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If you passed (for us that failed)

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Any advice on how to get earlier editions of NCEES (Civil/Structural) practice problems? I have the latest few editions that were available going back a year - but nothing earlier as mentioned on EB sometimes

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I posted in the other thread, but I'm not going to be productive today. 

I took the School of PE course. The 6 weeks leading up to it I studied and did practice problems from PPI then I took the NCEES practice test right before school of PE courses started. After the course I did the PPI practice test. I did pretty bad on all of them. I spent the final two weeks reviewing 6 minute solutions, NCEES practice test, and the PPI practice test. I think total time was the ~70ish hours in school of PE plus probably another 100 hours. 

I took fluids, I brought the MERM, Merm QR, FE Book, and Cameron hydraulic data (a MUST for fluids people, absolutely use this book and be familiar with it). I felt good about the test after but I was pretty nervous waiting for results. 

 

I'm 10 years out of school, 3.0 student, and think of myself as a decent/good standardized test taker, but have bombed some tests in my life.

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I took the EE - Power course in KY this year (flew from Colorado because it would have taken until fall to sit for CO and I have a KY EIT).  I went home to KY and sat in my dads basement from Sunday night to Thursday night of that week doing work. I also had some work for my office I had to do so I would say I studied a total of 24 hours, maybe 30 with the prep I did to help me study before I went home.  I passed because: 1) A lot of the stuff that was on the test I took in elective classes in college. Per Unit, 3 phase power, load flows, energy conservation type problems, all of that I had in the last two years of EE school because I knew I would be a power EE when I graduated. 2) I had a lot of the rest of what was on the test in practice in real life. Especially the NEC problems.  3) I seem to do well with figuring out stuff on open book tests. It was the same with the FE there wasn't a lot in the morning that I knew a lot about.  

In school i was a 2.5ish -3ish GPA with crap attendance but I did do well in most EE classes. My advice to EEs wanting to take the power exam is that if you are still in school take every single Power EE elective you can take. It will all be on the test. There was stuff from every single power elective I had including: Power Generation, Power Systems 1 and 2, Electric machines, and a motors class I took.  I would also say make sure you understand what horsepower is, how it effects the amount of power consumed, and how to take information like effency of the motor and back you way away form the HP and get close numbers for how much electric power its consuming.  

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3 hours ago, KyMechTF said:

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 thought there were a fair number of us represented here.  :/

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On 12/11/2015, 5:25:57, dvtn said:

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.

That was my strategy exactly.  I failed the Environmental exam the first time.  The first time I focused on getting myself organized (tabbing, summary sheets, etc.) and the School of PE review course.  After failing, I only did practice problems, concentrating on areas I didn't do as well in.  If I didn't understand/struggled with the practice problem, I went back and reviewed the material.  I also took several practice exams.  Organization and then practice was key for me.  I essentially made my own reference manual with equations and appendices I used and organized it by subject matter (I barely used the EERM on the exam).  I indexed all of my practice problems and equations/topics alphabetically and had a separate index for each for fast reference during the exam.  The prep was grueling but paid off.    

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I just passed the Civil/Structural exam. I purchased the PPI book packages for the morning and afternoon modules along with all the relevant codes and references specified by NCEES. I worked all the relevant chapters in the PPI Solved Problems book to review the general stuff and highlight the important formulas/information. Once I reviewed the "breadth" areas I worked through all the specific design books that came in the structural package from PPI, such as Steel, Concrete and Timber design. I worked all the problems while also tabbing the corresponding codes to save time during the exam. Below are a few pointers that I think will help anyone:

- Read through the chapters in the CERM and correlate the information to the "real" reference (codes, manuals, etc...)

- Make a copy of the Appendix and Index sections in the CERM and put in a separate binder.

- Tab the separate index with letters and the chapter numbers in the CERM, this will save TONS of time during the exam.

- Make notes of specific "details" for formulas and code sections, especially empirical formulas that only work in certain units.

- Start studying with plenty of time and make a schedule so you can afford to take time off along the way and it doesn't become too burdensome towards the end.

I started reviewing in January for the October exam and it took me like 4 months to go through the relevant chapters of the CERM working at my own pace without pressure, then I dedicated about a month each for Steel Design, Concrete Design, Timber Design, Masonry Design and such. The last month I did Six-Minute Solutions and worked PPI and NCEES sample exams. Doing the exams I noticed that I finished quickly and got about 75-80% of the questions right, that gave me a lot of confidence. Last couple of weeks I just relaxed and made sure everything was tabbed and organized for quick access during the test.

