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gandgphi

PE Geotech Depth Difficulty

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Hi all,

I'm taking the PE for the first time in April 2017. I studied structural engineering so I don't have much experience with a lot of the different topics. My coworkers all advised I take the Geotech depth because that was apparently easier than most and they all took that (we do structural precast). I am taking the School of PE on demand course and am almost through all the videos. So far it's been really good and I feel like I have a really solid understanding of all the different topics. I will be taking practice tests (need to buy some) in the next two weeks or so. The geotech depth videos I have found are very lacking. The instructor is hard to understand and is not very good. He just reads walls of text and then proceeds to solve complex examples. It is the first time in the course that I have felt overwhelmed by the content. Can any of you attest to the difficulty of the geotech depth in your experiences? I have a feeling that the course I am taking over prepares you and the depth questions are very difficult on purpose. But the solutions take this guy a good 5 minutes on average and he's an expert so I can't imagine how slow I will be if I can even solve them. Any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks

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Based on pass rates posted by NCEES, Geotech is not the easiest. I took the exam last October. 25% of the questions are based upon experience. 

 

You need to take a practice exam ASAP to see where you stand.

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9 hours ago, gandgphi said:

Hi all,

I'm taking the PE for the first time in April 2017. I studied structural engineering so I don't have much experience with a lot of the different topics. My coworkers all advised I take the Geotech depth because that was apparently easier than most and they all took that (we do structural precast). I am taking the School of PE on demand course and am almost through all the videos. So far it's been really good and I feel like I have a really solid understanding of all the different topics. I will be taking practice tests (need to buy some) in the next two weeks or so. The geotech depth videos I have found are very lacking. The instructor is hard to understand and is not very good. He just reads walls of text and then proceeds to solve complex examples. It is the first time in the course that I have felt overwhelmed by the content. Can any of you attest to the difficulty of the geotech depth in your experiences? I have a feeling that the course I am taking over prepares you and the depth questions are very difficult on purpose. But the solutions take this guy a good 5 minutes on average and he's an expert so I can't imagine how slow I will be if I can even solve them. Any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks

There is no such thing as a universally easiest depth module.  Take the depth module best suited for YOU.  In this case, I would say that would be Structural. 

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I think it's very unlikely that a specific Civil module is significantly more difficult (or easier) than any others.  I think there is just a lot of misinformation around about how test "x" is easier than test "y".  I always tell people to take whichever module they feel most comfortable with, not based on trying to game the system to get an easier exam (which I just don't think is true). 

Ultimately in your case you've signed up for the geotech and are studying for it, so at this point you're committed.  I definitely encourage you to take several practice exams.  Especially the NCEES practice exams are very indicative of exam difficulty and question type.  I would use that as a gauge for how well you think you're prepared.  If you smoke the exam (85%+) you know you're likely in good shape.  If you bomb it (55%-) then you know you have a lot of work to do to prepare.  If you're in the range of what is likely a passing score (70%) then likewise you know it's going to take some work to ensure you put yourself well clear of the passing limit.  That's just my thought.

Other companies make practice exams also, and I'd encourage you to take some of these as well, but they are generally more difficult than the actual exam and are better used as a prep tool for your benefit and less so as a gauge of where you are at in terms of "preparedness".

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On 3/3/2017 at 11:46 AM, smahurin said:

I think it's very unlikely that a specific Civil module is significantly more difficult (or easier) than any others.  I think there is just a lot of misinformation around about how test "x" is easier than test "y".  I always tell people to take whichever module they feel most comfortable with, not based on trying to game the system to get an easier exam (which I just don't think is true). 

Ultimately in your case you've signed up for the geotech and are studying for it, so at this point you're committed.  I definitely encourage you to take several practice exams.  Especially the NCEES practice exams are very indicative of exam difficulty and question type.  I would use that as a gauge for how well you think you're prepared.  If you smoke the exam (85%+) you know you're likely in good shape.  If you bomb it (55%-) then you know you have a lot of work to do to prepare.  If you're in the range of what is likely a passing score (70%) then likewise you know it's going to take some work to ensure you put yourself well clear of the passing limit.  That's just my thought.

Other companies make practice exams also, and I'd encourage you to take some of these as well, but they are generally more difficult than the actual exam and are better used as a prep tool for your benefit and less so as a gauge of where you are at in terms of "preparedness".

I bought and took the NCEES geotechnical practice exam (October 2014 printing) this weekend. I set a timer and tried to replicate the test environment as much as possible. I scored a 90% on the AM portion but only a 57.5% on the PM for an overall score of 73%. The conceptual questions on the PM portion are what's killing me from what I can tell. Any recommendations for another geotechnical PM reference that I should get? Or should I stick to other editions of past NCEES practice tests? I've read that Goswami is supposed to be real good. Thanks again for the advice everyone.

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School of PE Geotech Breadth/Depth Notes

CERM

That's basically it unless you count the aforementioned NCEES practice exam I plan on bringing with me on exam day.

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You need more that. You don't even have what's on the NCEES Geotech depth exam specs. You should include at a minimum:

1. OSHA

2. ASCE 7-10

3. Geotechnical Engineers Portable Handbook

4. Das textbooks or some other soil mechanics and foundation textbooks.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Jmcc06 said:

You need more that. You don't even have what's on the NCEES Geotech depth exam specs. You should include at a minimum:

1. OSHA

2. ASCE 7-10

3. Geotechnical Engineers Portable Handbook

4. Das textbooks or some other soil mechanics and foundation textbooks.

 

 

I think I'm going to order the portable handbook since I've read people recommending it quite a bit. Doesn't it get too cluttered having all those texts with you? I honestly can't imagine having the time to be able to refer to all of those or know which has that one piece of information. But I am the amateur here so I could definitely be wrong.

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Well, #'s 1 and 2 above are recommended by NCEES, so I would definitely have those. Those will be look-up questions and easy points if you have the reference.

The CERM alone is not a good reference for the geo depth. I had access to the SOPE breadth and geotech depth notes and problems when I was studying and they don't really cover everything. The portable handbook will def come in handy, the index specifically.

You don't need to bring a lot of references, but you do need to have all of the topics covered. What you originally stated you are bringing is not enough. Don't try to squeak by, it will bite you in the butt come exam day.

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I work as a Geotech staff engineer and took the Geotech pm last Oct. I got burned by random conceptual questions that I would have never known unless I just read Das Textbooks all the time. I could calc every type of retaining wall you could think of in every which way, but that only helped for a few questions. Take home point, know the concepts for strange cases.  I'll be taking it again this month. Yeeha  

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You can probably expect a concept, lookup, or a regular question about the following:

Modulus of subgrade reaction, Frost Heave, or  Lacustrine deposits.

A couple of questions that through me were questions about testing methods that I didn't have any experience using.

A Das book about principles of foundations is a must. Or at least it was when I took the test in 2010.

Good Luck.

 

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I added ASCE 7-10 and the Geotechnical Engineer's Portable Handbook to my arsenal. My test strategy is going to be to answer all the number questions first and then go back to dig for conceptual questions based on ones that are familiar first and completely new last. Thanks for the feedback

The portable handbook seems awesome. I'm going to tab the hell out of it and hopefully fill in some blanks in my current studies

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The conceptual problems are really hard to study for. This is why I believe that proper educational background on the subject is necessary to even study and build a base on it. Experience may cover some but it is not as much tested as the base knowledge by NCEES.

You should be able to do 90% in the morning and 90% in the numerical questions of the afternoon exam. Conceptual of the depth portion with which you are not familiar with through either education of experience, I would aim for 50% if lucky.

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