Deceptive Exam - OCT 2017 - Engineer Boards
Jump to content
Engineer Boards
Sign in to follow this  
schedengr

Deceptive Exam

Recommended Posts

I took the Construction Civil PE exam for the 2nd time (Oct. '17) and swore I aced it. I left so confident that I felt I would never be coming back. Much to my amazement I failed, I missed 14 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon. I really felt the construction exam was super easy and honestly I certainly don't feel like I missed the concepts, I feel more like I didn't understand the tricks. This test is very deceptive and it's frustrating that at one time the exam was much more straight-forward. The one aspect I learned from studying for this exam is, quantity and quality of hours devoted to studying doesn't mean a thing. This test is a combination of luck and knowing the tricks of what is being asked. I learned from this attempt don't leave feeling arrogant, and another one is I don't think it's very practical to say one can ace the breadth exam. I feel like I keep getting around 27-28/40 for the morning and that's the best I can get. I need to ace the afternoon, and it may be I need a different depth. I owe it to my family more than anything to take time away from studying. Hard to believe I aced civil engineering in college and have failed twice. Congrats on everyone who passed this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, schedengr said:

This test is very deceptive and it's frustrating that at one time the exam was much more straight-forward. The one aspect I learned from studying for this exam is, quantity and quality of hours devoted to studying doesn't mean a thing. This test is a combination of luck and knowing the tricks of what is being asked. 

giphy.gif

2 minutes ago, schedengr said:

Hard to believe I aced civil engineering in college

LOL

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, schedengr said:

I took the Construction Civil PE exam for the 2nd time (Oct. '17) and swore I aced it. I left so confident that I felt I would never be coming back. Much to my amazement I failed, I missed 14 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon. I really felt the construction exam was super easy and honestly I certainly don't feel like I missed the concepts, I feel more like I didn't understand the tricks. This test is very deceptive and it's frustrating that at one time the exam was much more straight-forward. The one aspect I learned from studying for this exam is, quantity and quality of hours devoted to studying doesn't mean a thing. This test is a combination of luck and knowing the tricks of what is being asked. I learned from this attempt don't leave feeling arrogant, and another one is I don't think it's very practical to say one can ace the breadth exam. I feel like I keep getting around 27-28/40 for the morning and that's the best I can get. I need to ace the afternoon, and it may be I need a different depth. I owe it to my family more than anything to take time away from studying. Hard to believe I aced civil engineering in college and have failed twice. Congrats on everyone who passed this time.

::hugs:: This test has nothing to do with how intelligent you are.  I'm going to be taking the exam for the third time as well.  Keep at it.  You'll get it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, schedengr said:

I took the Construction Civil PE exam for the 2nd time (Oct. '17) and swore I aced it. I left so confident that I felt I would never be coming back. Much to my amazement I failed, I missed 14 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon. I really felt the construction exam was super easy and honestly I certainly don't feel like I missed the concepts, I feel more like I didn't understand the tricks. This test is very deceptive and it's frustrating that at one time the exam was much more straight-forward. The one aspect I learned from studying for this exam is, quantity and quality of hours devoted to studying doesn't mean a thing. This test is a combination of luck and knowing the tricks of what is being asked. I learned from this attempt don't leave feeling arrogant, and another one is I don't think it's very practical to say one can ace the breadth exam. I feel like I keep getting around 27-28/40 for the morning and that's the best I can get. I need to ace the afternoon, and it may be I need a different depth. I owe it to my family more than anything to take time away from studying. Hard to believe I aced civil engineering in college and have failed twice. Congrats on everyone who passed this time.

It seems like the test has always been deceptive.  There were several that after reading the question several times to get what it was after, that I was like, well why the heck didn't you just ask that in the first place!?!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They include answer choices that you would calculate after making a common error. This is tricky because you'll think you answered it right because your answer matched a choice. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off, this test is not deceptive nor does it try to "trick" you. The test is designed to test a minimal level of competency in the respective engineering focus areas. Exam questions are worded such that they test your understanding on specific topics accordingly to demonstrate that you are using correct assumptions, procedures, and calculations (if required). 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, knight1fox3 said:

First off, this test is not deceptive nor does it try to "trick" you. The test is designed to test a minimal level of competency in the respective engineering focus areas. Exam questions are worded such that they test your understanding on specific topics accordingly to demonstrate that you are using correct assumptions, procedures, and calculations (if required). 

I disagree to a point. I understand that the exam is designed to test competency, but it does throw extra parameters in the problems that could easily throw you off if you didn't understand what they were asking.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, knight1fox3 said:

First off, this test is not deceptive nor does it try to "trick" you. The test is designed to test a minimal level of competency in the respective engineering focus areas. Exam questions are worded such that they test your understanding on specific topics accordingly to demonstrate that you are using correct assumptions, procedures, and calculations (if required). 

Lies.  All of them. 

So maybe deceptive is not right, but some of the questions could be phrased in a slightly more logical and/or straightforward way.  Maybe it is just the Civil side that things get worded screwy.  Or maybe it is that there are so many ways to do something through the different disciplines that you have to know which topic they are getting at with a question.  I don't know.  I have had several people mention to be careful and really understand the question, it may not be asking what you originally think. 

I'm just glad that unit conversion in the civil world is so much easier than the mechanical world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, txjennah said:

I disagree to a point. I understand that the exam is designed to test competency, but it does throw extra parameters in the problems that could easily throw you off if you didn't understand what they were asking.  

Which helps make my point. If one has a complete understanding of the topic/question that is posed, it will likely be known to ignore any extraneous parameters. If everything were exactly straight forward, it wouldn't be an exam.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, vhab49 said:

So maybe deceptive is not right, but some of the questions could be phrased in a slightly more logical and/or straightforward way. 