I felt that I was over-prepared, I finished each section in less than 3 hours and the whole thing was a breeze, I felt very confident throughout and most importantly I passed on the first try and I feel that I actually know the material instead of just learning it for the test.

Everyone learns differently, starting early lets you figure out what works best for you and gives you time to tweak and optimize your methods for the best results.

Good luck to everyone, keep at it, focus on the goal and stay disciplined. Invest the time and it will pay off!

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Bottom line up front: start studying early, do lots of practice problems, take a day or two off from studying when you need it, and during the test skip problems that you don't immediately know how to solve.

I took the Mechanical Systems and Materials exam for the first time Oct 2015 and passed. I graduated from college in 2009 and have worked pretty much exclusively in project engineering and management since then. I basically needed a full refresher for the exam. I bought the MERM, practice problems from PPI, and the NCEES practice exam (2011 version I think) and got them in early July. I also dug up Shigley's  from school, borrowed Marks' Standard Handbook from the library, and had my company buy me a copy of Machinery's Handbook. I picked up a TI-36X Pro (and shortly before the test picked up a backup that I left in the package so I could return it when I didn't need it) because I have pretty much always used TI calculators, it is solar, I liked the ability to recall entries or answers easily from multiple calculations back, and I liked the way it displayed fractions, exponents, etc. I started studying right away, but looking back I started off too slow. My original goal was to read the entire MERM cover to cover twice and do all the problems in the practice problems book once, then go back for a second pass at the problems in my depth areas. I didn't quite make it. After getting from the front cover (which includes a lot of re-introductory math and review topics) through fluids, in mid-August I decided to skip heat transfer, thermodynamics, power cycles, and HVAC - all major sections in mechanical - so that I could get into statics, mechanics of materials, dynamics, machine design, etc. since those were my depth and I wanted to know them cold. When I finally got back to the ones I skipped, it was already October and unfortunately I had to try to get through them quickly rather than thoroughly. While I did feel reasonably comfortable with the major concepts in each of these sections and felt good about doing the problems, I definitely wanted to feel more prepared that I did. I ended up having to skim portions of these sections in the MERM and skip repetitious problems (while feeling guilty about it because my goal was to only sit for this exam once and there were plenty of times I was not sure that would be the outcome). The time I was able to spend on some of the less "major" sections like economics and plant engineering was, again unfortunately, pretty minimal. I did the NCEES practice exam the weekend before ("morning" session on Saturday, "afternoon" on Sunday) and scored compositely in the 75-80% range. After each session I reviewed the problems I missed to figure out why, and then reviewed the material I had on the applicable topics to add some level of comfort. When the week of the test came, I was still on my first time through some of the practice problems, but I was trying to at least get to several key ones in each section. At two days out I did just a little reading in the MERM (no problems) in my depth sections and other topics I had questions on, and made sure I got to bed by about 9pm. Then I did the same the night before the exam, but with even less and even lighter review.

Now, even though I didn't get all the review done that I wanted, I did still put in probably 200 hours or more and I did feel pretty confident going in on Oct 30th. After the morning session, I felt really good...although there was one problem to which I figured out the answer during lunch, and remembered the answer I had selected was wrong :oops: Then the afternoon came and kicked my butt!! I spent too much time on several of the first afternoon problems, which hurt me later on in the 4 hours. And it wasn't until pretty late in the session (probably the final 30 minutes or so) that I started feeling reasonably decent about it. Revisiting problems really seemed to pay off as there were numerous that I was completely stumped by at first that after a revisit or two I felt like I knocked out like nothing.

My biggest piece of advice is to try hard to learn to skip problems. I had a hard time with this because I often seem to think I'm right on the cusp of the solution so I don't want to move on and lose my train of thought. But I found that it really is beneficial to move on and come back. You need to get those wins to boost your confidence and then come back to the uncertainties to try to pick them off one by one.

Also for what it's worth, I think I referred to Marks' maybe once and to my practice problems maybe 3-5 times. I used the MERM for everything else and I did not use Shigley's or Machinery's HB. Not to say you shouldn't still bring other relevant references and be familiar with and ready to use them, but just about everything I needed was in the MERM. I do wish I would have been more diligent about creating "quick reference" equation summary sheets for each section and making notes about the caveats for each equation (in my opinion, this is especially true in heat transfer), but it also wasn't totally necessary since I was comfortable and familiar with the MERM.

Like many have said, if you didn't pass, don't despair. It is not an easy test and there is no shame in not passing the first time. For now, take a break and enjoy the holidays, then afterward get back to studying and knock this thing out in April!

