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  1. FE EXAM PREP TIPS AND TRICKS: PREPARING AND PRACTICING FOR CBT EXAMS View Our Pass Rates Passing an NCEES FE exam is an essential step in an engineer’s career, as it is typically required before taking the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) licensing exam. As many of our students report that the FE exam is more challenging than the PE exam, preparing for the FE computer-based test (CBT) can be overwhelming. In fact, many FE examinees have reported studying up to 300 hours for the difficult exam. To help reduce stress and the amount of time used to study, we have created a list of tips to help you get the most out of studying and to help you pass your chosen FE exam. Review the FE Reference Handbook The FE Reference Handbook by NCEES is the only reference material that you are able to use during your exam. Before you take your exam, you can download it for free from NCEES’ website. We recommend going through the reference handbook a few times so you have a good grasp of where everything is located. Look over the FE Exam Requirements and Specifications Don’t be that person who goes to the exam and forgets to bring an ID. Make sure you fully read all exam-day requirements including registration time, required documents, and accepted calculators. Also, read over your exam’s specifications before beginning to study, as the specifications lay out the ratio of subjects that will be covered on an exam. NCEES’ FE exam specifications and resources can be found here. Strategically Schedule Your Exam When you are scheduling your exam, try not to schedule it around holidays or any other events that may distract you from studying for long periods of time. We recommend preparing for the FE exam at least four months before you take your exam. Practice, Practice, Practice How do you know when you’ve fully grasped a subject? By practicing! Whether you are taking the FE Mechanical, FE Electrical, or FE Civil exam, practice problems are a great way to prepare for your exam. After studying a subject, test your knowledge by practicing 10-15 problems in that subject area. If you can answer the practice problems correctly, you can confirm that you are prepared for that given subject. If you struggle with the practice problems, consider setting some extra time aside to revisit the subject. Finding a way to practice for your FE exam that closely mimics the NCEES CBT experience is probably the most effective way to practice problems. Attend an FE Exam Prep Course Registering for an FE exam prep course is another helpful way to prepare for the FE exam. School of PE offers FE Chemical, FE Civil, FE Electrical, FE Environmental, FE Industrial, FE Mechanical, and FE Other (General) exam prep courses. Because of School of PE’s Prepare, Practice, Pass initiative, student pass rates continue to be much higher than the national rates. School of PE provides comprehensive lectures, instructor-led practice problem sessions, a Practice Portal, which allows students to independently practice problems that mimic the NCEES CBT exam-taking experience, and organized refresher notes that are perfect for helping students grasp even the most difficult topics. School of PE also designs its courses around NCEES’ exam specifications, so students know that they are studying the topics that are likely to appear on the actual exam.
  2. Scenario: You walk into your first PE exam. Although you're a little nervous, and perhaps a bit queasy, you still feel like you're ready to dominate the next 8 hours. You've brought a suitcase of your reference materials, brought your brand-new approved calculator that arrived at your doorstep yesterday (perfect timing), and made sure you stayed up until 2 a.m. to ensure that you went over every last detail in your notes before going to sleep. About halfway through the exam, you realize that you're starting to lose energy. “How am I going to make it through the next four hours?” you think. You've completed 40 questions, and although you spent around 15 minutes trying to figure out how to do a specific problem on your calculator, you feel like you can't be too behind. Once you only have 30 minutes left in the exam, you start to panic. You have 10 questions left and have no idea how you will have enough time to finish them all. _____________________ The above scenario is representative of many examinees who made a few vital mistakes during their last-minute exam preparation. Are you getting ready to take a PE exam, whether it be a CBT in the next few weeks, or a pencil and paper exam next October? As you prepare, it's important to understand best practices for taking an NCEES exam. As an exam review course provider, we get the chance to talk to many students who have taken the exam before, many who have shared their biggest regrets while taking their chosen PE exam. Whether you are taking the PE exam for the first time or second time, we've listed some of the most common mistakes below. Check them out to ensure that you