation 7.5%
1. Instrument transformers
2. Wattmeters
3. VOM metering
4. Insulation testing
5. Ground resistance testing

Week #12 - Mar5
Special Applications 10%
1. Lightning and surge protection
2. Reliability
3. Illumination engineering
4. Demand and energy management/calculations
5. Engineering economics

Week #13 - Mar12
Special Applications...

Week #14 - Mar19
Codes and Standards 12.5%
1. National Electrical Code (NEC)
2. National Electrical Safety Code (NESC)
3. Electric shock and burns

Week #15 - Mar26
-catch-up week

Week #16 - Apr2
-Review
-Sample Exams

Week #17 - Apr9
-Review
-Sample Exams
-April 13 = exam

//////////////
additional topics from coworker's power system books/notes
//////////////
per unit analysis
phase shift, transformers - auto and 3 winding
transmission lines - GMR, DEQ, power transferred
power flows
symmetrical components
fault analysis
protection - ct's, relay settings

#2 R2KBA

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:09 PM

It may be possible to pass the power exam using the PPI materials as your only source, but it would probably be very difficult. There are other references you simply must have IMO. I also used and recommend the Camara EPRM (PPI) and got some answers from it, but I would strongly recommend getting some additional references.

#3 knd107

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 11:01 PM

I agree with R2KBA, you probably need to review more reference books that are better than the manual. You are hitting all the topics which are not completely covered in the Reference Manual. I would recommend getting additional sample tests and do not depend on those sample exams from PPI. The NCEES one is a must but the other two are not very helpful. Especially the sample problems that accompany the reference manual. I think the only thing it helped me on was Econ. Also, I am assuming you are working problems the entire time otherwise its a waste to just review theory.

I spent the entire month before the exam working problems. I think I learn more in that month than the 2/3 months I was reviewing theory.

#4 zachtos

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:31 PM

I plan to work through the Power reference manual (PPI) and the practice problems each week as I progress. There are examples in the book as well, and I am working those as I review too. I have not decided if I will spoil the sample exam and work the equivalent section problems each week or not (thoughts on this?). I wanted to save at least one actual sample exam to do a test run. I have a NEC 2011 handbook and a power system analysis and design book (J. Duncan Glover) that was given to me for extra coverage. I'm not sure how my time will flow but it doesn't seem too bad so far. I hope that 3 months is plenty of time to learn and pass, given my coworkers only put in a month at best using the same materials to pass (but they had power backgrounds).

Edited by zachtos, 22 December 2011 - 02:33 PM.


#5 willsee

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:41 PM

The big thing for me was just constantly working the NCEES exam.

I would suggest taking the NCEES exam before anything else so you get a feel of the problems (the sample exam is similar to the actual imo) and what it is like. When I started I think I only got 10/80 correct on the sample exam, but after I took it and started reviewing my books it focused my studying.

#6 EEVA PE

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:41 PM

I plan to work through the Power reference manual (PPI) and the practice problems each week as I progress. There are examples in the book as well, and I am working those as I review too. I have not decided if I will spoil the sample exam and work the equivalent section problems each week or not (thoughts on this?). I wanted to save at least one actual sample exam to do a test run. I have a NEC 2011 handbook and a power system analysis and design book (J. Duncan Glover) that was given to me for extra coverage. I'm not sure how my time will flow but it doesn't seem too bad so far. I hope that 3 months is plenty of time to learn and pass, given my coworkers only put in a month at best using the same materials to pass (but they had power backgrounds).



In my opinion do as many sample exams as possible to identify your weaknesses, study the areas of your weakness, until they become one of your strengths. Then redo the sample exams. Seek out as many sample problems as you can find to get the greatest exposure to the different problem types. The more problems you do the greater chance of exposing a weakness now and getting it corrected. You do not want to be surprised on the real exam of a weakness you had not known about. By then it is too late and may cause frustration which is not good while taking the exam. Your goal should be limiting the amount of surprises. There will be surprises no matter how much you study, but the less the better.

#7 zachtos

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:57 PM

I think I will review in the order above, and at the end of each section, will work through the sample exam questions related. I can review that section more if necessary. I'm already doing that w/ the circuit theory section. Hopefully I have plenty of time w/ this schedule to master all material by the last few weeks.

#8 spinup

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:48 PM

I think I will review in the order above, and at the end of each section, will work through the sample exam questions related. I can review that section more if necessary. I'm already doing that w/ the circuit theory section. Hopefully I have plenty of time w/ this schedule to master all material by the last few weeks.


You need to find what works for you. Everyone is different in how they learn. Doing a sample exam is a good way to judge your progress. Good luck in your studies.

