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Found 6 results

  1. NOTE: This is a long post for those who can't afford the thousands of dollars on classes and does not have their employer reimbursing any of the cost for preparing for this exam. Briefly on my background, I graduated from a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 and a MS in Petroleum Engineering in 2011. Based on practice, I have been working in the petroleum industry but in areas of downhole vibrations management and modeling, finite element analysis, tubular design, product development and manufacturing of downhole drilling tools. When I decided to take the PE exam, I considered PE Petroleum but it was too broad and it was not in my area of practice. So it was PE Mechanical - MDM I settled for. Because I had other commitments (my PhD. program) that I needed to shift my full focus to after the PE exams, there was not going to be a 2nd try for me. Preparation timeframe: Since I needed to review my Mechanical Engineering books after 11 years, I used 5.5 months (December 2017 to April 2018) for preparation. However, your own timeframe will depend on how current your level of knowledge on Machine Design and Materials. I believe 4 months is sufficient too. I don't know how much time you have to dedicate to study, but I studied between 12am and 4am every day. Though, I had to show up at work by 9am. The self-study path is hard if this is what you want to do, but it can be highly rewarding. Resources and references: The listed resources and references were all used in preparing for and during the exam. Do not take any references you have not used in preparation to the exam, it will slow you down when searching through it for the first time. Also, you have to determine what topics you will read from which reference. 1. PE Exam Specification: This may sound funny, I had this as the first pages in my folders because I wanted to structure my print outs, tables, solved questions in the same order of topics listed in the PE Exam Specification and also made sure I could keep it in front of me at all times. 2. The Trilogy (MERM 13th Ed. by Michael R. Lindeburg PE; Mechanical PE Exam Review: Machine Design and Materials by Dr. Timothy C. Kennedy; Engineering Pro Guides Machine Design & Materials PE Technical Study Guide by Justin Kauwale, P.E.). These 3 books gave me depth for most of the topics on the exam. I must commend the author of Engineering Pro Guides (EPG) on the effort he put into the study guide, it was what made me feel I could pass this exam on my 1st try. I used it as my baseline because the topics were structured in the same order as the PE Exam Specification. For every topic, I read the EPG study guide first, then I would read the MERM next and conclude the same topic with Kennedy's review. Obviously, MERM doesn't cover all topics in the PE Exam Specification e.g. Basic Engineering Practice (except for Engineering Economics) and Supporting Knowledge topics. Also, try to read the extra materials recommended within the EPG study guide. 3. Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design, 10th Ed. by Richard G Budynas, Keith J Nisbett. I can't stress enough how this book boosted my confidence. I never wanted to read or look into this book but I would have regretted.. I picked up Shigley 2 months before the exams after completing the 1st pass on the PE exam specification and read a lot of posts on EB on how important it is. Interestingly, I used this book to solidify my knowledge on important topics on the Mechanical Components section (Bearings, Gears, Springs, Belt, pulley and chain drives, Clutches and brakes, Power screws, Shafts and keys), Joints and Fasteners section (Welding, Bolts, screws, rivets and Adhesives), Supportive Knowledge section (Fits and tolerances, Computational methods (FEA, CAE), GD&T), Strength of Materials section and some of Material Properties section. Please get this book. I think I went over the topics I listed over 3 times. 4. Machinery's Handbook by Erik Oberg. EPG's study guide made me get this book because of the look-up type of questions e.g. welding symbols, hardness vs. ultimate strength, surface roughness, fits and tolerances etc. I also used this book for calculations on thick/thin walled vessel questions. If you can't afford to buy this book, you can still get the information from online resources, MERM, Shigley or Kennedy's Review. Though, it is a useful resource for mechanical design engineers. 5. Engineering Drawing and Design by David A Madsen and David P. Madsen. I picked up this book towards the end of my self-study, though I had it in my library. It came in handy for Basic Engineering Practice section (welding symbols, surface roughness, interpretation of technical drawings) and Supporting Knowledge (manufacturing processes). As I said earlier, you can find the information I got from this book from somewhere else. However, ensure you depth in the Basic Engineering Practice and Supportive Knowledge questions. 6. Engineering Unit Conversions, 4th Ed by Michael R. Lindeburg PE (Author). Life saver right here. Don't make the mistake on depending on the unit conversions in the MERM, those are not sufficient. Problems on the PE exam required about 3-4 steps of unit conversions that I couldn't have done without this book. I used it a lot during preparation too. 7. A Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering (Oxford Quick Reference) 1st Edition by Tony Atkins and Marcel Escudier. There was so much buzz about buying this book, so I jumped on the bandwagon. Though it's cheap but I didn't find it useful, probably because I had a depth of the information here from other sources. I tried to use it on the exam for a question I had no clue of, I ended up with the wrong answer. 