Civil Construction highest failing score? - APR 2012 - Engineer Boards
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Civil Construction highest failing score?

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53/80 this is my third time. I wish I had never gone with construction, should have gone with transportation like I originally wanted.

I will say, I personally believe construction is one of the most difficult, very few questions are quantitative. After three times each test has been totally different and every time there are two or three questions that cannot be answered with the books you have - ones they recommend. The questions aren't even experience based, the typical answer (i'm assuming) is typically not what you would do in the real world, I try to force myself to think the way the test wants you to think and not the way you would think in the real world, that's the best way to describe it.

I'm debating on cutting my loses and just going to trans.

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55/80 Maine fail October 2011 Civil Construction exam.

They stated a 70% passing score in my letter from the board from the October 2011 exam.

Still waiting to hear about my April exam. Maine is kind of slow with the results because the Maine Board issues the results to you by mail. Nothing online or emailed up here.

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55/80 Maine fail October 2011 Civil Construction exam.

They stated a 70% passing score in my letter from the board from the October 2011 exam.

Still waiting to hear about my April exam. Maine is kind of slow with the results because the Maine Board issues the results to you by mail. Nothing online or emailed up here.

Holy Cow. 55/80 and failed? what is going on? is it like 69.9% trunked to 69%

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I hear ya!! I am either taking Water Resources or Transpo for my October re-write.

I was warned over and over that Construction is the wild card and it is too new and unpredictable, I should have listened.

Construction really bumped down my scores as I scored a 100% on Geotech and 90% on Structures in the a.m and did quite well in the other morning disciplines.

53/80 this is my third time. I wish I had never gone with construction, should have gone with transportation like I originally wanted.

I will say, I personally believe construction is one of the most difficult, very few questions are quantitative. After three times each test has been totally different and every time there are two or three questions that cannot be answered with the books you have - ones they recommend. The questions aren't even experience based, the typical answer (i'm assuming) is typically not what you would do in the real world, I try to force myself to think the way the test wants you to think and not the way you would think in the real world, that's the best way to describe it.

I'm debating on cutting my loses and just going to trans.

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49/80 Construction, Alabama

I did worse this time around (last took exam two years ago) AFTER taking Testmasters.

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49/80 Construction, Alabama

I did worse this time around (last took exam two years ago) AFTER taking Testmasters.

I'll either give up or give water resources one last try.

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43/80 Construction, CT. Even I heard that Construction module was too tough. Some of the questions were way too complicated that there's no way we can solve them in the given time frame. I'm planning to take transportation this time.

Do we have to inform the board about the change in the module?

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Holy Cow. 55/80 and failed? what is going on? is it like 69.9% trunked to 69%

55/80 = 68.75

I got that very same score twice before i FINALLY passed . . . . i am pretty sure you need 56/80 to pass

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I got a 43/80 first try and somehow turned it around and passed the second time! Don't give up and don't get discouraged while waiting either. I felt better after the first exam than the second!


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Well, it has been awhile, but after navigating NCEES' new user site, I got 51/80 and failed back in April 2011. I have been told by friends of mine that have taken it recently and failed that the construction module has really ramped up its difficulty. I have heard about certain styles of questions that were way over my head compared to when I took it.


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I just don't agree with the argument that the construction engineering PM exam is harder than any other civil engineering section.



First point - The passing rate of a first time test taker in Civil Engineering for the April Exam was 70% (almost half that if you are a repeat taker). So in general the civil engineering exam is not easy for anyone.



I would predict that the administrators at NCEES try to keep all the PM modules around that range of difficulty when putting the exam together. So if the PM sections of the Construction module are really getting “harder” then that would lead to the conclusion that the passing rate is higher with respect to the rest of the section. This would make the construction PM module easier than the rest. Anyways I don’t agree with that, I just think all the PM sections where tough this time around and construction was no different.



Second Point - It really all depends on your experience. Of course it will be hard if all you do is design roadways or bridges. You shouldn’t take the construction module, you should be taking transportation or structural. However, if you are a project engineer/construction manager, doing schedules, cost estimates, concrete work, safety, temporary structures, etc, the test is not that bad.



Bottom Line; The test you should pick needs to be based on your experience and knowledge or at least your interests. Do not pick an exam because you think it is easier than the rest because that is simply not true and is a recipe for failure.


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I just don't agree with the argument that the construction engineering PM exam is harder than any other civil engineering section.

First point - The passing rate of a first time test taker in Civil Engineering for the April Exam was 70% (almost half that if you are a repeat taker). So in general the civil engineering exam is not easy for anyone.

I would predict that the administrators at NCEES try to keep all the PM modules around that range of difficulty when putting the exam together. So if the PM sections of the Construction module are really getting “harder” then that would lead to the conclusion that the passing rate is higher with respect to the rest of the section. This would make the construction PM module easier than the rest. Anyways I don’t agree with that, I just think all the PM sections where tough this time around and construction was no different.

Second Point - It really all depends on your experience. Of course it will be hard if all you do is design roadways or bridges. You shouldn’t take the construction module, you should be taking transportation or structural. However, if you are a project engineer/construction manager, doing schedules, cost estimates, concrete work, safety, temporary structures, etc, the test is not that bad.

Bottom Line; The test you should pick needs to be based on your experience and knowledge or at least your interests. Do not pick an exam because you think it is easier than the rest because that is simply not true and is a recipe for failure.

I've been reading old topics in these forums, and my conclusion is that there is not enough evidence to get to some of your conclusions. In fact, I believe that some of the evidence we have seems to run in the opposite direction.

