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CONSOLIDATED ADVICE THREAD: Env PE Exam


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#1 Guest_Mahendra_*

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 02:14 AM

Hi. I am new here. I looked around most of the forum, I could not find any advice for people taking the Env PE exam. I all I noticed people are saying is that it is tough. If someone could show me a link for websites, programs, or if they took the exam and can spare a few moments to tell me what they did that made them pass, I would greatly appreciate it.

EDIT: THIS HAS BECOME THE THREAD WE HAVE USED, SINCE 2006, TO SHARE OUR COLLECTIVE ADVICE ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL PE EXAM. ONCE YOU HAVE TAKEN THE EXAM, PLEASE COME BACK AND ADD YOUR ADVICE, BEING VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK YOUR AGREEMENT WITH NCEES, USING THE FOLLOWING FORMAT:

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering

Where you took it:

What books you brought with you:

What books you actually used:

What books did you wish you brought:

General impression about exam and format:

Advice for future test takers:

#2 VTEnviro

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 02:26 AM

I passed the PE Envl last April.

It is a very broad exam. You'll need to know a little about a whole lot of topics.

What I did was buy 101 Solved Problems and use it as a diagnostic as to what's on the exam, and what I knew.

I then studied any textbook, manual, or printout I could on the questions asked in a particular section. I put my personal notes along with photocopies of key tables and charts into binders organized by topic.

With about a month left, I did the PPI practice exams under semi-realistic test conditions, to build up speed and familiarity.

Two weeks before the exam I took the full blown NCEES practice test exam, full exam conditions, all 8 hours in one day.

Then eased back, did a little review, got my references in order, made sure I knew where my motel and exam site where, and went out and passed.

#3 Dleg

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 02:34 AM

Actually, I was just thinking that us enviros should get off our butts and start a thread like this in the Environmental section. I will do that in a little while, as soon as I can look up my old "the other board" post so I don't have to re-type stuff that I've probably already fogotten.

And welcome, Mahendra! :wel


The beauty of being a mod is not having to re-type stuff. I'm so glad to have a few new Envls, for a long time I was the only one! -VTE

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 02:51 AM

Thank you both for the advice. I was afraid you would say that. My concentration in the last several years have been in air, so I have no background in water or waste. I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time just learning new stuff.

#5 Dleg

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 05:25 AM

I found my old post on the "the other board" forum, which I posted under Freon's "Time to Pay Your Dues" thread right after taking the environmental exam in October 2006. I've re-edited it in an attempt to be more helpful and complete:

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering

Where you took it: Tumon, Guam

What books you brought with you:
- ENVRM
- All the sample question books available - "the other board" & NCEES
- Wastewater Engineering (Metcalf & Eddy)
- Environmental Engineering (Salvato et al.),
- Hazardous Waste Management (LaGrega et al),
- Air Pollution Control (Cooper, Alley),
- Applied Hydrogeology (Fetter),
- Handbook of Solid Waste Management (Tchobanaglous et al.),
- NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards,
- 2004 Emergency Response Handbook (DOT/Canada etc.),
- EPA RCRA and CERCLA "orientation manuals",
- the downloaded OSHA regulations and manual excerpts,
- federal regulations: EPA's RCRA regulations (2 volumes),
EPCRA, and DOT Hazmat Transp. regs


What books you actually used: I used all of the books I brought, except for the sample problem manuals and federal regulations. I think I looked in the NCEES practice problems book once or twice, but I can't remember now if I found what I needed there. Mostly I used the ENVRM and a couple of other books. "Environmental Engineering" by Salvato was particularly handy for many subject areas, including a couple of the strange ones. I'd definitely recommend that book, because I can see using it for work. Other books I would recommend are "Hazardous Waste Management" by LaGrega, "Applied Hydrogeology" by Fetter, and (but of course) Metcalf & Eddy. I don't think the Solid Waste book was particularly helpful for the exam, though it is for my work (in fact I've already loaned it out to a colleague, so I'm not sure if I have the title right) and I didn't have enough time with "Air Pollution Control" to really get as much use out of it as I thought I would, though it did come in handy on some of the practice exams. ENVRM actually covers air pollution pretty well, but it's always nice to have something more in depth for background reading. Air sampling methods and equipment are covered nicely by Salvato - though the federal regulations can't be beat, as long as you can find stuff in them (tabs!).

Some thoughts on "the other board"'s Environmental Engineering Reference Manual (ENVRM): I feel this book was just cobbled together from the Civil and Chemical Reference Manuals. It would benefit from a serious editing job and some new chapters written specifically for the Env. exam. It is adequate for the water subjects, air pollution, and some of the safety/emergency response stuff. But it is pretty inadequate for hazardous waste and site remediation type stuff. Also, it does not cover contaminant hydrogeology, which would seem to be an easy addition to the groundwater chapter. What I did was write in additional equations at the end of chapters, or in the margins, as I would run into them in the "other" "the other board" books, like Schnetier's 101 solved problems and the 6-minute solutions. I don't know if all states allow that, but it was OK for Guam.

What books did you wish you brought: I had to fly to my exam site, so I had to pick and choose which federal regulations to bring along because my bags had gotten too heavy. Well, it turns out the only federal regulations I needed to reference during the exam were the ones I left at the office. Who knew? Also, I wish I had found some good references on sampling for all different media and contaminants - water, air, and hazardous waste.

General impression about exam and format: Surprisingly, I thought the difficulty was very similar to what was simulated with "the other board"'s pratice exams book. My finish times were identical to the timed practice exam I gave myself two weeks prior. The format is different, of course. The actual exam is much wider-ranging, which I knew it would be. It would be nice if "the other board" could correct that with a new edition of the practice exams that follows the NCEES format more accurately. What was different, though, is that the quantitative questions were easier on the real exam, and the qualitative questions were more difficult.

