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mckenz007

Dr. Tom's Classroom

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Has any one here taken Dr. Tom's Classroom as prep for the PE? I enrolled in the fast track course and have currently completed weeks 1-4. I appreciate having the extra guidance and structure but I can't help but feel that the course is giving me a false sense of security. The assessment quiz questions and challenge problems don't seem to be all that difficult to me... is this because I'm well prepared or is the material too easy in comparison to the actual exam? He also assigns problems out of Six Minute Problems TF and the 2016 NCEES exam and I've been able to work through these without any major difficulties (I can answer around 70% correctly without looking at answers the first time through). He doesn't use the PPI Practice Problems book at all, but I had bought this prior to signing up. These questions tend to be a lot more challenging for me and seem to generally require making more assumptions and use more obscure equations. I'm already feeling the pressure of time for the April test and I don't know if I should stick solely to the DTC syllabus or if I should try to work all of the PPI Practice Problems along with it. So in summary:

  • Were you prepared for the PE after taking DTC? (i.e. did you pass?)
  • If so, did you only use the materials referenced in DTC or did you use other resources? (i.e. practice problems from other sources?)
  • Anyone else currently in DTC and feel the same way?

Thanks for any advice!

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I didn't take DTC, but I can tell you that the actual exam was in between the NCEES practice exam and the PPI Practice Problems in terms of difficulty. I admit that some of PPI's Practice Problems were ridiculously long/difficult but I definitely think they helped. Also, I think you have plenty of time to do some other practice exams like Slay the PE and Engineering Pro Guides. 

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I took DTC in preparation for the TFS exam. There was some material on the exam that he covers that was covered very lightly/not at all in the MERM. The biggest take away from the class for me was the "Dr. Tom Method." I cannot emphasize enough how much having materials arranged and organized is. Time is your worst enemy and being organized combats that. Having the common conversion factors memorized will be a big help as well. I passed. I used the material he recommended plus the technical section of a Goulds Pump Manual. The second piece of advice is MOVE ON. Don't dwell on a problem trying to "figure it out," which he also make a point of his method.

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I'm enrolled in the fast track for April 2018 Mechanical TFS. I think its a great review, but I agree about the worry regarding false sense of security. I know that its all about the "Dr. Tom Method" to just pass the exam and not get too far into the weeds on theory. My main concern is that I'm learning how to solve "that" particular problem, and "that" exact problem most likely wont be on the exam.

I'm really just focusing on problem identification, knowing what exactly is being asked, and really the first step or two of the problem solution. The rest is just number crunching.

I've been out of school for almost 3 years. Took/passed the Mechanical FE September 2017. Flying from VT to CA to take the PE since I can sit earlier in CA. My plan is to just put my head down and keep digging into Dr Tom's material as much as possible, going over practice problems several times, and taking the few days before the exam to take practice exams, get organized and relax.

Best of luck to all sitting the April exam.

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@ME_VT sounds like we are on very similar paths, I just took the mech FE last May, 5 years out of school at the time. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’m currently on “week 11” (thermo 2 combustion cycle stuff) - I think I’ll feel a little better once I’m through with all the lesson and can start doing non-stop problem solving using the PRNs as resources... fluids already seems like a distant memory 

@ericjiangpsu did you use study materials beyond those referenced in DTC? Such as PPI Practice Problems/ PPI Practice Exam, or did you stick just with Six Minute Problems, NCEES 2016 sample test and MERM? Congrats on passing!

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mckenz007 Yea I wish I had signed up earlier but wasn't sure if I'd be taking the exam. I'm on week 5, but the schedule is laid out such that I complete "two" weeks per week. Kind of brutal considering I have limited free time. I'm really just putting trust in having a TON of examples well organized, doing my best to really grasp/relearn Thermo/fluids, and getting through the actual lessons ASAP so I can focus on doing every practice problem I can get my hands on. The only problem is, most of them will be in my PRN's by that point...

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Dr. Tom's course uses both the Practice Exam and Six Minute for practicing problems.  He pick the problems from those books in the lecture. 

In the beginning of the course, he will tell you what books to buy.

 

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On 1/17/2018 at 8:28 AM, Sheshtawy said:

Also, I think you have plenty of time to do some other practice exams like Slay the PE and Engineering Pro Guides. 

Thanks! 

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@Sheshtawy thanks I will look into both of those sample test options! I’ve previously purchased the PPI test but I’ve heard since that it not very representative of the actual exam? I haven’t looked through it yet...

@ME_VT Studying in general is just brutal! I leave the dtc lessons feeling quite confident then feel hopeless when looking at problems that he hasn’t hand picked. I’m hoping with more practice it all comes together in the end though!

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On 2/5/2018 at 4:28 PM, mckenz007 said:

@Sheshtawy thanks I will look into both of those sample test options! I’ve previously purchased the PPI test but I’ve heard since that it not very representative of the actual exam? I haven’t looked through it yet...

