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SacMe24

Failed Mechanical MDM Multiple Times...Could use some advice...

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Hello EB friends,

 

Today I learned the sad news that I did not pass the Mechanical PE (Machine Design & Materials) exam for the THIRD time. To be quite honest I am numb at the moment and not sure how to feel, part of me is happy that this could mean that I get my life back, no more studying, but the other part of me says that I’ve invested too much time and money on this to simply walk away.

A little bit about me:

·       Graduated in 1996 and haven’t really used thermal, machine design, let alone HVAC engineering principles in my career since then. The closest I come to is materials so I chose MDD being that I felt the closest connection to it.

·       First time around (Fall ’16): Machine Design & Materials, took PPI’s refresher course and scored 38/80 (this is before the exam format change). I easily spent 300 hours studying but didn’t have time to do as many extra problems as I would’ve liked. Spent a lot of time remembering engineering principles and I feel this hurt my speed during the exam.

·       Second time around (Spring ’17): Machine Design & Materials, took PPI’s refresher course again (new instructor) taking advantage of their re-take policy (this was the first time after the exam format change). Again, I easily spent 300+ hours doing extra problems, had a study-buddy to help with the course load, and felt much better after taking the exam. My score was 46/80 so I failed again. Completely devastated…

·       Third time around (Fall ’17): Chose Machine Design & Materials again and changed my study plan by switching to Dr. Tom’s course (2nd time after the format change) and was very happy to see new material, new practice problems which I thought would give me more practice and help improve my speed during the exam. My score was 49/80, so still not enough to pass.

Every time that I’ve taken the exam I’ve changed my study habits and although I’ve improved my scores, that little green box with the word PASS in it seems to elude me. Since my employer does not require me to have the license I’m seriously on the fence as to whether I should attempt this a FOURTH time. This is a personal goal and if I can say one thing about my past attempts is that I gave it 100% every time, modifying my study plans and materials in the hope of passing the exam. As far as references here are the books that I’ve used: 

MERM (Lindeburg), Machinery’s Handbook, Eng. Unit Conversions, 6-Min. solutions, both NCEES practice exams, PE Exam Review by T. Kennedy, Dr. Tom’s reference mat’l., Shigley’s (very little)

So my questions for you fine folks are:

·       Should I attempt this a fourth time?

·       Is there a course you can recommend for someone in my situation? Or do I just need to practice more problems on my own?

·       I feel very comfortable with the material so not sure what is happening during the exam, should I change disciplines? Maybe Thermal? I feel NO connection to HVAC so def. not going to go that route.

·       I’ve averaged 300 hrs. of study time every time I’ve taken the exam, could it be possible that perhaps, just perhaps I’m over studying?

Sorry for the long read but any advice you can provide would be much appreciated and THANKS IN ADVANCE for your guidance.

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IF it is a goal you have, don't give up on it, you will get there!  You are close and it will pay off.

I would say just practice more problems and know your resources.  I took books in their I shouldn't have and that really hurt my time management.  What are your weak areas?  Units are also a big deal.

How did you feel during the exam?  How was your time management?

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17 minutes ago, goast55 said:

IF it is a goal you have, don't give up on it, you will get there!  You are close and it will pay off.

I would say just practice more problems and know your resources.  I took books in their I shouldn't have and that really hurt my time management.  What are your weak areas?  Units are also a big deal.

How did you feel during the exam?  How was your time management?

That's pretty much the conclusion that I came to... I need to practice more and more problems. According to the diagnostic report (see below), I could do better in engineering practice and material properties, which is funny because I did better in the latter the last time so I'll have to hit those areas harder next time. Any comments you can share from my report below would be appreciated.... I'm 6 points away from passing I guess... (55/80).

Capture.PNG.c19c0d804885608db536818be26ffcd4.PNG

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2 hours ago, jvanoye said:

That's pretty much the conclusion that I came to... I need to practice more and more problems. According to the diagnostic report (see below), I could do better in engineering practice and material properties, which is funny because I did better in the latter the last time so I'll have to hit those areas harder next time. Any comments you can share from my report below would be appreciated.... I'm 6 points away from passing I guess... (55/80).

Capture.PNG.c19c0d804885608db536818be26ffcd4.PNG

My only advise: tab, tab ,tab. You will see how this will improve your time management. For MDM you only need MERM, Shigley or similar and unit conversion book along with practice problems.