Advice for Spring test takers: Start studying at least three months prior to the exam. Read everything you can - it's not just the calculations that you need to master! But definitely master the calculations - just focus on the fundamentals - chemistry, kinetics (first order covers most environmental subjects), mass balances (way simpler than it sounds), and the ideal gas law - and by the time you finish practicing, you will be able to solve almost any quantitaive question with nothing more than a quick look-up of the appropriate equation or chemical property. Also, make sure you give yourself a timed practice exam at least a couple weeks before the real thing. It really is helpful, if for nothing else than the knowledge of how you will be able to use your time. For me, I learned that I work plenty fast enough not to have to worry about skipping problems. I had plenty of time to give each problem a thorough attempt before moving on, and I still had plenty of time left to go back to the ones I had problems with, and also to go back and check all my other answers - and still leave the afternoon session early.

Additional thoughts (two and a half months later:) I studied for three months because that's all I had left once I found out whether or not my application to take the exam had been accepted. I was able to put in about 300 hours of quality studying time during that time, which works out to 25-30 hours per week. This was only possible because of my work situation - there just wasn't much happening here at the time, and my boss was very understanding. If I were starting again from scratch, I would recommend 4 months just so you have a little extra time. But, I will say that committing myself "body and soul" to the study effort was what made it possible for me. I set a lofty goal of "acing" the exam, not because I thought I could, but because I wanted to be able to walk out of the exam feeling confident, which I did. Over time, of course, my confidence eroded as I discovered that I had been wrong on a number of problems, mostly qualitative questions that I had to guess on.

I didn't set a detailed schedule, but I did initially give myself 2 weeks for each of the four major exam areas (i.e., 2 months): water and wastewater, air, hazardous and solid waste, and safety/emergency response. My study method was to read a chapter in the ENVRM (skipping the basic math sections and most of thermodynamics), do the example problems myself, and then do the practice problems book for that chapter. After I would finish an entire subject (air, water, etc.) I would do the problems in the "Solved Problems" book as sort of a bring-it-all-together excercize, although some of the problems in there were so far removed from the ENVRM that I sould sometimes be sent off on another studying campaign.

Once I got into it, I discovered that some sections were easier than others. Air, for example, took only a week for me. On the other hand, I spent an entire month on water and wastewater, and damn near lost hope. The other two were pretty much right on schedule, with safety/emergency response (and radiation, noice, etc) taking maybe a week. That left me with about a week to go through the NCEES practice exam, and a few days to brush up on the simplest concepts of econ (don't bother going through the whole chapter - only the beginning), and then I took a full practice exam, timed, and in a controlled environment (a spare studio at a friend's radio station), with 2 weeks left. I passed the practice exa with an 84/100, and felt pretty confident. I spent the last two weeks doing the 6-minute solutions book (not for the enviro exam, but somewhat helpful) and going over subjects I felt shaky on.

The day before the exam I ran through the NCEES practice exam one more time, which only took about 4 hours because I already knew how to work the problems, and then I went shopping and relaxed, had a beer with a fish dinner, and got a good night's rest.

The exam, I felt, was most similar to the NCEES practice exam. Focus heavily on that - in terms of types of questions to expect. Try it out earlier than I did in my study schedule. I felt the heavy emphasis I placed on problem solving helped me get through the quantitative questions with ease. The qualitative questions were another story. It was like you either knew them, or you were off on a wild goose chase through the indices of your references to find something you had never seen before. So in that sense, it was more an excercise in finding out how comprehensive your references are, and how good you are at using an index, because I seriously doubt there's any one person who could possibly have experience in all that I saw on the test. So, I suggest in addition to problem solving, you also read as much as possible, and bring all the books you can.

I hope this helps you, and please feel free to ask questions and hang around. It's lonely being an environmental engineer. :( Right VTE?
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#6 JRO

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:00 PM

Hi. I am new here. I looked around most of the forum, I could not find any advice for people taking the Env PE exam. I all I noticed people are saying is that it is tough. If someone could show me a link for websites, programs, or if they took the exam and can spare a few moments to tell me what they did that made them pass, I would greatly appreciate it.

Welcome Mahendra!

In general this is what I did:

Began studying approximately 2 hrs every night in early August (for the Oct PE exam) by the reading EnvERM cover to cover and working problems.

I also took a PE exam review class which really helped since I have been out of school for quite a while.

I think the folks on this board should be able to give you a good lisetd text books and reference materials on various enviro topics for studying purposes.

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 04:24 PM

I studied starting in August trying to hit an hour a night on week days and one day of the weekend. Took off about three days before the exam and put in 8 hours each day. I found the best practice was the "the other board" example tests. There are 300 problems in it. I also looked at the "the other board" reference manual. As far as book I used during the test I primarily used the "the other board" book. I Remember using Fundamentals of Air Quality systems (Noll who was a professor in my grad school) Metcalf and Eddy a couple times, Domenico and Swhartz Physical and chemical hydrogeology once or twice. Hazardous Waste (Watts) once or twice The difficulty of the problems is not hard, its just really broad. If you do the the 300 practice problems and are familiar with your references you will be fine.

Print out the 40 cfr 260 regs and bring it. Should get you an easy quetsion or two. I had to guess on that, but it didn't hurt me.

#8 Dleg

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 01:56 AM

I should add to my long-winded post above that I am 16 years out of college, and have a degree in ME - so I had to teach myself a lot of this stuff during the corse of my studies. If you have a degree in Environmental Dengineering, or even Chemical, you might not need to study as much as I did.

#9 VTEnviro

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 02:36 PM

Thank you both for the advice. I was afraid you would say that. My concentration in the last several years have been in air, so I have no background in water or waste. I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time just learning new stuff.

I'd say I was generally familiar, or had at least seen 2/3 of the exam material previously.

The stuff that was totally new to me was a lot of the federal legislation, OSHA/safety, radiation, noise...stuff like that. Pretty much any occupational questions.