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PE Study Hours:

 

9/3/15 - 3 hours - 3 hours

9/4/15 - 6 hours - 9 hours

9/5/15 - 8 hours - 17 hours

9/6/15 - 4 hours - 21 hours

9/7/15 - 5 hours - 26 hours

9/8/15 - 2 hours - 28 hours

9/9/15 - 3 hours - 31 hours

9/10/15 - 2.5 hours - 33.5 hours

9/11/15 - 3.5 hours - 37 hours

9/12/15 - 7 hours - 44 hours

9/13/15 - 4 hours - 48 hours

9/14/15 - 7 hours - 55 hours

9/15/15 - 3 hours - 58 hours

9/16/15 - 4 hours - 62 hours

9/17/15 - 3 hours - 65 hours

9/20/15 - 1 hour - 66 hours

9/21/15 - 1 hour - 67 hours

9/22/15 - 2 hours - 69 hours

9/23/15 - 2.5 hours - 71.5 hours

9/25/15 - 1.5 hours- 73 hours

9/26/15 - 7 hours - 80 hours

9/27/15 - 5 hours - 85 hours

9/28/15 - 2 hours - 87 hours

9/30/15 - 1 hour - 88 hours

10/1/15 - 2 hours - 90 hours

10/2/15 - 2 hours - 92 hours

10/3/15 - 3.5 hours - 95.5 hours

10/5/15 - 1 hour - 96.5 hours

10/7/15 - 2 hours - 98.5 hours

10/8/15 - 2 hours - 100.5 hours

10/9/15 - 1 hour - 101.5 hours

10/10/15 - 1 hour - 102.5 hours

10/12/15 - 1 hour - 103.5 hours

10/19/15 - 1 hour - 104.5 hours

10/20/15 - 1.5 hours - 106 hours

10/24/15 - 2 hours - 108 hours

10/26/15 - 2 hours - 110 hours

10/27/15 - 4 hours - 114 hours

10/28/15 - 2 hours - 116 hours

 

I passed PE Civil Construction first time taking the test.  5 years out of college.  I started studying early September and logged my hours for a total of 116 hours - you can get a taste of what my September and October were like above.  I felt more than prepared by the end of it.  I bought every book NCEES recommended including the CERM.  I also printed the FE reference handbook.  I went through TestMasters for an online class.  I cannot stress how much this helped.  It gave me direction to my studying (study smart not hard).  I also bought the NCEES practice exam and borrowed a friend's older edition from 2008 (rough guess on the year).  I understand this is a lot of money to drop ~$2800.  My company picked up the tab -- after I already purchased everything (as in, I would have paid this out of my own pocket regardless if they were or were not picking up the tab).  I tabbed A LOT of my TestMasters books, some of the FE Reference and barely any of the CERM.  You should be so familiar with your references that by the time you are done tabbing you think you just wasted a lot of time - but it can ease your mind if you have a brain fart come test day.  Focus on working actual problems instead of just reading the CERM!  This is where TestMasters came in handy.  I recommend the TI-36X Pro solar calculator for the same reasons everyone else has mentioned.  It has the familiarity of the TI-89 which is what I was most familiar with in college.  I personally thought the AM was tougher than the PM.  I was kind of questioning how the PM was going to be going into the test because I saw the Construction depth pass rate has been historically lower than other disciplines.  I have since chalked up the pass rate being lower in Construction due to the type of engineer taking this depth, since typically there is lack of hardcore "engineering" per say...you just don't "engineer" a whole lot, so like anything else if you don't use it you lose it!  I personally worked for a few different General Contractors and in no way is that a blanket statement just my own opinion.

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I passed the Civil:Structural exam on the first try.

Step 0: Obtain School of PE notes from friend who took the exam in October 2014

Step 1: December 2014 - I start collecting all of the reference materials listed on the NCEES site and buy the CERM as my Christmas present to myself

Step 2: January - March: I read through all of the School of PE notes. I also buy a couple of NCEES practice exams (1 hour/night, 4 nights a week)

Step 3: April - June: I tab up the structural references and create an index of the tabs for each reference (2 housr/night, 4 nights a week)

Step 4: July - August: Start working structural depth practice problems (2 housr/night, 4 nights a week)

Step 5: September - mid October: Take School of PE class. Work example problems during the weekend and tab/index CERM (3.5 hours/night, 4 nights a week and 4 hours/day Saturday and Sunday).

Step 6: Second to last week of October: Work practice problems from breadth and depth sections. Panic buy 6-min solutions structural depth book (2 hours/night weeknights, 4 hours/day weekends)

Step 7: Last week of October: Take off work and spend 6-8 hours/day Mon-Thursday drilling practice problems and refining the indexes.

