Jump to content
Engineer Boards

​ ​ ​
ezzieyguywuf

Do I need more practice problems?

Recommended Posts

I recently bought the MERM, 13th edition, as well as the practice exam from NCEES. I'm planning to take the Machine Design and Materials exam in October. The idea is to review the appropriate chapters in MERM as well as complete the in-chapter problems. Also, I will work through the sample exam from NCEES, using the MERM as a reference and doing a 'deep dive' into any topics that I struggle with.

My question is: do I need to purchase more practice problems? Between the exam registration and the MERM I'm already like $600 in the hole, so if at all possible I'm trying not to spend any more money on this if I don't have to. I still have a handful of my college books laying around, I thought I'd get some problems out of those but I don't have solutions to those problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on a few things.  How far out of school are you?  How well do you remember the material?  How much of it do you already use on the daily?  As a suggestion, you might try working the NCEES exam to get a feel for where you are now and see how much more you might need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Audi driver, P.E. thank you for your response. I was planning to do that, working on the NCEES to see where I stand - just wasn't sure if relying on a single NCEES practice would expose me to enough breadth to get a good feel for what I need to know. To answer your questions:

  1. Graduated it 2011 with MS
  2. It is coming back to me quickly as I read through some pertinent sections of MERM. I've only done Units and am on Statics right now, though, so pretty basic
  3. I do not use hardly any - in fact probably none - of it on the daily

I'll wait till the NCEES gets here Friday and maybe spend the next week or so working on those problems to get a feel for how 'bad' I am, and then determine if I should get more practice problems. I'm tempted to go with the MERM practice problems books, as from what I've read it is rather comprehensive and as such should prepare me well. If I did purchase those practice problems, the idea would be to still figure out which subject matters are my weak ones, and then use the MERM practice problems (which I've read a more difficult than the actual exam) to beef up my XP in those areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I recently bought the MERM, 13th edition, as well as the practice exam from NCEES. I'm planning to take the Machine Design and Materials exam in October. The idea is to review the appropriate chapters in MERM as well as complete the in-chapter problems. Also, I will work through the sample exam from NCEES, using the MERM as a reference and doing a 'deep dive' into any topics that I struggle with.

My question is: do I need to purchase more practice problems? Between the exam registration and the MERM I'm already like $600 in the hole, so if at all possible I'm trying not to spend any more money on this if I don't have to. I still have a handful of my college books laying around, I thought I'd get some problems out of those but I don't have solutions to those problems.

 

Sounds a little light to me. I'd pick up the MERM companion problems, at a minimum.

 

Mo' problems, mo' better.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're definitely not going to get much breadth of material from the NCEES problem set in one book.  Most people seem to do best when they can work as many problems as possible.  One of the shortcomings of MERM 13 is they took out all the practice problems and put them into a separate book you have to buy. If you have the MERM problem booklet that is going to be good help for you.  Just keep in mind that the problems are much harder than the NCEES test problems.  Were it me, I would ensure I had the problem booklet and try to get at least one of the other NCEES test booklets.  Some folks on here may be selling them (you can look in the for sale section of the forums) or you can find them on E-bay.  Going used can save you some dough.  It's expensive, yes, but it's also expensive to take the exam more than once.

Edited by Audi driver, P.E.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great, thanks to both of you for the suggestions. I'll budget for the MERM problems for early next month. Until then, I'll start working through the NCEES exam, which should arrive tomorrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which practice exams are you using?  I highly recommend the six-minute solutions exams.  They best represent the level of difficulty of the actual exam.  You can save 15% from PPI on the practice exam with this link.  I also have some information on my website that may help http://www.mechanicalpeacademy.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, James229 said:
Which practice exams are you using?  I highly recommend the six-minute solutions exams.  They best represent the level of difficulty of the actual exam.  You can save 15% from PPI on the practice exam with this link.  I also have some information on my website that may help http://www.mechanicalpeacademy.com/

 

James please confirm you have used the Mechanical Design 6MS "exam" firsthand before offering your advice. Otherwise you come off as a vendor with that undisclosed affiliate link.

 

I say this because, generally speaking, the 6MS mechanical series has a less than stellar reputation around here. (Disclosure: I did not use any of the 6MS series)

Edited by JHW 3d
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JHW 3d said:

 

James please confirm you have used the Mechanical Design 6MS "exam" firsthand before offering your advice. Otherwise you come off as a vendor with that undisclosed affiliated link.

 

I say this because, generally speaking, the 6MS mechanical series has a less than stellar reputation around here. (Disclosure: I did not use any of the 6MS series)

Yeah, I think his post is crap.  I've looked at 6MS problems and they are NOTHING like actual exam questions.  Pay this idiot no mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hah, thanks for the warnings all. I was actually considering the 6-minute problem exams based on info I've seen on amazon reviews and other boards. It seems that perhaps I should take that info with a grain of salt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah definitely. Sounded like you were on a budget. Again, I didn't use them, but have heard some of the solutions can be wonky and unintuitive... i.e. Not helpful.