Pretty much anytime I saw "As defined in 40 CFR 123, which of the following must be stored in a closed container."
A. Hazardous Waste
B. Hazardous Substance
C. Hazardous Material
D. Hazardous Stuff

I wanted to go :brick:

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:34 AM

The exam, I felt, was most similar to the NCEES practice exam.

I agree. If you are a first time taker and want to know what the PE exam is like, buy the NCEES practice exam book. It's the same format and the same level of difficulty.

As you browse thru it, you'll find that the problems are rather simple. You just need to know how to solve them, but in overall difficulty, they're not that bad. Remember, the biggest enemy is that you are working against time.

I feel that bringing your entire engineering library to the test is kinda pointless. Like I said, you're working against time so you don't have time to browse thru many books/manuals. 80% of the time, I just use the Lindeburg book. O yea, don't forget to make a mini booklet of the index section for the Lindeburg book and the unit conversion factor. So you don't have to keep flipping back and forth.

#11 VTEnviro

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 02:11 PM

I couldn't disagree any more with what you said.

I found the NCEES practice exam to be much harder than the real deal. The PPI sample exams were closer in my opinion.

I didn't use the ENVRM much at all. Just to pick values out of tables, and to get a few definitions. I brought every textbook I used during my review and used all of them save for one or two.

I found the breadth of the exam was worse than the time constraints.

I guess this shows there's more than one way to skin a cat though. :D

#12 Guest_Mahendra_*

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 03:05 AM

AWSOME! You guys are great. Thank you so much for the info. I am sure I will have a million question throughout the next few months, so I will make sure to post them.

One quick question I have, I bought the following lecture DVDs, and wanted to know if anyone has bought them. I have a feeling that I am one of the "first" to get them since they were not available until Sep 2006.


http://www.ncsu-engi.../...=8&CatID=99


Also, do you guys know anyone who relied exclusively on the "the other board" material and nothing else and managed to pass?

Edited by Mahendra, 18 January 2007 - 03:05 AM.


#13 Dleg

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 06:33 AM

Do you mean did anyone only take the ENVRM into the test and pass? I have no idea but I wouldn't recommend it. I think it may be possible if you are knowledgeable on the stuff the ENVRM doesn't cover well (site assessment & remediation, haz waste, sampling).

If you mean did anyone just study for it without any DVDs or coursework, well that's what I did (and I imagine quite a few others) - the ENVRM and practice problems books guided my study effort, but I bought/borrowed/downloaded (but never stole!) several other references to fill in the gaps, so to speak (even in the sections that ENVRM covers adequately).

That DVD course sounds good. I probably would have bought it if I had known about it. I was determined to not do this again.

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 11:00 AM

If you mean did anyone just study for it without any DVDs or coursework, well that's what I did (and I imagine quite a few others) - the ENVRM and practice problems books guided my study effort, but I bought/borrowed/downloaded (but never stole!) several other references to fill in the gaps, so to speak (even in the sections that ENVRM covers adequately).

Yep!

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 06:14 PM

I used the new NC State University Environmental PE Review Course as part of my preparation. It was released in September 2006 in DVD format and replaced the older version which was in VHS format. I used it to study and passed on my first attempt. A colleague of mine used the VHS version and passed on her first attempt as well. I highly recommend it. I am selling my copy on ebay.

It is listed on Ebay here with a more detailed description:
EBay

Here is a link to the NCSU web site:
NCSU Web Site


Here's my strategy....after completing each lecture series, I solved practice problems relating to that specific lecture. I then bound all my solved practice problems in a 3-ring binder organized them by topic. On the first page of each section, I wrote down key equations and page references to applicable reference text books. Not very exciting, but it seemed to work.

Good Luck

#16 Guest_Mahendra_*

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 06:59 PM

Frankcal,

Thank you for the response. I am doing almost the same thing you are doing, but I do have some more questions if you do not mine.

Could you please let me know if you read the ENV Manual ahead of time to prepare before seeing the lectures or you just used it as reference? I am having trouble with the Manual since it is so dull and I am not getting much out of a chapter unless I use it exclusively. Do you think just being able to answer the questions on the Solved Problems book, and marking the equations is sufficient preparation or did you also use the Practice Problem for the ENV?

I know there is no easy way in passing the test, I just have trouble focusing sometimes when I read long technical material. I had this problem too when I studied for the FE test last October, but somehow I managed to pass.

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 07:12 PM

Frankcal,

Thank you for the response. I am doing almost the same thing you are doing, but I do have some more questions if you do not mine.

Could you please let me know if you read the ENV Manual ahead of time to prepare before seeing the lectures or you just used it as reference? I am having trouble with the Manual since it is so dull and I am not getting much out of a chapter unless I use it exclusively. Do you think just being able to answer the questions on the Solved Problems book, and marking the equations is sufficient preparation or did you also use the Practice Problem for the ENV?

I know there is no easy way in passing the test, I just have trouble focusing sometimes when I read long technical material. I had this problem too when I studied for the FE test last October, but somehow I managed to pass.


My advice is to not waste your time reading the ENV Manual if you watch the DVD lecture series. You must learn how to solve problems. When solving practice problems, I suggest understanding the solution to the problem at hand - many times the given solutions are simplified and they skip steps. This may involve some extra reading, but it will be focused. For example, when you're solving an ideal gas law problem, understand the various values and units of "R" and when to use them, and make sure you know where to find help next time you come across a similar problem. I did solve practice problems from the ENV solved problems book.

Hope this helps.
Frank

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Posted 04 February 2007 - 01:32 PM

I used the new NC State University Environmental PE Review Course as part of my preparation. It was released in September 2006 in DVD format and replaced the older version which was in VHS format. I used it to study and passed on my first attempt. A colleague of mine used the VHS version and passed on her first attempt as well. I highly recommend it. I am selling my copy on ebay.

