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What did you do right? April 2006


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#1 cement

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:06 PM

I still don't know if I passed, but I thought it would be good to share some ideas about test prep and test taking here.

My studying quality improved immensely once I set up shop in the guest bedroom. trying to study in the dining room so I could keep in touch with the family did not work. It was also a lucky break that the computer that I was gaming on broke too :true:

i put alot more time studying in that when i last took the exam more than 10years ago. 20 hrs a week for most of 4 months. i think the CERM practice problems were not the best, the six minute solutions were better. i wish NCEES published about 10 times more material than they offer!

During the exam, I noticed on the score sheet that there were 4 collumns of 10 answers each. this made it simple to monitor progress, i had 1 hour for each collumn. when i went chasing a lookup for 30 minutes on one of the first few probs in the PM, i saw what i needed to do to get back on schedule.

any other suggestions?

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:16 PM

I'll try to add some more detailed ones when I have more time.

Quick ones:
-Read and worked in-chapter problems on MANY chapters in MERM.
-Worked many end of chapter problems during studying (mostly had to look at the solutions manual to get them).
-Worked many problems in NCEES practice book many times each.
-Took notes while reading MERM and made my own index sorted both alphabetically and in order of MERM.
-Color coded items in my index to indicate which color (if any) tab it was under in my MERM.
-Tabbed the heck out of my MERM.
-Brought spare glasses to the test. Would have been finised halfway through AM session without them.
-Studied in various settings- library, dining room, home office, work office (helped to be able to focus in any environment)


I'll add more as I think of them.

#3 Hill William

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:39 PM

I read about 3/4 of the CERM and did the homework problems from the 240 practice, blah blah blah. I did this pretty solid for about two and a half months. I then worked other problems like six minute solutions and example tests. I also tabbed my book. However, one of the best things i think i did was to copy and bind a copy of the index of my CERM so that way if I was fishing for an answer, I could have the several different pages that the subject was on in front of me the whole time and didnt have to flip back and forth a bunch. Just my 2 cents.

#4 petergibbons

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:41 PM

Here's what worked for me on the April 2006 CE Water Resources Exam:
-Studied 2 hrs per day, Sun-Thurs, taking Friday and Saturday off from Feb 1 to April 19 (2 days before exam), cramming hard during the last week.
-I designated one place in our home to study and used ear plugs while studying (really helped out with concentration).
-I went through the CERM chapter by chapter (skipping a lot of chapters that I didn't feel would be on the exam) and did the example probems as I came to them. At the end of the chapter I would pick and choose practice problems corresponding to the chapter. Familiarizing yourself with the CERM is key.
-I knew I was going to take WR in the afternoon so I hit it a lot harder than the rest of the subjects.

Some other advice I can give is not to get too bogged down in tracking down references. This can be expensive and time consuming. I may have used two other references other than the CERM during the exam. Also, I thought the problems in the WR six minute solutions were a LOT harder than the problems on the exam.

Hope this helps.

#5 Hill William

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:45 PM

A lot of people have been taling bad about "the other board" but I have to say that I used it for 95% of the exam.

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:53 PM

:D I established a schedule starting in AUGUST 05. I reviewed each chapter in the CERM, did the practice problems, and when I finished the sections I did the 6 minute solution problems. While studying I would diagram the equations with the variable definitions so I didn't have to read the text again above or below. I tabbed my CERM like crazy. When I started my depth section I used the DAS Principles books (Geotechnical Engineering & Foundation Design) along with the DM-7.01 & .02. By the time I was done, I bound my worked problems into a book thicker than my CERM and tabbed that as well and brought it in for the test. I did most of this during my down time while deployed where I welcomed something to take my mind off my daily routine. If you take the time and put in the effort you can pass. I'm proof! :true:

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 07:11 PM

Here is what I did. I found out in Desember I failed the October test. I orderded every book from "the other board" (by the way don't waste your money on the calculator book). When the material showed up, I went thru and highlighted all of the sectoins that were in the NCEES summary sheet. I made a schedule. I stuck to the schedule for about one week. I purchased GUN for PS2, and stoppe studying. I attempted to try to study a couple of nights a week until March. I got a brochure from Testmasters in the mail. I ended up signing up for the Atlanta class. Went to all 10 days of the class, did all of the sample problems in class. Returned home with 4 days left before the exam. I worked 3 sample tests using the information from Testmasters and my references. I felt really good then. I took the exam, the am was a breeze, all but I think 2 problems could be solved with Testmasters of CERM. The afternoon was my speciallity so I did not even study for it. I honistly think I got atleast 30 correct in the pm. I left the exam feeling great. I never thought I might not pass. I have never felt that comfident about an exam my entire life.