8. MERM Instructional Companion Videos. Someone on the EB talked about watching this video, so I joined the bandwagon again. I really benefitted from these videos. It solidified my statics and dynamics knowledge on different concepts, such as: friction/impending motion, rigid body kinetic, sliding/tipping of a block etc. 9. Good book on engineering statistics/quality control (QA/QC). I will leave this up to you to find a good book on engineering statistics (e.g. confidence intervals etc.). The reference I took into the exam was not helpful and I ended up struggling on those type of questions. However, EPG's study guide helped me with preparing and provided answers to questions on quality control (QA/QC). 10. FE Reference Handbook 9.5. Take this book as a backup. I had some questions whose solution and equations were in this book. 11. Practice Problems and Exams. I don't think you can pass the Mechanical - MDM PE exam without solving practice questions and exams. I started solving practice problems right when I started preparing for the exams to solidify my knowledge on concepts and methods of solution. The practice exams I got (which I want to sell right now) are: NCEES PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials Practice Exam NCEES PE Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical Systems and Materials Practice Exam Machine Design and Materials Six-Minute Problems, 2nd Edition by Harriet G. Cooke PE Mechanical PE Practice Examination, 3rd Edition by Michael R. Lindeburg PE Mechanical PE Machine Design & Materials Full Exam by Engineering ProGuide Preparation Strategies: 1. Start preparing early, especially if you have left the books for a long time. I would recommend starting with the topic that you really enjoyed while in college. Mine was Statics and Dynamics. This helped me ease into my preparation. 2. Customize your study guide and be organized. A good way to keep tab of your preparation progress is to have the PE exam specification always by your side and customize your study guide using the PE exam specification. A typical example my customized study guide was to list references beside the topic: Topic References E.g. Statics EPG Study Guide, MERM, Kennedy's Review, Practice Problems E.g. Shaft and Keys EPG Study Guide, MERM, Kennedy's Review, Shigley, Practice Problems 3. Tab, Tab, Tab. Your study materials needs to be organized using tabs to bookmark topics and concepts in all your main books. I started tabbing my books 4 weeks before exam date. As shown in the attached figure, you will see that most of my reference materials were heavily tabbed. 4. Start solving practice problems as early as possible. I solved at least 10 practice problems with different difficulty levels after completing my reading on every topic. 5. Study buddy. I didn't have a study buddy during my preparation. I don't think it's necessary but if you have one, great for you to keep each other accountable and focused. If you want the "green" pass enough, you stay committed to your study plan, you don't need a study buddy. 6. Go-to Folder. I created a go-to folder that had bits of information on every topic especially useful formulas, charts and tables, important calculations etc. Instead of opening the big books, I used the go-to folder. 7. Special topics. On special topics like Vibrations, I would recommend reading the EPG study guide (and the referenced documents in the book), MERM and Kennedy's review. If you still don't feel confident on vibrations, I can recommend some references to you. On Hydraulic and pneumatic components, I used all the reference documents recommended within EPG study guide and MERM (ch. 15-19). 8. Question bank. All the practice problems and exams I solved (about 400 questions) were neatly organized in a folder and tabbed in the same order as the MDM exam specification 9. Practice Exams. When is the best time to start solving practice examinations? Which practice questions closely represents the actual exam? I started solving practice exams as soon as I finished my 1st pass on the exam specifications, which was approximately 2 months before the exam. Practice examinations have different levels of difficulty and not one of them closely represents the actual exam, not even the NCEES Practice Exam. You need all practice exams (4-5) to simulate different levels of difficulty of the actual exam. However, don't be discouraged by your performance on PPI's practice exams, they probably have the highest level of difficulty. 10. Develop mental strength. Self study requires mental strength to stay focused in the midst of months of studying academic and technical materials, failing practice problems without giving up and keep grinding until the exam day. 11. Summary: 1 Complete 1st pass on exam specification with practice problems; 2 months from exam date 2 Start 1st pass on all practice exams/2nd pass on exam specification 2 months from exam date 3 Start study on weak areas identified in practice exams/2nd pass on all practice exams 1 month from exam date 4 Start 3rd pass on these practice exams: NCEES PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials Practice Exam; NCEES PE Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical Systems and Materials Practice Exam; Mechanical PE Machine Design & Materials Full Exam by Engineering ProGuide 1 week from exam date Examination Strategies: 1. At this point, all reference textbooks have been tabbed. Tab all the important sections in all the books you will be referring to during exams. 