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If you passed (for us that failed)

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I spent a few weeks studying my focus (transportation) after I managed to get the money together to buy my materials. I watched a few review webinars (not all because they were during my graduate classes once school was back in). I did nearly every problem in the 6 minute solutions book for practice in my focus, multiple times if I screwed it up my first try. Other than watching the webinars, I didn't study for morning at all, because I just graduated undergrad in May, so I figured I would remember enough.

Now, I thought morning was ridiculously difficult, so I regretted not studying for that but I guess it worked out. I haven't taken highway design yet (that's next semester) and I am currently in traffic engineering, though I studied both and felt comfortable with it all.

This was my first attempt. I know I didn't study enough, and I'm surprised I passed, but then I passed the FE my first try with literally no studying at all, but I took that senior year. I think taking the PE fresh out of undergrad and during grad school probably helped a lot more than I realized.

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Civil/Structural. Passed with a 75% First attempt. 4 years out of college, so 'on track' if you will. I used all the Lindeburg stuff, Reference manual, practice test, practice problems. Plus the NCEES practice exam (which was much easier than the actual exam IMO).

I originally started in the summer when I registered by taking the NCEES Practice exam. Was a good way to gauge just what I needed to be studying for. I studied on a off throughout August/Sept as my workload allowed. I studied every Sunday afternoon (6-8hrs) in Oct and Friday/Saturday/Sunday the weekend before the exam. Through out Oct. I'd go over practice problems in the Lindeburg book at night casually while watching TV. No idea the total number of hours but I tried to focus on problems. Problems. Problems. Problems. It was almost my downfall because I felt the exam wasn't as weighted on solving a problem as much as theory and some general subject knowledge, but obviously it worked out in the end. 

 

Good to everyone who didn't pass on the next go around. Keep your chin up. It's like baseball, sometimes it's easier to foul off the first pitch than to hit a home run starting out. 

 

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I started studying for my Oct exam in July.  By August I was studying for hours every night after work, all day Saturdays, most of the day Sundays, and then took the week off from work prior to the exam.  I worked the example problems in both the 2001 and 2008 sample exams multiple times and twice I did it timed for each one.  The test material was not very representative of the material in those practice exams, BUT the level of difficulty and breadth of material was similar, so it really helps you with your pacing.  When I didn't know how to work a problem I researched not not only how to work it properly, but also I looked at the theories that applied to it.  I used all my course texts and the MERM for reference material and also used a few Youtube vids that covered subject matter I struggled with.  I did NOT use a review course.  At the outset I boned up on calc and diff eq, and that review helped with foundation and understanding, but there was no need for calc or diff eq on the exam.  Mostly it's plug and chug.  I still recommend reviewing that material since, at this point you have plenty of time to do so.  Nothing is going to substitute for reading, memorizing and practicing working problems out.  6 min solutions would probably be a good idea.  I took the EIT back in 1996, right after getting my BSME, so I had to bone up on everything.  I even consulted my physics book a few times.  One of the most valuable texts I had was the Engineering Unit Conversions (4th ed), as it saved SOOO much time. I bought a used copy that is hard bound. Hope this helps.

Edited by Audi driver, PE

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Also, with regard to calculators, I went with the TI 36x Pro.  The main reason I chose it, is because it keeps all your previous calculation results in the stack and you can just go back up and grab them to use in your next calculation.  That saves a lot of time.  I also like how it displays fractions.  You can enter your equation just like you would write it on paper.

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I studied at least 500 hours in total but I'm 10 years out of school and working in project eng which is as far from straight up mech design as you can get imo. I spent a lot of time relearning the foundation topics which helped me a lot. I studied on my own without any review courses. I used the cheapest calculator available ti30xa but I worked out around 800 problems mostly way way over the 6 minute mark per problem. 

Enjoy the holiday season then worry about this beast in the new year!

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This was my second attempt at the civil/structural exam. My April scores were 55% AM 65% PM. I started studying again for October around the beginning of August. I bought several sample exam books (the NCEES ones from amazon and half.com) and just worked through the problems (My studying for April was a mix of sample problems and review courses).

