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Tracking time per problem


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#1 Nan791

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:59 PM

Hello All,


This will be my first time taking the test and while doing the practice problems I realized that I tend to get bogged down and before I know it I've spent 15 minutes trying to figure out something. So I put together this little table that lets me know where I am at any given time. I've used an average of 6 minutes per problem and have highlighted where I need to be at the top of every hour. I've also broken down where I need to be for every problem in between. I'm going to print it out and tape it on to the inside cover of my 3 ring binder to use as a quick reference.

I know a lot of you won't need something so detailed, but please feel free to use it if you think it'll help in any way. Good Luck to all of us

#2 Krakosky

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

Thanks for the table. I am having the same issue with timing as you. Any luck getting your time down? I've been using a wrist watch counting down from 4 hours but sometimes I have to stop and try to figure out how long I've spent on a problem,

#3 Nan791

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:43 PM

Krakosy- I actually had not been paying attention to time at all. It was only yesterday that I tried to solve the NCEES sample breadth in 4 hours I realized that I am taking waaay to much time on each problem. That is what got me thinking about this table.

#4 evrick1952

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:45 PM

Not a good idea............you'll be spending more time looking at your spreadsheet than working a problem.

Better to take the first 5 or so minutes of the test to scan all of the questions and categorize them by difficulty. For example 1) would be easy, 2) moderately hard, 3) difficult..............do all the 1s then 2s then 3s.

Check the clock about an hour into the test and see how many you have done.
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#5 Dexman PE PMP

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:49 PM

One thing that will help with your timing is the ability to triage your problems. When you first read the question, assign it a "difficulty level". If you can answer it right away, do so. If you know how to get started, do so and keep working on it, but keep track of how much time you're spending on it. Once you hit the 5-7 minute mark and you're nowhere close to finishing, jot down some notes as to what your thought processes were and what references you were using (including page numbers).

And if you have no clue how to start it or you know it will take you a while, skip it and come back.

The less time you spend on difficult problems trying to "figure it out", the better. It's best to focus on the "low hanging fruit" first, then come back to the unfinished problems. You will be surprised how much the "easy" problems help you solve the more difficult ones, but providing reminders or clues (or by leading you to a certain reference).

#6 Nan791

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:59 PM

evrick- Thanks for your feedback- like I said, many of you won't need it. And most of you have probably worked out your own strategy by now. I find this way works for me as I seem to forget even how to relate time and problem number during exams. So thought I'd share in case it helped anyone :)

#7 Nan791

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:06 PM

Dexman- thanks for the tips. That's very helpful

#8 Krakosky

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:17 PM

Agreed. I think using the triage method will definitely help me. At least that way I'll be able to at least attempt all the ones I know how to solve.

#9 ptatohed

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:29 PM

Hello All,


This will be my first time taking the test and while doing the practice problems I realized that I tend to get bogged down and before I know it I've spent 15 minutes trying to figure out something. So I put together this little table that lets me know where I am at any given time. I've used an average of 6 minutes per problem and have highlighted where I need to be at the top of every hour. I've also broken down where I need to be for every problem in between. I'm going to print it out and tape it on to the inside cover of my 3 ring binder to use as a quick reference.

I know a lot of you won't need something so detailed, but please feel free to use it if you think it'll help in any way. Good Luck to all of us


Nan,

I like the way you're thinking but this could be very dangerous. Your PDF assumes that you'll be working each problem, in order. It also assumes you'll finish each problem (you won't). This is sooooo not the right way to do it. I think most of us would be doomed starting with problem #1 and not moving on to the next one until we get an answer. You really need to scan the exam and pick of the "gimme's" and short/quick problems first. Then the mediums, etc. Therefore, I don't see how a PDF table could help you. I strongly suggest re-thinking your approach. Good luck.

#10 MizzouMatt

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:33 PM

I say if it works for you go for it. It is alot like a pace chart for a marathon. A quick glace now and then lets you know your pace. I dont think I would check it after every problem though. During the practice tests I checked my time after every 5 problems and skipped the ones that I didn't have a good method for figuring out after about 3 min spent. I could then come back to those later after I had gotten the majority of the test completed. The three pass system works for some people but not for me.

#11 Nan791

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:22 PM


Hello All,


This will be my first time taking the test and while doing the practice problems I realized that I tend to get bogged down and before I know it I've spent 15 minutes trying to figure out something. So I put together this little table that lets me know where I am at any given time. I've used an average of 6 minutes per problem and have highlighted where I need to be at the top of every hour. I've also broken down where I need to be for every problem in between. I'm going to print it out and tape it on to the inside cover of my 3 ring binder to use as a quick reference.

I know a lot of you won't need something so detailed, but please feel free to use it if you think it'll help in any way. Good Luck to all of us


Nan,

I like the way you're thinking but this could be very dangerous. Your PDF assumes that you'll be working each problem, in order. It also assumes you'll finish each problem (you won't). This is sooooo not the right way to do it. I think most of us would be doomed starting with problem #1 and not moving on to the next one until we get an answer. You really need to scan the exam and pick of the "gimme's" and short/quick problems first. Then the mediums, etc. Therefore, I don't see how a PDF table could help you. I strongly suggest re-thinking your approach. Good luck.


Thanks Platohed- I appreciate your input and agree with your point. I am thinking of doing the traige method like most have suggested- I thought the table could still help me generally keep track of where I am.

#12 wvgirl14

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:45 PM

I practiced by categorizing with 1, 2, 3. For example I skimmed the problem if it ask for width of a shallow foundation I would put 3 because the ones I practiced were stepped problems, so it will take a little time, but if it ask to define overconsolidation it gets a 1. If it a problem When I practice it in the morning I did 11 1's and banked time that way. It took me 5 minutes to skim and rank.