will avoid them all when taking the PE exam, which will increase the likelihood of you passing! School of PE 1. Spending too much time on a question Many first-time exam takers of the PE exam may have issues with time management. On a typical PE exam, an examinee is given 8 hours to complete 80 questions. So, each question generally should get 6 minutes dedicated to it. If you find yourself struggling with a question, simply skip it and move on to the next question and come back to that question later. A great way to manage your time is to bring a stopwatch (make sure to turn the sound off) or wristwatch to the exam to keep time with. 2. Not getting enough sleep It’s completely understandable that many people want to cram the night before an exam. As tempting as that may sound, staying up too late will be detrimental to your exam performance. If you don’t get enough sleep, after a few hours of taking the exam, you’ll most likely run out of stamina and will not be able to think clearly as needed. The night before the exam, make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Feel free to look over your notes and reference materials an hour or two before going to bed, as this will help with memory consolidation. 3. Getting caught up in your confidence This tip is extremely important and following it can be a clear line of passing versus failing the PE exam. Even if you were a straight A student in school and have a great grasp on a majority of engineering concepts, taking the time to prepare for each topic that is on NCEES’ exam specifications will help refresh things you may have forgotten otherwise. Trust us, if you think you can pass the PE exam without studying, chances are you are wrong. Taking an exam review course that covers every topic is a great strategy to make sure you feel comfortable with every possible topic that may appear on the exam. 4. Packing too many reference materials Yes, NCEES allows you to bring suitcases full of reference materials for pencil and paper exams. Should you do it? Maybe, maybe not. It all truly depends on your organization of your binders and books so that you don’t spend valuable time during the exam trying to find something in your reference materials. Our suggestion: print out organized, consolidated notes written by our PE instructors, which will provide you everything you need to reference during the exam. 5. Not learning how to use your calculator We get it- some people have favorite models of calculators which may not be on NCEES’ approved calculator list. Make sure to look at the approved list a few months in advance of taking your exam so that you can not only ensure you get an approved model in time, but also so that you can learn how to use that calculator. Not sure where to start when learning how to use a new calculator? Finding a free calculator training tutorial should do the trick! School of PE for the best Exam Prep!
  3. Hello friends, I was a regular consumer of this forum and despite the TROLLS, I thank all the participants for the good information posted here, that helped me pass the PE exam last April 2019 In contribution, I would like to give my own impressions of the PE exam and give you my advices as far as how to get prepared for this task. First and foremost, passing the PE exam is a tough process and requires LOTS of study time and sacrifice. If you really want this, I recommend you well establish your priorities and whatever can deviate your attention and focus from the exam, should be temporally removed from your life style. NO COURSE, NO BOOK, NOTHING WILL GUARANTEE YOU PASS THE EXAM. IT DEPENDS ON YOU!!! If you don’t give it all and put enough effort on it, failing the exam is MOST LIKELY to occur. Even though, don’t feel discourage if you fail, this exam is like no other, and lots of people don’t have the same luck of passing on the first try. The winning strategy here to not give up. ** With that being said, see below my advices, sorted by importance level: 1) Establish your strategy from the very beginning. Define what are your strongest areas and plan your study time accordingly to tackle the areas you are most likely to fail. I suggest you plan yourself to finish everything 2-4 weeks before the exam, so you have plenty of time to recap and review your weak areas, difficult questions, etc. 2) Organization is KEY, and the PE exam is sometimes more about TIME MANAGEMENT than knowledge. So, during your preparation, be consequent with the materials you use. Don’t buy or print materials to have them on the corner and rather use them. Make sure all your materials are tabbed and highlighted. Group them by category, use tabs, index or any method that can help you locate each section the fastest possible; Cross-Reference is key. Every minute you save during the exam is glory. In my case, I created a MAIN INDEX, where I referenced all the materials I had. That was my best friend during the exam. I placed that index at the back of my cheat sheet. 