April 2011 exam stories - Page 3 - Anything about the PE Exam - Engineer Boards
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April 2011 exam stories

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How often do you hear the statement "How did he/she pass the PE?". The PE exam, is a MINIMUM competency test. It does not evaluate how well you know the subject matter, versus knowing just enough to be able to read Code and take a test. Requiring a structural engineer to take a test on water and environmental subjects proves this point.

Codes were created and adopted by various gov/agencies to protect the public from those minimum competency test takers that pass the test. Any average joe can READ code.

Education should not be replaceable. As experience is extremely important in order to get a handle what works in the "real world" in terms of cost and constructability, it is the theory learned in school that allows you to understand the code but most importantly its LIMITATIONS (i.e. why are there rules and exceptions?).

Worrying about over conservative designs being done by under experienced but educated engineer?; It is not anywhere near as bad as an overly confident uneducated PE, under designing structures so close to their approximated demands that it requires a program to accurately analyze their true capacity. (FEA/Structural programs alone should not be used by those that don't understand how they run in the first place, let alone accept their results and not understand the sensitivity or uncertainty of the inputs). This is a recipe for a disaster. It is not worth the risk. The following motto comes to mind:

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING: The Art of Using Materials (that have properties that can only be estimated); To build real structures (that can only be approximately analyzed); and To Withstand Forces (that cannot be accurately known).

I hope for everyone's safety that those who practice engineering without a degree, have taken the time to truly understand all the theory behind the code they are following, or the programs they are using, and not just use the excuse that they had no time, opportunity, and/or money to know better. Or that school programs are being "dumbed down" to attract people. Being a recent graduate (current decade) from 6 years of college (BS and MS), all of my professors emphasized the importance of understanding the theory and the assumptions that structural programs or building codes make, and demonstrated everyday examples of how easy it is to get yourself into trouble.

Now with some years of practical experience, I can definitely add that it is also “what you learn after you know it all that counts" too. No engineers should be excluded from a continued education.

btw…..a masters is in no way a Phd. Although I agree that Phd intelligence on minor engineering design in the consulting world is counterproductive, it is definitely a necessity in field of research and development.

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How often do you hear the statement "How did he/she pass the PE?". The PE exam, is a MINIMUM competency test. It does not evaluate how well you know the subject matter, versus knowing just enough to be able to read Code and take a test. Requiring a structural engineer to take a test on water and environmental subjects proves this point.

Codes were created and adopted by various gov/agencies to protect the public from those minimum competency test takers that pass the test. Any average joe can READ code.

Education should not be replaceable. As experience is extremely important in order to get a handle what works in the "real world" in terms of cost and constructability, it is the theory learned in school that allows you to understand the code but most importantly its LIMITATIONS (i.e. why are there rules and exceptions?).

Worrying about over conservative designs being done by under experienced but educated engineer?; It is not anywhere near as bad as an overly confident uneducated PE, under designing structures so close to their approximated demands that it requires a program to accurately analyze their true capacity. (FEA/Structural programs alone should not be used by those that don't understand how they run in the first place, let alone accept their results and not understand the sensitivity or uncertainty of the inputs). This is a recipe for a disaster. It is not worth the risk. The following motto comes to mind:

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING: The Art of Using Materials (that have properties that can only be estimated); To build real structures (that can only be approximately analyzed); and To Withstand Forces (that cannot be accurately known).

I hope for everyone's safety that those who practice engineering without a degree, have taken the time to truly understand all the theory behind the code they are following, or the programs they are using, and not just use the excuse that they had no time, opportunity, and/or money to know better. Or that school programs are being "dumbed down" to attract people. Being a recent graduate (current decade) from 6 years of college (BS and MS), all of my professors emphasized the importance of understanding the theory and the assumptions that structural programs or building codes make, and demonstrated everyday examples of how easy it is to get yourself into trouble.

