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  1. I haven't yet taken the exam, so you may need to take my thoughts with a grain of salt. In my preparations for the Geotechnical depth exam this fall, I've gathered that the test developers really want to test your knowledge of the underlying concepts, both in the form of conceptual questions and quantitative questions that are easy to get wrong if you don't understand the nuances of the subject matter. For someone who has little (or even quite a bit) of experience in the subject, it can be very difficult. I would add that if you're looking to break into geotechnical engineering, preparing for the exam would give you a chance to learn some portion of the skills you'd need. It would also give you something (not necessarily that much, but something) that would make you a more attractive candidate for geotechnical jobs. However, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter which exam depth you take, as long as you pass. If you're looking to break into geotech, I would say take geotechnical depth. If that's not the case, I'd answer @Road Guy's question and do whatever he recommends. 😁
  2. I was legitimately thinking of commentary you've made on Maryland exam administration when I wrote that particular comment.
  3. I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to bring a straightedge (like an engineering scale) and/or a protractor into the 8-hr pencil-and-paper PE exam. Here are some things that I've gathered from reading the forum: The NCEES examinee guide allows for 2 such items. A protractor is often useful for the mechanical exam (particularly HVAC depth) for psychrometrics. A ruler or scale can be useful for the California-Specific Seismic and Surveying exams for civil engineering licensure, as the figures are often to scale. Knowing how these things work, there's probably at least one state that forbids the use of straightedges... I'm planning on taking the Civil - Geotechnical exam this October in Ohio. In general, I think a straightedge might be useful for picking numbers off of tables or figures (or for staying on the same line as you read furiously through your references, searching for an answer.) For the civil exam, the only particular use I can think of for a protractor would be measuring a friction angle from soil shear strength testing data; and I think even that would be doubtful. Within the bounds of the NCEES Candidate Agreement (obviously), has anyone here found that a straightedge came in handy? Or conversely, has anyone needed a straightedge and not had one?
  4. If you're interested in licensure, your first step is probably the FE Exam, if you haven't taken it already. https://ncees.org/engineering/fe/ Where you go from there will depend on what state you're in or want to get licensed in.
  5. While I haven't yet taken the exam, I can practically guarantee that you'll want more references than ASCE 7 and the OSHA excavation regulations for the geotechnical depth section. Those 2 standards will probably help you on a maximum of 3 questions. Even when combined with the geotech portion of the CERM, I'd consider my reference material to be dangerously light. I'll definitely be bringing the two listed standards, but along with them will come at least a few geotechnical reference books and (bound) sets of notes. PS - No shade on you, @ptatohed. I just don't want anyone to walk away thinking the listed design standards will pull them through a majority of the geotechnical depth section. 😁
  6. It may be everlastingly too late for the OP, but looking at the 2017 edition of Das text, it looks like he uses N gamma values published by Kumbhojkar in 1993. If you're looking for the original Terzaghi values (which you probably would be on the PE exam), the CERM would have the "correct" values. Bearing capacity factors come with some significant assumptions and N gamma is particularly sensitive to the assumed shape of the wedge of soil directly beneath the footing. That's why there's a noticeable difference between the two.
  7. Thank you. What adds even more doubt to the first problem is that the parameter in question is literally yield stress... The point at which materials transition from elastic to plastic behavior. I feel like I could have at least come up with the answer they're looking for if the question was "Which of these sections is most resistant to lateral torsional buckling?" As it's stated, I think it's just too cryptic, particularly for an AM question.
  8. Yes, that's true ... if you assume the loading remains in the elastic range for both materials. The simple deflection equations that I know about (like Appendix 44.A of the CERM), which depend on elastic modulus, are only valid for elastic deflection, as far as I know.
  9. This information may be buried in this forum, somewhere. I couldn't find it, though. I'm looking at the NCEES Sample Questions and Solutions, c.2008 and I'm wondering about two of the morning breadth sample problems that both focus on structures. (I'm taking the geotech depth, but I took a couple of structures classes in my bachelor's and master's degrees, so I'm somewhat versed in more complex details.) Question 111 asks what the effect would be of changing the yield stress (Fy) of a steel beam from 50 to 36 ksi, while keeping all other factors the same. The answer choices are essentially, would the deflection increase, decrease, remain the same, or there isn't enough information given. I knew it had to be one of the latter two, given the available information. I'm under the impression that they implicitly assume the deflection must be elastic in the solution, because the "most correct" answer is that it remains the same. However, if you don't make that assumption and the stresses in the beam fall between 36 and 50 ksi, the beam would experience plastic deformation and defections would increase. No information is given about the loading or stress states, which leads me to believe that, in reality, not enough information is given. Is this problem slightly bogus, or am I missing something? The very next problem, question 112, asks what the most efficient steel section would be for a beam with a span of 20 feet and an unbraced length of the compression flange of 20 feet. The answer choices are a square HSS, a channel, a wide flange, and a double-L/T section. When I read the question, I figured that it had to be alluding to a more complex concept, but had no idea what it might be. After I saw the solution, it was obvious that, unbraced length of the compression flange was the indicator that this was, indeed, a lateral torsional buckling problem. However, I really don't know how I would have recognized that from the outset. Are there any tips out there for recognizing the key words and phrases that indicate an implicit concept that's being tested? This all ended up being kind of wordy, but I hope it's decipherable. Thanks!
  10. I'm beginning to study for the PE and I'm contemplating what my approach should be. I'm thinking that, with my background (MS in geotech), I'd like to spend most of my time focusing on solving practice problems and then diving more into unfamiliar concepts as I encounter them, rather than splitting my time between a prep course and problems. The problem that I'm foreseeing in this approach is not having access to enough good-quality practice problems. It seems that, aside from the official NCEES practice exam, almost every set of practice problems comes with significant complaints of problems being much harder than what's generally on the PE, errors/typos in the problems, or both. I'm definitely planning to get the following problem sets: *NCEES Practice Exam (and the previous edition, if I can get my hands on it.) *Six Minute Solutions, Geotech *Lindeburg's PE Civil Practice Problems (I've heard these are harder than typical NCEES problems, but they seem like solid practice as long as you know that.) *PE Prepared Geotech Depth Exam A *A couple other practice exams for the breadth section It seems that one of the main benefits of the prep courses is access to (hopefully) good-quality practice problems to work on. Without one of those databases, I'm not sure particularly where to turn. Are there any other practice exams or problem sets that come highly recommended or that I should definitely get my hands on?
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