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First thing is first.  Passing the PE exam is in no way a measure of the caliber engineer you are.  In no way does passing the PE make you a good engineer nor does failing the test make you a bad engineer.

That being said, if passing the PE means that much to you, go for it.  The caveat is that you have to be willing to do the dirty work. Nobody is going to do your dirty work for you. I sense that your are simply doing what you think you are supposed to be doing (studying with a buddy), throwing money at the problem (newest PPI material, Dr. Tom's course), choosing quantity over quality (300 + hours of studying),  and hoping this generic formula will yield success (remember hope is not a strategy).  I just passed the MDM exam on my first try with an old  borrowed 11th edition MERM and notes I kept from undergrad college coursework (I graduated in '07).  Not saying this will work for you, but what I am saying is that there is no formula or template for success.  There is no reference material out there that you haven't tried already.  In terms of studying, find out what works for you and stick with that.  You'll know what that is when you respond to the thought of the exam with enthusiasm and confidence instead of fear and anxiety. 

Sorry to sound like a cheesy motivational speaker, but this is coming from somebody who is really pulling for you.  Best of luck to you brother.

 

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Take it again in April, and don't study. You know probably more than almost anyone on this forum, test material wise. My study hours are a joke compared to yours, and I wasn't too far off from passing. I took the FE right out of school without studying and passed, and I think part of it was I felt ZERO pressure.

The worst that can happen is you'll be out some money, but you'll have lost no sleep studying, stress level will be near zero, and I bet a test that happens to line up a bit more with what you know would have you passing! 

My college roommate was Chem-E. He brought home homework that made my skin crawl and my eyes cross. He was without a doubt smarter than me by a large margin, but every calculus and engineering class we took together I blew him out of the water on test scores. He was freaked out, and I wasn't. So man, I bet you know it all and just give it a shot with you going in super low stress and low energy spent. What is there to lose?!?

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2 hours ago, dozer827 said:

First thing is first.  Passing the PE exam is in no way a measure of the caliber engineer you are.  In no way does passing the PE make you a good engineer nor does failing the test make you a bad engineer.

That being said, if passing the PE means that much to you, go for it.  The caveat is that you have to be willing to do the dirty work. Nobody is going to do your dirty work for you. I sense that your are simply doing what you think you are supposed to be doing (studying with a buddy), throwing money at the problem (newest PPI material, Dr. Tom's course), choosing quantity over quality (300 + hours of studying),  and hoping this generic formula will yield success (remember hope is not a strategy).  I just passed the MDM exam on my first try with an old  borrowed 11th edition MERM and notes I kept from undergrad college coursework (I graduated in '07).  Not saying this will work for you, but what I am saying is that there is no formula or template for success.  There is no reference material out there that you haven't tried already.  In terms of studying, find out what works for you and stick with that.  You'll know what that is when you respond to the thought of the exam with enthusiasm and confidence instead of fear and anxiety. 

Sorry to sound like a cheesy motivational speaker, but this is coming from somebody who is really pulling for you.  Best of luck to you brother.

 

Good advice dozer. I took the MDM in 2003 ....graduated in 1998 because it was closest to my degree but I had also been doing a lot of structural work at the time. Well I just took the civil structural in October and passed it as well. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. I would also add this...Due to the time constraint of the test most of these questions touch on a relatively simple concept. I spent time making sure I knew what the real question was and made sure to remove extraneous info. Dont use too many books either...I was amazed at the libraries people brought with them. 4-6 books tops. I also studied to pass meaning that I looked at the makeup of questions and decided to place my efforts into 80% of the topics. On this last test I never once studied the curvature of roads / grading. I have never done it in my professional career nor do I really want to. I was willing to give up those 2-3 problems knowing I was concentrating my efforts on topics I was already familiar with. My goal was a passing score not a perfect score. Know your books and know the concordances. I know there were a handfull of problems that I had no clue about, but by breaking it sown into simple concepts the concordance was my friend and led me to the answers rather quickly.  Also totally agree with Dozer on the caliber of engineer and passing comments. I know some amazing engineers who I freely admit are smarter than me and they are not licensed for a variety of reasons.  Some like to have a life, some are risk adverse, and well some just didnt want to put in the effort. Keep trying if it is important to you. You have put in a lot of effort and are closer than you think. Best of luck! 

