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Madpiper

To Those That Passed After Multiple Attempts

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What did you do differently that allowed you to pass this go around?

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I took a class.  I have never been a very good self-learner and thrive in the most structured setting of a class.  It also helped me to hone down exactly what I needed to know and to not waste my time on all of the other fluff that has a .001% chance of being on the exam.

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The difference between my attempts were preparation of resource materials. My approach was not necessarily try to know everything, rather know where to find the answer. I printed out the CERM index and wrote notes there about where to find solutions for types of problems. Also spent some time tabbing out unfamiliar books to see what may be useful, for again types of problems. I did practice problems leading up to it, but during the test I wasn't wasting type 'looking' for something, I knew exactly where I had to look. Big time saver. Hope this helps. Good Luck.  

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practice exams, 5 sets of them, twice. cheatsheets as i go. 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Lookup everything i can about anything I didnt understand and print that out.

Basically try to fully understand everything I did not before. 

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The first time I took the exam, I self-studied. The second time, I took PPI's class. The third time, which was the time I passed, I took EET's breadth and depth classes and put myself through multiple (two) full-length practice exams the two Saturdays before the exam. I finally learned to pay very close attention to units and what the questions were asking (i.e. nominal vs. design capacity). I basically finally got my butt in gear and kept myself to a very rigorous study schedule (mainly due to the commitment EET requires). I focused on knowing a few references (my EET binders, mainly) extremely well, though I also had my CERM tabbed pretty thoroughly from my previous attempts. I pared down what I brought into the room based on what I had and had not used in the past.

Really, I think it was EET that helped me the most. They kept me to a schedule that got me studying more hours than I think I had either of my previous tries, and I found their practice problems to be very useful.

 

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First go round, I didn't study at all and I failed, of course.

Second attempt, I did the online, self-guided Testmasters course for civil transpo. Roughly 50 hours of video plus materials. I probably studied about 100 hours altogether, which includes the 50 hours of video.

Obviously, you don't want to take the test more than once, but I feel like the first attempt helped me more than the course did. The first attempt I spent way too much time working on problems that I thought I should be able to solve. That wasn't an issue in round 2.

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Like others, I took a class. Took me two tries to pass the Mechanical TFS exam. First time I self-studied for about 3 weeks and admittedly gave a very poor effort. The only resources I took into the exam were my MERM and practice test. I could solve the exam problems, but I was FAR too slow when it came to looking up the information I needed and thus I ran out of time. Everything was bad from preparation, organization, efficiency, resourcefulness, test-taking strategy, etc.

Second time I decided to enroll in Dr. Tom's Classroom. I knew I needed the structure and organization of a class, but didn't want to pay the prices that PPI was asking based on mixed reviews with them. Dr. Tom offered an affordable 10 week class ($750) and was essential to my passing of the exam. I worked my butt off for about 3 months leading up to the test, but I went in feeling much more prepared, organized, and confident that I could pass. I left the test feeling the same way. I felt pretty confident that I passed (although there is always some doubt), and pass or fail I felt like the class was certainly worth it. All the areas I listed above that I was weak in the first time around were improved tenfold by the class that I took.

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I did a few things different this time around.  (1) I took extra time to nail down my concepts.  In the past, I would see a problem and automatically think “I saw this before” and start flipping through looking for an example.  I think I ended up wasting a lot of time looking for examples that I didn’t actually need to solve the problem. This time I rarely referred to a specific example to solve a problem.  Instead I relied on equations and concepts.  (2) I spent time not only studying my weaker areas, but generally refreshing on all areas and making sure I knew how to do problems that were likely to show up.  My thought was every point counts and I didn’t want to leave anything on the table.  (3) I took EET breadth and depth courses.  Like others have mentioned, the course gave me a chance to work many practice problems, ask questions, and not waste time studying things that were less likely to show up on the exam.  (4) I did not study the day before the test.  This was the hard, but I didn’t crack a single book or binder the day before.  And two days before I only focused on refreshing concepts and did not work any problems.  This kept my brain fresh for test day.  I think in the past I was exhausted from all the studying right before the exam.  (5) During the test I actually took my pencil and wrote out (right next to the answer choices) things I didn’t want to forget or lose track of (like waste factors, etc.) so that I would see them before selecting my answer.  This helped me double check myself and make sure I wasn’t forgetting something simple that would lead to the wrong answer (and specifically a wrong answer that was likely to be one of the choices).

Only other advise I can offer is make time for exercise, eat well, practice self-forgiveness a couple of weeks before the exam if exercise and eating well goes out the window, and eat a good breakfast and lunch on exam day!! 

Best of Luck! 

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1 hour ago, Madpiper said:

What did you do differently that allowed you to pass this go around?

Passed on second try...

I was dumb enough to think I could wing it and pass having some manuals available to me. That was a quick awakening when I opened the exam booklet.

Second time around, took the ASCE YMG class offered locally in my office building that was very heavily structured around just working on problems. I think we had 7 weeks of meeting every Wednesday and would get about 20 problems per topic. Each week had a different topic and allowed me to focus on studying just for that topic section for the week, keeping me on track and accountable for studying so I could solve the problems. I always brought at least the CERM manual to the study sessions and calculator.

at the end we took a practice exam on a Saturday, but i also took three on my own. One in the beginning to assess my focus, i took the same one after the 7 weeks of studying ( i realized i didnt remember much on how to solve the problems ) but it gave me a good comparison on performance. Then i took a third different one a week prior to exam.