I focused specifically on the areas I was weakest - hydrology and geotech in the AM and concrete design in the PM. I generally studied 3-hours 3-4 nights a week, and 8 hours on Saturdays. If there was a topic I kept getting wrong I would pause and study just that for a while. I also wrote down all of the relevant design steps that I needed to follow in order to solve a certain type of problem, which helped cement it in my brain, and also provided a quick guide for me to reference on exam day.

Keep your chin up, the studying you've already put in isn't going to waste. You have a good foundation, now you can add to it!

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Failed at the second attempt (Civil/Structural) with a much smaller margin than my first.

Gonna keep at it and hopefully the 3rd time will be the charm

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Passed Civil Transportation on first attempt. I studied for about 3 months around 10 hours per week for first 2 months and probably 20 per week the last month (ok maybe not quite 20). Took the school of PE course too. I can't recommend that course enough. The materials alone are so valuable on the exam. Good luck guys better luck in April!

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I studied for about an hour each evening and during my lunch break at work. Probably a little extra on the weekends. I started in August, I had passed the FE in May.  I had some bad luck and was forced to go on a work trip right before the exam.  So i didn't look at my books for the last two weeks.

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I took the mechanical thermal & fluids in April and failed, took the same discipline in October and passed. I was overconfident in April and piss-poor at time management during the test, which resulted in several blundering mistakes -- enough to fail. I began studying for the retest on 6-24-15 and studied approximately two hours a day through 10-27-15 as well as took two different practice exams.

I wound up finishing each session -- this time around -- about 25 minutes before time was called and was able to revisit the answer sheet to ensure I had marked the intended answer as well as "cipher" the more obscure questions.

I also marked my reference material with additional tabs for areas in which I'd done poorly during the April exam and obtained (at the suggestion of this board) a copy of "Engineering Unit Conversions" which made life easier, too.

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23 minutes ago, HKHUSAIBI said:

Any advice from repeat test takers?

I failed my first civil/structural back in April and passed the October exam. For April exam I did a lot of reading and very few problems. Second time around I only did problems for six months straight. If I didn't know how to solve a certain problem, then I would brush up on theory.

Get as many practice exams as possible. I even bought practice exams for SE exam, which were helpful. Besides NCEES PE exams and SE practice exams I had practice exams by Goswami, Frolov, Schuster, Ruwan, and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head.

In my opinion Goswami's All-In-One book is better than CERM for morning portion but it does have some errors in it. In the end I worked so many problems that I did not see many surprises on the test. I think morning portion had more problems that I haven't encountered before than the afternoon structural portion.

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Passed environmental, first try, with about 110 hours of studying during September and October only.  The 110 hours included 60 hours of School of PE classes.

For me, I knew I would not have the discipline to develop my own study program and stick to it.  I have too many other hobbies and distractions.  I signed up for the School of PE weeknight classes which were 3 hours/day from Monday-Thursday.  Since the class was fairly expensive, I had the motivation to stick with it and I believe it really helped me pass.  Besides getting into the routine of attending class 12 hours/week, there were also a ton of practice problems in the lessons to work on Friday-Sunday outside of class.  The teachers also did a great job talking about exam strategy and answering questions outside of class.

I would recommend the weekday classes for School of PE as opposed to the weekend 6-8 hours/day classes.  The 4 days/week class really focuses you and leaves your weekends free for more studying on your own.  Personally, with a full time job and a family I would not have found the time to take up all my weekends with an online class and feel motivated to study after an 8-10 hour day at work.

School of PE notes also proved helpful during the exam, although there is a ton of printing if you decide to use them.  I had two 4" binders and one 3" binder full of just class notes.  You also need to make sure you know where information is in the notes, just like any other reference you bring into the exam.

Another very helpful thing for me is that I took the NCEES practice exam two weeks before the actual exam.  I set it up as close as I could to the real exam... two sessions, 8AM-12PM, 1PM-5PM, same rules as the exam.  I worked a lot of problems during the 8 weeks I studied, but taking the practice exam really helped with pacing and strategy, and I did refer to the practice exam solutions several times during my exam.  I ended up with a 64% on the practice exam and am sure I improved on that score for the real exam.  In the two weeks prior to the exam, after I took the practice exam, I only studied problems on the practice exam that I got wrong, or didn't know how to do and guessed correctly.  By the time the exam came around I could have gotten close to 100% on the practice exam if I had to take it again (or something with similar problems).

