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My April 2012 Exam Geotechnical experience


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#1 aasadr

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:23 AM

I tool the exam from Japan last week. My company pushed me to take the exam as several PE holders are going to retire.
First of all I want to thank folks for sharing their experience. This forum helped me a lot especially with selecting right reference. I feel good about geo exam(AM &PM).
Almost I can say that 40% of questions(mostly analytical) had easy and solutions (tough some of them was a bit tricky) and 20% was more and less difficult but manageable and for the last decisive 40% you need to think and search fast in your references. questions like a special detail about field test apparatus or philosophy of a design methodology. If you want to be on safe side you should bring right references to answer them. Those %40 questions were totally different from what you see in common exercise books (like 6 minutes or Lindenburg). I can say some problems in practice books are too difficult and NCEES emphasis is more about concepts and engineering judgment and they monitor those books continuously and avoid giving similar repetitive classic questions.
Part of exam is started before the exam and is about as an engineer what references you bring to the exam to answer spectrum of questions that a real engineer may face. I carried almost 12Kg books. I think may be some day in future we will bring our ipad or kindle as reference and find related subjects on them.
With advices of this forum I took following references and used them:
1-The New Penguin Dictionary of Civil Engineering-> it is good if you didn't get your degree at US. Highly recommended. 500 grams and $15, helped me to understand and answer 5 questions.
2-Standard Handbook for Civil Engineers,Jonathan Ricketts (Author), M. Loftin (Author), Frederick Merritt
2Kg and $105, useful for answering 5-7 difficult questions for AM&PM part. Even some questions had same wording with handbook text. The only difficulty with this handbook is it doesn't have a good index. I wish I had PDF of the handbook and indexed it with a software and print the index and took it to exam so I didn't have to read several pages to find my answer. This or similar handbook is a should.
3-Handbook of Foundation Engineering wiht Fang,1975. This is was also useful for answering 2-3 very dififcult qualitive or testing questions on PM.I used this handbook for the last ten years and I am familiar with the book.1.5Kg and I bought it second hand may be for 5$.It is old but it is geotechnical engineering, nothing has been chagned from 70's.
4-Principle of foundation engineering by DAS. answering one or two questions as most of charts and information were given on the exam sheet. Have it
5-Soil mechanics by Craig.I took this book as it was my text book for soil mechanics course and I know it by my heart. for one or two questions it was useful though I could find the answer on standard handbook.500gr
6-OHS,1924. Carry it if you want to answer a question.300gr
7-All in one by Goswami, much not in use. It can cover 40% of easy question if you don't know the fundamentals but I only looked at it for one PM question for PM. $50,1Kg
8-Geotechnical earthquake engineering by Kramer(1Kg).I borrowed it form library not useful as seismic questions were very conceptual. Even I am seismic engineer but for answering them I scratched my head for ten minutes.
9-DM 7.1,7.2 1.5 Kg.not used .
Regards

#2 YMZ PE

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:38 PM

Your experience sounded similar to mine (Oct '11). I totally agree that the test is all about concepts and engineering judgment - the geotech PM session had many questions that couldn't be looked up in a textbook, but rather required common sense and experience. I love that you included the weight of all the books!

#3 Jayman_PE

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:19 PM

I tool the exam from Japan last week. My company pushed me to take the exam as several PE holders are going to retire.
First of all I want to thank folks for sharing their experience. This forum helped me a lot especially with selecting right reference. I feel good about geo exam(AM &PM).
Almost I can say that 40% of questions(mostly analytical) had easy and solutions (tough some of them was a bit tricky) and 20% was more and less difficult but manageable and for the last decisive 40% you need to think and search fast in your references. questions like a special detail about field test apparatus or philosophy of a design methodology. If you want to be on safe side you should bring right references to answer them. Those %40 questions were totally different from what you see in common exercise books (like 6 minutes or Lindenburg). I can say some problems in practice books are too difficult and NCEES emphasis is more about concepts and engineering judgment and they monitor those books continuously and avoid giving similar repetitive classic questions.
Part of exam is started before the exam and is about as an engineer what references you bring to the exam to answer spectrum of questions that a real engineer may face. I carried almost 12Kg books. I think may be some day in future we will bring our ipad or kindle as reference and find related subjects on them.
With advices of this forum I took following references and used them:
1-The New Penguin Dictionary of Civil Engineering-> it is good if you didn't get your degree at US. Highly recommended. 500 grams and $15, helped me to understand and answer 5 questions.
2-Standard Handbook for Civil Engineers,Jonathan Ricketts (Author), M. Loftin (Author), Frederick Merritt
2Kg and $105, useful for answering 5-7 difficult questions for AM&PM part. Even some questions had same wording with handbook text. The only difficulty with this handbook is it doesn't have a good index. I wish I had PDF of the handbook and indexed it with a software and print the index and took it to exam so I didn't have to read several pages to find my answer. This or similar handbook is a should.
3-Handbook of Foundation Engineering wiht Fang,1975. This is was also useful for answering 2-3 very dififcult qualitive or testing questions on PM.I used this handbook for the last ten years and I am familiar with the book.1.5Kg and I bought it second hand may be for 5$.It is old but it is geotechnical engineering, nothing has been chagned from 70's.
4-Principle of foundation engineering by DAS. answering one or two questions as most of charts and information were given on the exam sheet. Have it
5-Soil mechanics by Craig.I took this book as it was my text book for soil mechanics course and I know it by my heart. for one or two questions it was useful though I could find the answer on standard handbook.500gr
6-OHS,1924. Carry it if you want to answer a question.300gr
7-All in one by Goswami, much not in use. It can cover 40% of easy question if you don't know the fundamentals but I only looked at it for one PM question for PM. $50,1Kg
8-Geotechnical earthquake engineering by Kramer(1Kg).I borrowed it form library not useful as seismic questions were very conceptual. Even I am seismic engineer but for answering them I scratched my head for ten minutes.
9-DM 7.1,7.2 1.5 Kg.not used .
Regards