2. Identify the reference textbooks that will be on your exam table and which ones will be in your bag/box beside you in the exam. Books on the exam table will be used for your 1st pass through the exam. For me, the books on my table were: MERM, Kennedy's review, Shigley, go-to folder, Engineering unit conversion and my question bank. 3. Pack up only the books you used and referred to in your preparation. I used a rolling duffel bag to carry my books; though, other examinees used milk crates, card boxes etc. Use what works for you. 4. Stay in a hotel close to exam venue the night before, if you can afford it. This relaxes you especially when you won't be driving a long distance to exam venue. You don't want to be caught in traffic going to the exam. 5. I drove to the exam venue the evening before exams just to survey the exam classes, environment and parking situation. This helped me figure where to park and how to pay for parking. 6. Don't try to solve problems or read PE related material the night before exams. I tried it and didn't get anywhere with it. 7. Get ear plugs to block out all the distracting noise from examinees throwing books around but don't block out proctors important instructions. I wish my ear plugs could block out the table shaking from the lady sitting beside me. It felt like the Hulk whenever she tried to erase wrong answers. 8. Time management is critical to passing this exam. I predetermined to solve 15 questions in 1 hour 30 minutes. So, I checked my progress after every one and a half hour. Practice this during your practice exams. 9. Begin with a 1st pass through the exams using the reference textbooks on your table. For me, morning session flowed fairly easy except for 2-3 questions I knew nothing about. I worked problems 1-20 and will skip to the back to work 40-21 backwards. I did this just to get rid of tension and see if there are less difficult problems on the back of the exams. Same thing was done during the afternoon session except that I was unsure of close to 8 questions, out of which I guessed about 3. 10. On the 2nd pass through the exams, try to use the books left in your bag/book case in attempting the questions you are find difficult or not sure of. I believe you can pass this exam through self-study with some of these ideas. Please drop any questions you have regarding the exams. I am also working on a custom study guide for anyone who needs a study plan. All the best.
  2. Whether you’re taking the Mechanical PE MDM exam for the first time or this is your “nth” attempt, I hope that my experiences make this journey a bit easier for you. First let me tell you a bit about myself to put things in perspective. I obtained my BSME degree in 1996 and throughout my career, I worked in the private sector for large High-Tech corporations so I never had a need to get the PE license. That changed when I decided to work for the government in search of job stability and a pension. From the get-go, I had no delusions that this would be an easy task, after all I rarely used the concepts I learned in college in my every-day job, perhaps with a few exceptions in the areas of materials, failure analysis and vibrations which is the reason I chose MDM over the other disciplines. Being out of school for nearly 21 years was definitely a handicap for me, but I was determined to take on the challenge. My “mission” to prepare for the PE exam started in July’16 and little did I know this would turn out to be an almost 2-year long endeavor. The First Time (Fall ’16): I enrolled in PPI’s refresher course and scored 38/80 (this is before the exam format change). I easily spent 300 hours studying but didn’t have time to do as many extra problems as I would’ve liked. Spent a lot of time re-learning engineering principles and I feel this hurt my speed during the exam. The Second Time (Spring ’17): I enrolled in PPI’s refresher course again (new instructor) taking advantage of their re-take policy (this was the first time after the exam format change). Again, I easily spent 300+ hours doing extra problems, had a study-buddy to help with the course load and felt much better after taking the exam. My score was 46/80 so I failed again. Completely devastated. The Third Time (Fall ’17): I stuck with Machine Design & Materials but decided to switch to Dr. Tom’s course (2nd time after the format change) and was very happy to see new material, new practice problems which I thought would give me more practice and help improve my speed during the exam. My score was 49/80, so still not enough to pass. The Fourth Time (April ’18) I decided I had already learned all there was to learn and embraced the fact that all I needed was more practice, practice, practice which in turn would give me speed and agility during the exam. I also had to make a decision as to what material I was going to study with, and it was pretty easy to come to the conclusion that PPI’s material, although not useless, was definitely not representative of NCEES type-questions (it’s good to establish foundational knowledge but that’s about the extent of it). Instead I opted to follow the Dr. Tom course outline one more time, BUT, I enhanced it with more practice problems that I found online. My most useful references during studying were (in order of preference): MERM 13th Edition: Follow the Dr. Tom MDM outline and make sure you read ALL THE CHAPTERS before watching the videos. His explanations will make more sense, trust me on that. NCEES practice exams: There are 2 out there, 2016 is the most recent but there is a 2011 version which has about 13 problems that are still relevant to our discipline. I suggest you search for it on line (all other problems are the same as in the 2016 version). Dr. Timothy Kennedy’s review book: You can find this on Amazon and although it may not be as detailed as MERM, there are LOTS of extra new problems that you can practice with. It’s about $40 bucks and well worth the money. 