I also had two books that were invaluable, the FE Reference Handbook and the Lindeberg unit conversion book.  I bought the unit conversion book (paperback) and took it to Office Depot along with the PDF of the FE Reference Handbook and had them both spiral bound so they were user friendly for the exam.  The Lindeberg but had to have its binding cut off and then punched for spirals, but this really helped for speedy navigation.  I relied on both of them heavily.

I would feel a lot more comfortable with the exam if I had to take it again, so if you have to, best of luck and know that all the work you put in so far is not lost.

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16 hours ago, HKHUSAIBI said:

Any advice from repeat test takers?

I failed twice before I passed and I will breakdown how I approached the exam each time (in summary) until I passed:

First Run:

I gathered way too many practice problems from the other focuses and none on my actual focus of construction.

- I had the six minute solutions to each one except construction because it didn't exist at the time

- I had random civil pe exams that I found online

In other words I was very prepared for the morning but not at all for the afternoon save for having some of the codes.

I had based my assumptions on the exam after taking the NCEES practice exam thinking yeah I got this ( I was very wrong). Taking the actual exam I thought the morning was a breeze and the afternoon crushed me and it showed in my diagnostic. I also had been studying somewhere in the realm of 200 hours.

Second Run:

I licked my wounds and came up with a plan. I knew I needed to really bring my construction knowledge so I bought everything from "www.learncivilengineering.com" in the form of review manuals and practice problems and then I bought every spec ( yes this got expensive). I studied about 100 hours (I had alot of stuff with my house hit me before the exam I had to deal with) and I also did 580 practice problems.

Going into the exam I felt much more prepared and felt pretty good about both sections. I failed again but my score was much higher. This one hit me pretty hard but I eventually shook it off.

Third Run:

After going through the EB boards and asking for some advice I got some great tips from @John QPE and took the review class offered by EET. I am here to tell you that for the price this class cannot be beat. I took both the sections offered through the on demand option and it was great.

Including class time I had about 158 hours and I did 845 problems this go around, it paid off because I finally got that pass notification!

Sorry for the long spill I have been at this a long time but in summary here's advice from someone who has failed multiple times and finally passed.

- Buy/borrow every spec/code the NCEES reccommends

- Also buy the NCEES practice exam they offer in your discipline

- Buy/borrow every book the NCEES practice exam quotes in the solutions section (no these are not on the official list but I swear you won't be disappointed). Just trust me when you get a question and your like where the f*ck did that pull that from you will know if you have the right books.

- Take at least the depth portion of exam review offered by EET. These guys will make you think of stuff you didn't even know would be on the exam. They are also lightning fast with responding to emails if you have questions.

- If your taking construction or transportation I heavily suggest also looking at "www.learncivilengineering.com", it's a great site and has some valuable study material.

 

 

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16 hours ago, HKHUSAIBI said: Any advice from repeat test takers?

I failed twice before I passed and I will breakdown how I approached the exam each time (in summary) until I passed:

First Run:

I gathered way too many practice problems from the other focuses and none on my actual focus of construction.

- I had the six minute solutions to each one except construction because it didn't exist at the time

- I had random civil pe exams that I found online

In other words I was very prepared for the morning but not at all for the afternoon save for having some of the codes.

I had based my assumptions on the exam after taking the NCEES practice exam thinking yeah I got this ( I was very wrong). Taking the actual exam I thought the morning was a breeze and the afternoon crushed me and it showed in my diagnostic. I also had been studying somewhere in the realm of 200 hours.

Second Run:

I licked my wounds and came up with a plan. I knew I needed to really bring my construction knowledge so I bought everything from "www.learncivilengineering.com" in the form of review manuals and practice problems and then I bought every spec ( yes this got expensive). I studied about 100 hours (I had alot of stuff with my house hit me before the exam I had to deal with) and I also did 580 practice problems.

Going into the exam I felt much more prepared and felt pretty good about both sections. I failed again but my score was much higher. This one hit me pretty hard but I eventually shook it off.

Third Run:

After going through the EB boards and asking for some advice I got some great tips from @John QPE and took the review class offered by EET. I am here to tell you that for the price this class cannot be beat. I took both the sections offered through the on demand option and it was great.

Including class time I had about 158 hours and I did 845 problems this go around, it paid off because I finally got that pass notification!