It is listed on Ebay here with a more detailed description:
EBay

Here is a link to the NCSU web site:
NCSU Web Site
Here's my strategy....after completing each lecture series, I solved practice problems relating to that specific lecture. I then bound all my solved practice problems in a 3-ring binder organized them by topic. On the first page of each section, I wrote down key equations and page references to applicable reference text books. Not very exciting, but it seemed to work.

Good Luck


Auction for NCSU environmental review course ends tomorrow.
EBay

#19 Dleg

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 04:28 AM

bump.gif. If anyone took the 100-question environmental exam, this would be the time to give your advice, whether you passed or failed.

Plus, it's been so lonely in the environmental forum.....

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 04:48 PM

Dleg:

I took the 100 question ENV exam this April and glad to say that I passed on my first try. My preparation time was about 3-4 months with about 10 hours during week days and 12 hours on the weekends until the last few weeks. I used the ENVRM and other "the other board" material, but I had to add Metcalf & Eddy to the repertoire for wastewater engineering. I found the NCEES sample exam to be a bit easier than the 3 practice PE exams from Lindeburg. I actually tried to simulate the conditions for practice exams (timing, ref material etc.). My buddy and I took the School of PE Env course review, but it turned out to be a waste of effort since they just skim the surface. The course is fine for CE exam with Enviro depth, not for hardcore ENV exam. Towards the end I was comfortable with everything except the Air and Haz waste since these two areas have so much to do with regs that its virtually impossible to master it all.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck to all preparing for this exam in the future.

#21 jregieng

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 05:38 PM

QUOTE (VA_Env_Engr @ Jun 26 2007, 12:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My buddy and I took the School of PE Env course review, but it turned out to be a waste of effort since they just skim the surface.

I would be asking: What the floc ??!!! biggrin.gif

JR

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 07:00 PM

I guess I was asking for that one. But truly it did feel like it! poop.gif

QUOTE (jregieng @ Jun 26 2007, 01:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would be asking: What the floc ??!!! biggrin.gif

JR


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Posted 26 June 2007 - 10:45 PM

I took the environmental exam for the first time in April and passed. I studied during the weekday evenings and on the weekends by doing the problems in the ENVRM problem book. I found the water and wastewater problems to be the easiest, but I work in the wastewater industry and I am currently pursuing my master's degree in environmental engineering, so that is probably why they were easy for me. I struggled with some of the air problems while studying for the exam. Thankfully the air problems on the exam were very similar to the problems presented by Lindeberg. Basically, I thought that any problem that required the use of a calculator on the exam was similar to the problems covered by Lindeberg. I feel that if you put your time into studying and do all the problems in the problem guide that accompanies the ENVRM, you will pass the exam. Good Luck to anyone considering taking this exam!! multiplespotting.gif

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 12:56 AM

QUOTE (env_K @ Jun 26 2007, 06:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I took the environmental exam for the first time in April and passed. I studied during the weekday evenings and on the weekends by doing the problems in the ENVRM problem book. I found the water and wastewater problems to be the easiest, but I work in the wastewater industry and I am currently pursuing my master's degree in environmental engineering, so that is probably why they were easy for me. I struggled with some of the air problems while studying for the exam. Thankfully the air problems on the exam were very similar to the problems presented by Lindeberg. Basically, I thought that any problem that required the use of a calculator on the exam was similar to the problems covered by Lindeberg. I feel that if you put your time into studying and do all the problems in the problem guide that accompanies the ENVRM, you will pass the exam. Good Luck to anyone considering taking this exam!! multiplespotting.gif


I agree. Most of the numerical calculations on the April 2007 exam were similar in topic to the questions provided by Lindeberg. I also used all of the sample questions I could get my hands on. However, as for the not calculation questions, you just had to have the right references. I definitely recommend printing off the online references listed in Lindeberg. Definitely a huge help. Hopefully I will know shortly how helpful. Still awaiting the results in Maryland... please.gif

#25 robby

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 02:15 PM

I just took the Environmental PE exam for the first time in April 2007, and passed.

Here is what my studying consisted of:

I thoroughly went through Introduction to Environmental Engineering by Davis and Cornwell. (The link is for the 6th editionóI had the 5th). This consisted of reading the text and doing every example problem in the text with the solution covered up. I spent most of my time on the water and wastewater. I had less time to study for air and hazardous waste.

I then skimmed the ENVRM book, and tabbed the relevant sections. I printed out the index for the ENVRM book from the "the other board" website and put it into a little folder to "bind" it. This was extremely helpful and saved a lot of time.

For the exam, I brought in a copy of the following:
  • Introduction to Environmental Engineering by Davis and Cornwell
  • Wastewater Engineering: Treatment, Disposal, Reuse by Metcalf & Eddy
  • Chemistry for Environmental Engineering by Sawyer & McCarty
  • Unit Operations and Processes in Environmental Engineering by Reynolds and Richards
  • Applied Hydrogeology, by Fetter
  • Hydrology by Watson and Burnett
  • Theory and Practice of Water and Wastewater Treatment by Droste
  • Water Supply and Sewerage by McGhee
  • Water Quality & Treatment by AWWA
  • Hydraulic Engineering by Roberson
  • 2004 Emergency Response Guidebook
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
  • Chemistry: Matter and Its Changes by Brady & Holum

I also brought in two identical TI-36X Solar calculators and a ruler. The ruler was taken from me before the exam. I ended up using my registration card for a straightedge.

I packed all of my books into two Staples paper boxes, and brought them in with a collapsible hand cart. All of my books were stacked spines up, so I could easily pick out any book I needed. Boxes were not allowed on the tables. I also brought in a water bottle and some Advil. I needed both in the afternoon. Also, while I used just about every book I brought in, I mostly relied on the ENVRM and the Davis and Cornwell book.

