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Spin-Up v. Complex Imaginary


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#1 lmcgill2

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 01:34 PM

Hello All, I've worked through the first CI exam (Volume #1, Version 2) and found it slightly easier than the NCEES practice exam. This pretty much agrees with what everyone on this thread says. Anyway, I was wondering what your opinion of the Spin-Up exams is. How do the SU exams compare to the CI & NCEES exams? I also have CI volume #2, but I anticipate it to be basically the same as volume #1. Any thoughts? Thanks!

#2 knight1fox3

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 03:11 PM

Hello lmcgill2. Have a look at this thread which has some discussion similar to what you are asking about how the SU and CI exams compare to each other and the NCEES exam. See if that helps.

EDIT: There was some more discussion on difficulty level in this thread as well.

Edited by knight1fox3, 29 March 2012 - 03:12 PM.


#3 mauldinite

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:12 PM

I went heavy on the sample exams in my prep. I've gone through both PPI samples, the 5 Spinup samples, all four CI samples, and the NCEES sample twice apiece. Overall, I think each source has their place. I tried to imagine preparing with only one of each resource, and I really don't think you can cover everything with just one.

- I think the Spinup problems are the easiest overall. They are also by far the quickest to get through, since there is very little calculation involved in a majority of their questions. Also, by the time you get to the 5th test, you feel like you've seen about 70 of the 80 questions in the other four tests. The repitition does help to drive certain concepts home, but I think the limited scope would definitely hurt if this was your only resource.
- The Complex Imaginary tests were more difficult than the Spinup ones, and the questions involved more calculations overall. These tests also seemed to cover a pretty broad range of topics, which I liked. Each of the four volumes felt unique to me. I don't regret only going with one or two. They did a good job with these.
- I thought the PPI samples were pretty tough. For the most part, though, it seemed like the difficulty was more because some of their topics seemed very obscure, and that unfamiliarity made things tougher. I do feel that these were the most involved and difficult NEC questions that I ran across. I haven't seen that CI NEC book that just came out, but I learned quite a bit just by reviewing these questions. I didn't get that from most other practice tests, where you typically just need to look up one thing per question. The obscurity of some of these questions would make things difficult if this were your only resource. I did like how familiar I became with the EPRM while doing these questions, since most answers could be found if you dig deep enough into that book.

Obviously the official NCEES sample is going to be the most realistic practice. On thing I will say about the difficulty of this test is that it seems like they put a lot more effort into the incorrect answer selections than any of the third-party sample exams. In most CI or Spinup problems, at least a couple of the incorrect answers would be fairly obviously wrong. In the NCEES sample, I found it more difficult to weed out the wrong answers.

Take this review with a grain of salt, because I've still got 2 weeks to go myself! Having done this many sample exams though, I do feel very prepared for anything they can throw at me. I'll try to follow up after the big day, hopefully not to eat my words!

#4 stinkycheese

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:00 AM

I agree with Mauldinite so far (haven't finished the CI tests yet)- I bought SpinUp thinking that it would be a great value at $20/test but I felt more frustrated as I went through, feeling like I'd answered each question in test #1. It does have some useful questions on relay logic that I really liked, and since I didn't ace the final relay questions, maybe I'm out of place complaining about the repetition. For each full "8 hour" (more like 2-2:30) SpinUp test, I didn't fill even one side of paper with calculations. I did like how a number of terms are defined in there, but it made me concerned about what surprises would be on the test since they weren't anywhere in my references (doe autotransformers? Magnetic Pickup Units?).

#5 mauldinite

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 12:00 PM

Ahhhh the Doe autotransformer!! That's been a 3-month mystery for me as well. I haven't found a think explaining what this means! If anyone can elaborate on this, it would be greatly appreciated!

#6 Ivory

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:01 PM

Ahhhh the Doe autotransformer!! That's been a 3-month mystery for me as well. I haven't found a think explaining what this means! If anyone can elaborate on this, it would be greatly appreciated!


There is no such thing as a "Doe" autotransformer. I think it is there to confuse, since a "Buck" autotransformer does exist.

#7 stinkycheese

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 02:37 PM

Thanks Ivory!

#8 mauldinite

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 08:41 PM

Oh well that's just silly..... Thanks Ivory, no wonder I never found the answer anywhere!

#9 DetroitEE

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:57 PM

I agree with Mauldinite so far (haven't finished the CI tests yet)- I bought SpinUp thinking that it would be a great value at $20/test but I felt more frustrated as I went through, feeling like I'd answered each question in test #1. It does have some useful questions on relay logic that I really liked, and since I didn't ace the final relay questions, maybe I'm out of place complaining about the repetition. For each full "8 hour" (more like 2-2:30) SpinUp test, I didn't fill even one side of paper with calculations. I did like how a number of terms are defined in there, but it made me concerned about what surprises would be on the test since they weren't anywhere in my references (doe autotransformers? Magnetic Pickup Units?).


I definitely agree, I also found myself getting frustrated with the spin-up exam at times, feeling like I bought one exam that is repeated 5 times. I will admit it does help to drive home the point, but I felt like it was overkill at times with the relay logic diagrams, the same paralleled transformer/generator questions in each exam, the horrible grammar and poorly worded questions, as well as the multiple errors. I also did not like how there was little to no explaination of some of the solutions where an explaination would have been helpful. I don't want to bash the author too much as this was obviously his first attempt at writing a PE exam prep book, but there is definitely room for improvement.

I just purchased two of the CI exams, trying to do some cramming this weekend before the exam!

#10 ventilator

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:08 PM

I did not use the CI but I did use the SU exams. I could go through an entire SU exam, 80 questions, in about 2-3 hours. They were certainly eaiser than the NCEES and Camara test but I think that was a good thing at times becuase after the more complex questions asked in the other manuals it was good to see some of the basics again. I agree with some of the other posts that some more explination for some of the solutions would have been nice but for the price I think it was a good purchase but you should definitely have at least one of the other problem sets. I like the Camara exams and the NCEES. Camara had the best explinations in my opinion (of the three I used). Overall I think the problem solving I did was more benificial than anythig to my passing the exam so the more you can do the better.

#11 chris1958

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 05:24 PM

Having studied both CI and SU exams and passed the exam in April - I would recommend studying both, just to get in the rhythm of test taking and being timed. I did like the format of the CI exams more though.

If anyone is interested I have the CI exam volume 2, version 2 for sale on the yard sale site at http://engineerboard...showtopic=20014

Email me at chris_a_1958@yahoo.com

Good luck everyone!

#12 pbo064

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

Does anybody else feel that the Spin-Up exams do more harm then good? It may just be that I'm using the 1st edition, but I feel that the questions are so unrealistic, poorly worded, and at times just wrong that I may be learning things wrong by using them. When I grade my exam i have at least a few that I don't count as wrong because the question was so terribly done. Also the explanations are lacking.

 

In comparison, CI more NCEES like and that solutions are well explained so that you can learn from your mistakes easier. Each spin-up test is also nearly identical, so much so that you have to force yourself to read the questions carefully to pick-up the minute difference from the last test. Whereas, CI doesn't have obvious repeats. I felt a little bit with CI like I was getting very good at taking a CI test by the end, but it wasn't because the problems were near identical like spin-up. Half way through the 3rd spin up test I lost interest and moved onto something else.

 

The NCEES test is still the gold standard, but there are only 80 questions and that will not keep you busy or teach you all the concepts you need to cover.






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