1)We know that the passing rate is about ~70% for Civil, but we have no idea how much it is for any of the disciplines in particular. I'd say that most likely there are some sections with passing grades below that 70% and maybe some of them are well below 70%.

2)Look at some of the diagnostics in old threads. There are some people that took Transportation or WR/Env and got 30+ / 40 in the PM and still failed the test because they got scores in the low 20's in the AM. I couldn't find a single person with that profile who took the Construction.

There are probably some individuals out there that can get 30+ in the construction PM, but I'd be extremely surprised if any of those did not crack 30 in the AM as well.

3)There are some board members that failed construction and then switched to Transportation/Geo/WR for their 2nd tries and immediately passed the test. I also have friends that did this and were successful doing this(specially the ones that took transportation). I've never heard of anyone that has done the opposite, that is: fail the test in another discipline first and then switch to construction and immediately pass it.

Read some of the advice these people that switched to other afternoon disciplines are giving: "Do the 6 minute solutions and the sample NCEES problems and you should be fine" . I bet that most people that would dare to try that approach with the Construction PM, would be completely destroyed by the PM questions.

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3)There are some board members that failed construction and then switched to Transportation/Geo/WR for their 2nd tries and immediately passed the test. I also have friends that did this and were successful doing this(specially the ones that took transportation). I've never heard of anyone that has done the opposite, that is: fail the test in another discipline first and then switch to construction and immediately pass it.

I failed in structural, then took construction immediately after and passed it. I should say part of that reason was because I studied structural during my MS and felt more comfortable with the material and that's where my interest was/is. Oh how wrong I was...

My experience, however, is within construction management/project management, so most of the topics were easy to study. I have been working in airports my entire, albeit short, career so far; so it was a challenge when it came to temporary structures and some of the other topics, but not impossible. It definitely would have helped had I been exposed different, larger projects.

I guess my point is that I agree with desantmf's second point and bottom line to an extent. From my personal experience, choose the exam in which you practice and have the most knowledge. I was really "put in my place" when I took the structural and should have just taken the construction exam from the start.

For what it's worth, I thought the construction module was much broader in terms of topic selection than structural was. Just my 2c.

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3)There are some board members that failed construction and then switched to Transportation/Geo/WR for their 2nd tries and immediately passed the test. I also have friends that did this and were successful doing this(specially the ones that took transportation). I've never heard of anyone that has done the opposite, that is: fail the test in another discipline first and then switch to construction and immediately pass it.

I failed in structural, then took construction immediately after and passed it. I should say part of that reason was because I studied structural during my MS and felt more comfortable with the material and that's where my interest was/is. Oh how wrong I was...

My experience, however, is within construction management/project management, so most of the topics were easy to study. I have been working in airports my entire, albeit short, career so far; so it was a challenge when it came to temporary structures and some of the other topics, but not impossible. It definitely would have helped had I been exposed different, larger projects.

I guess my point is that I agree with desantmf's second point and bottom line to an extent. From my personal experience, choose the exam in which you practice and have the most knowledge. I was really "put in my place" when I took the structural and should have just taken the construction exam from the start.

For what it's worth, I thought the construction module was much broader in terms of topic selection than structural was. Just my 2c.

There are probably more people like you, I just had not come across any.

That being said, even your case seems very particular since you work in construction. Some of the people I'm talking about work in construction and have gone on to pass Transportation/Geo/Env ... I have never heard of anyone that has done construction failed and then structural pass either though. Note that I didn't say anything about structural in my original post.

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I am just saying that the construction test has been around for a while now so I don't think it is such a wild card anymore. The topics are pretty clearly defined in the NCEES outline, so I would think the test administrators have probably got it around the average pass rate for civil engineering as a whole. I could be wrong...maybe I will write to them and see...



One thing is for sure, there are not a lot of good study materials out there for the construction exam. So maybe that is why it feels a little harder.


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The standard for all NCEES exam questions is whether or not a minimally qualified engineer will answer the question properly. Surely each depth is at least slightly different because the expectation for minimally qualified engineers is different. But to say one depth is harder than another as if it's an absolute truth is silly. I'm sure of this: some depths rely more on experience and other depths rely more on education. If you're a minimally qualified engineer in the depth (either because you have enough experience, enough education, or both), it's going to be reasonably easy.



There may also be a difference between the qualitative vs quantitative mix. Some people hate qualitative questions (there may not be a "right" answer, just a "most right") and some people love them.


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But to say one depth is harder than another as if it's an absolute truth is silly. I'm sure of this: some depths rely more on experience and other depths rely more on education.

I completely agree.

After witnessing friends and colleagues go through the exam process, there is this misconception that construction is the "easiest" of the depth sections, which is why, I believe, people start to gravitate towards something that may interest them more or that they may have more experience in like WR/E, Trans, or Geotech on their second attempt. Not that I think it is a harder exam, I just think there is much more material within the construction topic than people realize going into the exam.

Unless you create schedules, estimates, have performed material tests outside the classroom and get to witness field operations on a day to day basis or night to night basis; I suggest you seriously consider what depth section you take.

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Okay now I completely agree too. I just didn't agree with people saying that construction was "too tough". It really just depends on your experience.



I contacted NCEES and they said they don't have the breakdown for the passing rates by Civil EN depth section available. What a bummer.


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How many other options are in Civil for a PE than what is listed below? I'm a EE



Construction


Transportation


Water Resources


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