3) Have all the formulas grouped by topic, in one binder so you can easily find them without opening multiples books. I SUGGEST YOU PREPARE YOUR CHEAT-SHEET AHEAD OF TIME so you can edit it and add more stuff 4) Make sure you find the right materials for YOU. There are different books out there for each topic, but it depends on your personal taste. Do your research and try to find the book that better fit your necessities. 5) MASTER your calculator. Don’t make the mistake of bringing a calculator to the exam that you didn’t use before or you are not familiar with. Consider that the back of the calculator will be taken away from you, so I will suggest you write that info somewhere else. UNIT CONVERSIONS are often used during the exam. 6) Don’t spend time solving easy questions, unless there is nothing else available. I remember solving questions from books like Spin up, which are far from the exam type of questions. Write down the questions you found challenging and remember to review them multiple times the last two weeks. 7) Practice here is fundamental, so the more problems you solve, the more likely you are to pass the exam. Try to sole as many DIFFERENT QUESTIONS as possible. The people who prepare the exam are MASTERS on presenting questions in a way you never saw before. 😎 DON’T spend yoo much time on areas that are not the MEAT of the exam. Remember that there are areas like Protection and Code that have the higher number of questions. This means don’t go beyond the limits on areas like VFDs, ladder logic etc… Use wisely your time to reinforce the strongest areas. One thing that helped me A LOT was mastering the NEC. 9) However, remember all questions are graded the same, so there is no point on being a beast in "Protection" or "Rotating Machines" and then being an ignorant in other areas. I found out that typically, the questions from the easiest areas are the weirdest and trickiest. 10) Last, during the exam day, follow your strategy, this was mine but again, define yours: a) First round: only solve the questions that are familiar to you, and then flag the questions you want to leave for either the second or third round. In my case, I left all code questions, and all problems that required me to review my materials for the 2nd round. b) Second round: Solve all code questions at the same time, including NESC, NEC, ANSI, whatever…Remember to use the index and your tabs rather than randomly passing pages. Then try to solve the questions that requires more of your analysis but are not completely odd to you. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH WEIRD QUESTIONS AT THIS MOMENT. Also, leave the questions for later if you find yourself stuck. REMEMBER…Time Management!! c) Third round: At this moment, you should have done at least 50% of the questions, but it should be more than that, so now is the time to review your work quickly before moving ON. I didn't review my work the first time I took the PE and that caused me the FAIL NOTICE. To facilitate the review process, make sure you leave some clues on how you solved each question in first place, so you don’t have to double-analyze each question. Another mistake of mine the first time was solving questions without leaving clear notes. d) Fourth round: Now is the time to attack the weird questions, usually the tricky questions require reading more than once, so careful with the reading. Also try to solve any question you were not able to solve in the rounds before. Don’t make the mistake of finishing earlier, spend all the time you have trying to find the answer to the questions you have left. If you got lucky and solved all questions, then start reviewing over and over. IS NEVER ENOUGH. ** Now, I will give you the list of materials I used the most on the exam day, SORTED BY IMPORTANCE LEVEL: 1) Personal Cheat Sheet with all formulas, and Index with cross-references (NEXT TO ME DURING THE ENTIRE EXAM, USED IT 100%) 2) NEC (I don’t list the others because most of the questions are from the NEC except a few of them from the NESC and other code books) 3) Printed notes from the course I took, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ( 4) Electrical Engineer's Guide to Passing the Power PE Exam - Graffeo (GREAT BOOK, ONE OF MY FAVORITES. HOWEVER, IT CANNOT BE USED AS THE ONLY REFERENCE; SOME AREAS ARE POORLY COVERED i.e. Power Electronics, Protective Relays…) 5) Electrical Machines, Drives and Power Systems - Theodore Wildi (GREAT FOR ELECTRICAL MACHINES SECTION, a MUST have) 6) Printed Materials (WELL ORGANIZED/TABBED BINDERS WITH USEFUL INFO IS A LIFE SAVER) 7) Power System Analysis and Design - Duncan Glover (ESPECIALLY GOOD FOR TRANSFORMERS AND PROTECTION SECTION) 😎 Protective Relaying by Blackburn (GREAT IN-DEEP MATERIAL for PROTECTION TOPIC) 9) Power Electronics Devices, Circuits, and Applications - Muhammad H. Rashid (VERY EXTENSIVE BOOK FOR POWER ELECTRONICS) ONLY USE IT AS REQUIRED, THERE IS NO NEED OF READING THE ENTIRE BOOK. I hope this can help future exam takers on their way to success. And remember, work hard and you will see the results. GOOD LUCK!