As mentioned above, then it wouldn't be an exam, now would it? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, knight1fox3 said:

Which helps make my point. If one has a complete understanding of the topic/question that is posed, it will likely be known to ignore any extraneous parameters. If everything were exactly straight forward, it wouldn't be an exam.

Sure. I don't disagree that it's designed to test your competency by being difficult.  But throwing in the extra parameters can make it deceptive if you're not paying attention ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But that's part of the intent.  If you, as a minimally competent engineer, can't identify and discard extra parameters, that's a problem.  

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wondering the two of your who are disagreeing took the construction exam.. because your disciplines say mechanical and electrical.....

(Also not at all saying those two are easier - I couldn't even imagine attempting one of those problems)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, DCHopeful said:

Just wondering the two of your who are disagreeing took the construction exam.. because your disciplines say mechanical and electrical.....

(Also not at all saying those two are easier - I couldn't even imagine attempting one of those problems)

I did not. But I can tell you with certainty that when I did take the Power PE exam, a good number of problems were riddled with extraneous information where one had to carefully analyze the problem and ONLY answer WHAT WAS BEING ASKED. Especially when it came to dealing with topics on phasors, transient analysis, and signals. :thumbs:

I just think "deceive" is not being used in the appropriate context as associated with the Principles and Practice Examination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Ramnares P.E. said:

But that's part of the intent.  If you, as a minimally competent engineer, can't identify and discard extra parameters, that's a problem.  

I'm not arguing that it isn't.  But it's also designed to throw you off if you're not reading the question carefully.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, knight1fox3 said:

I did not. But I can tell you with certainty that when I did take the Power PE exam, a good number of problems were riddled with extraneous information where one had to carefully analyze the problem and ONLY answer WHAT WAS BEING ASKED. Especially when it came to dealing with phasors, transient analysis, and signals. :thumbs:

This ^ (except for the phasors etc. part).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember having to go back to problems and noticing that I forgot to divide by two or multiply by four, etc. numerous times.  The extra parameters get us to make mistakes without knowing.  Nevertheless, there are also problems that we have to ignore some parameters.  It kind of throws you off a bit when time is running out.  I had to slow down and reread the question and underline parameters and next thing you know forgot all about what I was doing and end up going with a wrong step somewhere.  Sometimes I feel like I should just close all books and rest well during week of exam and I would do better distinguishing the little tricks/nuisances.  Or just not study at all, because after all I have already put in over 300 hours total after taking the exam twice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part of passing the PE is knowing how to read and interpret NCEES' questions. For example, when I was studying there was an NCEES PRACTICE PROBLEM that talked about flow into and out of an aeration basin. I got the PRACTICE PROBLEM wrong because I tried to solve it as if it was an aeration basin mass balance problem. Checking the solution showed that it was a simple open channel problem. From that point on, I was very careful when reading the problem.  

Edited by matt267 PE
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, schedengr said:

I took the Construction Civil PE exam for the 2nd time (Oct. '17) and swore I aced it. I left so confident that I felt I would never be coming back. Much to my amazement I failed, I missed 14 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon. I really felt the construction exam was super easy and honestly I certainly don't feel like I missed the concepts, I feel more like I didn't understand the tricks. This test is very deceptive and it's frustrating that at one time the exam was much more straight-forward. The one aspect I learned from studying for this exam is, quantity and quality of hours devoted to studying doesn't mean a thing. This test is a combination of luck and knowing the tricks of what is being asked. I learned from this attempt don't leave feeling arrogant, and another one is I don't think it's very practical to say one can ace the breadth exam. I feel like I keep getting around 27-28/40 for the morning and that's the best I can get. I need to ace the afternoon, and it may be I need a different depth. I owe it to my family more than anything to take time away from studying. Hard to believe I aced civil engineering in college and have failed twice. Congrats on everyone who passed this time.

Wow. Absolutely not. I have no sympathy for this, you seem like you feel entitled to pass.

If you cannot identify what a question is asking or differentiate between what parts of a question are useful versus unnecessary then you have no business stamping engineering plans.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen a few people here on EB say they don't study at all and after taking the exam 3 or 4 times they pass it.  My guess is they already spent so much time studying for the first or second attempt its just no use or benefit to keep working and reading the same material.  It would be nice if I can just do that and end up passing.  I would still get quality time with family and have a clear open mind to do well on the exam.  Someone else needs to test out this theory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, DCHopeful said:

Just wondering the two of your who are disagreeing took the construction exam.. because your disciplines say mechanical and electrical.....

(Also not at all saying those two are easier - I couldn't even imagine attempting one of those problems)

What level of questions should be minimally acceptable?

Which part of any engineering job is not riddled with a bunch of nonsense and useless information?

If you read the questions on the test and understand the concepts, you should have an above average shot at answering it correctly.

 

I remember one particular question when I took it last that had a whole table of info provided. After reading the question again, there was only 2 lines that pertained to the question being asked. So, I feel that I got the correct answer because I paid enough attention to see what they were asking for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Ken PE 3.1 said:

Which part of any engineering job is not riddled with a bunch of nonsense and useless information?

 

Especially those that work in government. 

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure not passing is a hard pill to swallow but it will not serve anyone to blame the test. Yeah it throws curveballs but it is not intended to be easy. Take a few days to let it sink in and then get back in there. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The geotechnical depth was fairly straightforward back when I took it. I've heard the construction depth questions tend to be tricky on account of the concepts themselves being relatively straightforward. So I don't disagree with your complaint, but I do disagree that the quality and quantity of study time doesn't matter. It's a function of both doing enough practice questions and understanding the concepts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...