October 2018 Exam - impressions - Geotech - Engineer Boards
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October 2018 Exam - impressions

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I felt prepared for all the actual problems on the exam, since I had used the NCEES exam books, Goswami's practice exams, and some other problem sets. I was a little surprised by how many theory/qualitative questions were on the exam. Had to use my best judgment on a lot, guess on a few. The Geotechnical Engineer's Handbook was pretty helpful for those types of questions. This was my first time taking the exam and overall I felt the difficulty was pretty fair. I took the exam in passes. If I didn't immediately know how to do the problem I skipped it. Ended up doing about 12 problems quickly without much difficulty on the first pass. Did a second pass on problems I had to look up, and got to my final pass with like 1.5 hours left to do 10 problems. Those I took my time going through my references and my School of PE binders to see if I could find an obscure reference. Had plenty of time to review my morning and afternoon section before time expired.

Edited by scotty_c3

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I thought the AM section was really tough (way tougher than the NCEES practice exam) and was surprised to find the geotech section to be more manageable than the AM. The difficulty of the morning threw me off a bit. As for the afternoon, I also thought there were a lot of theory questions, most of which were pretty obscure. And I had to use my judgement on a few of them because the information provided in the question was either strange or lacking in some way. I also felt like there weren’t as many “traditional” geotech questions as I was expecting. All in all, maybe I’m just feeling the post-exam blues but I felt like it was harder than I was expecting. And I did really well on the practice exams (which I timed and tried to replicate testing conditions) but time will tell!

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Same here. I studied for around three months, took multiple practice exams (Goswami, NCEES, PE Prepared) and took a PPI breadth and depth on demand course. I feel that the morning was very tough and was nothing like any of the practice exams. There were multiple items/sections on the AM that were not covered in my breadth course. The problems in the AM were not calculation based hard like Goswami but obscure hard. The PM geotech calculation based problems were my bread and butter but the conceptual questions were tough and I had to mostly make educated guesses between the final two options..

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I’ll jump in, had to create an account real quick. 

I thought the morning session was a bit tougher than the practice exams I worked. There was a fair amount of geotech on it though and I was grateful for that. I started off poorly panicking on how to solve the first problem lol. I never got back around to it and it was the only AM question I completely guessed on when they announced one minute remaining haha. Hard to tell but I’d be happy with 30/40 on the AM, I last minute brought in a couple of extra text books on steel design and mechanics of materials that surprisingly came in handy. Going back to problems I had initially skipped I found that at least a few of them were pretty simple and I just needed a second look at them. 

I was looking forward to the afternoon session, having spent the last two weeks working nothing but Geo problems. But in my first pass I still had 15 or so problems to go back to, primarily those damn qualitative words questions. Seemed like half of the afternoon were practical word problems and I wasn’t expecting quite that many. I thought the quantitative problems were pretty straightforward, doesn’t mean I got them right but I felt like I knew what I was doing. Perhaps they tricked me? I spent the last hour and a half furiously flipping through the three geo textbooks I brought in looking for key words to finish out the qualitative questions.

all told I give myself 50/50 odds. Which I suppose is better than the 25/75 odds i have just by guessing haha!

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For the most part I agree with you guys.  Originally, I felt like the morning was not nearly as bad as was being said.  However, now that I have had time to reflect upon it (which I can't stop from doing), there are definitely 4 questions that I missed that I should not have...This is not including the 5 or so that I was unsure of. Plus, I undoubtedly made a few other mistakes here and there.  I am also hoping for 30/40 just as Jimmythedude said.  As far as the PM session goes, I have no clue...could be good or bad.  Its only been a week and I am starting to stress!

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3 minutes ago, SDB said:

For the most part I agree with you guys.  Originally, I felt like the morning was not nearly as bad as was being said.  However, now that I have had time to reflect upon it (which I can't stop from doing), there are definitely 4 questions that I missed that I should not have...This is not including the 5 or so that I was unsure of. Plus, I undoubtedly made a few other mistakes here and there.  I am also hoping for 30/40 just as Jimmythedude said.  As far as the PM session goes, I have no clue...could be good or bad.  Its only been a week and I am starting to stress!

My husband walked out of his exam and said, "I passed, I only had 2 I didn't know."  And then over the next hour talked himself into failing.  Note, not current session (he did pass BTW) nor Geotech, but just reminder that you will stress over it, and go back and rethink all of your answers.

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1 hour ago, SDB said:

For the most part I agree with you guys.  Originally, I felt like the morning was not nearly as bad as was being said.  However, now that I have had time to reflect upon it (which I can't stop from doing), there are definitely 4 questions that I missed that I should not have...This is not including the 5 or so that I was unsure of. Plus, I undoubtedly made a few other mistakes here and there.  I am also hoping for 30/40 just as Jimmythedude said.  As far as the PM session goes, I have no clue...could be good or bad.  Its only been a week and I am starting to stress!