So I would have to say the Testmasters calss was worh every penny.

Giving them almost $2K is what I did right! :read:

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 09:50 PM

Great advice and similar study habits to most.

What I would add is understand different terminology that may be used.

Know your references!!!! If you do not know what is in one and when to go to it you probably don't need it.

Working tons of problems helps you learn what reference to use on any given problem.

Just being prepared and determined.

#9 SCPE

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 10:28 PM

Let me tell you what not to do.

1. I know a lot of people use tabs. Me, I was so familar with the CERM i didn't need tabs. Some people say, "Oh, I've got 10,000 tabs, I'll be OK, not. They end up have too many damn tabs. If your using tabs, use them the right way. Be familar with CERM.

2. Don't try to compile a bunch of similar problems and try use them with out knowing the guts and the theory. Also, some people spend vaulable study time writing notes that are already in the CERM instead of doing problems. I was either going to use the CERM or notes, not both.

3. Be careful with study courses. They give some a false sense of security.

4. Don't take SEI or SEII. Take CE/ Structural. For those who pass SEI or SEII, you people must be geniuses.

5. Don't show up with 3 truckloads of books, those people usually fail.

It worked for me, it may not work for you :tone:

Remember, if your taking civil, you only need to be better than about 35 out of 100 test takers. Some show up just to see what its like, some don't show up at all, some because their work made them, some are bad test takers. Rarely will you see someone fail that really puts the effort in.

#10 DVINNY

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 11:37 PM

A lot of people have been taling bad about PPI but I have to say that I used it for 95% of the exam.

I used mine alot as well. I think the bad talking of PPI is due to the frustration felt on the message board. Hopefully, we are helping that out some. :thumbsup:

#11 cement

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 04:08 AM

did any other civils do the "structural bypass"?

for a transpo depth, the structural counted 10% of the test, but was at least 1/3 of the CERM. I skipped those nasty chapters to look for easier points.

funny, but of the 8 structural questions in the AM, I felt pretty good about 5 of them. which aint bad for the throw away portion

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 10:52 PM

most important for me......

1. to not waste a lot of time studing things i KNOW i can't do (ie, anything structural). i focused on brushing up what i felt most confident in, really reviewing things i needed more depth in, and reading CERM when i needed more to spur my memory.

2. bought the mgi study materials and tried to work as many problems as i could. i never did take their section mini-tests, but their problems cover SO much more than what you need to know, that if you can even do a quarter of the problems, you're doing just fine.

3. worked a lot of the ncees sample problems. keep going back to what you get wrong and rewwork the problems until you get it.

4. i second the printing out of the CERM index, double sided. it was a life saver and saved me a lot of time manipulating that big ass book. also, printed a full size copy of my calculator manual, just in case.

5. i tabbed my CERM, and it worked fabulously for me. but COLOR CODE the tabs (ie, green for enviro, blue for water, etc), it'll help the tabs not just get lost.

6. find about one box worth of books and limit yourself to that. get to know those books as well as you possibly can. nothing beats knowing you've seen the table that holds the information you need. that'll serve better than all the tabs and books in the world.

i studied here and there during the week (maybe one hour, two nights a week) and four hours on saturday and sunday each. i started in mid january, but took a major portion of february off after the board told me i was taking the environmental exam and not the civil exam. resumed in mid march when i got word they agreed to let me take the civil exam. stopped studying 2 weeks before and just got my stuff together, tabbed my CERM, and let my brain rest.

i don't know if this will work for anyone but me, but that's my two cents. and don't make yourself nuts with this......IT'S JUST A TEST. stay as relaxed as you can.