  4. Hello folks, Congrads to those that passed.. Unfortunately I will need to take this exam yet again. I understand SMS and the practice exam like the back of my hand. Studied and didn't slack off, this is WHY I am feeling low and a bit concerned. I found that I spent way too much time looking through ALL 4 ASHRAE handbooks, and that was time consuming. There was lot's of field application problems regarding reference that I just don't know by heart. Can anyone please share some of your experiences? :-(
  5. Study as if you cared (minimum 500 hours), do a lot of practice problems, take timed practice exams, and I recommend taking courses from Professional Engineering Services and Education (PESE) of which Dr. Shahin Mansour is the CEO. The courses I took from PESE were: Civil Breadth (AM) Course with Workshop, and Transportation PM Course with workshop. These courses were live-webinars which included text books, practice problems and practice exams, and the ability to ask questions during the class sessions. The user friendly text books were well organized with table of contents, figures, shortcuts and indexes to make information easy to find during the exams. The CEO of PESE, Dr. Shahin Mansour, has (30) years of teaching and (27) years of professional experience which shaped the class sessions and materials so they were very interesting and specific to the exams. This helped me to gain confidence and speed to pass the 8-hour NCEES exam. In July 2016 I received my California Civil PE license.
  6. While studying for my own PE exam, I decided to make a site to gather the best tips I could find. I also provide resources recommended by readers for various exam disciplines. Check it out at If there's a tip you'd like me to add just let me know. I'm working on providing more resources and tips, thanks!
  7. Civil PE Exam Help (aka “Giving back to Civil Transpo folks”) Alright, here’s the scoop: I passed the PE exam April (2013) on my first attempt. Am I the smartest person on EB? No. Do I have some amazing memory? I don’t think so. I think I am average amongst this cross section of folks. Why am I telling you this? Because too often we read about somebody’s approach to the exam without knowing if it’s a child prodigy who doesn’t really need advice or support or a plain ‘ol nut. Therefore reading this may turn out to be time wasted for some of you, but for others, this was written in the spirit of EB; a networking opportunity where occasional good tips are derived by folks willing to share their experiences. So how did I approach the exam? I knew that I could not relearn, or learn, every morsel. I understood that having the ability to bring resources was a blessing and a potential curse. Most of all I knew I had to develop a strategy and test it here at home. What I bought or borrowed in the way of books to prepare; Being a Transportation candidate I had the AASHTO suite of manuals: 6th Ed GDHS, 4th Ed. RDG, 2009 MUTCD. I had access to the full 2010 HCM but took only select chapters to the exam. To explain, there is so much of the new HCM that is absolutely meant for the class room or for the propeller heads of TRB to elucidate how a 57 character equation can be reduced to a statistically reliable predictor when crunched by some cosmic software system, that you won’t have access to during the exam, you don’t need it all. You need to understand that what can reasonable be asked an answered from within the application of the two volume behemoth in about 6 minutes may be on the exam. I decided, rightly or wrongly, to bring the example portions of the pedestrian, freeway and intersection chapters into my strategy. I did have access to the MEPDG mindbender too, but it falls into the same impractical category of resources to leave at home. I also had the following staples at my disposal; 12th Ed of the CERM* Lindeburg’s 4th Ed. Sample exams Goswami’s All In One (2nd Ed.) and his practice exams Dictionaries: Penguin’s Civil, McGraw Hill’s Dictionary of Engineering and Dr. Friebel’s Civil/Enviro. PCA’s Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures – 14th Ed Voigt’s Transpo Depth (1st Ed) * NCEES’ 2008 copyright Sample Questions & Solutions (its old but multi discipline AM) NCEES’ 2011 copyright Civil Tranpo “ “ “ “ Mike’s Civil PE Exam Guide Rajapakse’s Four Sample Exams for the Civil PE Exam PE-Exam.Com (2nd Ed.) Breadth Practice Exam for the Civil PE (PPI bought them up so get it there) Kim & Spriggs’ (3rd Ed) Civil