Step 8: Thursday @ 4pm: Close the books, pack the car and try to chillax for the rest of the night.

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Passed my Civil: WRE on 2nd try. Here's what I did differently on my second try:

1. Signed up for EET-CA courses

2. Studied an avg of 2-4 hours every weeknight, and about 20 hours every weekend including class time.

3 Did the HOMEWORK! *Very important tip

4.Got NCEES practice tests

5.Followed a strict study schedule

6. Took time off from studying when I needed to. **Important tip

7. Three days before exam day, do a simulated exam for AM and PM

8. Two days before exam day, do another simulated exam for AM and PM

9. One day before exam day, organize everything you plan on bringing to the test site and have them ready to go in the car.

10. On the night before exam day, have a beer. I had myself a blondie.

11. Get a good night's rest

11. On day of exam, find your confidence and do not falter at all whenever you come across a problem that troubles you. Skip it and move on to the next problem. ***Another important tip

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I finally passed Civil: Transportation 3rd attempt.  My biggest recommendation is to take a class.  I took testmasters on site rather than online.  With a baby at home, I knew if I took a class online, I would cheat and not pay full attention.  

Do as many problems as you can. Focus on your Depth problems and then Geotech and then Construction.  I did all of the problems in those three subjects at least twice.  

Take as much time off of work as you can to study.  I was able to justify almost 2 months for "family leave" due to my new baby at home.

Follow a strict schedule.  The first two times I took the exam, I crammed and failed.  Don't do that.  Study so much that you could teach the test.

Good luck and God Bless you.

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I passed the Civil - Water Resources and Environmental on my 2nd try. 

Let me preface this by saying that I was a C student in college and not really good at taking tests.  I also waived the EIT exam because there was no way that I was passing the EIT being out of college for 14 years.  I was an officer in the military (Air Force Civil Engineer) for the first 8 years after graduation, and the military doesn't care if your registered or not.  Back then, I couldn't see me ever leaving the military so passing the EIT or PE was not on my radar...bad idea on my part. 

The first time around, I studied about 3 weeks total and failed.  All I studied were practice problems from the NCEES Civil sample questions book, and the Lindeberg Practice Problems book for Civil.  We had a new baby at the time and had just moved into our new house.  Hard to find the time to study.  I went hoping to pass, but all I got was a trial run.  lol.  According to my diagnostic from NCEES, I got 47/80 correct.  According to the Texas Board website, I scored a 65%.  The curve was apparently around 6 or 7 percent that time around.

The second time around, I studied for about 5 weeks.  Studied the same material as the first attempt, just spent more time doing it.  The ONLY reference material I used in the exam was the Lindeburg Civil Engineer Reference Manual for the PE Exam, thirteenth edition.  Passed with an 80%.    

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On 12/14/2015, 11:14:34, Audi driver, P.E. said:

I thought there were a fair number of us represented here.  :/

As did I. :blink:

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On 12/11/2015, 5:25:57, dvtn said:

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.

Thanks, this is what I need---what practice problems everyone is doing to study. I failed twice and did improve the second time studying School of PE notes for the AM but I think I need to do more problems to improve me PM.

Anyone who passed the Civil/Structural, if you can break down what you studied from--- that is super helpful. I signed up for EET and will probably just do tons of problems in between classes to help drive theory and concepts down. I can't tell you guys how valuable everyone's advice is. 

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8 minutes ago, hypenme said:

Thanks, this is what I need---what practice problems everyone is doing to study. I failed twice and did improve the second time studying School of PE notes for the AM but I think I need to do more problems to improve me PM.

Anyone who passed the Civil/Structural, if you can break down what you studied from--- that is super helpful. I signed up for EET and will probably just do tons of problems in between classes to help drive theory and concepts down. I can't tell you guys how valuable everyone's advice is. 

My main sources of problems were the NCEES practice exams and the School of PE problems for the afternoon section. I would rotate through all of them so I didn't start memorizing problems. My main source of conceptual study material for the afternoon was also the School of PE notes, but I also had all of the references pretty early on so I tabbed the fuck out of those and made an index based on those tabs (google "spec and ref" technique). I think my two keys to success were that I was familiar with the process of answering the questions and that I was super familiar with all of the references that I had so I could easily find the information I needed. I don't think I ever spent more than 20 seconds looking for something before I found it.

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Mechanical HVAC and Refrigeration. First time and passed! I started studying too late and had to cover a lot within a short time. I started studying after labor day and went hard-body. By the time October 29th hit I clocked in over 240 hours.