#9 mcb003

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 02:42 AM

Since you recently passed the FE, you should have a good feeling for how to pace yourself during the exam, how to stay focused yet not tense, and how to sit still for 4 hours at a time. So, I suggest that you use your sample exams as study guides instead of "saving" them until the end. Learn how to do every problem on those sample tests. As you work problems you'll be uncovering the theory. Work as many problems as you can. Know the Camara book, but realize that you will need other references as well. It's not too early to start studying now. I, too, do not have a power background, but I passed in October. Good luck.

#10 BamaBino

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:06 PM

I wouldn't wait until Week #14 to review the NEC. It's a major part of the Exam.

#11 vdubEE

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 10:58 PM

First, I commend you if you can follow that schedule and not lose track. I am not sure how comfortable you are with the topics covered so you might require the extra study time.

Personally, I would get bored about four weeks in, lose focus, and the test results would more than likely reflect that. For my preparations, I started studying five weeks before the test, spending about 3-4 hours daily and more on weekends. This allowed me to get a very good review of all topics and practice tests I had access to while studying but not lose focus or get bored from studying too much.

If you feel you need to study that long and indepth, then I would say go for it. You know the best way to prepare yourself for test and what way works best for studying than we would. I would just caution on fading towards the end or not completing the schedule due to boredom, emergencies or other situations popping up.

#12 zachtos

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:47 PM

Well, I finished working through the Power Reference MAnual by Camara. I also did all the sample questions that came with the book. I did skip some sections completely though including: electronics, math/economics (reviewed that for the FE last year) and the first half of illumination (theory stuff). I did lightly skim the Electromag Theory, and Circuit Theory. Transmission lines, fault current, NEC and motors are my 'need work sections'.

I now plan to spend 6 weeks going over practice exams (I have been skimming them while studying, but not working all of them, just the practice problems from the PPI). I did order 2 more sample exams from compleximaginary today, so that gives me 2 PPI exams, 2 CI exams, and one NCEES exam.

I plan to bring all sample exams, the PPI book and my 2011 NEC handbook to the exam. I'm told the NESC book is not really needed for the exam to pass it.

Any other suggestions while I work sample problems?

#13 Judowolf PE

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:59 PM

If you are short on sample tests...Spin-up has 5 full NCEES style tests in one book for $99 right now...from the information from the forums they are very close to the actual exam questions.

#14 zachtos

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:27 PM

DANG, I just ordered the two complex imaginaries. How are they stacking up in comparison to the spin-up versions?

#15 Judowolf PE

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:45 PM

I watch the videos from the complex imaginary site and I plan on ordering some of their sample tests as well, but I believe they are very similar to the spin-up exams. Spin-up also has a free weekly sample problem and solution to help you in your preperation. These are both power specific companies, so I think they are both good...you can't get enough sample tests in my opinion! Complex imaginary has a new NEC code exam book with 300 code only questions, but I don't see that as being something I would purchase since the other practice tests also test over code. If you have some extra cash floating around, it is an option...

#16 zachtos

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:45 PM

I have worked through all the PPI materials and the power reference manual. I grabed ANSI charts, more articles on rectifiers/thyristors, VFDs, an old NESC codebook, my NEC2011 handbook, and I have the Power Systems book by Glover (but barely touched it). I worked the NCEES sample exam first (maybe 40% correct), then the Complex imaginary sample test #1 (75% correct). I have one more CI exam and 2 of the PPI sample exams. I REALLY LIKE THE COMPLEX IMAGINARY EXAMS! They are great. Nice detailed solutions. I hope the exam is equal in difficulty, because they feel a bit easy, or I could have overstudied a bit too much already.

#17 Wildsoldier PE

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:15 PM

When i took the test complex imaginary test were good...the actual test is about 25% more dificult than complex imaginary test in the morning and 35% more dificult in the afternoon..thats my thought...keep practicing you have 1 more month to go!!!...when i was in my last month i think i dedicate 3 hours every day of the week and 4-6 every sat and sunday..dont give up...if i passed you can

#18 zachtos

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:31 PM

I am already bored of studying. It's been slow at work so I've been getting 30hr/week in or so w/o needing weekends. Pretty sweet. I bought the spin up exams and worked through one, I think it's a bit easy, and there are several typos/errors in the book so far. I think the complex imagineries were the best because of the detailed solutions. The PPI sample exams were pretty hard on some questions, but I think there were a few errors there too. I hate finding errors, it makes you second guess everything.

I would say 2-3 months of review should be enough if you just buy the PPI EPRM, NCEES exam and the spinup exams or complex imaginaries x4. NES handbook and Google Sucks a few topics to print out extra info as needed (busses, VFDs, power circuits, harmonics, auto tranformers, ANSI codes) and then make a few equation sheets and tab the hell out of the NEC/EPRM. I think I should pass.

