How long until NCEES releases percent passing statistics? - APR 2013 - Engineer Boards
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How long until NCEES releases percent passing statistics?

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Just wondering if anyone knows how long it generally takes NCEES to publish what percentage of test takers passed the PE exam in April in relation to the respective depth sections?

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Thanks VTEnviro, I didn't realize it would be that fast.


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For those who couldn't find it at first (I can't be the only one), the pass rates table is at the bottom of the PE exam page.


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If I am reading this right, the first time passers were 64% of 100% and the repeaters who passed were 35% of 100%?


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EE PowerOK-- You have correctly read the chart! Interestingly, the passing percentage sometimes changes rather dramatically with the date of the test. If you go to the Texas PE web site, they have the passing percentages by discipline and by location for tests administered in Texas. You can build some interesting charts and graphs of that data-- the question that I always have is "Why the variability", I am sure that there are many reasons! Kind of fun to graph the data and figure out what it is telling you!


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Solomonb: The Texas data is interesting. Repeaters have a poor average passing. But on a positive note, if the repeaters pass 1/3 of the time and the first time takers pass 64% the total passing would be 64 + (.33) 36 = 75% (after 2 exams). If I'm reviewing this correctly.


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The data suggests that if you fail the first time, the probability of passing on second or subsequent times is about 25-30%, probably the reason that the candidate failed the first time-- either lack of preparation, inabiility to pass a multiple guess test or failing to understand the material. These tests are not hard-- they are very broad and comprehensive, however, the questions are designed for an engineer who has been out of school from 4 to 6 years.



I think that the hard part is if you are just working in one facet of the discipline, then having to recall and relearn all of the other facets of the discipline that are identified on the testing protocol on the NCEES web site is where the challenge comes in. The breadth part (width of material in a specific discipline) is probably the killer for most folks. Again, another reason to take the PE exam as soon as you can after graduating from school.



I ended up taking it 30 years after my BS degree-- of course, I had knocked around a fair amount and went back to graduate school multiple times, however, I was just as scared and nervous as the candidate that was just 4 years out. I did pass the first time-- however, I worked hard to get there.


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The data suggests that if you fail the first time, the probability of passing on second or subsequent times is about 25-30%, probably the reason that the candidate failed the first time-- either lack of preparation, inabiility to pass a multiple guess test or failing to understand the material. These tests are not hard-- they are very broad and comprehensive, however, the questions are designed for an engineer who has been out of school from 4 to 6 years.

I think that the hard part is if you are just working in one facet of the discipline, then having to recall and relearn all of the other facets of the discipline that are identified on the testing protocol on the NCEES web site is where the challenge comes in. The breadth part (width of material in a specific discipline) is probably the killer for most folks. Again, another reason to take the PE exam as soon as you can after graduating from school.

I ended up taking it 30 years after my BS degree-- of course, I had knocked around a fair amount and went back to graduate school multiple times, however, I was just as scared and nervous as the candidate that was just 4 years out. I did pass the first time-- however, I worked hard to get there.

It seems to me (and this is my casual theory, not my scientific conclusion) that if you don't pass the first time around, it's because either (a) You weren't properly prepared; or (b) You're not capable of passing, for one or more of the reasons above. If it's (a), then you curse yourself for letting that happen, knuckle down, study better/harder, and pass on the 2nd try. If it's (b), you eventually give up after failing X times. The ever-dwindling percentage of folks who pass on the 3rd/4th/millionth try must be very close and just need a little more studying or a little easier test or a little better juju to get over the hump. If anything, it gives me confidence in the system that passing rates drop off exponentially, as it means the test is doing a good job of weeding out non-hackers while rewarding deserving candidates, and that the answer to passing is not so much "try, try again" but "get better".

It seems

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And yeah, the breadth portion is the killer. I remember thinking "Man, if I were to take this during my Jr/Sr year in college, I'd ace it.". I also remember thinking of the depth portion "Man, if I were taking this during my Jr/Sr year in college, I'd flunk it".


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The data suggests that if you fail the first time, the probability of passing on second or subsequent times is about 25-30%, probably the reason that the candidate failed the first time-- either lack of preparation, inabiility to pass a multiple guess test or failing to understand the material. These tests are not hard-- they are very broad and comprehensive, however, the questions are designed for an engineer who has been out of school from 4 to 6 years.

I think that the hard part is if you are just working in one facet of the discipline, then having to recall and relearn all of the other facets of the discipline that are identified on the testing protocol on the NCEES web site is where the challenge comes in. The breadth part (width of material in a specific discipline) is probably the killer for most folks. Again, another reason to take the PE exam as soon as you can after graduating from school.

I ended up taking it 30 years after my BS degree-- of course, I had knocked around a fair amount and went back to graduate school multiple times, however, I was just as scared and nervous as the candidate that was just 4 years out. I did pass the first time-- however, I worked hard to get there.

It seems to me (and this is my casual theory, not my scientific conclusion) that if you don't pass the first time around, it's because either (a) You weren't properly prepared; or (b) You're not capable of passing, for one or more of the reasons above. If it's (a), then you curse yourself for letting that happen, knuckle down, study better/harder, and pass on the 2nd try. If it's (b), you eventually give up after failing X times. The ever-dwindling percentage of folks who pass on the 3rd/4th/millionth try must be very close and just need a little more studying or a little easier test or a little better juju to get over the hump. If anything, it gives me confidence in the system that passing rates drop off exponentially, as it means the test is doing a good job of weeding out non-hackers while rewarding deserving candidates, and that the answer to passing is not so much "try, try again" but "get better".

It seems

This is also where the while trying to calculate the passing score comes into play and why we try to discourage the practice. People are oh i just barely missed the mark and don't neccessarily put enough work into studying for the next time....and end up at the same spot as the first just barely not passing.

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I did not pass the first time and I really thought I had studied enough to pass it. After taking a NCEES practice exam and asking a person who had insite on what it took to pass, he told me I did very well. I took that as though I would of passed the test. I thought I was over studying.



Since there are still several subjects being tested in the EE Power, I really think this is just another hoop to jump through to get to the next level. Not that it means your a better engineer. When in the field does someone give you 6 minutes to answer a question in the NEC book, or design a transformer? Those taking the PE exam passed the EIT, so was that the limit of their intelligence? They made it through the college, EIT exam, work experience, obtained references of recommendation (someone believed in them), and approved by the board to take the PE test. Hard to believe someone can make it to the PE exam just through good looks.


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EE Power OK-- dude, sorry to hear that you were unsuccessful the first time. Don't beat yourself up-- it does not good. Get the books out and do it again in October. A review course may be of benefit to you-- look at your diagnostic and see where you were weak. Work hard on those areas. Get the NCEES test protocol and make damn sure that you can do everything that is on the test protocol.



Remember, this is a test for the engineer 4 years out of college. This has nothing to do with intelligence, or anything else.



Carefully review the test protocol and be sure that you know and understand each area. You should, by inspection, know what the test is asking when you read the question. As a guy that has written many PE test items, the goal is to determine minimal competency, not try and "beat a candidate."



You can do this-- you are a smart OKIE, you will do this. Don't beat yourself up-- get up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse! You will get it the second time!



A key is to work many, many, many problems until you know them cold. Working problems is a big part of the PE exam. Work many problems-- that will help in yuor endeavor.


Edited by solomonb

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Solomonb: Yes, I plan on testing again. I think if I knew the level of difficulty I would of done better the first go around. Takes about 11 years to get to this point (college, experience, eit). Thanks for your push, now to get back on that horse.


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