Sorry for the long spill I have been at this a long time but in summary here's advice from someone who has failed multiple times and finally passed.

- Buy/borrow every spec/code the NCEES reccommends

- Also buy the NCEES practice exam they offer in your discipline

- Buy/borrow every book the NCEES practice exam quotes in the solutions section (no these are not on the official list but I swear you won't be disappointed). Just trust me when you get a question and your like where the f*ck did that pull that from you will know if you have the right books.

- Take at least the depth portion of exam review offered by EET. These guys will make you think of stuff you didn't even know would be on the exam. They are also lightning fast with responding to emails if you have questions.

- If your taking construction or transportation I heavily suggest also looking at "www.learncivilengineering.com", it's a great site and has some valuable study material.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to write this.m, only thing I'm missing from your experience is the depth portion for structural which is finally offered by EET this cycle - and the books referenced by NCEES, I'll make sure to keep that in mind going forward

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I passed the civil water resources and enviro test first attempt. A few friends from college and I all took the testmasters course. I took the online version since I live in the middle of no where. We all passed. I recommend taking the review course even though it had a few flaws. The main books I used were my testmasters course binders, CERM (even though I found that I hated using that book because the variables in the equations weren't always explained well), and the water resources and environmental dictionary. I also brought some practice tests just in case I recognized any problems, but I didn't even open them. I made a 78, so I studied 8 points too hard. Invest in a review course even though they're expensive. It's worth it, and hopefully your company will reimburse you or give you a raise or bonus to offset the cost! :)

 

Also... Best advice I have is that there were about 10-15 questions I totally guessed on. I looked at which letter I used the least and used that letter to answer every unknown question. That way you have a shot of at least getting some right. Good luck!

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1 minute ago, cbo23 said:

I looked at which letter I used the least and used that letter to answer every unknown question.

I did that too.

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My guess method was to read the problem, look at the answers, and pick whichever one "felt" right. Even if I was unable to rule out an answer for one reason or another. I work on the theory that I might subconsciously know something, so if an answer feels right, even if I'm not sure, that's the one to go with. I figure my chances of getting any one guess right is the same regardless of which method I use.

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First time poster; thought I’d provide input on my PE prep.

 

Background is that I took the Oct, 2015 PE for Civil, WR/Env and passed on my first attempt.

 

 

Books that I picked up for practice problems:

 

To begin with, I picked up a bunch of second hand Lindeburg PE Prep books.  I just wanted to get my hands on as much material as I could.  I didn’t use most these books, as I later found them to be outdated (4th and 5th editions) in terms of problem-style as I got into it.  The main book I used was Lindeburg’s Practice Problems for the Civil Engineering PE Exam (9th Ed, 2003.)  It’s an enormous book and has tons of problems and I snagged it for $9.98. Yeah, it’s old, but it has good problems in it. 

 

I borrowed SMS for Construction and WR and didn’t touch them.  I borrowed the NCEES practice PE Exam for WR/Env (2011) and it found it to be invaluable.  I ordered the NCEES practice PE Exam WE/Env (2014), which was fantastic.  I picked up the NCEES practice PE Exam for Env (2011) only and found it to be too in-depth and esoteric for the Env problems I thought were likely on the test and I didn’t use it. 

 

 

Practice regime was as follows:

 

I started studying in April.  I knew it was early to begin, but I wanted to enjoy the process and not feel pressed for time if anything came up (some family stuff did come up, so I’m glad I did start early).  I spend a couple hours a few nights a week studying to begin with and ramped it up at the end.  I would re-work problems that I got wrong, so I could spend a study day (i.e. a couple hours) on a problem.  If I was totally lost, then I would look at the solution.

 

I ended up working through:

 

  • 154 problems from the Lindeburg Practice Problems, 9th Edition. 

     

  • 80 problems from the NCEES Sample WR/Env (2011)—worked through this twice—once in June so I could get an idea of the real gist of the problems and once again in Sept (was like I hadn’t taken it before as I forgot the problems).

     

  • 80 problems from the NCEES Sample WR/Env (2014)—worked through this once in early Oct; set aside a Saturday and worked it straight through with four hours for each section (AM & PM) and with a one hour break in between sections—tried to make it “real”

     

Total unique problems worked:  314 (Practice problems + practice exams)

 

I focused my studying based on the proportion of and types of questions provided on the NCEES website. 