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:36 PM

The best advice that I can give is to do all of the problems that you can... I really messed up my previous times because I just went through the motions of doing the problems and not understanding how to use the formulas. This time, I committed myself to not looking at the solution and working the problem backwards until I came up with an answer. I really tried to cut corners preparing on earlier attempts and paid for it... Best of luck to you all that have to endure this thing again. I know how you feel getting that letter in the mail. Try not to dwell on what has happened and just strengthen your weak spots and maintain your strong suits.

#14 TouchDown

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:39 AM

I started studying in October and studied around 2 hours per night (including weeknights), 30-45 minutes of problems at my desk over lunch breaks, and would study a heavy Saturday, taking sunday off. I think I put nearly 400 hours of study time into it.

I used "the other board"'s study schedule that you can customize as a starter schedule. I moved stuff and did less machine design and hit the fans/HVAC chapters twice. I worked most of the in chapter and end of chapter problems... I didn't look at a practice exam until 2 weeks before the exam. I planned my schedule to give me the last 2 weeks to just do problems (BIG HELP!)..

When I got to the practice exams, I was like... you've got to be kidding me - how easy are these problems??? "the other board" doesn't follow the test format well, but if you study it, you'll be prepared.

I did tab the hell out of my MERM, but I used a system to do it, so I didn't have to memorize all the tabs. I used the bottom of the book to tab main chapters to flip easily to them. I used the right hand side to mark critical equations. I used the top to mark all the tables / charts for reference with equations.

For mechanicals, I would also recommend getting a steam and gas tables books. The ones' provided with MERM are not as detailed and you can waste a lot of time attempting to interpolate numbers, and quick guessing can get you close, but if you want to be "accurate" and make correct choices, have the numbers at your finger tips.

I also made a mistake of not having updated ASHRAE books. I would recommend getting the latest and greatest, some things could be referenced out of the newest ones. They are expensive, so borrow if you can.

I"m no expert and everyone has different study styles. I think if I was going to be taking it again, I would have considered doing a class.

#15 VTEnviro

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:35 PM

I think the two best things I did were 1. estblish a study routine that was tailored to my learning style, and 2. study dilligently on a reasonably structured schedule.

1. The thing you always hear about how to study on the PPI website and other place is to work as many problems as possible to build up speed and knowledge through repetition.

I don't like that strategy. All that does for me is get me to memorize equations and plug numbers into a calculator. I would rather know the theory behind the subject, in just a little more depth than a 5 minutes problem could ask.

I relied heavily on old textbooks. I would try a few practice problems in 101 Solved Problems, figure out the subject matter and degree of difficulty, then hit those topics in depth in the relevant textbook. I'd summarize the chapter with handwritten notes, and photocopy important tables/figures right out of the book and put them in a loose leaf binder.

I'd then try a few more problems to make sure I was on the right track.

I studied for 4.5 months, and it was really only the last month that I was just straight up doing problems to build up my speed and confidence.

2. I found out I was eligible for the test in mid-November. I ordered some study materials that came around Thanksgiving, and began reviewing the first week of December.

PPI's ENVRM suggested about 300 hours of studying. So, I divided up the 300 hours by each topic, in proportion to the percentage a certain topic appears on the test. For example, if wastewater is 10%, I spent about 30 hours on it.

I then said I wanted to spend 75% of my review on reading and studying my references, and the other 25% pounding out problems, and broke it down further.

I kept a study log of hours spent on a given day, and the topic I worked on, to track progress.

I was happy with my effort. The longest I went without studying during that span was 4 consecutive days. And that was when I had company one weekend, then flew out of town on vacation right after. I studied every morning when I was away.

I also got in the habit of bringing a review book with me wherever I went. Waiting room at the doctor's office, lunch hour at work, etc.

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:10 PM

I started studying in February, I has a really compressed schedule. The best things I did were:

1. When I worked on problems, for each type, I actually worked one out all the way including the calculations, and using the appendices. It just doesnt work flipping to the answer key and reading the answer. Wasted 2 weeks doing that.

2. Kept a list of formulas that came up a lot. Including reminders of what each symbol meant, and what page it came from, so I didnt have to look them up again.

3. Tab the tables in the chapters that are necessary, but aren't in the appendix. There were a lot of important constants that were only listed in the chapter.

4. Put those formulas, and any other good info into a spiral or looseleaf notebook, and use that as your quick reference during the test.

Dont over do it. 2-3 hrs a weeknignt for 2 months, 2 saturday mornings and the day before the test. - Way more than I've studied for any test ever.