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14 hours ago, Sebas said:

My only advise: tab, tab ,tab. You will see how this will improve your time management. For MDM you only need MERM, Shigley or similar and unit conversion book along with practice problems.

Hello Sebas... thank you for taking the time to read through my post and comment. I did have everything tabbed so I could easily refer to the subject in question. As I look at my diagnostic report and comparing it to the one from last time, it seems that "engineering practice" continues to be a weakness for me as is "supportive knowledge". I think I'm going to have to spend more time on material properties/joints and fasteners instead as I see as a lower hanging fruit and have more references for them than the others.

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14 hours ago, dozer827 said:

First thing is first.  Passing the PE exam is in no way a measure of the caliber engineer you are.  In no way does passing the PE make you a good engineer nor does failing the test make you a bad engineer.

That being said, if passing the PE means that much to you, go for it.  The caveat is that you have to be willing to do the dirty work. Nobody is going to do your dirty work for you. I sense that your are simply doing what you think you are supposed to be doing (studying with a buddy), throwing money at the problem (newest PPI material, Dr. Tom's course), choosing quantity over quality (300 + hours of studying),  and hoping this generic formula will yield success (remember hope is not a strategy).  I just passed the MDM exam on my first try with an old  borrowed 11th edition MERM and notes I kept from undergrad college coursework (I graduated in '07).  Not saying this will work for you, but what I am saying is that there is no formula or template for success.  There is no reference material out there that you haven't tried already.  In terms of studying, find out what works for you and stick with that.  You'll know what that is when you respond to the thought of the exam with enthusiasm and confidence instead of fear and anxiety. 

Sorry to sound like a cheesy motivational speaker, but this is coming from somebody who is really pulling for you.  Best of luck to you brother.

 

@dozer827...thank you very much for the kind words. I know that passing/failing the PE is not a direct measure of whether one is a good engineer or not, and although this is a personal goal for me (my government employer does NOT require it), I'm not going to lie, I wanted that title for recognition and personal gratification. 

Having said that, you pose a good question. How much does passing the PE mean to me and does that desire justify putting myself/family through yet another round of studying? I don't have the answer to that yet. Obviously putting in 300+ hours each time hasn't worked, so maybe I'm studying too much and getting myself overwhelmed with the amount of material I'm reviewing. I agree, hope is not a strategy, that's why I enrolled in two refresher courses to provide the structure I needed to study and focus on the subject matter needed to pass the exam, and not everything we learned in college. Maybe slashing my study time in half is the answer so I'm not as stressed or bogged down by studying as I have been the last 3 cycles. I know the material, I just need to feel more comfortable with it I guess....also being 48 and having graduated 20+ years ago doesn't help.

Your last point is excellent....."you'll know what that is when you respond to the thought of the exam with enthusiasm and confidence instead of fear an anxiety"...right now I'm not feeling enthusiastic about taking it a 4th time, but I am confident about the material. I just need to spend more time reviewing my diagnostic report and find the weak spots and focus on that between now and April.... ugh....

Thanks again for your kind words...

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13 hours ago, Kyle In WA said:

Take it again in April, and don't study. You know probably more than almost anyone on this forum, test material wise. My study hours are a joke compared to yours, and I wasn't too far off from passing. I took the FE right out of school without studying and passed, and I think part of it was I felt ZERO pressure.

The worst that can happen is you'll be out some money, but you'll have lost no sleep studying, stress level will be near zero, and I bet a test that happens to line up a bit more with what you know would have you passing! 

My college roommate was Chem-E. He brought home homework that made my skin crawl and my eyes cross. He was without a doubt smarter than me by a large margin, but every calculus and engineering class we took together I blew him out of the water on test scores. He was freaked out, and I wasn't. So man, I bet you know it all and just give it a shot with you going in super low stress and low energy spent. What is there to lose?!?

Hello Kyle ... first off thanks for taking the time to read/comment on my post. The last time that I took the exam I really didn't feel pressure or stress, I actually felt very comfortable taking the exam, so maybe the fact that I've been through it several times helped manage that aspect of it. 