Now with some years of practical experience, I can definitely add that it is also “what you learn after you know it all that counts" too. No engineers should be excluded from a continued education.

btw…..a masters is in no way a Phd. Although I agree that Phd intelligence on minor engineering design in the consulting world is counterproductive, it is definitely a necessity in field of research and development.

That phrase (well, one very much like it) is/was posted on the wall at my company's office. And yeah, I got myself into trouble in those programs a few times, in the first few years of my experience - the most important thing I learned is that I should always do the first calculation of a specific type by hand at least once before I use software, then use the software to ensure that my hand calculation was accurate.

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How often do you hear the statement "How did he/she pass the PE?". The PE exam, is a MINIMUM competency test. It does not evaluate how well you know the subject matter, versus knowing just enough to be able to read Code and take a test. Requiring a structural engineer to take a test on water and environmental subjects proves this point.

Codes were created and adopted by various gov/agencies to protect the public from those minimum competency test takers that pass the test. Any average joe can READ code.

Education should not be replaceable. As experience is extremely important in order to get a handle what works in the "real world" in terms of cost and constructability, it is the theory learned in school that allows you to understand the code but most importantly its LIMITATIONS (i.e. why are there rules and exceptions?).

Worrying about over conservative designs being done by under experienced but educated engineer?; It is not anywhere near as bad as an overly confident uneducated PE, under designing structures so close to their approximated demands that it requires a program to accurately analyze their true capacity. (FEA/Structural programs alone should not be used by those that don't understand how they run in the first place, let alone accept their results and not understand the sensitivity or uncertainty of the inputs). This is a recipe for a disaster. It is not worth the risk. The following motto comes to mind:

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING: The Art of Using Materials (that have properties that can only be estimated); To build real structures (that can only be approximately analyzed); and To Withstand Forces (that cannot be accurately known).

I hope for everyone's safety that those who practice engineering without a degree, have taken the time to truly understand all the theory behind the code they are following, or the programs they are using, and not just use the excuse that they had no time, opportunity, and/or money to know better. Or that school programs are being "dumbed down" to attract people. Being a recent graduate (current decade) from 6 years of college (BS and MS), all of my professors emphasized the importance of understanding the theory and the assumptions that structural programs or building codes make, and demonstrated everyday examples of how easy it is to get yourself into trouble.

Now with some years of practical experience, I can definitely add that it is also “what you learn after you know it all that counts" too. No engineers should be excluded from a continued education.

btw…..a masters is in no way a Phd. Although I agree that Phd intelligence on minor engineering design in the consulting world is counterproductive, it is definitely a necessity in field of research and development.

I totally agree. not without reason most jurisdiction require education AND experience. Is there a guy who is smart enough to teach himself from books and experience... sure, someone will be able to be a good engineer without going to school. but majority of engineers really need things to be taught, at least the basics.

I'm spending all day fixing mistakes done by people who either never attended engineering school, or never graduated. the worst people are the ones that say they are right and their only argument is "I've been doing this for 20 years". Guess what, it is not experience if you are always wrong. the problem i see in consulting is, that they always have one PE who attends the meetings (or at least the interview), but the actual work is done by non-college graduated people.

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I would like to point out some people who you may recognize as not going to college, Bed Franklin, Henry Ford, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison (who was also an inovator of pre-fab concrete structures). The list goes on, I am just adding that if someone has the drive and determination to make their way to a PE license on their own, should not be treated as second rate.

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I would like to point out some people who you may recognize as not going to college, Bed Franklin, Henry Ford, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison (who was also an inovator of pre-fab concrete structures). The list goes on, I am just adding that if someone has the drive and determination to make their way to a PE license on their own, should not be treated as second rate.

You make a good point and as I pointed out, there always will be someone smart enough not needing to go to school. After all, someone who didn't go to school must have founded the first school. but the majority of people...

The individuals you mentioned didn't really design structures or buildings that could have endangered the public. Henry Ford for example was a businessmen (with 2 dailed businesses before his succesful business) and maybe we can call him industrial engineer (and he likely had staff that did implement all his assembly line ideas). Industrial engineers working in a car company also today don't need to be licensed.