#17 VTEnviro

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:12 PM

^ I used my weekends as power study time. I'd try to wake up early on Sat and Sun and get in an early morning session from around 7-9 AM. Then I'd already have a nice chunk of work done, and it'd only be mid-morning.

I'd then try to get in a late afternoon session from around 4-6 PM. Then I'd stil have plenty of time for dinner and whatever plans I might have had in the evening.

#18 NSEARCH

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:36 PM

One thing that I did (most ppl probably do the same) is focused on one subject at a time. I worked all my problems in one spiral notebook and for each problem wrote out the problem statement and then worked the entire problem through. I tabbed the notebook into each discipline and I used the first page in each discipline to write down all the equations, conversions, etc. that way I could just flip to the first page (tabbed) and get what I needed. Found that I practically used my "first pages" the most for each subject area during exam day. Having all the conversions written out and broken down by each subject was huge.

#19 VTEnviro

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:50 PM

I broke it down topic by topic as well. Studying ambient air quality one day and lime-soda softening the next wouldn't have been effective for me.

I did something similar with writing down equations, data, etc. I'd rather flip through 2 or 3 pages on say, filtration, than slog through a whole chapter in the textbook and lose time.

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 05:08 PM

i took the water resources pm exam for civil and passed it on my first try. however, after spending $2000 on a graduate course in water resources, review course and books and over 300 hours of studying staying up until 12 every night, it was complete overkill. everyone here has great advice and it's what i followed to get through the exam, but here is some advice for those that don't have a lot of money or time.

1. go through the cerm thoroughly for your concentration. i read through every page for water, environmental, and geothech. tab the important charts that you know you will use. if you want to find something, it is better to make a copy of you index and have that in front of you. some of the advanced chapters are less likely to show up, but it's better to cover your bases. also, read the first couple of chapters on the other two areas that will appear in the morning.

2. spend a couple hours a day studying. and get enough sleep because being drowsy the next day makes that day's studying much harder. give yourself at least 3 months to study. it's a lot of material and cramming everything into 2 months is very ulcer-inducing. also, you can give yourself the weekends off if you start earlier. that way your kids will still recognize you after the exam.

3. find a quiet place with no distractions. you'll miss your family and doing anything fun, but you'll only be gone for a couple hours. and those 2 hours go by real quick if you're doing some quality studying.

4. bring any books that you are familiar with to the exam. know your references well enough that you can look things up quickly. but also bring as many books with you that you can that may have something useful. at the exam, i brought three milk crates. one had all my notes, cerm, indeces and water books that i knew i was going to use and that i knew very well. the second one had additional books that i was somewhat familiar with that contained information about the other subjects. the third one had books that i barely looked at at all, but may have a remote chance of appearing on the test. of course i mainly used crate number one, and sometimes number two. but for a couple questions that i had absolutely no idea of, i was actually able to find the answers in a book i had only cracked open once.

5. speaking of tons of books, abuse all your resources. books are freaking expensive and you will probably never use them after the exam. if your company will reimburse you for anything, take it. also use your public library system for reference books. also, if you have a friend who's still in college, you can get a lot of PE sample problem and exams from a university interlibrary loan. and the internet has a lot of information you can print out. and of course, you can always see if any of your co-workers have books that you can borrow.

6. DON'T PANIC (in big friendly letters). being all grumpy will not only make your family hate you, but it will also give you a nervous breakdown. take breaks as you need them and don't feel guilty about it.

#21 Road Guy

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 05:37 PM

lots of good info here

#22 Road Guy

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 06:16 PM

One thing that I did (most ppl probably do the same) is focused on one subject at a time. I worked all my problems in one spiral notebook and for each problem wrote out the problem statement and then worked the entire problem through. I tabbed the notebook into each discipline and I used the first page in each discipline to write down all the equations, conversions, etc. that way I could just flip to the first page (tabbed) and get what I needed. Found that I practically used my "first pages" the most for each subject area during exam day. Having all the conversions written out and broken down by each subject was huge.

you know I started out doing that, and didnt keep it up. I think I will do that this time, just to be more organized, but I think it could come in handy.

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 05:28 PM

A few recomendations from someone who doesn't know if he passed yet. These are generally for those in Civil-Trans.