#13 ptatohed

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:50 PM



Hello All,


This will be my first time taking the test and while doing the practice problems I realized that I tend to get bogged down and before I know it I've spent 15 minutes trying to figure out something. So I put together this little table that lets me know where I am at any given time. I've used an average of 6 minutes per problem and have highlighted where I need to be at the top of every hour. I've also broken down where I need to be for every problem in between. I'm going to print it out and tape it on to the inside cover of my 3 ring binder to use as a quick reference.

I know a lot of you won't need something so detailed, but please feel free to use it if you think it'll help in any way. Good Luck to all of us


Nan,

I like the way you're thinking but this could be very dangerous. Your PDF assumes that you'll be working each problem, in order. It also assumes you'll finish each problem (you won't). This is sooooo not the right way to do it. I think most of us would be doomed starting with problem #1 and not moving on to the next one until we get an answer. You really need to scan the exam and pick of the "gimme's" and short/quick problems first. Then the mediums, etc. Therefore, I don't see how a PDF table could help you. I strongly suggest re-thinking your approach. Good luck.


Thanks Platohed- I appreciate your input and agree with your point. I am thinking of doing the traige method like most have suggested- I thought the table could still help me generally keep track of where I am.



Good luck Nan. Also, regarding your table, in my experience the exam never starts at the listed time, on the hour. It could, for example, start at 8:11 (and then your whole chart would be off by 11 mins). Use a stop whatch rather than actual time.

I suggest doing a "first pass" through the exam. On your first pass, read every problem and do all the slam dunk gimme's that you know right away off the top of your head (rare but there will be a few) and the very quick calc and/or very quick look up problems (there might be a good 10 or more out of 40 of these) and guess the "If I had all the time in the world, I'd never get this one" problems (there will be some of these!). Also on your first pass, for the ones that are doable but require some work and/or look-ups, flag them and move on. Have a ranking system of "easy", medium, and hard for those you skip. Now start your second pass of the exam. Start with the ones you flagged as easy, then medium, then hard. Personally, I ran out of time half way through my mediums. Then, of course, fill in the bubbles for all the ones you didn't get to. Good luck!

#14 Coastal Engineer

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:48 PM

I practiced by categorizing with 1, 2, 3. For example I skimmed the problem if it ask for width of a shallow foundation I would put 3 because the ones I practiced were stepped problems, so it will take a little time, but if it ask to define overconsolidation it gets a 1. If it a problem When I practice it in the morning I did 11 1's and banked time that way. It took me 5 minutes to skim and rank.


Agree with all those suggesting taking the first 5 minutes to triage the problems into a easy, medium, hard category. You don't want to be looking at your watch every 5 minutes trying to figure out if you are on track or not.

#15 Nan791

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:23 AM

I practiced by categorizing with 1, 2, 3. For example I skimmed the problem if it ask for width of a shallow foundation I would put 3 because the ones I practiced were stepped problems, so it will take a little time, but if it ask to define overconsolidation it gets a 1. If it a problem When I practice it in the morning I did 11 1's and banked time that way. It took me 5 minutes to skim and rank.


Thanks for sharing that wvgirl - are you taking the test this April (I mean this week)? Good Luck to you.

#16 wvgirl14

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:01 PM

Yep, the closer it gets the more nervous I get. This week I am taking my problems and just looking up formulas and making sure I know where stuff is and trying to be quick about find the formula. I have been studying since September. Good luck!

#17 VTEnviro

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

If you waste time thinking about time, you will not finish the test in time.

When you get stumped, move on. If you come back to later and are still stumped, at least guess.

#18 FLBuff PE

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:20 PM

Put a metronome on the table so you are always reminded that time is ticking away.


-I am joking; don't do that. You'll probably get kicked out of the exam. Like VT said, try not to worry about time.

#19 VTEnviro

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:00 PM

^Well I think the metronome is ok if it is a Casio model with a 115 in it.

#20 Outlaw44

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:17 AM

^Well I think the metronome is ok if it is a Casio model with a 115 in it.


That's funny right there. :)

#21 VTEnviro

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:11 PM

It's easy to be funny when the exam is 6 years behind you. Might I suggest Shoot The Breeze while you are waiting for results?

#22 ptatohed

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:59 PM

Hello All,


This will be my first time taking the test and while doing the practice problems I realized that I tend to get bogged down and before I know it I've spent 15 minutes trying to figure out something. So I put together this little table that lets me know where I am at any given time. I've used an average of 6 minutes per problem and have highlighted where I need to be at the top of every hour. I've also broken down where I need to be for every problem in between. I'm going to print it out and tape it on to the inside cover of my 3 ring binder to use as a quick reference.

I know a lot of you won't need something so detailed, but please feel free to use it if you think it'll help in any way. Good Luck to all of us


So Nan, how'd you do? Which time management strategy did you end up going with?

#23 Ahmed Mansour

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

used a different strategy for time monitoring during exam depends only on dividing the exam time into quarters (one hours each) take a look at clock only 4 times(one time each hour) and see how many questions have i answered?! ..

if the total exam questions were 40 then:

-after one hour i should have finished 10 questions or more (so if i,m working on the eleventh question or more then i,m OK, if not then i should speed up my rate of solving)
-after two hours i would have finished 20 questions or more (so if i,m working on the twenty first question or more then i,m OK, if not then i should speed up my rate of solving)

and so on ....

used this strategy on my FE exam
-finished am session 15 min earlier
-finished pm session ( civil ) one hr earlier




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