aasadr,

Be very careful discussing the exam in as much detail as you did. The NCEES can audit this site and recall you took the equivalent of an oath not to discuss the exam's contents in any way. I would not divulge as much as you did. I'm not trying to raise red flags all over but I read your description and, yikes,........ you're playing with fire.

Jason

#4 aasadr

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:17 AM

Before writing that post I looked at NCEES regulation and it is based on copy right law:
******
Intellectual Property Rights and Exam Security
All NCEES exams are copyrighted works. Examinees are strictly prohibited from copying or disclosing any exam questions, problems, or answers, orally or in writing. This prohibition includes not discussing or disclosing any exam questions or problems on Internet blogs or chat rooms or through any other means.
******
It states not to discuss any problem, meaning specifically mentioning a problem, which I didn't. In my judgment, I think the red line for them is not copyright law. Exam has different dates around globe and they are sensitive that during examination span somebody post the questions or giving hints about solution to those problems, say what topics were included. To find a legal bases for their ban, they based their policy on copyright law framework.
The reason that I risked was that during exam, people surrounding me obviously were panicked and paging continuously the famous PE references to find answer to the question but ...
This forum helped me a lot, I felt I should share my experience.
P.S.
A geotechnical engineer is always walking on the rope.

#5 aasadr

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:58 AM

By the way Jayman,thank you for your warning.
:argue:

#6 Jayman_PE

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:22 AM

When I took the exam last Friday it stated in no uncertain terms the exam content is not to be discussed. I interpret that to include linking references to questions.

Anyway, I'm just trying to look out for you bud.

Sounds like you did well. Congratulations!

Now we just wait.....


Jason

#7 Aidin

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:17 AM

I worked alot on calculations and most of the question were about definitions which it wasn't in NCEES sample exam problems. I think it is not fair that bringing more book helps you answer the question. If look at the books is going to help you in the exam, so what is difference between you that hardly practice for it and the one just bought more books?

#8 aasadr

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:10 AM

Aidin, I am sorry, if exam didn't go well. If we consider NCESS as a client, we should consider their expectations not what is logical in our mind.
Actually I want to make small complain about advertisement campaign by publishers of preparatory PE exam books.
Even they are in this forum under different names and they claim that they pass the exam with only this reference book
or if you study our sample problems %100 you will pass the exam and if you don't have them you will
end up in misery and disarray. Even if you search in Amazon or Google Sucks, they are appear first for PE exam. Anyway they want to make business in this tough world, we should have correct judgment.
However fortunately there are correct information like this that helped me answer many question with confidence.

Also from NCEES 2011 sample problem and solution's references, it was clear that they expect an examinee to bring a standard classic handbook to the exam. California state board has recommended reference list.
After exam session many people from different disciplines had same complain that "Why exam was different?".

#9 csb

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:38 PM

Trust me- NCEES is watching the forum very closely right now. If he had violated the agreement, NCEES would have found it very quickly. We're also checking the forums closely at this time.

That said, I think this is a good discussion of references. The exam can feel like a crapshoot of what references to bring in, especially when advertisers and other examinees are giving you conflicting info. Add in the cost of many of these and it's nice to hear from someone about what helped...just in very general, NCEES-safe terms :)

#10 aasadr

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 08:38 AM

Last week JPEC released results and I passed. :P It is no wonder as I had this forum.It was
very valuable for me as I am not in US and in meduim of exam takers.
In Japanese comapny, they give you chance only one time and failure was not option for me.
For me it is more matter of credibility rather than PE stamp.
Again thank for every one.

#11 victor8069

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:39 PM

Hi I wanted to know if anyone has notes from School of PE. I took this expensive class and someoen threw out my notes. I would like to buy them (or just copies) and will pay top $!




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