 

TABBED THE LIFE out of my manuals and handbooks, especially while doing problems and taking sample exams. I was way more familiar with where everything was and what manual to reach for. (this was probably the biggest help)

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I studied all the time and ignored my 16yr old.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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For me it was a couple of things. I was very close to passing  the first time. However, in the second attempt, I spent a good bit of time thinking of how the question were presented in the ncees practice exam. In other words, I studied the psychology of what the trick question were and where the answers were. During the test, at least 5-6 questions were easy, yet, had what I call the "standard trick or a bunch of bs red herring in the middle of an easy question". And once I saw the pattern, finding the solution was easy. 

Now, I'm not saying that you should skip studying and focus on the tricks, but I had studied, and I knew the material, knowing the "tricks and pitfalls" only helped. 

Learn the concept of how a motor works, how a generator becomes a motor, how a motor becomes a generator, how a transformer has losses and how the open and short circuit tests works. And go from there. POWER PE 

 

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The test, tests a lot more than just knowing the material. It expects for one to figure out what is really being asked. To me, that's always been dumb. But of it weren't that way, phycometricians, wouldn't have a job. 

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56 minutes ago, Limamike said:

The test, tests a lot more than just knowing the material. It expects for one to figure out what is really being asked. To me, that's always been dumb. But of it weren't that way, phycometricians, wouldn't have a job. 

This is good info. It's important to be able to break down a question and understand what they are really wanting you to do, because it's not uncommon for them to give you a bunch of information that has zero relevance to the question being asked. My mistake the first time was knowing how to solve the practice problems but not understanding the concept as to why it was solved that way. It's important to know how to work a problem, but also consider what other questions they could ask from that same problem if they were to give you other pieces of information. Take a cycle for instance (I took Mech. Thermal & Fluids). First time around I only knew how to solve for what the practice problem asked, and even then I had to look up the equations. Second time I knew the concept of how to solve for heat in, heat out, work in, work out, etc and had done enough examples that I was confident in my knowledge of the concept to the point that I didn't have to look anything up. Given infinite time I could have passed the first time, but I was terribly inefficient due to my lack of conceptual understanding.

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First time, I started really studying about 2.5 weeks before the exam and nearly passed studying only books by myself.

Second time, I really started studying about 1 month before the exam and bought the EET depth for geotechnical depth. 

Third time, I started studying 2 hrs a day, or 10 hrs on the weekend for approx a 2.5 months period. I really focused my studying on the breadth instead of the depth because no matter how hard you study for the depth, they will always ask a few questions that you will have no clue on. If you get 32- 35 on the breadth, you only need about 25 on the depth to pass. I also bought both EET depth and breadth courses. The EET breadth was extremely helpful to me, although I do believe the weakest portion of it is structures. I spent a month of studying breadth, a month of studying depth, followed by doing as many practice tests or problems possible. As you can see, I just really buckled down for the third time.

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Class. Practice exams Constantly. 8 hour sit down practice. Lookup and print everything I didnt know or find in the class.

Practice Practice Practice with all your time and will power and references.

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I'd recommend a review course such as GT or School of PE.  I think both are good.  The Graffeo book is an excellent resource for the exam.  There is some good information inside and I would tab all of the tables, charts, etc.  Work EVERY PROBLEM in that book including the examples and the practice tests in the back.  The Graffeo book doesn't do any amount of training for the NEC/NESC but grab a book and the NCEES practice exam to get an idea along with the Complex Imaginary code book and practice exams.  I went through the entire graffeo book including the practice exams before the 6 week online course started and that was a big help.  The online course moves fast and there is homework issued.  I would have been lost if I hadn't already put in lots of time studying.

 

About calculators....

 

I brought two to the exam, an HP35s (primary) and a Casio fx-115ES (backup) along with a new set of spare batteries.  I used an HP scientific through my engineering courses  at  Uni (HP33S) so I had a lot of exposure to doing calculations with my HP.  The best thing about the HP35S is that it has a robust algebraic solver and the ability to store formulas.  This is great for doing relatively straightforward calculations that can be error prone (like calculating the +, - and zero sequence currents).  One of the best features of the Casio fx-115ES is the excellent complex number menu it has that allows for rapid conversions between rectangular and polar formats.  You can even enter polar and rectangular numbers as part of a calculation (and the display looks exactly like what you have on your paper) which is sweet.

 

The best advice I can give on exam day is bring your own lunch (don't leave the test location property) and don't get flustered.  Keep calm, cool and collected.  The minute you start thinking you've lost the battle close your eyes, look at the pretty woman across the room, think of how that beer will taste later tonight when you're out of the exam.  Find something to escape to for 10 seconds then open your eyes, re-read that problem slowly and attack it.  No amount of studying for this test will help more than the ability to not give up and to keep going when you first read that problem and panic because you have no clue how to solve it. 

The last paragraph.  Read it carefully!  That's why I passed.

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Get your hands on as many variations of sample exams and use the reference manual as if is ur only resource. Lindbergs conversion book is also a must.

Keep doing the practicr problems over and over.

My 4th and successful attempt. Keep in mind the test relies on u to recognize what the question is asking. In ME TF i was able to pick up if it was a fluids, thermo, HT type of problem. 

Frustrating part is when u think u have it but ur answer is nothing like the answers choices.. thats when ur practice of problems really kicks in. Did u miss a conversion? Small details? Or using wrong variation of the correct equation? These steps helped me get theough that last hour of "ah crap i have 5-10 questions left that im stumped on!"

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First time I took PPI class. Second time I did a ton of problems and catalogued them by topic in my binder. I also reduced my references to just the essentials. But doing problems and getting the Graffeo book really made the difference. 

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