@ME_VT Studying in general is just brutal! I leave the dtc lessons feeling quite confident then feel hopeless when looking at problems that he hasn’t hand picked. I’m hoping with more practice it all comes together in the end though!

Unfortunately the PPI practice exam you've purchased is probably based on the old exam specs, but they've just released a brand new practice exam for the new TFS specs, maybe you can check it out if you have $70 lying around that you don't know what to do with.

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You are good to try and challenge yourself.  I personally took a Testmasters prep course that helped me a lot.  I had the same false sense of security going into the exam.  I ignored the 6 minute solutions and PPI problems as they were overly complex compared to the NCEES exam questions.  They always made me overthink every problem, even the simple ones.  I would say if you can get your hands on as many practice exams as possible and can work them through comfortably, you should do well.  I passed the October exam with an 85 and I didn't touch the PPI or 6 minute solutions problems after I started the Testmasters course.  

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I am considering taking the TFS in October 2019.  I got my BSME in 1996 and haven't used much of it for the last 23 years.  In my new career a PE license would be a benefit.  I have borrowed the MERM 11th ed. from a co-worker and started to go through it.  I don't remember any of this stuff.  I am thinking that a class my be helpful for me to relearn this material.  I was considering taking the Dr. Tom's Classroom.  I would prefer a live class but that is not offered.  After reading this post I see that some people a year ago were concerned that the class may have not be preparing them for the difficulty level of the problems they may face on the exam.  Would anyone that has taken the TFS exam lately that has used Dr. Tom's Classroom as there primary preparation be willing to comment on how well it prepared them for the exam?

Thank you for any advice,

Matt

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On 1/25/2019 at 10:08 AM, MattW said:

I am considering taking the TFS in October 2019.  I got my BSME in 1996 and haven't used much of it for the last 23 years.  In my new career a PE license would be a benefit.  I have borrowed the MERM 11th ed. from a co-worker and started to go through it.  I don't remember any of this stuff.  I am thinking that a class my be helpful for me to relearn this material.  I was considering taking the Dr. Tom's Classroom.  I would prefer a live class but that is not offered.  After reading this post I see that some people a year ago were concerned that the class may have not be preparing them for the difficulty level of the problems they may face on the exam.  Would anyone that has taken the TFS exam lately that has used Dr. Tom's Classroom as there primary preparation be willing to comment on how well it prepared them for the exam?

Thank you for any advice,

Matt

I was in your situation (graduated in '96 and took the PE in 2015). I did not use a class, but instead used the methods outlined in the stickied post that Ramnares started:

First time passer right here!

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I took his course and solved all of his assigned questions, quizes, ncees practice and six minutes solution problems 3 times before the exam. His courses mostly focuses on the questions from the NCEES practice exam, however, the real exam had so many questions that he never covered or advised against spending time studying. I can honestly say his course maybe covered 50% of the October 2019 thermal fluids exam. The real exam was nothing like the practice NCEES exam or any other practice exam that i solved during my preparation. I think the exam difficulty becomes a lucky draw depending on the questions NCEES chooses. I don’t recommend taking his course due to being so basic and leaving so much on the table.  

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On 11/9/2019 at 8:15 PM, asu said:

I took his course and solved all of his assigned questions, quizes, ncees practice and six minutes solution problems 3 times before the exam. His courses mostly focuses on the questions from the NCEES practice exam, however, the real exam had so many questions that he never covered or advised against spending time studying. I can honestly say his course maybe covered 50% of the October 2019 thermal fluids exam. The real exam was nothing like the practice NCEES exam or any other practice exam that i solved during my preparation. I think the exam difficulty becomes a lucky draw depending on the questions NCEES chooses. I don’t recommend taking his course due to being so basic and leaving so much on the table.  

I would sign underneath. I did the same things for October 2019 exam. The whole class (Dr. Tom's Thermal-Fluids) and its materials were good for the P.M. portion mostly. But this was not because of the his course coverage, it was because NCEES asked so many questions in the A.M. portion that I was not expecting in October 2019 exam.

I believe I was not well-prepared with only Dr. Tom's class. I should have allocate more time for "Other" topics as well. I assumed the majority of the exam (like more than 80%) would be Thermal-Fluids related question (to my knowledge) BUT It was NOT :( (Say, it was like %70 - %30) But it is just my idea, may be they are all related but I could not figure it out.

I am in limbo because of that... Will see soon.

Edited by TX_PE_Oct19
wording

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2 hours ago, TX_PE_Oct19 said:

I would sign underneath. I did the same things for October 2019 exam. The whole class (Dr. Tom's Thermal-Fluids) and its materials were good for the P.M. portion mostly. But this was not because of the his course coverage, it was because NCEES asked so many NON-Thermal-Fluids questions in the A.M. portion in October 2019 exam.

I believe I was not well-prepared with only Dr. Tom's class. I should have allocate more time for "Other" topics as well. I assumed the majority of the exam (like more than 80%) would be Thermal-Fluids related question BUT It was NOT :( (Say, it was like %70 - %30)

I am in limbo because of that... Will see soon.