Today maybe 40% of people go to some college (although I doubt that, since they count the Phoenix etc. as a real school), back in the day of Lincoln, 99% of the population were farmers, so it was normal back then to teach yourself if you wanted to know something. Mostly a prospective engineer became an apprentice with a senior engineer unless he attended one of the few engineering schools.

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I totally agree. not without reason most jurisdiction require education AND experience. Is there a guy who is smart enough to teach himself from books and experience... sure, someone will be able to be a good engineer without going to school. but majority of engineers really need things to be taught, at least the basics.

Just a note, I'm not a guy that was smart enough to teach myself through books and experience. I'm a girl that was... I'm extraordinarily sensitive about this, for a few different reasons.

Also, I agree that the vast majority of people need to be taught in schools. I just happen to think that licensing shouldn't absolutely require a degree; with the way education is handled in the US at the current time, very intelligent and capable (like myself) people can slip through the cracks. But I absolutely agree that this should be an extreme rarity.

I do wish that there was a more standardized experience:education comity. As it stands, I believe I can only get licenses in 2 states at the moment, with a half-dozen more opening up in 2 years or so - and only if I continue to work for another engineer; if I were to split off and make my own practice (in the state for which I am licensed), I don't think I would be able to get those further licenses even with another dozen years of experience, because the experience requirements generally require the experience to be under the direction of another engineer.

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Just a note, I'm not a guy that was smart enough to teach myself through books and experience. I'm a girl that was... I'm extraordinarily sensitive about this, for a few different reasons.

Also, I agree that the vast majority of people need to be taught in schools. I just happen to think that licensing shouldn't absolutely require a degree; with the way education is handled in the US at the current time, very intelligent and capable (like myself) people can slip through the cracks. But I absolutely agree that this should be an extreme rarity.

I do wish that there was a more standardized experience:education comity. As it stands, I believe I can only get licenses in 2 states at the moment, with a half-dozen more opening up in 2 years or so - and only if I continue to work for another engineer; if I were to split off and make my own practice (in the state for which I am licensed), I don't think I would be able to get those further licenses even with another dozen years of experience, because the experience requirements generally require the experience to be under the direction of another engineer.

I'm all with you...at my work any time something new comes up they scream " what about training?". where I'd like to respond "what about figuring it out yourselves, you call yourself engineers?". Even when we switched from Office 2000 to Office 2007, half of the people spent all day complaining about how the training was insufficient and they didn't know how to use it. Grrrr...

There should be a solution for people who don't have an ABET degree. Maybe there shouldn't be an easy solution, but a solution. I have a German degree and a US graduate degree, and had the issue that the state board almost let not write me the test because of none was ABET accredited (ABET mainly accredits US bachelor programs, and most foreign engineers with even US PhD degrees struggle with that...)

And the education system is only going downwards....

Did you just have a high school degree or a technical college degree and taught the rest yourself and by working? As you know, alll you learn in school are the basics to be able to figure it out yourself later. The world is changing and engineers constantly need to adapt. Obviously the basics stay the same, but I can see how someone who is bright and driven to figure it out can be a good engineer without school. just the way how you grew up (did you always wanted to know how things work and raided the library to find out) makes a huge difference.

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I'm all with you...at my work any time something new comes up they scream " what about training?". where I'd like to respond "what about figuring it out yourselves, you call yourself engineers?". Even when we switched from Office 2000 to Office 2007, half of the people spent all day complaining about how the training was insufficient and they didn't know how to use it. Grrrr...

:plusone: One of my pet peeves in working with some engineers.

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I'm all with you...at my work any time something new comes up they scream " what about training?". where I'd like to respond "what about figuring it out yourselves, you call yourself engineers?". Even when we switched from Office 2000 to Office 2007, half of the people spent all day complaining about how the training was insufficient and they didn't know how to use it. Grrrr...

There should be a solution for people who don't have an ABET degree. Maybe there shouldn't be an easy solution, but a solution. I have a German degree and a US graduate degree, and had the issue that the state board almost let not write me the test because of none was ABET accredited (ABET mainly accredits US bachelor programs, and most foreign engineers with even US PhD degrees struggle with that...)