When I took the exam, I felt weakest on air and toxicology (no surpriseóI have no background in these topics and didnít spend nearly as much time as I should have studying them). The ENVRM treatment of these topics was pretty good, evidently enough to get me through the exam. On the other hand, the ENVRM treatment of hazardous waste was completely inadequate. I do have some background in this topic, but I didnít have any references available to bring with me. If I had been required to take the exam again, I would have studied all of these topics more thoroughly, including obtaining some additional textbooks. I also would have brought in a statistics book.

All in all, though, I felt rather iffy about the exam. While most of the problems seemed pretty straightforward, I really felt like I hadnít studied nearly enough. Plus, itís been about 8-10 years since I had any coursework on this stuff. I fully expected to be taking the exam again, and had even started thinking about a study schedule to retake the exam next Spring. Even if I hadnít passed, however, having seen the exam I was confident that I was capable of passing the exam if Iíd put in more study time.

(This is pretty much par for the course for me, though. Iím a procrastinator, and put off studying until the week before the exam. I did take off the whole week from work, though, and got in about 50 hours of studying.)

This worked out for me for the FE exam, too. My whole study regimen consisted of just three full days of solid studying. I passed that the first time, too, which was pretty amazing, considering that I was 12 years out from my undergraduate graduation at the time. On the other hand, Iíd been teaching college-level chemistry and physics for seven of those years, which helped tremendously.

#26 Dleg

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 06:12 AM

bump.gif - Time to pay your dues! Give your advice to future test takers here. Just be careful not to violate your agreement with NCEES. Feel free to use the following format for your comments (courtesy Freon), or not.

QUOTE (Dleg @ Jan 11 2007, 03:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering

Where you took it:

What books you brought with you:

What books you actually used:

What books did you wish you brought:

General impression about exam and format:

Advice for future test takers:


#27 Dleg

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:34 PM

All right all you April 2008 Environmental test-takers! Time to add to the body of knowledge here. Please keep in mind your NCEES agreement and do not post anything alluding to any of the questions on the exam. Keep it very general, please!

Here's a sample format you can follow to organize your advice:

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering

Where you took it:

What books you brought with you:

What books you actually used:

What books did you wish you brought:

General impression about exam and format:

Advice for future test takers:


#28 MSUEngineer

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 09:23 PM

Test: PE Environmental

Where: Memphis, TN

Books: EERM, WW Engineering (Metcalf/Eddy), Hydrogeology (Fetter), RCRA Orientation Manual, CERCLA Orientation Manual, Binder of problems I had worked, North Carolina State notes

Books Used: EERM, NCSU Notes, Worked problems, RCRA Orientation Manual, WW Engr

Books I wish I had brought: no others really

Exam impression and format: very similar to sample NCEES exam, but there seemed to be more questions that did not involve calculations than the sample exam

Advice: Know the concepts, as well as how to work problems


#29 APepperToo

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 01:55 PM

Where you took it: Syracuse, NY

What books you brought with you: EERM, Unit Processes, Air Pollution Control, Engineering Hydrology (Ponce), Hydraulic Engineering (Roberson), Haz Waste Management, Intro to Env. Engineering, RCRA/CERCLA Orientation Manuals, Hazwoper Guidance Manual, NIOSH handbook, several practice exam/question books.

What books you actually used: EERM, Unit Processes, Air Pollution, Haz Waste Mgmt, RCRA/CERCLA Orientation Manuals, NCEES Practice Exam

What books did you wish you brought: The Metcalf/Eddy WWT Book - I had borrowed this book from a friend a few weeks before the exam, but decided that I wouldnt try to learn it before the exam. Unit Processes wasnt that helpful.

General impression about exam and format: Pretty challenging. After I went through the exam once answering the questions I found easy, i looked at my watch and found I spend an hour and a half and had answered only 10 questions. I went back to the beginning, quickened my pace, but read the problems a bit more carefully and found that I was able to work through nearly all the questions. Worked through to the end of the morning. Afternoon was much easier for me. Was about 2/3 through after 2 hours, so I slowed myself down for the harder questions, and again was able to work through and answer all the questions.

Advice for future test takers: Being able to pace yourself is critical. Also, I'm convinced you cant have too many references - you never know which one's will have a nugget of information that will answer a question. I had copied the index of all my references and bound them separately. Those i kept on the desk and was able to very quickly thumb through them when needed. I would recommend this strategy to everyone.

Edited by APepperToo, 15 April 2008 - 01:57 PM.


#30 Dleg

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:19 PM

bump.gif

#31 Dleg

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 12:03 AM

Hey, how about all you intrepid April 2009 test takers adding to this thread, for the benefit of future generations?

The general advice format, as started by Freon 2.5 years ago over on the ppi forum, is suggested as follows:

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering

Where you took it:

What books you brought with you:

What books you actually used:

What books did you wish you brought:

General impression about exam and format:

Advice for future test takers:


#32 Baconbit

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:33 AM

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering

Where you took it: Texas

What books you brought with you: ENVRM, NCEES Sample Test, PPI Sample Tests, Haz Waste Mgmt by LaGrega, Env Engineering by Salvato, Environmental Engineering Dictionary, Metcalf & Eddy, McCoy RCRA Unraveled

What books you actually used: pretty much all of the above - by far the 2 best (outside of ENVRM), were the NCEES Sample Test and the Environmental Engineering Dictionary (by Lee)

What books did you wish you brought: none other than the above

General impression about exam and format: like you will see pretty much all over this forum, the NCEES Sample exam was very similar to the format of the actual exam...in terms of getting a feel for the format, I suggest going through it at least once, if not twice

Advice for future test takers: definitely go check out the test site the week before the test...I did and so, I wasn't surprised by the room or the setup. Definitely bring your own lunch so you don't have to worry about going offsite or standing in line. I was able to relax in my car for at least a few minutes and eat. Know your references backwards and forwards (as much as possible). I found that I really didn't even have time to think - if I had to stop and think about where something might be or "ok, how do I work this problem?" it was valuable time lost (and I still ran out of time). And lastly, work problems, work problems, work problems. There will be qualitative info on the exam but for those either (1) you'll know it, (2) have worked it in your job, (3) be able to look it up in a reference or (4) have no clue and have to guess. Focus on the quantitative and work problems. The more problems you work ahead of time, and the more different types of problems / scenarios you make your brain think through, the better shot you have at the exam of not getting caught offguard. I still don't know if I passed the test, but I hope this info helps someone else out.