If I do decide to take it again I'll have to take a serious look at the number of hours I spend studying and focus more on quality not quantity. For now, I need to spend more time reviewing my diagnostic report, talk to my boss and make a decision from there.

Having a clear mind and feeling relaxed going into the exam is definitely a must and I absolutely agree with you. Right now I need to decide if the PE is right for me for the RIGHT reasons...

Thanks again for your time.

 

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12 hours ago, TexasAdam said:

Good advice dozer. I took the MDM in 2003 ....graduated in 1998 because it was closest to my degree but I had also been doing a lot of structural work at the time. Well I just took the civil structural in October and passed it as well. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. I would also add this...Due to the time constraint of the test most of these questions touch on a relatively simple concept. I spent time making sure I knew what the real question was and made sure to remove extraneous info. Dont use too many books either...I was amazed at the libraries people brought with them. 4-6 books tops. I also studied to pass meaning that I looked at the makeup of questions and decided to place my efforts into 80% of the topics. On this last test I never once studied the curvature of roads / grading. I have never done it in my professional career nor do I really want to. I was willing to give up those 2-3 problems knowing I was concentrating my efforts on topics I was already familiar with. My goal was a passing score not a perfect score. Know your books and know the concordances. I know there were a handfull of problems that I had no clue about, but by breaking it sown into simple concepts the concordance was my friend and led me to the answers rather quickly.  Also totally agree with Dozer on the caliber of engineer and passing comments. I know some amazing engineers who I freely admit are smarter than me and they are not licensed for a variety of reasons.  Some like to have a life, some are risk adverse, and well some just didnt want to put in the effort. Keep trying if it is important to you. You have put in a lot of effort and are closer than you think. Best of luck! 

@TexasAdam...thanks for your response. I too decided to focus on the topics I was most familiar with and this was also the advice of the last instructor I had (Dr. Tom). Spend time on what you know and pick your battles. Not sure if that hurt me this last round as some areas such as "engineering practice" continue to be a weak spot for me as is "supportive knowledge". These areas cover so many topics that if you dig deep into them  you might take the risk of neglecting the bulk of the exam which is machine design and materials. Looking at the results of my diagnostic report I seem to be OK with strength of materials, vibrations, but could beef up mechanical components. By my math, if I can pick up 6 more points I should score 55/80 and that's 70%...

The question is, where do I want to pick up those 6 points from...

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@jvanoye I am sorry you didn't pass this go-around.  I think you should stick with machine design, because it seems like you are getting closer to the passing score. 

How were you with time during the last exam?  Were you able to go back and check your answers?  

How many problems do you think you guessed?  How many problems were you confident in answering?  

I am trying to figure out if time is an issue or if you know the material and you are getting tripped up by the exam tricks.  

 

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I am in the EXACT same boat as jvanoye  and on the same timeframe as I too have taken the Mechanical MDM exam three times now and failed each attempt.  The first time I took the exam I tried studying on my own with basic study materials and will admit I was not prepared like I should have been and got 39/80.  Before the second time, I signed up for the PPI review course and attended every lecture, completed all course work required, studied 250-300 hours and got 46/80.  Under the PPI gaurantee, took the same review course with the same professor before the third exam, again studied 250-300 hours and failed with the exact same score of 46/80.  Based on the diagnostic report, I increased my scores on the areas I did poorly in during the April 2017 exam and did worse in the areas I did OK on in the April 2017 exam so was a wash with the scores.

A little history, I graduated with Mechanical Engineering Technology degree in 2010, took the FE in October 2010, crammed the night before the test and passed.  Due to my degree I had to wait 6 years to sit for the PE and in my current profession, I work as a consultant for a firm that specializes in landfill gas extraction which is more Civil/Environmental engineering.  I thought it would be easier to go back and try to study what I have seen in the past and "refresh" on Mechanical topics and take the mechanical PE but I am now thinking I do not know Mechanical like I thought and am seriously considering switching to Civil Construction, Wastewater/ENV or Transportation.  