1. Don't waste hours studying complicated structural concepts. six minutes isn't long enough to give you anything other than basic questions.

2. Learn to use the conveyance factor tables in the CERM. It will dramaically speed up your ability to solve open channel flow problems. Learn to use all of the applicable tables as it will give you more time on the test.

3. Better get to know your Highway Capicity Manual!! You need to know where stuff is located in there and you won't have time during the exam.

4. Manage you exam time. Don't get stuck on a difficult problem. Go back to it later.

Good Luck

#24 VTEnviro

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:41 PM

4. Manage you exam time. Don't get stuck on a difficult problem. Go back to it later.


Just make sure you are really careful with your answer sheet if you skip the occasional problem.

I had to consciously say to myself, "Ok, I skipped problem 7, I am answering problem 8, and I need to put my answer next to problem 8 on the answer sheet."

I'm notoriously bad on scantron exams as far as screwing up the answer sheet after skipping problems. On a 30 question test, I'd be all done and realized I was only on #29 on the answer sheet. You then have to go back and figure out where you screwed up, and hope to hell to erased everything well enough. :blink:

#25 DVINNY

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 02:14 PM

I almost think that is how I failed this time. I don't know for sure.

But when working the problems, I 'marked' 31 in the AM that I knew. Then 'marked' 17 in the PM that I felt I knew and had right. That adds up to 48, so I figured if I could guess a few right out of the remaining 32, then I should pass.

I got my results back and had a raw 35????????? Go figure. I'm stumped, and don't know what happened.

#26 VTEnviro

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 03:06 PM

It's possible. If you felt condifent about 48 of them, and just for argument's sake, got 3/4 of those right, that's 36 right there.

And even if you guessed randomly at the rest, you're bound to get a few of them right.

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 06:15 PM

This is what worked for me:

- Start studying early (I started preparing for the April 06 exam in Aug 05)

- Start out slow, review every chapter of the CERM and work as many of the Practice Problems for the CERM as you can stand.

- With about 3-4 months left, work all of the 6-Minute Solutions for your depth. and the morning problems for the other sections. For example I took transportation, so I worked all of the transportation, water resources, and geotechnical problems. I then worked the morning problems for structures, and environmental.

- Take a review class and use it for that - a review. Study hard long before the class begins and use the class to refresh what you have studied. My review class started in January, and I had already reviewed the CERM, worked the practice problems, and work the Six-Minute Solutions.

- With about 2 or 3 weeks left before the test, let your brain rest. Just do some light studying to keep things fresh in your mind.

- I took a lot of references in with me. Don't even think that you will use all of them; you may not even use any, but you never know what you might need. I would't spend a lot of money buying a bunch of references, but make sure that you take the ones you can get your hands on.

#28 VTEnviro

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 06:22 PM

- I took a lot of references in with me. Don't even think that you will use all of them; you may not even use any, but you never know what you might need. I would't spend a lot of money buying a bunch of references, but make sure that you take the ones you can get your hands on.


You'd be amazed at what you can find online as far as reference material, without having to buy really expensive books you may only use once.

I got a lot of information online, printed it out, and put it in a binder. Tables, charts, OSHA regulations, etc.

There's some great stuff out there, you just have to be careful where you get it from. I figured stuff from state/federal government and university websites were probably legit.

The information I found about radiological health I found on an anti-nuclear power site I didn't trust.

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:28 PM

I found this detailed post by someone about how he/she passed the test. Prolly you guys might have seen this one too, but anyhoo here it is:

My Strategy for Passing the PE Civil Exam

I first took this exam in October 2004.  I went through a review course produced through ITRE and worked what I thought was a lot of problems.  I didn?t put enough effort into working them though.  I feel that my biggest reason for failing the first time was, 1) I didn?t work enough problems all the way through.  2) The problems that I did work, if I had trouble, cheated and looked at the answer, and 3) I thought I could just ?wing it? and would pass.  You cannot just ?wing it? and pass unless you get extremely lucky.  I was not extremely lucky.