And the education system is only going downwards....

Did you just have a high school degree or a technical college degree and taught the rest yourself and by working? As you know, alll you learn in school are the basics to be able to figure it out yourself later. The world is changing and engineers constantly need to adapt. Obviously the basics stay the same, but I can see how someone who is bright and driven to figure it out can be a good engineer without school. just the way how you grew up (did you always wanted to know how things work and raided the library to find out) makes a huge difference.

Oh yes... I'm strongly of the "figure it out, if you can't then ask for help" method myself. We went from Office '98 to Office '10 here. It was messy.

I didn't really raid the library; I usually raided the toolbox and disassembled things. Honestly, if I'd gotten a job at a Mechanical shop I think I would have been a perfect fit. Connections - or rather, my ability to visualize connections in my head without having drawings or even physical objects in front of me - tend to be one of my strengths.

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Getting back on the topic of the exam, I didn't realize until the lunch break that my roommate during my first semester in college was sitting right behind me.

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^^^^LOL, HERE WE GO AGAIN. I DONT TRUST PE'S WITHOUT A DEGREE, ITS LIKE SELF ACCLAIMED ENGINEERS.

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So if I read a medical book and pass a medical board does that make me a doctor?

Actually, I think you can become a medical engineer that way. You'd be qualified to build bypasses through the arteries and stuff.

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So if I read a medical book and pass a medical board does that make me a doctor?

^^^^LOL, HERE WE GO AGAIN. I DONT TRUST PE'S WITHOUT A DEGREE, ITS LIKE SELF ACCLAIMED ENGINEERS.

I must say, I'm kind of bothered by the attitudes of some of the people on this board. I mean, I'm all for the free sharing of useful information and I certainly don't mind having reasonable discussions with people that question what I do, how I do it, or even if I'm qualified to do it... but I'd hoped that a board centered on a profession like ours would have fewer trolls - or at least higher quality ones.

We're Engineers, or Engineers in Training. We should be above the kind of intellectual dishonesty or taunting involved in these sorts of comments.

/Hey Kettle, have you noticed that you have a certain sable hue?

And now, please, someone keep the conversation going with the actual topic (April 2011 stories)? This derailment was all because I chose to share my own amusing story about an exam that was a bit older (since I saw other people were sharing theirs).

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In my exam, there was a woman who was pregnant and due a few days after the exam! And she looked great- calm, and cool as a cucumber!

Just had to share for all the ladies on the board :-)

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I think that is why we need a Master Degree to take the PE in 2020.

I totally agree with this move by NCEES , the purpose for this is to eliminate non professionals getting a license. It seems board in different states only care about money, they accept FE/PE examinees with experience and have the money to pay for the exams but without proper education.

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I think that is why we need a Master Degree to take the PE in 2020.

I totally agree with this move by NCEES , the purpose for this is to eliminate non professionals getting a license. It seems board in different states only care about money, they accept FE/PE examinees with experience and have the money to pay for the exams but without proper education.

That will apply in 2020 application. People who hold a PE license that will be ok with their degree but people who apply later than 2020 will be required. People who already apply with the board but didn't passed the exam until 2020 might not required to have the master degree at that time.

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That will apply in 2020 application. People who hold a PE license that will be ok with their degree but people who apply later than 2020 will be required. People who already apply with the board but didn't passed the exam until 2020 might not required to have the master degree at that time.

If you applied today (and started taking the exam this year) and still didn't pass the exam in 2020, you really should not get a license, ever. Degree or no degree...

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That will apply in 2020 application. People who hold a PE license that will be ok with their degree but people who apply later than 2020 will be required. People who already apply with the board but didn't passed the exam until 2020 might not required to have the master degree at that time.

If you applied today (and started taking the exam this year) and still didn't pass the exam in 2020, you really should not get a license, ever. Degree or no degree...