I have spent a lot of time in the field as well as in the office and am now managing clients and projects from start to finish.  From the design, CAD, managing the QC and the project, budgeting, scheduling, fighting daily fires etc.  When I look at the Civil Construction breakdown it looks like something I would be interested in because it is the closest to the things I do daily.  I feel my time studying would actually go toward benefiting my career.  I almost feel like when I was studying for the Mechanical MDM exam I was just trying to "memorize" what I needed to to get by as I feel I will never do any of those calculations again in my career.  Also, I feel I put ALOT of hours "studying" but at the end of the day I did not accomplish much.  By that I mean, I study alone and would spend 8 hours on a Saturday studying and end up getting through 3-4 (6 minute problems) because I got hung up on one part of the problem that I did not understand and literally spend 2-3 hours trying to figure it out.

Any suggestions or feedback is greatly appreciated as I am caught at a crossroads.

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks!

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On 12/4/2017 at 4:08 PM, jvanoye said:

Hello EB friends,

 

Today I learned the sad news that I did not pass the Mechanical PE (Machine Design & Materials) exam for the THIRD time. To be quite honest I am numb at the moment and not sure how to feel, part of me is happy that this could mean that I get my life back, no more studying, but the other part of me says that I’ve invested too much time and money on this to simply walk away.

A little bit about me:

·       Graduated in 1996 and haven’t really used thermal, machine design, let alone HVAC engineering principles in my career since then. The closest I come to is materials so I chose MDD being that I felt the closest connection to it.

·       First time around (Fall ’16): Machine Design & Materials, took PPI’s refresher course and scored 38/80 (this is before the exam format change). I easily spent 300 hours studying but didn’t have time to do as many extra problems as I would’ve liked. Spent a lot of time remembering engineering principles and I feel this hurt my speed during the exam.

·       Second time around (Spring ’17): Machine Design & Materials, took PPI’s refresher course again (new instructor) taking advantage of their re-take policy (this was the first time after the exam format change). Again, I easily spent 300+ hours doing extra problems, had a study-buddy to help with the course load, and felt much better after taking the exam. My score was 46/80 so I failed again. Completely devastated…

·       Third time around (Fall ’17): Chose Machine Design & Materials again and changed my study plan by switching to Dr. Tom’s course (2nd time after the format change) and was very happy to see new material, new practice problems which I thought would give me more practice and help improve my speed during the exam. My score was 49/80, so still not enough to pass.

Every time that I’ve taken the exam I’ve changed my study habits and although I’ve improved my scores, that little green box with the word PASS in it seems to elude me. Since my employer does not require me to have the license I’m seriously on the fence as to whether I should attempt this a FOURTH time. This is a personal goal and if I can say one thing about my past attempts is that I gave it 100% every time, modifying my study plans and materials in the hope of passing the exam. As far as references here are the books that I’ve used: 

MERM (Lindeburg), Machinery’s Handbook, Eng. Unit Conversions, 6-Min. solutions, both NCEES practice exams, PE Exam Review by T. Kennedy, Dr. Tom’s reference mat’l., Shigley’s (very little)

So my questions for you fine folks are:

·       Should I attempt this a fourth time?

·       Is there a course you can recommend for someone in my situation? Or do I just need to practice more problems on my own?

·       I feel very comfortable with the material so not sure what is happening during the exam, should I change disciplines? Maybe Thermal? I feel NO connection to HVAC so def. not going to go that route.

·       I’ve averaged 300 hrs. of study time every time I’ve taken the exam, could it be possible that perhaps, just perhaps I’m over studying?

Sorry for the long read but any advice you can provide would be much appreciated and THANKS IN ADVANCE for your guidance.

I watched every single one of Dr Tom's videos (one is located here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4QIALcL5f0&t=1s ) and took screenshots of his work which I printed out and put in a binder and I referenced that more than once during the PE exam so it really helped me and it was worth my time to watch his videos and work out his examples. I see you took Dr Tom's course so you might already have this information. I also printed out in depth AISC beam tables. You should also buy a mechanical engineering dictionary. I got mine for like $15 on Amazon. I also bought a regular dictionary but didn't use it during the exam.

When studying I tried working out the problem myself and then looking at the solution but this was taking too much time so then I just started with the problem's solution and tried to understand every step of it and where all the #'s and EQNs came from when writing it out in my notebooks (that I took to the exam but never referenced)

If there was a problem I didn't understand on the PE exam during the exam, I would find what chapter it was in the MERM and then go to that chapter in the MERM question companion book to see if there was a worked out example of a similar problem. In some cases there were and that helped for a few of the problems where I didn't know the answer offhand. 