Below, I will list what steps I took that enabled me to pass the April 2005 PE exam:
? Buy all five of the Six-Minute Solutions manuals.
? Get all of the sample exams you can. 
? I took my diagnostic and figured out how many problems I got correct for each breadth subject and each area in the depth subjects.
? Once I had these values, I saw that I was a little deficient in all the areas of the AM section (5/8 for three subjects, 4/8 for (get this!) Water Resources, my supposed specialty, and 2/8 for Structures!  Pretty horrible!!
? In the afternoon section, I was also deficient in Water Resources (25% correct!) and Transportation Planning/Safety (about 50% correct).
? I wrote tons of notes in the margins of CERM and anywhere else I felt was easy to find later on.
? I tabbed the HELL out of my CERM and any other books that I thought I might use.
? I used about five spiral notebooks with specific subjects in each for solving the problems.
? I printed out a calendar for January, February, and March.  Using this, I wrote down on each week/day what I would be working on. 
? When I worked problems each night, I wrote down how long I worked and what type of problems I worked.
? I only worked problems Monday through Thursday for about 3 hours each night.
? I bought all of the Six-Minute Series books, worked ALL the Breadth problems in each book and about three-fourths to all the problems in the Depth section.
? All of those books added up to 500 problems.  I can tell you right now, Structures is my very weakest subject then Environmental, so I only worked the Breadth problems in Structures and attempted some of the Environmental Depth!
? I also bought the newest edition of Lindeburg?s Civil PE Sample Exam and worked all of those problems, except for a lot of structures problems (they are just way past my ability)
? I worked the older version of the PE Civil Sample Exam, the one where each problem is not independent.
? Threw in some of the problems from the CERM Practice Problems pertaining to WR, Geo, Env, and Trans.
? Re-worked the problems in the review course material.
? I worked problems from the Passing Zone as well.  Those are some pretty good examples of what you will see on the exam.

I took a lot of books/references with me to the exam.  I only used Metcalf & Eddy?s Wastewater book, Holtz & Kovac?s Geotech book, CERM, my review notes, Six-Minute Water Resources for a couple problems and maybe looked a few things up in a Civil/Environmental dictionary.  All the other references I took were for Transportation, which I didn?t need this time, and were basically a security blanket!

The biggest thing for me was to be able to work the practice problems without looking at the answers all the time.  You have to know how to do the problems because you will not have time to look up a problem that?s similar.  You have to know how to use/read the charts in CERM and where to find your formulas.  Make a sheet or two of all the formulas you know you will probably use.  Put these in the front of your notebooks.

For me, I broke each subject out and put into a separate notebook and in this notebook I added sheets with formulas, most used conversions, notes that would be easier to find there than in CERM.  This really helped me a lot.  I liked having a notebook with only one subject in it.  That way, I really only used 3 notebooks.

As I stated above, I only worked problems Monday through Thursday, 3 hours a night.  Took the weekends off until two weeks before the exam, then I spent that time (weekends) tabbing, tabbing, and tabbing, more margin writing.

I didn?t take any days off before the exam.  If you don?t know it by then, you?re not going to learn it!!!  The Monday before the exam, I did take off, just to relax and do a little reading, clear my head and forget about the exam.  Worked all day the day before as well.

Don?t freak out when you get the exam.  Skip the first couples of problems or find one that you just know you can get correct.  Work a few of those till you get your confidence going, then tackle the harder ones.  Don?t second-guess your original answers!  I did the first time, changed some answers that were initially correct and this could have been the difference between passing and failing.

When you finish the AM portion and go to lunch, don?t talk to anyone about the exam or the problems.  There will be some second-guessing going on if you do!  Just clear your head and get ready for the afternoon beating.  When you finally finish the exam, go home, have a drink or smoke (if you do either), get a good dinner and FORGET about the exam.

I refused to discuss the exam with anyone at work or my friends or even think about the problems afterwards.  If I had allowed myself to do this, I would drive myself crazy with the second-guessing!  Don?t bother checking your Board?s website.  Only doing so, will just cause you pain.  (Why does it take so damn long?)  You will know when you know.  First time it was 7 weeks later for North Carolina and the second time it was 8 weeks and 3 days!

Well, that?s all that I can think of at the moment.  If anyone has any questions or if I could possibly be of any help to passing the exam, feel free to email me at khgulledge@gmail.com



#30 Timmy!