#33 GTjoy

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 02:53 AM

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering
Where you took it: Virginia
What books you brought with you:
ENVRM by Lindeburg
School of PE materials
Hazardous Waste Management by La Grega
Sources and Control of Air Pollution by Heinsohn/Kabel
Standard Handbook of Environmental Engineering by Corbitt
Environmental Engineering and Sanitation by Salvato
Wastewater Engineering by Metcalf & Eddy
RCRA Orientation Manual (EPA)
PPI and NCEES practice problems and tests
also, a few extra ones which I borrowed from my co-workers; I don't remember the full names but they were not terribly useful anyway.
What books you actually used: mainly the first 4 I listed
What books did you wish you brought:
- Regulatory textbooks or guidance manuals (I left some in my office, thinking I'd never need them, ARGH!)
- Water resources texts focused on stormwater, hydrology, groundwater (incidentally, some topics which the ENVRM is weak in, in my opinion)
General impression about exam and format: I'm afraid to go into many more specifics without talking about the exam topical content... I knew there would be a lot of qualitative questions, but there were even more than I expected. Most portions were harder than I expected, but some questions seemed too easy, almost like plug and chug problems which required little to no foundational understanding of the actual problem. Over all, it was OK, but different than I expected, with some random and oddball questions.
Advice for future test takers:
--Studying: Make a study plan 4-5 months out and do your best to stick to it. Honestly, it's likely you will not stick to it perfectly, so at least you would have started 4 or more months early. I'd say try to factor in at least 150-200 hours of quality study time. (I got in about 60 hrs plus 60+ hours of instruction and felt like I needed like another solid few days of studying). Get grounded in the fundamentals and then practice lots of problems, which will help you learn where you are weak and might need to focus. If you can, take off of work at least 2 days (maybe the full week) before the exam to study and fill your mind with this stuff! Take a review class if you can. Get familiar with the references you plan to bring, but don't feel like you have to know them intimately - focus on having 1-4 main references you know well (some states will allow you to have only one book on the table at a time!).
--For the test day: Drive to the site ahead of time. Use a rolling suitcase or cart to carry all your items. Pack lunch and a few small snacks and drinks as well as "emergency items" like ibuprofen, lip balm, eyedrops. The day will go by fast but you might need a little sugary pick me up or something to clear up a headache. Make plans that weekend, that night, or shortly after the exam to treat yourself, whether it's vegging at home on the couch and watching 10 movies, going to the spa, or making your friends/family throw a party for you.

#34 mepe_tn

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:49 AM

This is excellent advice for all disciplines!

================
Join the MEPESTUDYGROUP at http://tech.groups.y...mepestudygroup/

QUOTE (GTjoy @ May 5 2009, 09:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
[snipped]
General impression about exam and format: I'm afraid to go into many more specifics without talking about the exam topical content... I knew there would be a lot of qualitative questions, but there were even more than I expected. Most portions were harder than I expected, but some questions seemed too easy, almost like plug and chug problems which required little to no foundational understanding of the actual problem. Over all, it was OK, but different than I expected, with some random and oddball questions.
Advice for future test takers:
--Studying: Make a study plan 4-5 months out and do your best to stick to it. Honestly, it's likely you will not stick to it perfectly, so at least you would have started 4 or more months early. I'd say try to factor in at least 150-200 hours of quality study time. (I got in about 60 hrs plus 60+ hours of instruction and felt like I needed like another solid few days of studying). Get grounded in the fundamentals and then practice lots of problems, which will help you learn where you are weak and might need to focus. If you can, take off of work at least 2 days (maybe the full week) before the exam to study and fill your mind with this stuff! Take a review class if you can. Get familiar with the references you plan to bring, but don't feel like you have to know them intimately - focus on having 1-4 main references you know well (some states will allow you to have only one book on the table at a time!).
--For the test day: Drive to the site ahead of time. Use a rolling suitcase or cart to carry all your items. Pack lunch and a few small snacks and drinks as well as "emergency items" like ibuprofen, lip balm, eyedrops. The day will go by fast but you might need a little sugary pick me up or something to clear up a headache. Make plans that weekend, that night, or shortly after the exam to treat yourself, whether it's vegging at home on the couch and watching 10 movies, going to the spa, or making your friends/family throw a party for you.



#35 GTjoy

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 02:47 PM

QUOTE (mepe_tn @ May 6 2009, 07:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is excellent advice for all disciplines!


Haha, thanks!

I wish I could give more specific advice, but I don't want the NCEES secret police coming after me.

Also, I didn't really start studying until mid February and I regret that I didn't buckle down and start in January. For this October's exam, if you start making a plan of attack now and do "light prep work" like reviewing these boards, and ordering your materials, perhaps you can space it out better. I'd recommend after having fun celebrating Independence Day or New Years' Eve, just START. Hopefully you'll hit a good stride, figure out where to focus, and maybe you'll even have time for taking a day off here and there.

I do have a coworker that bragged that he studied for like a week, maybe <13 hrs or so, and I just wanted to smack him. Sure that's possible, but that doesn't make me feel any better!

I guess I can also say that as you are mastering problems, don't forget you still need a solid knowledge of the fundamentals. There will be many qualitative questions testing your knowledge of things that will be difficult to look up in 5 minutes, you just have to know it.