I'm also 2.5 years out of college so a lot of the PE material was still fresh in my mind and I didn't study nearly as much as I could have and spent the last 10 days or so cramming until 1-1:30am, even on work nights, which was horrific so hopefully you can time manage better than I did

Best of luck to you if you take this exam again or another one! 

 

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20 hours ago, justin-hawaii said:

@jvanoye I am sorry you didn't pass this go-around.  I think you should stick with machine design, because it seems like you are getting closer to the passing score. 

How were you with time during the last exam?  Were you able to go back and check your answers?  

How many problems do you think you guessed?  How many problems were you confident in answering?  

I am trying to figure out if time is an issue or if you know the material and you are getting tripped up by the exam tricks.  

 

Hello Justin,

Thanks for responding to my post and for your offer to help. I will stay with MDM since I know the material inside and out, it's just a matter of refining a few areas like you said.

To answer your questions:

How were you with time during the last exam?

My time during the last exam felt OK, I made several passes but on the first I answered about 20 or so questions per section, 2nd pass I picked up another 12 or so, and on the third I answered the rest as best as I could. I did run out of time in both AM and PM sessions in the sense that I had to guess on 2 or so questions per session.

Were you able to go back and check your answers?  

I did go back and check some answers and go the same result so I figured my problem statement was correct.

How many problems do you think you guessed? 

I'd say a total of 5 or so (the answer was "C" for all).

How many problems were you confident in answering?

After the 2nd pass I'd say about 52-55.

As far as the number of hours that I spent studying, each of the three times I've taken the exam I put in 300+ hours over 12 weeks, (~25 hours a week).  The exam completely took over my life and I'm not sure I want to or need to let that happen again this fourth time. Another blogger here pointed that out that it's about quality and not quantity, and I believe that's true. Then again a friend of mine who took the exam with me 2 rounds ago said I should maintain the same level of study time or even increase it. The way I see it, I need to find a balance between work, life and the exam, so I'm seriously thinking about cutting back to something around 16-18 hours a week which will still give me 200 hours of exam prep. I intend to spend the majority of the time practicing problems vs. learning new material. 

I've seen some of your posts here and you seem to have a lot of data with respect to study patterns, plans, etc. Do you think my approach this fourth time is correct?

Thanks SO much for your help. I really appreciate it.

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8 hours ago, sbrookef said:

I watched every single one of Dr Tom's videos (one is located here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4QIALcL5f0&t=1s ) and took screenshots of his work which I printed out and put in a binder and I referenced that more than once during the PE exam so it really helped me and it was worth my time to watch his videos and work out his examples. I see you took Dr Tom's course so you might already have this information. I also printed out in depth AISC beam tables. You should also buy a mechanical engineering dictionary. I got mine for like $15 on Amazon. I also bought a regular dictionary but didn't use it during the exam.

When studying I tried working out the problem myself and then looking at the solution but this was taking too much time so then I just started with the problem's solution and tried to understand every step of it and where all the #'s and EQNs came from when writing it out in my notebooks (that I took to the exam but never referenced)

If there was a problem I didn't understand on the PE exam during the exam, I would find what chapter it was in the MERM and then go to that chapter in the MERM question companion book to see if there was a worked out example of a similar problem. In some cases there were and that helped for a few of the problems where I didn't know the answer offhand. 

I'm also 2.5 years out of college so a lot of the PE material was still fresh in my mind and I didn't study nearly as much as I could have and spent the last 10 days or so cramming until 1-1:30am, even on work nights, which was horrific so hopefully you can time manage better than I did

Best of luck to you if you take this exam again or another one! 

 

Thank you for the tips and yes I have all the printouts from Dr. Tom's lessons in the 6 binders he had us assemble during the class. May I ask how much time you put in to prepping for the exam?

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10 hours ago, anc333 said:

I am in the EXACT same boat as jvanoye  and on the same timeframe as I too have taken the Mechanical MDM exam three times now and failed each attempt.  The first time I took the exam I tried studying on my own with basic study materials and will admit I was not prepared like I should have been and got 39/80.  Before the second time, I signed up for the PPI review course and attended every lecture, completed all course work required, studied 250-300 hours and got 46/80.  Under the PPI gaurantee, took the same review course with the same professor before the third exam, again studied 250-300 hours and failed with the exact same score of 46/80.  Based on the diagnostic report, I increased my scores on the areas I did poorly in during the April 2017 exam and did worse in the areas I did OK on in the April 2017 exam so was a wash with the scores.