6-Min Solutions for MDM: Dr. Tom provides a recommendation for which problems to solve from this book from a total of 80. Lots of good material here. Do all the extras! EngProGuides Practice Exam: Runs about $35 and you can get it from their website http://www.engproguides.com/. Justin Kauwale the owner, is very responsive and will answer all your questions promptly via email. Scott Hart and Kevin Klein practice exam: Another Amazon purchase, this exam is harder than NCEES but some of the problems are definitely in line with what you can expect to see on the exam (about 60%). Machinery’s handbook: This will come in handy for the “supportive knowledge” portion of the exam. The welding section is also MUCH easier to understand compared to MERM. Lindeburg unit conversion book: Definitely a must, it’ll save you time during the exam especially with those pesky, hard to find conversions Oxford Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering: I was able to answer several questions from the practice exams using this book, I also used it at least twice during my last exam attempt. The Study Plan that helped me PASS the 4th time was: 1. Purchase the MDM review course from Dr. Tom and start as early as you can (at least 14 weeks prior to the exam). 2. If you are a repeat test taker, take a long, hard look at your diagnostic report from NCEES. Try to remember what areas gave you the most trouble during the exam and then spend extra time on those topics as you go through the course. If this is your first time taking the test, then simply move on to 3 below. 3. Make sure you read all MERM chapters relevant to each of the course topics BEFORE you watch the Dr. Tom videos. Do all assigned problems per section and then supplement with problems from Dr. Kennedy’s book as well as 6-min Solutions, this will reaffirm your knowledge of the subjects. For some reason the Economics chapter (74 in MERM) isn’t covered by Dr. Tom so make sure you read that, do the practice problems in Dr. Kennedy’s book as well. 4. Once you complete the Machine Design section of the course which is about half way through, you should have enough background to take your first practice test about 6 weeks prior to the actual exam. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL 2 weeks prior to the test to do this. The first time I took the exam I did everything PPI told me to and I realized I had made a terrible mistake by waiting to take the NCEES practice test until the very end of the course. It was too late to make a correction by then. This will give you a good idea of where you are knowledge wise so you can identify weak spots and make adjustments as necessary. Make sure you mimic actual test conditions to get a sense of what that 6-min. allowance per problem feels like. I’ve seen others here recommend the following strategy which totally works: a. As you read through each problem, if you know what they’re asking and feel fairly confident you can work it, do it. b. If you have an idea of how to work the problem but think it’ll take you some time to find the necessary equations, mark it a “2” and move on. c. If you have absolutely no idea how to answer the problem mark it a “3” and move on. d. On your 2nd pass answer all the problems you marked 2 (or as many as you can). e. On your 3rd pass answer all the problems you marked 3 (or as many as you can). f. You will probably make several passes before you answer all the problems but that’s OK, remember that this is about getting the low-hanging fruit FIRST, all problems are worth the same so leave the more difficult ones for the end. 5. After you evaluate the results of your first practice test, you will know what areas you need to beef up on and will be better prepared for the next one. I would recommend that you try to finish the course early so you have enough time to do the EngProGuides practice test next, about 3 weeks prior to the exam. 6. The last 2-3 weeks prior to the exam you should focus on doing nothing but problems until you’re blue in the face. Problem recognition is a must and this will only come through extensive practice. Be honest with yourself and time every problem you do so you can train your brain to work against the clock. I made several passes of the following during the home-stretch: a. NCEES practice exam (3 passes) b. EngProGuides (2 passes) c. Dr. Tom’s course problems (2 passes) d. 6-min. solutions (2 passes) e. Dr. Kennedy’s book (2 passes) f. Scott Hart and Kevin exam (1 pass) 7. The day before the exam, give yourself a break, DO NOTHING and just relax. My most useful references during the exam were.... 1. MERM 2. Binders from Dr. Tom’s course 3. Machinery’s Handbook 4. Lindbergh unit conversion book 5. Oxford Mechanical Engineering dictionary 6. Do not bring books to the exam you haven’t studied with, this will only eat up your valuable exam time! You will probably spend anywhere between 250-300 hours studying so make sure you develop a plan that works for you and stick with it. I know this is a lot to share but hopefully after reading this I will spare you the pain of having to take the PE exam more than once. Study hard because when you see the little green box with the word PASS in it, it’ll all be worth it !!! And last but not least, in the words of the great Jedi Master Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no Try…” Good luck!