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 10:16 PM

How I Passed the April '06 EE Exam: :true:

1. Didn't waste any money on "the other board" materials.

2. Borrowed a copy of the National Electrical Code.

3. Didn't worry.

4. Only studied 44 hours.

5. Got laid the morning of the exam.

#31 Timmy!

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 09:09 PM

Albeit my previous post was true, here is a more serious response to the discussion:

1) Maintain your perspective: Yes, it is an important test, but don't choke. There is no shame in not passing, as I have met exceptionally gifted engineers who bombed on their first or second attempt. If you fail, expect to be disappointed, but it's not Auschwitz 1945.

2) Study concepts: you would not believe how many problems you can solve by inspection. It's almost too easy, to the point that you think "Hey, this problem is too easy for the PE exam. There's got to be a trick somewhere". There were some ridiculously easy questions on the EE exam of this nature. By studying conceptual knowledge, you can look for shortcuts.

3) An engineering handbook is a real plus. I solved at least three problems with a book I borrowed and never used before. I merely looked in the index at the back of the book and flipped to the relevant page.

4) Before you answer a single problem, read the entire test and categorize each problem as E, M, D (easy, medium, difficult) and solve them in that order.

#32 VTEnviro

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 04:38 PM

2) Study concepts: you would not believe how many problems you can solve by inspection. It's almost too easy, to the point that you think "Hey, this problem is too easy for the PE exam. There's got to be a trick somewhere". .


I agree wholeheartedly here. So many people on the other board keep preaching to do as many problems as humanly possible and build up your skills by repetition.

I don't agree with that method. I spent about 2/3 if my study time reviewing old textbooks, taking notes, and assembling reference material. Based on problems in a practice book that I used more for diagnostic purposes - what are they asking, how tough is it, what's emphasized, etc. - than for preparing for test conditions.

I did 3 the full practice tests in the PPI book, a few problems at a time under test conditions. And then the full NCEES practice for 8 hours one Saturday a couple weeks before the test.


4) Before you answer a single problem, read the entire test and categorize each problem as E, M, D (easy, medium, difficult) and solve them in that order.


To me, this seems like it would suck up too much valuable time. Plus, I think for me, the questions would blend together when I went back to actually answer one, and I would make some goof-ups.

#33 NCcarguy

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 04:42 PM

Now since I DIDN't pass.....this seems like an odd place to post....but.....

I really believe that what cost me (I couldn't have been more than 2-3 from passing, by the analysis report) is that I did NOT have all of the "Resource" books that the NCEES recommended.....I saw at least ONE question that would have been a simple lookup type question from each reference book...had I had the book......and since I didn't......it was a guess.......AND since I know that the structures, and environmental portions are going to be a lot of guesses already.....that MIGHT explain why twice now I've hit at about the 50-55 mark on the correct answers.....I can't give up the lookup questions.

What do the others that have taken the Transpo afternoon exam feel about this? or any of the other pm exams as far as that goes.......:study

#34 civengPE

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 05:18 PM

NC,
I completely agree with you on the lookup questions. I took the transportation afternoon and KNOW that I would not have passed if it weren't for having a manual for some of the look ups. Several manuals were only used for one question, but sometimes that's all it takes to get over the edge.

Our instructor in Houston Testmasters told us to bring the ASTM manual. I thought " what a crock" we'll it turns out, I probably could have used it.
The bottom line, in my oppinion, is take everything listed on NCEES' site and then some. You never know what might pop up. The cost of the manuals is nothing compared to having to take the test over, because you couldn't find one definition or size out of a chart.

Good Luck!!

#35 Guest_BrianCO_*

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 05:00 AM

Some people beleive that that you need to start studying multiple months before the exam to really learn the material. I started studying about 3 months before the test and actaully felt like it was a little too much. I noticed that after the end of the 2nd month, I forgot the details of the stuff I studied at the beginning. For me the "critical mass" of time would be about 8 to 10 weeks. However, I agree that you need to set a schedule, stick to it, and study almost every day.

Good luck.

Brian

#36 VTEnviro

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 12:14 PM

^ I studied for about 19 weeks. I did it slow and steady.

I agree, you need to find a timeframe that works best for you. You don't want to peak too early and burn out before the test.

#37 petergibbons

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:38 PM

Another thing I remembered...when all else fails on the exam (can't seem to find the right equation, etc.), try manipulating the "givens" to come up with the answer in the units required by the problem.