Discipline-Specific Review for the FE/EIT exam Chelapati’s (9th Ed.) Section 8.1, 8.2 Highway Geometric Design, Highway Traffic * Roess, Prassas, McShane’s (3rd Ed) Traffic Engineering MY SECRET WEAPON – Mannering, Washburn (5th Ed) Highway Engineering and Traffic Analysis** (unfortunately I know where some of you are at. By that I mean its February, you’re getting anxious, you’re looking for insurance, or you’re just plain freaked so I won’t exaggerate but will honestly say this book is vital.) *What’s up with the asterisks? These books do not have the current AASHTO or HCM specs in them and that really bites because they are truly valuable otherwise. It’s either a time consuming fix of correcting them yourself or flagging the #@%& out of them to remind you what not to use and what to use. Choose the later. This is not a one book fits all exam anyway. **As you deserve, some things just work in your favor and you catch a lucky break. This sweet little gem of a reference is current through HCM2010 (with example questions seemingly able to be asked on a national exam), the 6th Ed of the GDHS, the 2009 MUTCD, even the insanely irrelevant MEPDG. BUY THIS BOOK. Do it now. Thank these fine Purdue Profs. when you pass. Seriously, minimize or logout and get to Amazon and buy this right now. Okay now that you have the bound equivalent refined wood pulp of a small forest you’re guaranteed… absolutely nothing. (WTH?) Here’s where strategy comes in. You need to work with these books night and day to know what book has what and where. To tab or not to tab, that is the question. Tab. Period. Tab what? Hmm, that’s difficult to say. I actually had an iterative process whereby some things I was sure I needed to tab, only to later determine I could pull them off the books. Wait, I am a Gigantic DoucheBag First there’s an art to tabbing. Establish a color code system, i.e., blue equals water resources, hydro, etc. so in that category it’s only a blue tab. Red equals structures… be consistent across your resources that a biggie. You said iterative! If there is a constant to prepping for this exam it is this – YOU MUST SOLVE PROBLEMS AND PROBLEMS UPON PROBLEMS to prepare. I found this was wildly easy to embrace, hence the many practice exams. I used most of them to prep and not as timed exams (more on that later). As I did more problems I found what I tabbed in fear didn’t need to be tabbed. It’s subjective, but you absolutely can have too many tabs and misplace their value by thinking, “oh I have that tabbed and its plug and chug so I am all set”. Here come the tips. If you want to work by topic area, fine. If you want to rapidly expand your breadth, grab a practice exam and go at it. One caution, traditional “studying” is not prepping. Sure there are passages to read and breakdown into your lingo, but there are problems to solve with pen paper and a Casio fx-115ES too. Problems that call upon tables found in governing design manuals that you may not use everyday (think tabs). Unless you will be taking the exam in a place that does not allow you to write in your books…, write in them. Be extra geeky like me and use a colored pencil. Why? To be ready to show the overzealous do-gooder proctor that I was given one graphite pencil (which I will keep thank you) and what is in the book was written in red and says “see pg xyz of GDHS. Remember the left graph is for two lane roads”. Define the units otherwise unlabeled in the variables. There’s no reason to literally risk it all, so make sure this is not going to be an issue and ask somebody what’s acceptable in your State as far as books, writing already in them, etc. (I read something crazy once about books not being allowed to have writing in them…) We’re going to stick with “prepping” When you are prepping, leave the clock, stopwatch, hourglass and sundial alone. Come home, eat something and head to the proverbial woodshed. (this is a good time to say prepping in an area that replicates the exam is reasonable. Don’t go overboard, remain comfortable, but try to cut the distractions out of view or listening range, and be organized. You simply won’t be able to have 6 books open at once across a 6’ table standing up swaying to and fro as you try to decide whether you need to floc the wastewater during the exam) Maybe you’ve got a handle on all this already and you prep by doing a problem in under 6 minutes and do only 10 a night. Good, fine, but I want to discourage you from being a clock-watcher