  3. Hello everyone, I've been preparing for the MDM exam in April for quite some time now and came across a pratice exam by Scott Hart and Kevin Klein. I find that these problems are much more difficult than those from the NCEES practice exams. Have any of you had a similar experience? The material is good, but I don't think it did much to boost my confidence level even after practicing with material from PPI, 6-min. solutions, both NCEES practice exams (2011 and 2016), EngProGuides and Dr. Tom. I just want to make sure I'm not off base here. Still practicing like mad for the exam.... Thanks for the read and comments.
  4. Hello EB friends, Today I learned the sad news that I did not pass the Mechanical PE (Machine Design & Materials) exam for the THIRD time. To be quite honest I am numb at the moment and not sure how to feel, part of me is happy that this could mean that I get my life back, no more studying, but the other part of me says that I’ve invested too much time and money on this to simply walk away. A little bit about me: · Graduated in 1996 and haven’t really used thermal, machine design, let alone HVAC engineering principles in my career since then. The closest I come to is materials so I chose MDD being that I felt the closest connection to it. · First time around (Fall ’16): Machine Design & Materials, took PPI’s refresher course and scored 38/80 (this is before the exam format change). I easily spent 300 hours studying but didn’t have time to do as many extra problems as I would’ve liked. Spent a lot of time remembering engineering principles and I feel this hurt my speed during the exam. · Second time around (Spring ’17): Machine Design & Materials, took PPI’s refresher course again (new instructor) taking advantage of their re-take policy (this was the first time after the exam format change). Again, I easily spent 300+ hours doing extra problems, had a study-buddy to help with the course load, and felt much better after taking the exam. My score was 46/80 so I failed again. Completely devastated… · Third time around (Fall ’17): Chose Machine Design & Materials again and changed my study plan by switching to Dr. Tom’s course (2nd time after the format change) and was very happy to see new material, new practice problems which I thought would give me more practice and help improve my speed during the exam. My score was 49/80, so still not enough to pass. Every time that I’ve taken the exam I’ve changed my study habits and although I’ve improved my scores, that little green box with the word PASS in it seems to elude me. Since my employer does not require me to have the license I’m seriously on the fence as to whether I should attempt this a FOURTH time. This is a personal goal and if I can say one thing about my past attempts is that I gave it 100% every time, modifying my study plans and materials in the hope of passing the exam. As far as references here are the books that I’ve used: MERM (Lindeburg), Machinery’s Handbook, Eng. Unit Conversions, 6-Min. solutions, both NCEES practice exams, PE Exam Review by T. Kennedy, Dr. Tom’s reference mat’l., Shigley’s (very little) So my questions for you fine folks are: · Should I attempt this a fourth time? · Is there a course you can recommend for someone in my situation? Or do I just need to practice more problems on my own? · I feel very comfortable with the material so not sure what is happening during the exam, should I change disciplines? Maybe Thermal? I feel NO connection to HVAC so def. not going to go that route. · I’ve averaged 300 hrs. of study time every time I’ve taken the exam, could it be possible that perhaps, just perhaps I’m over studying? Sorry for the long read but any advice you can provide would be much appreciated and THANKS IN ADVANCE for your guidance.
  5. Unfortunately today I learned that I failed the PE MDM exam with a score of 46/80. Wondering if others would mind sharing their scores. This being my 2nd time failing it I need to re-evaluate what I'm doing wrong, or if I was close enough to where all I need is more practice. After the first time I changed several things: new instructor, spent an inordinate amount of time doing extra problems, found a study-buddy, but apparently all that wasn't enough. Maybe part of my problem is that I graduated 20 years ago and I honestly don't do any of this stuff in my day-day job. The class that I took was PPI and really liked my instructor. Any comments, suggestions would be appreciated. Also, not sure if I want to put myself through all that studying again this summer to take the exam in Oct'17, or if I should wait until April'18. Thank you.
  6. I will be taking the Mechanical PE exam in April '17 and have chosen the Machine Design and Materials (MDM) exam specification. Being that I graduated quite some time ago, I've enrolled in a refresher course which starts in a few weeks, but in the mean time I was wondering if somebody could make a recommendation for a book or study guide that covers these topics which make up the 2nd part of the exam. I already have MERM (Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual), 13th edition, but it only covers them superficially.
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