A little history, I graduated with Mechanical Engineering Technology degree in 2010, took the FE in October 2010, crammed the night before the test and passed.  Due to my degree I had to wait 6 years to sit for the PE and in my current profession, I work as a consultant for a firm that specializes in landfill gas extraction which is more Civil/Environmental engineering.  I thought it would be easier to go back and try to study what I have seen in the past and "refresh" on Mechanical topics and take the mechanical PE but I am now thinking I do not know Mechanical like I thought and am seriously considering switching to Civil Construction, Wastewater/ENV or Transportation.  

I have spent a lot of time in the field as well as in the office and am now managing clients and projects from start to finish.  From the design, CAD, managing the QC and the project, budgeting, scheduling, fighting daily fires etc.  When I look at the Civil Construction breakdown it looks like something I would be interested in because it is the closest to the things I do daily.  I feel my time studying would actually go toward benefiting my career.  I almost feel like when I was studying for the Mechanical MDM exam I was just trying to "memorize" what I needed to to get by as I feel I will never do any of those calculations again in my career.  Also, I feel I put ALOT of hours "studying" but at the end of the day I did not accomplish much.  By that I mean, I study alone and would spend 8 hours on a Saturday studying and end up getting through 3-4 (6 minute problems) because I got hung up on one part of the problem that I did not understand and literally spend 2-3 hours trying to figure it out.

Any suggestions or feedback is greatly appreciated as I am caught at a crossroads.

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks!

@anc333...sorry to hear we're on the same track brother. Here are a few bits of advice that people have shared with me inside/outside of this forum:

- It's not about quantity, it's about quality. I too spent an inordinate amount of time each I took the exam, 300 hours on the average. So this fourth round, I'm thinking about cutting back to something more manageable like 200 hrs. That still leaves me 16 hrs or so a week and I will use that time to relearn the "meat and potatoes" of the exam while also practicing more and more problems.

-Stay with MDM, we have already put too much time and effort into re-learning this material. Use the study time you have to practice and become faster at problem recognition, knowing where to find reference material, etc. Switching to a WHOLE NEW discipline is going to put you back to square one.

-Find the true reason you're doing this. Know the WHY for taking the exam and keep that always present. This will motivate you to stay focused. If you don't have a valid enough WHY, then you're wasting your time.

I hope you find this as useful as I have and best of luck if you decide to take the exam again.

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@jvanoye. The majority of the people who pass are confident on at least 60 problems and had sufficient time to check their work. 

I believe that having sufficient time to check your work helps to eliminate errors, since the exam possible answers are specifically selected to match the most common errors, like unit errors or radius instead of diameter. It seems like you have enough time and are able to catch those types of errors? If time were more of an issue, then I would suggest doing problems over and over again to increase your speed. I would also suggest making cheat sheets for the problems that you know will have a high likelihood of being on the exam. For example, just based on the ncees outline and sample exam, there is a high likelihood of a fastener group analysis problem. You could make a cheat sheet of the main possible problems within this topic. These problems would include an eccentric or concentric load that is either in plane or out of plane.  The bolt geometry would be specific to the problem but could be figured out with the understanding of the underlying concept. 

The fact that you aced vibration and strength of materials indicates to me that you truly understand the key concepts and skills in these topics. What do you think made you confident in those topics? Perhaps you can use that same method for the other topics? 

Overall i think your approach is sound. 

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While I did not take MDM (I was a TFS guy), one of the most valuable things I did while studying was tabbing MERM to the level of ad nauseam (bit of hyperbole).

Later into my studying (I was enrolled in the PPI class), I took the PPI practice in simulated real conditions and I got my s*** kicked in with a 29/80. I realized that I knew how to solve the problem, but I had so much reference information that I wasted a ton of time trying to find "the equation" or "the page". So, I spent ~12 hours going page by page (yes, I do literally mean page by page) in MERM, highlighting important equations and inputs and tabbing the sections I needed. The tabs were color-coded by mechanical discipline (TFS - pink, HVAC - green, MDM - pink, Other - yellow). I tab'd the top of the book with the general sections (the roman numeral section), and the side was tab'd with the important pages and sections (i.e. Bernoulli equation, Pump power, Gas cycles, etc.). This process not only organized the information in a way that made sense to me, but I got exposure (even if only for a couple of seconds) to every page of MERM. 