#19 zachtos

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:48 PM

I feel like I got 80-90% on the exam (only tagged 9 problems as questionable of 80). I would say the extra practice exams were critical to me passing. I was not impressed with the spin-up exams and would suggest buying all four of the complex imaginary exams. The PPI sample exams were actually pretty good too IMO. The NCEES sample exam was of course, valuable. The only material I really needed was an NEC 2011 handbook, PPI Electric reference manual and some supplemental notes.

Suplemental notes I found that the PRM didnt cover were
home-made equation note-sheets (motors, power, per unit, transformers, 4 pages total)
ANSI chart
VFDs
Harmonics
Motor Curves
Symetrical components (complex imaginary screen grabs of videos)
Economics (from FE exam)
auto transformers
probability (from FE exam)
electric shock
PE power notebook (R curas, found on the forums somewhere here)

I really only needed the NEC book and the EPRM to pass in addition to my notebook equations. The complex imaginary exams were all the practice I think you really needed. But, there still were about 5 questions I just couldn't answer from lack of information in the EPRM. (harmonics for one).

I think 1 month of reviewing the EPRM and creating a notebook is all you need for theory. Then a month or so of sample exams. I spent 4 months, but could have done less and been fine. 200 hours probably spent reviewing. BUT, I also wanted to be more competent at my job since I'm at a utility with a background in electronics. Now I'm fairly good at both!

#20 Blak

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:25 PM

The best way to prepare is taking a review class (G-Tech) and do many sample problems (SpinUp & NCEES).
I prepared using the following method:
Review Class (G-Tech)
References (Wildi, PPI, NEC, G-Tech notes)
Sample Exams (NCEES & SpinUp)

Make sure you do sample exams. The mistake I did the last time is take the review class and read reference manuals. I did not do any sample exams. This time around I did sample exams and felt like I passed it (Knock on wood). Waiting for the results is going to be difficult.

#21 zachtos

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:32 PM

FYI, I passed.

I found that the PPI material was not enough to pas, as mentioned I printed some supplemental materials. The complex imaginary exams x 2-4 were enough in my opinon.

#22 mauldinite

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:00 PM

Congrats!! Out of curiousity, how close did you stick with your original schedule?

#23 zachtos

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 01:46 PM

Congrats!! Out of curiousity, how close did you stick with your original schedule?


Not very close at all. It took about a month to go over all the book theory. I spent a week or so accumulating extra material online as I reviewed. I spent 3 months doing practice problems and misc. review as I found gaps. I think 3 months total is all you really need (for me). The FE was MUCH harder to pass honestly, but that was because I waited 10 years after college. I put in maybe 200 hours to study for the PE and about 250 for the FE.

#24 mauldinite

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 06:53 PM

Congrats!! Out of curiousity, how close did you stick with your original schedule?


Not very close at all. It took about a month to go over all the book theory. I spent a week or so accumulating extra material online as I reviewed. I spent 3 months doing practice problems and misc. review as I found gaps. I think 3 months total is all you really need (for me). The FE was MUCH harder to pass honestly, but that was because I waited 10 years after college. I put in maybe 200 hours to study for the PE and about 250 for the FE.


Totally agree. I started off with a pretty similar schedule, but abandoned it by the middle of January. My strategy turned into: Just do practice exams. If you don't understand something, dig through your references until you figure it out. The key for me was getting enough practice exams to keep this fresh. I got all of the practice exams that I could: CI, Spinup, PPI, and the official NCEES one. Honestly, I felt like this was overall a much more efficient way of studying for me.

#25 zachtos

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 07:02 PM

Congrats!! Out of curiousity, how close did you stick with your original schedule?

Not very close at all. It took about a month to go over all the book theory. I spent a week or so accumulating extra material online as I reviewed. I spent 3 months doing practice problems and misc. review as I found gaps. I think 3 months total is all you really need (for me). The FE was MUCH harder to pass honestly, but that was because I waited 10 years after college. I put in maybe 200 hours to study for the PE and about 250 for the FE.

Totally agree. I started off with a pretty similar schedule, but abandoned it by the middle of January. My strategy turned into: Just do practice exams. If you don't understand something, dig through your references until you figure it out. The key for me was getting enough practice exams to keep this fresh. I got all of the practice exams that I could: CI, Spinup, PPI, and the official NCEES one. Honestly, I felt like this was overall a much more efficient way of studying for me.


It was similar for me, but I did not take power in college (electronics), so I reviewed theory first since I had no idea how to do ANY problems from the start.




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