right now. If you go to bed at 9PM or 1AM while pursuing this, so be it. I can’t tell you how much time to set aside. I found that I needed to first understand conceptually what was being tested and then narrowly what it was I had to solve for. Remember, we want to be licensed to accept the risk of our design or decisions and for that I want to know why I did something. That is to say, if in December January or February I take 15 to 30 minutes to look in three books to see if can figure out what the heck they are after in a question I am okay with that. By mid-March I will have seen enough problems to have a working knowledge of breadth concepts and can pop to the tables, graphs, equations I need quickly. I found Goswami’s book instructive in ways the CERM was not but both are invaluable to prepping fro the exam. When to give up on a problem while prepping. Not sure how to tackle this, but let’s face it, you’re not getting a 100 on the exam. There I said it. Don’t be insulted, be practical and admit the breadth section covers crap you don’t, won’t and can’t do. So I will answer a bit politically, make your own mind up, but do so knowing that as civil engineer you should have a working knowledge of all areas tested in the AM. Maybe a bit comforting to you should be that for this reason arcane, one off, gotcha problems are not coming your way in the AM. Being critical of the master. Ah yes Belmont, CA home of that publishing goliath that has been trusted by wannabe engineers since… oh who cares! The CERM? YES! The corresponding practice problems? NO!!! I was fortunate to get a copy of an incredibly old leather bound book originally written in 1872 by John C. Trautwine. He rips on the other available manuals and references of his contemporaries in his “The Civil Engineer’s Pocket-Book” because they have written their books for, in his words, “savants”. My friends, I sat for the exam and am sitting here this Sunday morning pouring out my thoughts for the express purpose to encourage and help you achieve your goal so when I say look at what I didn’t refer to in my list of books, please know I bought many others that I can’t recommend in good conscience. Aside from NCEES, and hey they write the exam so we’d be foolish not to use what they offer when prepping, the others, excluding Goswami’s at times, are so realistically comparable that I suspect in time they will be passed around offices to future examinees like baby wipes at the nursery. I will make one exception; Voigt’s 6 minutes Transpo and AM related Geotechnical are worth plodding through for two reasons. These books are at times waaaay harder than exam questions, but they get to the “why” and drill concepts very effectively. Sorry, its hard work for a reason. Besides anytime a book explains an answer, and does not just show the derived calculations, you’re getting some value. What else can you do to prepare? I highly recommend taking a refresher course. I took the School of PE course. A couple of the sections where too fast and undersold but WRE and Transpo were spot on. If you can swing the $$$, do it. If you can only swing $, I recommend the Irvine Institute of Technology’s online offering. (If they updated to the current GDHS and HCM2010 that is.) I took it prematurely thinking I could sit for the exam when my State chose to smite me with a rejection letter. The high value of being organized I did build two binders to accompany my purchased books. A fair amount came from the School of PE, but I went a bit further. So as I prepped I found from my 15 to 30 minute “what in the world is this” puzzle solving endeavors that I could condense and summarize a lot and sometimes sketch the path of how to solve what I previously did not know how to do (think water treatment jive). One binder (monster 4” so that the papers could be moved in the rings) that had the containing breadth topics and one for depth (smaller 2” binder). In either case I built them with this in mind, there are items that without a doubt I have to refer to that I don’t want to shuffle books for, so I copied those items from the other books CERM, GDHS, etc and put them together in my three ring binder as my toolkit. For example, for transpo I had a tabbed section in the binder that was for horizontal curves. In that section I had the “go to” tables of the GDHS, the common equations, and sample problems. I mean hey, there are only so many ways you can ask about the darn things. What I geeked out on