#38 Slugger926

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 09:09 PM

When I passed, I knew that studying wasn't the key since I seemed to give out at the end of the test.

I did these things:

Worked out more to help improve endurance and IQ points.

Stayed an extra night at the hotel in the city I was taking the test so I could sleep better the night before the test. I can never sleep the first night in a hotel.

I got a massage 2 days before the test, and then one the day before the test to help mentally relax.

I then did great on the exam.

#39 Guest_juan08092003_*

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 03:54 PM

I took the Exam on April 2006 in Geotech, and passed it. It was my Second time taking the exam. I think that the first time one does not know whats in it or what is expected so it takes a little getting used to.
I used the CERM by Lindeburg, it was great for the morning, the afternoon, you have to start by getting used to your old text books. You have to two weeks and you should get the 6 min. solutions, it was great, also the soil and foundation design, 201 solved problems. GET THEM BOTH, invest in an environmental engineering dictionary, IT it worth its weight in gold. Good luck, and eat light the night before, make sure you eat breakfast and bring some pain killers, such as Advil, Tylenol or something of your choice.

After you get through all the problems in the practice test, and you have label everything, you are ready, good luck you wont need it if you did all of these things.

#40 singlespeed

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 11:37 PM

I'm not ashamed to say I'm not the brightest crayon in the box. I studied.

I started preparations for the April '06 FE exam this time last year. I had been out of college and working in the manufacturing area (PE not required) for 20 years. Since moving to a consulting firm, the pressure was on to get licensed. I put in approximately 400 hours for that exam including a review course, "the other board" materials, and NCEES materials.

I started preparation for the Oct. '06 PE exam in May of this year. I followed the same course of action that I used for the FE. 3 - 4 evenings a week and at least one day of every weekend.

I know that some need less preparation than others. And, I know what I needed to do. So, I've put in about 800 hours over the past 10 months to pass both the FE and PE tests this year. It was a long road that I am so relieved to put behind me.

The best advice I can give is this: Be honest with yourself, determine what effort it's going to take to get there, then do it. There is no magical number of hours. Don't practice what's easy or what you already know, unless you need to build your confidence when the going gets tough in the areas that you're trying to master. You don't have to be brilliant to do this - you just have to want it and work for it.

#41 umjeffr

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 02:12 AM

I have 4 kids and i have to work long hours along wtih all teh practices. So there was no studying time for me. Always some kid event / emergency, along with being the office manager for a small engineering company.

I failed the first time, i hardly studied.

I took the school of professional engineering review class and workshop. 5 saturdays and sundays in another town. It was hard, but i had to make the commitment to go away every weekend for the 5 weeks. I did not study during the week between the classes.

the classes are outstanding.

I also took the week off from work before the test and had a hotel room in the city (away from the family and work) where the test is - that i do not live in.
I studied that entire week for the test.

I am very confident i passed this time.

This is the only way i could of passed - i hope.

#42 maryannette

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 03:10 AM

On morning and afternoon, before I worked any problems, I read every one and graded it for difficulty- 1,2,3,4. I did all of the 1's first, then the 2's, etc. Some of the numbers were adjusted, but overall, this worked well for me. The ones that were the hardest were left at the end and I probably couldn't work them, anyway, so it wasn't a big deal that there was no time.

#43 IlPadrino

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 11:48 PM

QUOTE (maryannette @ Aug 13 2007, 11:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On morning and afternoon, before I worked any problems, I read every one and graded it for difficulty- 1,2,3,4. I did all of the 1's first, then the 2's, etc. Some of the numbers were adjusted, but overall, this worked well for me. The ones that were the hardest were left at the end and I probably couldn't work them, anyway, so it wasn't a big deal that there was no time.


I did it a little different... I spent two minutes working on each problem and then made a decision whether I'd get it done in another four. If I thought I'd get it done, I got 'er done. If I wasn't sure I'd get it done, I rated the difficulty (1,2,3) and then moved on. My thought was 1) I didn't want to waste time reading/grading a problem that I was going to get done easily and 2) Sometimes I might have thought a problem was easy or hard and after just a minute or so realized I was completely wrong.

But bottom line: you don't want to get stuck on a problem for ten minutes before you realize you're not going to get it.




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