@asu @TX_PE_Oct19

Given your experience, what overall topics do you recommend future TFS test takers to brush up on?

Strength of materials? Vibrations? Design of Machine Elements? Statics?

Edited by Dr. Barber

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For whatever it's worth. I took the Dr. Tom MDM class in preparation for the Oct '18 exam and I felt that it did a great job preparing me. The exam wasn't exactly like the Dr. Tom problems, but close enough that I was able to figure everything out. (I passed.) I wrote a full review of the course if you're interested.

 

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16 hours ago, Dr. Barber said:

@asu @TX_PE_Oct19

Given your experience, what overall topics do you recommend future TFS test takers to brush up on?

Strength of materials? Vibrations? Design of Machine Elements? Statics?

With the new CBT style I am guessing NCEES can't ask questions out of their reference manual. Besides Statistics, Calculus and detailed Materials and Machine Design, I would suggest to study most of the topics just like studying to an FE exam. Do not focus and rely on the Practice Exam because it is misleading with the topics and number of questions from each topic. 

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4 hours ago, asu said:

Do not focus and rely on the Practice Exam because it is misleading with the topics and number of questions from each topic. 

👍100% Right

I solved 2001, 2011 and 2016.

October 2019 was surprising for me 🤐

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Same here, Dr. Tom's Classroom, Slay the PE, Engineering Pro Guides, NCEES 2001, 2011 and 2016.

Still was shocked with AM questions of October 2019.

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On 11/12/2019 at 11:42 AM, TX_PE_Oct19 said:

👍100% Right

I solved 2001, 2011 and 2016.

October 2019 was surprising for me 🤐

Out of curiosity I looked at the Page 5 of the latest NCEES Practice Exam regarding the Approximate Number for questions from each section. It says Basic Engineering Practice Section shows Approximate 6 problems and Supportive Knowledge Section Shows Approximate 4 questions with a total of 10 questions. This includes AM and PM Sections out of 80 problems. Now, the Practice Exam only had 8-9 questions total for these sections. The October 2019 exam had at least 20 questions total out of these sections. The question is can you sue NCEES for something like this without a proof since they don't provide the questions after the exam? They definitely did not stick with their own exam specification. Being and engineer, following industry standards and client's standards is a must. So what NCEES did with the October 2019 Exam is against their Ethics of Engineering. They better grade the Thermo Fluids Sections higher for the cut scores. 

Edited by asu

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2 hours ago, asu said:

Out of curiosity I looked at the Page 5 of the latest NCEES Practice Exam regarding the Approximate Number for questions from each section. It says Basic Engineering Practice Section shows Approximate 6 problems and Supportive Knowledge Section Shows Approximate 4 questions with a total of 10 questions. This includes AM and PM Sections out of 80 problems. Now, the Practice Exam only had 8-9 questions total for these sections. The October 2019 exam had at least 20 questions total out of these sections. The question is can you sue NCEES for something like this without a proof since they don't provide the questions after the exam? They definitely did not stick with their own exam specification. Being and engineer, following industry standards and client's standards is a must. So what NCEES did with the October 2019 Exam is against their Ethics of Engineering. They better grade the Thermo Fluids Sections higher for the cut scores. 

Sue them for what? What are the damages?  You don't even know if you failed or not!!!! Will you still sue if you passed?

If I'm a plaintiff's attorney and I'm to take your case in a contingency basis, you'd have to show me how you would have definitely passed if they had only asked 8 - 10 questions on general/supportive knowledge and that asking 18 - 20 was what made you fail.  Then you'd have to show me how having to retake the test makes you special and deserving of whatever it is your suit seeks.

Also, It's not like they singled YOU out and gave you a different test.  It was the whole cohort that was thrown this curveball, and the way they grade the test accounts for that.

Edited by Dr. Barber
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LOL, you're going to sue a test administrator because they didn't have exactly the number of questions listed after the word "approximate" in a practice exam.

 

fb0b2527c77639a084af136144dff6eab5d6b53f

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On 11/16/2019 at 10:01 AM, asu said:

Out of curiosity I looked at the Page 5 of the latest NCEES Practice Exam regarding the Approximate Number for questions from each section. It says Basic Engineering Practice Section shows Approximate 6 problems and Supportive Knowledge Section Shows Approximate 4 questions with a total of 10 questions. This includes AM and PM Sections out of 80 problems. Now, the Practice Exam only had 8-9 questions total for these sections. The October 2019 exam had at least 20 questions total out of these sections. The question is can you sue NCEES for something like this without a proof since they don't provide the questions after the exam? They definitely did not stick with their own exam specification. Being and engineer, following industry standards and client's standards is a must. So what NCEES did with the October 2019 Exam is against their Ethics of Engineering. They better grade the Thermo Fluids Sections higher for the cut scores. 

Please tell me this entire post was a glorious attempt at trolling?

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