I got bogged down in the extraneous material of MERM and probably wasted 60 hours or so in the process.

I took NCEES practice exam twice and PPI practice exam once; however, too late. These were done on exam week. Bad idea. I had no days off prior to the exam and felt like I needed another week. 

My advice to future takers/repeat takers: focus on solving problems rather than reading through theoretical jargon. It is enriching at times but too costly and not a priority on the exam. Spend at least half of your time studying in your discipline; your discipline may well make up 60% of the entire two-part exam. So it is worth that time. I think it is best to study your discipline after the other sections so it is most fresh in your mind going in to exam day. Finally, take as many pertinent practice exams you can weeks before the exam and zero in on trouble areas. Trick yourself to believe that the exam is 2 weeks before the actual date and prepare like it. This way you won't make the mistake of starting your studying late.

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I passed the Chemical PE on the first attempt (Texas). I have been out of school for 10 years before taking the exam. I decided about a week before the application deadline that I thought it would be a fun challenge. I had to really get all of the references and SERs together fast in order to get the application in before the deadline. Found out in August that my application was accepted and I registered for the October Exam in Houston. 

I started studying in the beginning of September. At my office I have every other Friday off. So I was coming in on my Friday's off in September and October for about 4-6 hours each time. During those study sessions I was only doing problems from the NCEES practice exam. That was the only studying I did until a week before the exam. Five days before the exam I started studying 1-2 hours a night at home. 

I brought a Banker's Box of books to the exam (probably about 11 books) along with my trusty HP 35s. I struggled through the morning session but felt okay about it. I haven't done any reaction engineering since college so the kinetics portion was hard for me. In the afternoon, I felt really well. I was moving very fast through problems and had everything but 5 "tough" questions solved with an hour to go. That gave me time to really work those problems in the remaining hour.

I felt like I had about a 60% chance of passing. I really didn't study a lot and there were probably 5 problems that I knew I didn't get right after doing some checking after the exam. 

Got the results about a week ago and found out that I passed with a 92. I was pretty surprised. I think the fact that I've been working in industry for 10 years really helped. I do mostly technical work at the office so I guess you could say I've been studying for the past 10 years without really knowing it.

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National test:

Review class with EET-California,  average 2-3 hours per day. { Construction, but my background is structural, Pass the test on my frist try in April 2015).

Seismic with EET-California, 1 hours per day. pass the test on my first try in April 2015. 

Surveying, failed on my first try in April 2015 ( I took the online review class), then I took reza mahallati review class and passed on my 2nd try this Oct. ( Reza class was really good, and I only spent my time during the class, basically, 40 hours or so)

Edited by JunZ

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I started studying the first week of August.  I figured that would give me about three months.  I borrowed some review class notes from a friend that passed the exam last year.  I spent one week on each topic, basically just copying the notes and working the example problems.  At the end of each topic, I'd do some practice problems from his CERM problems book and an old practice NCEES test that my boss gave me.  I probably spent 2 hours a weeknight and 3 hours each Saturday and Sunday doing this.

My SoPE classes started September 12 and lasted until October 18.  After the weekend sessions, I would spend all week doing the SoPE practice problems and more problems from Mike's morning practice exam. I also did a lot of problems from the Water Resources practice problems book by Timothy Nelson.  This took up around 1-2 hours each weeknight, plus the two 8 hour classes each weekend.  I'd say I probably studied a total of 240-250 total hours.  The SoPE review class was golden, along with the practice NCEES exams.  In my opinion, a good review class, the right references, and plenty of practice problems will allow you to pass the exam.  The weekend before the exam, I took the latest NCEES practice test (also given to me by my boss) and treated it as a simulated test.  I had not looked at these problems before.  Based on how I did on that test (71/80), I spent the last week focusing on topics that I missed.

Speaking of references, the main ones I used were the CERM and my SoPE notes.  During the PE exam, there were at least 3-4 problems that I could look directly up in one of my textbooks.  It's important to have some good textbooks for your discipline for questions like these.  Good luck to those that did not pass.

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On 12/19/2015, 5:43:09, JunZ said:

National test:

Review class with EET-California,  average 2-3 hours per day. { Construction, but my background is structural, Pass the test on my frist try in April 2015).

Seismic with EET-California, 1 hours per day. pass the test on my first try in April 2015. 

Surveying, failed on my first try in April 2015 ( I took the online review class), then I took reza mahallati review class and passed on my 2nd try this Oct. ( Reza class was really good, and I only spent my time during the class, basically, 40 hours or so)

How did you study for all three exams at the same time? How many months did you study?

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