that I was later so proud of was taking equations across the entire breadth and depth of the PE exam and solving them for each variable. Take the Darcy Weisbach or Hazen Williams equations for example wherein you have 3 or 4 variables; I would solve for each variable to be on the left side of the equation and plaster that crap onto a piece of paper so that if I was given the headloss and needed to know the diameter of a pipe in a hypothetical scenario I wasn’t spending valuable time crunching the old Casio just to get my variable isolated. Besides, do you want to find out in the middle of the PE exam that you don’t remember how to complete the square? Some of these variations are tabulated and some are not so assembling a master list may be a day well spent. If I get a chance I will dig mine out, scan them and post them. You’ve heard they monkey with units on the exam and you’ve probably said “No biggie, I can handle that”. And true enough, you can handle it, but do you know which ones are most common to mess with and where to go to get the multiplier? Are you ready to see 10, otherwise straightforward, problems suck up your exam time? The CERM is hands down an amazing reference. It goes well beyond unit conversions, we all know that, but because it is so comprehensive it can be unwieldy. Its not a bad idea to copy them from the covers of the CERM and place them in the front of each section in your binder. Same with the index, bind it separately. How about beam deflections and shear and moment diagrams? Yea the CERM has them neatly tabulated too but in the appendix… somewhere…. Throw that sucker on the copier and put them front and center in your binder at the structures section. Better yet, crank out the possibilities of solving for the variables of conjugate depth at a hydraulic jump and put that at the front of your WRE section. You get the idea. Put the time in now to sharpen your axe. (Paraphrasing Abe Lincoln – If you give me 8 hours for an exam, I will take 252 hours putting my binders together.) If you’re a transpo guy or gal, you know your tools. Or do you? If you do not work with the GDHS or RDG, you will find that they are written for daily practitioners, thus the GDHS index is not friendly when wanting to find skewed intersection design considerations. You will invariably have what I call “seek and find” problems on the exam where you just look up the value. Go through these manuals and make the personal decision of what to tab passed the most common tables and graphs. There are very few moments during the exam in which your confidence grows quicker than using just 26.8 seconds of the theoretical “6 minutes” getting an answer right. It’s nice to have time to play with that one problem you don’t want to give up on just because you know you’ve got the time to do so before the proctor advises “pencils down”. I think I am ready for the exam. Two weeks before the exam I used Lindeburg’s sample exams to gauge my readiness. I did it under a timer in exam-like conditions. It sucked. I scored like a 62. I was smoked. But I also expected to fail. Why? Because like I am doing here, friends told me that the Belmont, CA stuff was worse than the real thing. Nonetheless, I tore apart my mistakes and doubled down. The next weekend I took the NCEES practice exams (AM and PM using the old book). I scored an 84! Hot d@mn I was indeed ready. In conclusion I am not saying these ideas are original or that they guarantee you anything if you follow them. I can just say am living up to my commitment to share my experience and approach with future exam takers. I compiled the best advice I got from colleagues who got there before me, or that I read or that I paid for and put it here for others to consider. Take the exam as seriously as the profession. When you get a stamp/seal you are bestowed with a bit of a slight and a lot more responsibility. The slight comes in from you will have been found “minimally qualified to practice engineering” in your State. The increased responsibility comes in that when you affix your hard earned stamp or seal you have bought at least a high level of personally responsibility if not sole responsibility. When you pass, go to the new PE dinner that your NSPE Chapter will host. Join the Order of the Engineer. Be proud. You will deserve it. I was 46 when I did but felt pretty young that night. Good luck. Work hard and know that it will happen for you.
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