I also printed out and spiral bound a copy of the index, tab'd by letter. This allowed me to quickly find information in MERM without flipping through the big book itself. I did the same tabbing to the Engineering Unit Conversions book. I used these two books and was set for 85%+ of the questions on the exam. 

Overall, you sound like you know what you are doing, and the PE test is not a measuring stick for your "intelligence" as an engineer. The speed of the exam was my biggest hurdle. Once I increased my speed by making my information more organized, I performed much better.

Hope this helps! Good luck on achieving your goal!

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4 hours ago, SmilinEd said:

While I did not take MDM (I was a TFS guy), one of the most valuable things I did while studying was tabbing MERM to the level of ad nauseam (bit of hyperbole).

Later into my studying (I was enrolled in the PPI class), I took the PPI practice in simulated real conditions and I got my s*** kicked in with a 29/80. I realized that I knew how to solve the problem, but I had so much reference information that I wasted a ton of time trying to find "the equation" or "the page". So, I spent ~12 hours going page by page (yes, I do literally mean page by page) in MERM, highlighting important equations and inputs and tabbing the sections I needed. The tabs were color-coded by mechanical discipline (TFS - pink, HVAC - green, MDM - pink, Other - yellow). I tab'd the top of the book with the general sections (the roman numeral section), and the side was tab'd with the important pages and sections (i.e. Bernoulli equation, Pump power, Gas cycles, etc.). This process not only organized the information in a way that made sense to me, but I got exposure (even if only for a couple of seconds) to every page of MERM. 

I also printed out and spiral bound a copy of the index, tab'd by letter. This allowed me to quickly find information in MERM without flipping through the big book itself. I did the same tabbing to the Engineering Unit Conversions book. I used these two books and was set for 85%+ of the questions on the exam. 

Overall, you sound like you know what you are doing, and the PE test is not a measuring stick for your "intelligence" as an engineer. The speed of the exam was my biggest hurdle. Once I increased my speed by making my information more organized, I performed much better.

Hope this helps! Good luck on achieving your goal!

Thank you very much SmilinEd.... I will definitely spend some time re-organizing my already tabbed references to make them easier to reference during the exam. And as everyone has been telling me, spend the next few months just doing practice problems...

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8 hours ago, justin-hawaii said:

@jvanoye. The majority of the people who pass are confident on at least 60 problems and had sufficient time to check their work. 

I believe that having sufficient time to check your work helps to eliminate errors, since the exam possible answers are specifically selected to match the most common errors, like unit errors or radius instead of diameter. It seems like you have enough time and are able to catch those types of errors? If time were more of an issue, then I would suggest doing problems over and over again to increase your speed. I would also suggest making cheat sheets for the problems that you know will have a high likelihood of being on the exam. For example, just based on the ncees outline and sample exam, there is a high likelihood of a fastener group analysis problem. You could make a cheat sheet of the main possible problems within this topic. These problems would include an eccentric or concentric load that is either in plane or out of plane.  The bolt geometry would be specific to the problem but could be figured out with the understanding of the underlying concept. 

The fact that you aced vibration and strength of materials indicates to me that you truly understand the key concepts and skills in these topics. What do you think made you confident in those topics? Perhaps you can use that same method for the other topics? 

Overall i think your approach is sound. 

Thank you for your valuable advice Justin...time management continues to be an issue so I will definitely have to do what you said. Do problems over and over again to increase my speed. I have made "cheatsheets" as well but not for every problem,  so this is something I need to look into as well.

I took your survey by the way but for some reason I wasn't able to view the overall results, can you provide a link to that?

Thanks again for your help !!

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18 hours ago, jvanoye said:

Thank you for the tips and yes I have all the printouts from Dr. Tom's lessons in the 6 binders he had us assemble during the class. May I ask how much time you put in to prepping for the exam?

Not nearly as much as I could have spent studying but I remembered a lot of it from college. I didn't count hours but I'd be surprised if it was over 150 hours. 

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