 

I took a classroom review course at my old grad school that my job paid for and I found it to be fairly useless to me, as I had already reviewed the concepts by then.  It would have been a good review if I hadn’t been studying for a few months prior. 

 

 

The key for me:

 

I found the key to studying was that I would correct my mistakes in red pen and circle or write down key equations or concepts in red.  Even for problems that I did correctly, I marked up the correct, key equations in red.  At the end of Sept I went back over all of the problems I had worked and copied down the key (red pen) equations onto equation sheets.  As I kept studying and using this equation sheet as my go-to and distanced myself from the CERM; I took the last practice NCEES exam and relied on this sheet almost exclusively.  Along the way I would add to the equation sheet and tweak it if I found an error, or if something could be added/changed to better it—i.e. I took it for a “test drive”.

 

When all was said and done, I ended up with 36 pages of equation sheets.  The sheets themselves weren’t just equations, they had diagrams showing each variable on the diagrams, etc.  I didn’t want to get stuck with an equation with a bunch of variables that I couldn’t remember what they stood for when under pressure.  I found it to be very helpful.  All in all, there weren’t a ton of equations on the sheets.  Some sheets had eight equations on them, others had only two; the majority of the sheets were taken up by diagrams and variable designations.  All the equations were boiled down to their simplest form that I thought would be useful on the test (e.g. parallel pipe networks in terms of Q1 and Qtot since I came across that a lot in prepping). 

 

The main reason that I made myself an equations sheet was that I didn’t want to be flipping through the CERM during the exam.  Note that I found the CERM to be very helpful in developing my equation sheet, and I couldn't have done it without it.  I just didn't want to rely on a huge reference book during the exam (I had so many flags that I couldn't find anything anymore because flags were on top of flags...).  The fringe benefit of the equation sheet, aside from boiling everything down, was that I knew where 150+ equations were and could get to them within 10 seconds because I authored it.

 

When I took the exam, I used my equation sheet almost exclusively.  I brought 8 books with me and only used the following a few number of times:

 

  • Steel Manual (ancient edition):

     

  • Introduction to Environmental Engineering (Davis & Cornwell):

     

  • CERM:

     

  • University-supplied prep binder:

     

The rest of the time (90% of it) I used my own equation sheet or did it from memory.  This was quite a relief and immensely helpful.    

 

 

 In Summary, my advice is:

 

  1.  Start studying early, as: you’ll never know what will come up; so that you can enjoy the process; and so you’re not cramming;

     

  2. Download the NCEES breadth and depth specifications for the test so you know what to study for;

     

  3. Use the CERM, but write  your own equation sheet based on key equations and concepts learned over your time spent working problems; do it so you know where everything is and how to use it.

     

 

Hope it helps and good luck. 

 

 

 

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Hey I took School of PE on transportation, the PM I did 27/40. the AM portion killed me.I only got 19 out of 40. I am still deciding about taking the EET-California online ( I live in  FL).

Would you recommend me EET- California for the morning portion? Also do you remember any questions I can re-study again please.

Site development, materials and especially Hydraulics..I did very poorly

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On 12/11/2015, 4:47:56, HKHUSAIBI said:

Any advice from repeat test takers?

I took the Electrical - Power exam twice. Failed in April with a 58%. I walked out of the exam room back then thinking that was the worst test I'd ever taken in my life. Don't let one bad test day get you down.

I found out I passed the second time around last night. I spent from Labor Day to exam day this time studying 2-4 hours a night, and did practice problems almost every weekend. I definitely brought more books than I needed, but the first time around I found myself needing books I hadn't brought (NESC Handbook for one).  I also took the School of PE review course and brought all of the notes they provided, after spending countless hours familiarizing myself with these notebooks, and working the practice problems to recognize the most useful formulas and concepts. I had another notebook of my important notes pulled out of other textbooks and notes for quick reference on exam day.

Another very important thing is to familiarize yourself with your calculator. You definitely don't want to waste time on exam day translating polar values to rectangular. 

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I started studying near the beginning of August for the Mechanical Thermal / Fluids exam. I graduated in '02 and got a masters in '04. I passed the FE in '08 with an '81' ... whatever that means.