#36 mcap8

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 01:07 AM

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering
Where you took it: PA
What books you brought with you:
ENVRM by Lindeburg
School of PE materials
Hydraulics & Hydrology - Gupta
Hazardous Waste Management by La Grega
Managing Hazardous Materials by Leonard et. al
Standard Handbook of Environmental Engineering by Corbitt
Wastewater Engineering by Metcalf & Eddy
NCEES practice test

What books you actually used: Everything listed above, but relied most heavily on LaGrega, Metcalf & Eddy

What books did you wish you brought: A better reference on air pollution control

General impression about exam and format: Format was most similar to the NCEES practice exam. For the April 2009 test, I thought the problems contained in the morning session took much longer to solve than the afternoon session.

Advice for future test takers: The breadth of the test is difficult. Work as many problems as you can and read up on as many subjects as you can. Know how to use your references and how to get a general sense of how to approach a variety of problems. Know how to work the core environmental engineering subjects inside and out. Chances are you'll see a few curveballs during the test that will make you approach the problem in a different manner than how you studied. I really don't think you can overprepare for this test. When taking the test, manage your time appropriately (don't get hung up on one particular problem).

#37 Dleg

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 11:16 PM

bump.gif

VTEnviro, Could you stick this to the top of the forum like the new Enviro members thread?

#38 jandres

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:43 AM

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering

Where you took it: Orlando, FL (Orlando Convention Center was a pretty good test site except for the insanely narrow tables and the $11 for parking)

What books you brought with you:
EERM
101 solved problems
NCEES Practice Exam
PPI practice exam
Environmental Law Handbook 20th ed
Hazardous Waste Management, Lagrega
Soil and Groundwater Remediation, Kuo
Air Pollution Control, Cooper
Water Resources Engineering, Linsley et al.
Wastewater Engineering, Metcalf & Eddy
Environmental Engineering PE Examination Guide & Handbook, King
Engineering Unit Conversions 4th ed, Lindeburg
Hazardous Waste Regulations, Wagner
Fundamentals of Industrial Ecology 4th ed, Plug
Contaminant Hydrogeology 2nd ed, Fetter
Hydrology and Floodplain Analysis 4th ed, Bedient
RCRA Orientation Manual, EPA
Surface Water Treatment Rule guidance, EPA
Wastewater Sampling Guide, EPA
Radon Gas Summary, EPA website
TR-55 Urban Hydrology for Small Watersheds, NRCS
OSHA information from OSHA website

**Disclaimer: I did not purchase all of the above books. I borrowed many from colleagues and from the library (it helps when your wife is a librarian with access to the catalogue of most academic libraries)

What books you actually used: Mostly used EERM, Lagrega, Kuo, EERM, M&E, King and Cooper. The radon EPA summary was also useful for one question.

What books did you wish you brought: Environmental Engineering, Salvato. The only book my wife couldn't get me in time. The libraries she was trying to get it from kept cancelling it, I'm guessing other people were trying to check it out for the exam. Also, I wish I had an air sampling reference. Cooper was definitely not sufficient in that subject.

General impression about exam and format: I thought the test was pretty balanced. No real "depth" on any one subject, mostly superficial plug and chug or quick answer reasoning questions. There weren't too many "out there" questions, although there were some surprises. Good thing was that I was able to reason the surprise questions or atleast make educated guesses. I'd say I knew how to solve/answer ~70 questions, another 25 I made educated guesses, and 5 that I had no idea. Hopefully it'll add up to a pass, I sure as hell don't want to sit through this exam again.


Advice for future test takers: Study starting at least 3 months before. I started studying 6 months before but my bachelors is not in Environmental Engineering (It's in Agricultural and Biological Engineering) so I had to learn lots of subjects from scratch. I do have a masters in Environmental Engineering but it focused on Water Resources.

Solving problems is important, but so is having the right references and being very familiar with them. Use the library if you need to, you'd be surprised how willing librarians are to help and get you the important references (specially if you're married to them).

Do not try to use the EERM alone, you will likely not pass. Do not neglect any subject. Also, I did the University of Delaware DVD course, but it was not all that helpful, with the exception of Air Pollution. They follow the EERM too closely and waste too much time on fluids, Thermo, HVAC. They do an OK job on water and wastewater but are definitely not experts. They do not even scratch the surface of soil and groundwater remediation or Environmental Health and Safety.

#39 FLBuff PE

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 04:14 PM

Thanks for posting! When I took the exam for the third time and passed (October '08), I threw a couple of extra references into my box, just on a whim. I was glad that I did, because I was able to answer some of the ones I had NO CLUE on with some of those references. Good luck!

#40 mnenveng

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 11:18 PM

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering
Where you took it: MN
What books you brought with you:
ENVRM by Lindeburg
Environmental Engineering Solved Problems, Lindeberg
Environmental Engineering Practice PE Exams, Lindeberg
Environmental Engineering Practice Problems, Lindeberg
Wastewater Engineering by Metcalf & Eddy
NCEES practice test
Water Supply and Pollution Control by Viessman & Hammer
NC State DVD Course (printed slides and hand notes with me)

What books you actually used: Everything listed above, but relied most heavily on ENVRM and NC State slides

What books did you wish you brought: A good reference on hydrogeology and groundwater contaminant transport, and possibly some type of general water resources reference.

General impression about exam and format:
Format was most similar to the NCEES practice exam, but problems are generally easier. Topics were very broad. Quantitative questions were generally straightforward given the right equation - 1 or 2 steps at most. Several qualitative questions were nowhere to be found in my references, mostly in the area of water resources.

What I did to prepare: I spent about 8 weeks of evening & weekends studying as much as I could - about 2 weeks for each of water & wastewater, about 1 week each for the other major topics (air, waste, public health), and 1 final week staying home from work doing practice problems/exams. I gathered all of my references before starting to study so I could determine how adequate my references were. The studying I did was (1) view NC State course, (2) worked all of the problems from the "Solved Problems" reference, and (3) complete all practice exams during that last week. I'm estimating that I spent ~100 hours preparing. That seemed about right for me, if not overkill - the problems I likely missed were qualitative questions that simply weren't in my references.

