I just wanted to pop in here and give everyone who has posted in this thread a heartfelt THANK YOU! I finally took this exam 10 years after passing the FE, and I had no idea how it would go. I used a ton of advice from this thread and studied my booty off every morning at 4:30AM with a 1-year old at home. I had to get this done in one shot. And I did. So thankful it's over.
To add to the thread:
Test you took: PE Environmental Engineering Where you took it: Baton Rouge, LA What books you brought with you:
Environmental Engineering Reference Manual (bulk of the problems/questions)
Intro to Environmental Engineering (Davis & Cornwell)--used extensively in studying. Secondary to the EERM in the exam.
A Dictionary of Civil, Water Resources & Environmental Engineering- Friebel (somewhat useful?)
My personal binders of solved problems (mostly NCEES Practice Problems and PPI Environmental Engineering Solved Problems and Environmental Engineering Practice PE Exams )
Personal binder with soil remediation information (have no remediation experience, so it was a last-minute hail-mary reference from a co-worker. . . didn't use it)
Engineering Unit Conversions by Lindeberg
Hazardous Waste Management, Lagrega (found this nearly useless, despite having a ton of recommendations in this thread)
Air Pollution Control, Cooper (also found this nearly useless despite the recommendations)
Practical Design Calculations for Groundwater and Soil Remediation (didn't use)
Environmental Sampling and Analysis: A Practical Guide by Lawrence Keith (found this to be COMPLETELY useless in studying and during the exam, despite multiple recommendations)
RCRA Training handbook from training courses I've taken. (Didn't use during exam).
DOT Emergency Response Guidebook (didn't use during exam)
NCEES Environmental Reference (didn't use)
FE Environmental Reference (didn't use)
What books you actually used:
Environmental Engineering Reference Manual--this was the bulk of use in studying and during the exam. I thought it was extremely valuable; let's just say required.
Intro to Environmental Engineering (Davis Cornwell)
Engineering Unit Conversions by Lindeberg
What books did you wish you brought: I was a nut and bought nearly every book (within reason) that was recommended in this thread. But I found only a few useful. Some were highly recommended and I couldn't find a use for them during studying, but brought them to the exam anyway. When I had time left at the end, I flipped through each of them again and tried like hell to find answers to the unknown trivia questions and STILL couldn't find them useful. To answer the question, I don't know what books would have helped on those types of questions. Luckily I passed and don't have to stress about it. General impression about exam and format: The NCEES practice exams prepared me pretty well. But like I mentioned above, it was the trivia questions that were impossible to prepare for. The calculations were way easier than anything I practiced--in fact, I kept second guessing myself and wondering if I just completely bombed it. With the change to 80 questions, I felt there was PLENTY of time to answer the questions. I left each session early (to beat the rush) after spending plenty of time on every question. I still wonder how some of these trivia questions are to be answered accurately without reading every reference completely and having a photographic memory. Some of the indices in the reference materials are better/worse than others so searching through can sometimes point you in the right direction, but other times it's futile. Advice for future test takers: Like others mentioned, you have to spend a ton of time getting to know your references to know what to use each one for. I found some equations were solving for the same thing were easier to use from one reference vs. another. I made sure to tab the easier one for use during the exam. I also found differences in the way the units worked, etc. which were easier for ME. Find what works for you and stick with it. For instance, I hate converting units of concentration for air problems (ppm to micrograms/liter); I found a straightforward equation that just clicked with me and I used that for every problem that required this calculation.
During the exam, I went through and solved the questions I knew how to do immediately. Then I kept going back/forth through the exam working the rest. You'll find plenty that you know right away, then you'll find those that after a couple of looks the solution becomes clear. Don't get flustered by the ones that will take a long time to solve, just mark it for later and move on.
Good luck future test takers!