I bought the MERM and reviewed it for a week or two before buying the 'Practice Problems' book. I struggled through those problems, doing about a chapter a day. I didn't finish the book but started just scanning the problems toward then end because they were overly difficult and time consuming. I'm glad I did the problems specific to my discipline in that book though.

I then worked 4 different practice exams with the last one being a 'mock' exam for me on the Wednesday before the real exam. I set a 4 hour timer for each session and used the most recent practice exam that I bought from NCEES. With the first 3 exams, I just worked the problems, I just worked the problems during my regular study sessions and loosely kept track of how long it was taking me to solve them. If I got to where I was spending large amounts of time or couldn't seem to solve a problem, I tried not to waste too much time and looked at the solution method.

During the test, I used the MERM almost exclusively. I think I used one of my thermo books on one or two problems to find some properties that were out of the range on the MERM table. During my studying I labeled tabs in the MERM to assist me in finding equations and in being familiar with the book. The rest of my books and the cardboard tote I brought them in were used for an easel for my MERM book during the exam since they wouldn't let me use the easels I brought with me.

The first 3 out of 4 problems on the test were ones I didn't know right away so I had to regain my composure and thankfully was able to rattle off 25 in a row or so. If I didn't know a problem, I wrote down what my best guess was (or my two best guesses) at that moment because I knew when I came back to it, I may not have time to get a better answer. That turned out to be right.

In the end, I guessed on 5 or 6 problems in each session, with a few of those being better than 1 out of 4 probability ('educated guesses). I'm attaching a file with a calculation showing how I guessed how well I did after the exam. You should be able to use it by plugging in your own guesses.

I normally don't post but I couldn't find a lot of people on here that were mechanical and especially not thermal and fluid specific so I thought would.

I was helped by the fact that I have done fluid flow and heat transfer problems at work quite a bit during my career but hurt by the fact that I've been out of school and test taking practice for a while. I definitely benefited by the review and most likely would not have passed without all the studying.

Do as many 'test like' practice problems as you can get your hands on.

All this said, I think sometimes undue emphasis is put on the PE. I have worked with plenty of engineers who have never taken it or even who have failed it that are very competent and even exceptional in some cases. I've worked with a few PE's who I thought were pretty incompetent. If you pass, don't get a big head. If you fail, don't get so down in the dumps. Try to stay even keel either way.

Thankfully, Kentucky was one of the first two states to release the results and I passed. In my case, I decent after I left the exam room thinking I'd done basically all that I could've done and that if I had to take it a second time, I'm not sure my odds would've increased.

PE test results guess.pdf

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I also passed the Civil WRE exam on the first attempt. My studying included solving as many exam-type practice problems as I could get my hands on. I bought all three editions of Goswami's practices exams. The first edition has two AM exams and one PM exam for every discipline. I found these exams to be a little more challenging then the actual test, but the questions were still invaluable when preparing. They were definitely more exam-like than the Lindeburg practice problems book, which was ridiculously challenging (I ended up not using this book in my study efforts). Goswami's exams didn't have many theory/look-up questions but provided an array of quantitative questions that required you to actually understand how to approach the problems. All exams can easily be taken in the 4-hr time window. The second edition  included just two AM exams, again these were invaluable practice and really allowed you to understand how to approach different types of questions. The first two editions are geared for the previous NCEES exam syllabus. The third edition, developed for the new syllabus, included one AM exam and a discipline specific exam. These questions were also very great practice!  

My main go to reference in the exam was the newest edition of the All-In-One by Dr. Goswami. In my opinion this text is a tremendous reference for not only the AM, but the PM (WRE) portion as well. I found the CERM to be overwhelming and difficult to use. I did have a CERM with me in the exam, and used it for one or two questions that were look up/definitions type problems. 

Along with the aforementioned practice exams, I also had the newest and previous version of the NCEES exams. These exams were great practice and really gives you a feel for what to expect on test day. However, do not assume that the actual exam will have any question like or similar to these practice exams.

In summary, I would recommended getting your hands on as many practice exams that you can. Determine what topics you are weak in and really try to understand how to approach a question in that topic. Know your go-to reference and what types of problems that the reference can help you with. Also, I had several different text books from all the different disciplines that I would tested on. I didn't necessarily study from these, I just took some time to understand what the text could provide should I encounter a question that either I didn't know how to do or that my go-to reference didn't cover very well. 

 

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