Advice for future test takers: My degree is in chemical engineering, and I do environmental consulting - primarily air quality and water quality permitting, with general knowledge of other topics (waste, public health). In my work I probably only encounter about 10% of the subject material covered by the exam, if that. So for me, the breadth of the test was difficult. Biggest key to success, in my opinion, is to know how to use your references and to get a general sense of how to approach a variety of problems. As with all other things engineering, the best way to prepare is by working problems - as many as you can. By the time you get done working the problems, you have a good sense for the themes of questions that will likely be asked. The only way I could have done better is to add the above-referenced materials to my collection of references. There were probably 70 problems I felt confident of, 25 I was able to reason out and felt good about my response, and 5 more that were shots in the dark. I expect that I passed, but if for some reason I didn't I will be posting back here in 7-9 weeks...

#41 jandres

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:35 PM

I passed, so the advice above is valid!

#42 FLBuff PE

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 11:25 PM

Congratulations!

#43 cowboy

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:54 PM

I'm waiting CA results. I took water/enviro. I feel fairly good this time. I'm still not able to figure out what reference book is good for environmental section. CERM is just a crap. Metcalf and Eddy's is not that fully integrated for any specific exam. I also used some text from college. When i took it first time most of the questins were qualitative and I prepared myself accordingly. When I took second time, almost all questions were quantative.

#44 VTEnviro

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 03:04 PM

I used Unit Ops by Reynolds and Richards for most of my water/ww treatment problems
http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/0534948847

Hydrology and Hydraulics by Gupta for pipe and channel flow, reservoirs, and some stowmater.
http://www.amazon.co...a/dp/1577664558

And Intro to Envl Eng by Masters for water quality and mass balance stuff.
http://www.amazon.co...tal engineering

Hope this is helpful.

#45 cowboy

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 08:38 PM

QUOTE (VTEnviro @ Jan 6 2011, 09:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I used Unit Ops by Reynolds and Richards for most of my water/ww treatment problems
http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/0534948847

Hydrology and Hydraulics by Gupta for pipe and channel flow, reservoirs, and some stowmater.
http://www.amazon.co...a/dp/1577664558

And Intro to Envl Eng by Masters for water quality and mass balance stuff.
http://www.amazon.co...tal engineering

Hope this is helpful.



Thanks for providing some good environ references! I feel good this time with 34 Qn made in the morning and 22 Qn in the afternoon. Hope i don't have to go through all these references again.

#46 Dleg

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 09:58 PM

Are you talking about the civil exam, with the enviro afternoon? Or the 100-question enviro exam, covering air, water, haz/solid wastes, health & safety, etc.? I'm guessing the civil/enviro exam, since CA doesn't offer licensing in enviro (neanderthals!!!) There's some overlap with the civil enviro exam, but there is quite a bit more ground covered in the dedicated enviro exam. There's a subforum under the civil exam forum for that exam, if you want more advice specific to that one.

Good luck - I know how you are feeling right now!

#47 whiterani

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 10:42 AM

Anyone have tips on new spec. for this April test ? Study tips or good reference materials...?



#48 VTEnviro

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 04:52 PM

I'd bring the same reference materials you'd usually bring. Doesn't look like the new exam spec is drastically different. I don't have the old one in front of me, but it seems like it's more of a re-allocation of problem distribution than a whole new exam.

If you have specific study reference questions, let me know.

#49 kjeads

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:56 PM

I just took the PE Environmental exam for the first (and hopefully only!) time on April 11th. Here are my thoughts on this thread:

Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering
Where you took it: Raleigh, NC
What books you brought with you:
ENVRM by Lindeburg
School of PE materials
Introduction to Environmental Engineering by Davis and Cornwell (Really Useful!)
Hazardous Waste Management by La Grega
Wastewater Engineering by Metcalf & Eddy
Applied Hydrogeology by Fetter
Air Pollution Control by Cooper Alley
Environmental Law by Sullivan
29 CFR 1910 OSHA Regs
49 CFR DOT Hazardous Materials Regs
McCoy RCRA Reference Manual
NCEES practice test

What books you actually used: Everything except 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regs and Applied Hydrogeology by Fetter. I found LaGrega and Davis and Cornwell the most useful references for me, and I leaned on them heavily for the non-quantitative problems. I was glad I had Metcalf & Eddy for some of the more obscure water questions. The ENVRM was useful for some things, but not as much as I'd hoped. Cooper Alley was almost useless for the Air Pollution Control section. I also didn't use the School of PE notes much either. I used the Environmental Law book for one problem, but it got me a point I wouldn't have had otherwise.

What books did you wish you brought: A reference on environmental sampling

General impression about exam and format: Format was just like the NCEES practice exam. I felt that the actual exam questions were less challenging than the compiled problems for the NCEES practice exam.

Advice for future test takers: Know your references! Know how to use your indices or tabs, whichever works for you. I tabbed the heck out of my references, but I really didn't use them. I've always done a better job working through indices, and that's mainly what I used once I was in the exam. I think the real issue is knowing how to read a problem, recognizing very quickly what you're being asked to do, and then weeding your way through the added information that lends nothing to the problem in order to solve it. From that perspective, you really need to work as many quantitative questions as possible. The quantitative questions can probably save you because I felt that the non-quantitative questions were rather obscure. I was able to find some answers in my references, but I did more guessing with non-quantitative questions from fields I had no background in than I did with quantitative questions.



#50 callowaygolf

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 05:16 AM

Hello all and thank you for the tips and guidance. I am new to this forum. I am planning to take the Env PE exam in April 2012.

To kjeads, did you pass your exam? Any other thoughts or guidance from your experience or reflecting back?

Thank you for your time.




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