I might not having the time for taking the master degree after a while because the money issue and the time issue (I can't be that selfish for using the family budget to do what I want. I already spent 4 years for study the FE and PE (time and money). I have my own life and it is time for me to spend more time with my family now.

By the way if I have the chance to take the master degree that I will take MBA instead of engineering.

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That will apply in 2020 application. People who hold a PE license that will be ok with their degree but people who apply later than 2020 will be required. People who already apply with the board but didn't passed the exam until 2020 might not required to have the master degree at that time.

If you applied today (and started taking the exam this year) and still didn't pass the exam in 2020, you really should not get a license, ever. Degree or no degree...

I might not having the time for taking the master degree after a while because the money issue and the time issue (I can't be that selfish for using the family budget to do what I want. I already spent 4 years for study the FE and PE (time and money). I have my own life and it is time for me to spend more time with my family now.

By the way if I have the chance to take the master degree that I will take MBA instead of engineering.

NCEES Master in Engineering requirement will take effect 2020. Most people in this board sgould have their PE by then, this is applicable only for new generation.

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That will apply in 2020 application. People who hold a PE license that will be ok with their degree but people who apply later than 2020 will be required. People who already apply with the board but didn't passed the exam until 2020 might not required to have the master degree at that time.

If you applied today (and started taking the exam this year) and still didn't pass the exam in 2020, you really should not get a license, ever. Degree or no degree...

I might not having the time for taking the master degree after a while because the money issue and the time issue (I can't be that selfish for using the family budget to do what I want. I already spent 4 years for study the FE and PE (time and money). I have my own life and it is time for me to spend more time with my family now.

By the way if I have the chance to take the master degree that I will take MBA instead of engineering.

NCEES Master in Engineering requirement will take effect 2020. Most people in this board sgould have their PE by then, this is applicable only for new generation.

Yup. And if you're concerned about comity applications, most (all?) states base comity on whether you meet the qualifications that were in place at the time of obtaining your first license, not if you meet current requirements - though I suppose if the current requirements are lesser than they were previously, they'd accept those as well. Not that any profession ever lowers their standards; even phone-based customer service jobs generally "require" 4-year degrees, at least where I live.

I'm right there with you in regards to money. If I had the money to attend college while paying for the things I need, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I don't, and attending college part-time would probably cause more issues than it would be worth.

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money is not the issue here we are talking about NCEES requirement i term of education for PE licensure in the future.

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I must say, I'm kind of bothered by the attitudes of some of the people on this board.

I hear you. The incessant Animal House jokes, the pursuit of phatty money, and the worship of all things European is just horrible, isn't it?

;)

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I think that is why we need a Master Degree to take the PE in 2020.

Honestly not sure that will help when it comes to training good, practical engineers. One of the worst (from a practical standpoint) engineers I ever worked with was a PhD. He learned all the theory, none of the practice. His experience was all lab-based, as well.

What's that saying? The difference between theory and practice is larger in practice than it is in theory?

I suppose he could have been atypical - aside from him, the only PE's/EI's I've worked with regularly have been BS/Architectural Engineering, MS/Physics or BS/Civil Engineering. Oh, and a BA/Architecture that could have been a PE (12 years experience under an engineer) but failed the FE exam twice and gave up.

I would have to agree. I think that most of the experience that you receive during the pursuit of a masters degree is not the kind of real world training that you need to be an engineer. Usually, in graduate work you pick a very specialized topic and perform very detailed and specific analyses for what ever that topic might be. That's not the kind of practical work experience that I think most people on this board have and need to pass the exam. My opinion of the exam was that it covered a broad range of topics that I was either very familiar with from my work or had some exposure to in my work. The FE was for the basics that you learn in school...

Give me an EIT with 3 years of experience over a newly graduated MS any day...

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I must say, I'm kind of bothered by the attitudes of some of the people on this board.

I hear you. The incessant Animal House jokes, the pursuit of phatty money, and the worship of all things European is just horrible, isn't it?

;)

Don't forget the taboo, risque topic of lunch.

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