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  1. I took Dr. Tom's Fast Track class and passed the Thermal Fluids exam in April. I found his class to be incredibly helpful, and even though it was the first test under the new specifications the class had me very prepared. The structure and organization of the class really benefits you in terms of being efficient finding the information you need. I used the Dr. Tom material (90%+ of what you will look at during the test), the MERM 13th edition, the 2016 practice exam, the 2011 practice exam, and the SMS. However, in the SMS I only did the problems that Dr. Tom suggests and skipped the rest. There are several problems in the SMS that aren't relevant to the test. I don't remember exactly how well the test matched the specifications in terms of quantity of questions per topic, but I did feel that the practice exam was a pretty accurate representation of the test. It certainly doesn't cover every type of problem, but that's why Dr. Tom's examples that require you to find 4 or 5 different values within the same problem are beneficial. You will see some economic analysis questions, and in terms of supportive knowledge they keep it fairly basic. Dr. Tom does a nice job of covering the supportive knowledge topics such as pipe stress and psych charts. There was maybe only one or two problems on the test that kind of surprised me and maybe didn't match up with the specifications, but they only required a shallow understanding of that topic so they weren't very difficult. I think the new specifications are beneficial to test takers because it narrows the field of what you need to know. However, the pass rate for the April exam was lower than it had previously been with the old specifications so others may disagree. In my opinion, if you put in the work with Dr. Tom you will be very well prepared for the test. I felt pretty confident walking out of the exam that I had passed, and that was after failing the exam once under the old specifications back in 2015.
  2. I took Dr. Tom's Fast Track and loved it. The structure of the course and organization of the notebooks made me extremely efficient in working problems. You have to be prepared to put in the work because there is a lot of material covered, but IMO he did a great job of covering exam topics and making it easy to reference the information you need quickly.
  3. I'm not all that familiar with HVAC, but in my mind TFS is easier to prepare for conceptually because on the Thermo side so much of it relates to change in enthalpy. You have to have a deep understanding of concept, but on the surface nearly everything relates to delta h. Compressor work, turbine work, heat in/out, it's all related to enthalpy change across a piece of equipment. As for Gc conversions, one tip that was given to me was to work with specific weight (gamma) instead of density (rho). This eliminates the need for Gc conversions in nearly every scenario. The only criteria is that to do this the problem must be dealing with traditional gravity values here on earth (32.2 ft/sec^2 or 9.81 m/sec^2). If acceleration of gravity changes, then specific weight and density are not equal. lbm must be equal to lbf for the concept to work. Proof of Concept Specific Weight (lbf/ft^3) = Density (lbm/ft^3) X Gravity (ft/sec^2) / Gc (lbm-ft/lbf-sec^2) Thus, specific gravity equals density times 32.2 and then divided by 32.2, which gets you right back to the original density value except in lbf instead of lbm. If you just assume density to be specific weight from the beginning, it saves you the hassle of the conversion. It's kind of tough to come to grasp with and trust that it works early on, but do a few examples and you'll feel good about it. Work a standard manometer problem, but instead of using pgh (density x gravity x height) and then having to do a Gc conversion to get to lbf, just use the equation Gamma X h where Gamma equals the density but in lbf. It works, and is much faster with no conversion.
  4. This is good info. It's important to be able to break down a question and understand what they are really wanting you to do, because it's not uncommon for them to give you a bunch of information that has zero relevance to the question being asked. My mistake the first time was knowing how to solve the practice problems but not understanding the concept as to why it was solved that way. It's important to know how to work a problem, but also consider what other questions they could ask from that same problem if they were to give you other pieces of information. Take a cycle for instance (I took Mech. Thermal & Fluids). First time around I only knew how to solve for what the practice problem asked, and even then I had to look up the equations. Second time I knew the concept of how to solve for heat in, heat out, work in, work out, etc and had done enough examples that I was confident in my knowledge of the concept to the point that I didn't have to look anything up. Given infinite time I could have passed the first time, but I was terribly inefficient due to my lack of conceptual understanding.
  5. Like others, I took a class. Took me two tries to pass the Mechanical TFS exam. First time I self-studied for about 3 weeks and admittedly gave a very poor effort. The only resources I took into the exam were my MERM and practice test. I could solve the exam problems, but I was FAR too slow when it came to looking up the information I needed and thus I ran out of time. Everything was bad from preparation, organization, efficiency, resourcefulness, test-taking strategy, etc. Second time I decided to enroll in Dr. Tom's Classroom. I knew I needed the structure and organization of a class, but didn't want to pay the prices that PPI was asking based on mixed reviews with them. Dr. Tom offered an affordable 10 week class ($750) and was essential to my passing of the exam. I worked my butt off for about 3 months leading up to the test, but I went in feeling much more prepared, organized, and confident that I could pass. I left the test feeling the same way. I felt pretty confident that I passed (although there is always some doubt), and pass or fail I felt like the class was certainly worth it. All the areas I listed above that I was weak in the first time around were improved tenfold by the class that I took.
  6. Not at all. If anything, the specification change narrowed the field of what you need to study. That is where I really found value in my review course. The professor clearly states at the beginning that he is not going to cover everything we learned in college. His goal is simply to cover what you need to know to pass the PE exam and I feel like he did that very well. Throughout the course we worked every question from the sample exam along with "Examples", "Challenge Problems", and "Quiz Problems" that are associated with the course. We also worked select problems from the Six Minute Solutions book, but also skipped some that weren't relevant to exam-type problems. I also reviewed examples from the MERM but did not physically work any of the problems. The biggest difference for me from my first attempt to my second was organization and efficiency. I was far too slow at finding the information I needed the first time. This course structured my materials in a way that once I identified the problem I could very quickly find my references. References I took into the exam are as follows: - MERM - Course Topic Binders (Fluids, Thermo 1, Thermo 2, Heat Transfer, HVAC/Refrig, Engineering Practice, and Exam Day Companion). - NCEES Practice Exam The course binders made it incredibly easy to find what I needed. If I came to a turbine problem, I went to the Thermo 1 binder, flipped to the Turbine tab, and there was every problem I had worked over the past few months that related to turbines along with the equations. Pump problem, go to Fluids, Pump Tab, there's all my pump problems. Brayton Cycle, same. The organization of the course made finding what I needed so much easier than the first time when I just used the MERM. Also, the Exam Day Companion binder was an indexed binder of all the equations for every topic, which was tabbed as well. It's a very efficient system. I strongly suggest Dr. Tom's Classroom to anyone who is serious about passing the exam and have doubts about their ability to self-study. You will have to work hard during the course, but you will also be well-prepared on test day.
  7. I passed the ME T&F exam by using Dr. Tom's Classroom. I can't brag enough on this review course. It is the cheapest course I have found and was tremendously helpful in my studying. I self-studied for the same test last April and failed with a 48/80. I was extremely disappointed, not so much in the result (it was expected), but in the effort I gave preparing for the test. I thought I could cram for it and make a good score just like I've always done with tests in the past so I really only studied a couple hours a day for about 2 or 3 weeks. I decided that this time I was going to really dedicate the time to studying and make sure I passed. I might could have done it by self-studying, but with the help of that course I left the exam very confident that I had passed.
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