 

On the flip side, the Lindberg unit conversion book is highly recommended. :thumbs:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I can't speak on MDM but the 6MS for TFS was not exactly helpful. I would say at most half of them were close to the real problems and some had some questionable solutions. I wouldn't normally recommend it unless you have a lot of time and can spare the cash. I think removing his affiliate link post is a good idea.

The MERM problems for TFS is pretty solid and are worth your time. If you get stuck don't waste time--check the solution, mark the problem, and move on. After you get through more material return to problems you skipped and at least make sure you understand an approach.

NCEES practice test is either best taken first (as a sample test, in 4 hour increments) or at the end to prepare. I went the end route and wished I had taken it earlier, but having that valuable practice test a few weeks out from the exam had its merits. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to be clear: I don't mind the affiliate link. I didn't care for the seemingly disingenuous plug with an attached affiliate link.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I would give my feed back on the Six Minute Solutions: Mechanical Systems and Materials, 2nd Edition. I didn't think it was that bad. I did the MERM companion problems first, so I was more prepared than if I just went in cold. I think I averaged around 8-10 minutes on my first pass, but some of the questions take 15-20, some took me less than 2 minutes. I was under six minutes (average) on my second pass. The ones I got wrong on my first and second pass I worked a third time. I think some of the questions were harder than what you would see on the test, but a lot were pretty close to some of the more difficult questions on the exam. 

I tried also tried the Lindeburg Practice Exam and would say skip that if you really are trying to save money.

I am also a fan of doing the NCEES practice exam closer to the end. I think if you do it first, it might make you skip some of the more difficult problems in the MERM companion, but those difficult problems really help you understand the material. I ended up taking a day off and simulated test day when I did it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know @Audi driver, P.E. and I disagree on this but I've found the SMS to generally be helpful.  There are a few questions that are completely out of left field and some that certainly require very thorough and comprehensive work but if you can master the questions on the SMS, moving on to the NCEES practice exams should be fairly simple in comparison.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There were problems on my exam (April 1'6) that were almost identical (at least in process) to the ones in the MDM 6MS.  

My advice is to follow Ramnares' instructions.  Meaning you'll need the MERM companion problems, NCEES practice exam(s), and the 6MS.   Don't forget the Unit Conversions book!  

I understand the budget issue.   It is painful.   I was able to rent some of these via amazon.   Saved a lot of money but with the risk that if I didn't pass, I'd have to rent them again.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand budget too, but imagine having to take the test again? You would have wished you spent the money on the books (which you can sell when you are done) instead of another exam registration fee.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ordered the MERM companion problems. I'll see how good I feel after a month or so on those and then look into the 6-minute problems or at the very least tho conversion book - although I'm not convinced I can't print out something from EngineeringToolbox.com or some such that would provide a similar handy reference for conversions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The test may be different now that it is totally in depth but there were AM problems that were conversion problems that the Lindberg Unit Conversions book covered.  Which meant that the problem was nothing more than a multiplication factor from a table lookup in this book!   Could the problem be solved with basic conversion tables from other sources?  Sure it could, but it would require multiple steps.    I have yet to see a unit conversion book be as all inclusive as the Lindberg book.      

You'll probably be ok with mastering the MERM companion problems in lieu of the 6MS, but skipping the unit conversions book due to cost will basically result in an hour extra work during the exam. 

I might have missed it above, but do you have a Shigley's textbook?  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to give you some magnitude on the time it would take to run thru the first pass of problems in these books:

MDM 6MS:  First pass took 35 hours (2nd pass was 21.5 hours, 3rd was 8.5 hours).   Note:  this was the first thing I did for exam prep.

2011 NCEES (general AM & MDM PM):  First pass was 23 hours (2nd was 8 hours)

MERM PP:  First pass was 51 hours for just the MDM specific sections (Statics, Materials, Machine Design, & Vibration)  but that was with a good base from the 6MS book.   Note: I never did a full 2nd pass of these problems, only a review the week prior to the exam. 

In addition to this, I spent 62 hours on the MERM sections for thermo/hvac which aren't required anymore.   I also spent 15 hours on the Oughtred practice exam, 6 hours with Schaum's outline, and 4 hours reviewing the sections of Shigley's and taking notes.  Plus 21 hours of general cramming the week of the exam (taking notes, binders, reviewing previously preformed work).

 

If I had the 62 hours of thermo/hvac back, I would have focused on three passes of the MERM specific MDM problems and a better review of Shigley's including performing at least the example problems in the book.  

 

This was for the April 16 MDM exam from a person with over 12 years removed from any type of schooling, no refresher course,  and NOT performing engineering calculations of any sort during my routine work day. 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Ramnares P.E. said:

I know @Audi driver, P.E. and I disagree on this but I've found the SMS to generally be helpful.  There are a few questions that are completely out of left field and some that certainly require very thorough and comprehensive work but if you can master the questions on the SMS, moving on to the NCEES practice exams should be fairly simple in comparison.

Yeah, I don't think they're completely useless, but for someone to say they're the most representative of exam questions is dishonest.  There are some problems in there not worth spending any time trying to figure out because they're just unreasonable.  And generally speaking they're significantly harder than the actual exam questions.  For that reason alone they are valuable, in that they should help you be prepared.  But if you're short on funds, skip them.

Edited by Audi driver, P.E.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×