I am in the same boat as you, major stress.... Morning session felt hard to me and I walked out knowing of a few I for sure got wrong. Then a few more creeped up that are for sure wrong, and a lot more that I was in the 66-80% confidence range... The afternoon is a crap shoot as a lot of the conceptual questions were very very tricky with the wording... One word added into the question statement made some answers choices wrong when they normally would have been right. Some of the questions and what they were asking were not fair as they were poorly worded or lacked information to really make a decision between two answer choices.. Only time will tell at this point.

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1 hour ago, SDB said:

Are you going to contact NCEES to have any questions reviewed?

If you can remember what the questions were asking and give a general comment as to why you think it was not a good worded question/has potential to not have a right answer or multiple right answers it is definitely worth writing to them and asking them to review the problems through the My NCEES portal.

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I'm just gonna roll with the punches...I was just wondering if anyone was going to submit a question(s) for review. 

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I wrote a draft email with specific questions/concerns about a couple of the afternoon geotech questions that I thought were worded poorly or lacked some information. (I know I felt that way about more than a couple but I could only recall the specifics of two questions). I haven’t sent it, not sure if I will. I might just be feeling a little bitter about the whole experience and don’t want to come off sounding the wrong way.

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3 hours ago, hjones said:

I wrote a draft email with specific questions/concerns about a couple of the afternoon geotech questions that I thought were worded poorly or lacked some information. (I know I felt that way about more than a couple but I could only recall the specifics of two questions). I haven’t sent it, not sure if I will. I might just be feeling a little bitter about the whole experience and don’t want to come off sounding the wrong way.

If you remember them you should! It has nothing to do with being bitter about the test. Worst case scenario they review them and decide that they were worded fine and nothing changes. Best case, they get thrown out... it potentially helps you and everyone else. There’s no negative to it...

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Is the morning session the same for Geotechnical, Structural , Construction and Water Resources ? I took the structural , I felt I did good on the morning session. Not sure if it is because I did good or maybe the morning test for structural guys was different from geotechnical 

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2 minutes ago, PE 2018 said:

Is the morning session the same for Geotechnical, Structural , Construction and Water Resources ? I took the structural , I felt I did good on the morning session. Not sure if it is because I did good or maybe the morning test for structural guys was different from geotechnical 

The morning is the same for everyone who’s taking the Civil PE whether it’s structural, geotechnical, transportation, WRE, construction. That’s good that you felt good on the morning section. Most people I’ve heard from said they thought it was kind of tough. There were a lot of conceptual questions that were very tricky in my opinion... 

 

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I’ve been trying to recall depth questions so I can research them and get a better idea as to where I stand.  However, I can only recall a handful...think my brain is trying to save me from myself.

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I felt good coming out the morning portion of the exam. I guessed between 7-8 questions (concept questions) because of time. I am sure the AM portion is the same for all disciplines. As for the Transportation depth, I didn't feel the same as the AM.

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1 hour ago, KOKOMO777 said:

I felt good coming out the morning portion of the exam. I guessed between 7-8 questions (concept questions) because of time. I am sure the AM portion is the same for all disciplines. As for the Transportation depth, I didn't feel the same as the AM.

I heard the PM transportation was rough for most.. The geotech PM was deceptive because most of the calc based problems were fairly straight forward but there were so many conceptual that had very tricky nuances to the question. Mostly the concensus was the PM geotech wasn't that bad, but that is without knowing what the answers to those conceptual questions were...

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16 minutes ago, GeoDude said:

I heard the PM transportation was rough for most.. The geotech PM was deceptive because most of the calc based problems were fairly straight forward but there were so many conceptual that had very tricky nuances to the question. Mostly the concensus was the PM geotech wasn't that bad, but that is without knowing what the answers to those conceptual questions were...

The Transportation depth was rough. I guessed between 10-12 questions that I didn't have a clue of working it. There were questions that I got answers for...not sure it was the right answer but they were some what close.

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On 10/27/2018 at 9:14 PM, hjones said:

I thought the AM section was really tough (way tougher than the NCEES practice exam) and was surprised to find the geotech section to be more manageable than the AM. The difficulty of the morning threw me off a bit. As for the afternoon, I also thought there were a lot of theory questions, most of which were pretty obscure. And I had to use my judgement on a few of them because the information provided in the question was either strange or lacking in some way. I also felt like there weren’t as many “traditional” geotech questions as I was expecting. All in all, maybe I’m just feeling the post-exam blues but I felt like it was harder than I was expecting. And I did really well on the practice exams (which I timed and tried to replicate testing conditions) but time will tell!

Well well well...look who it is.....

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Well the more I think of it , the more mistakes I realize I made in the afternoon session. That being said I am hopeful of scoring 34 in the AM and 24 in the PM(Structural). Not sure that if 58 would be enough to pass. Do you think they will have separate cut offs for both sessions ? There are not many Structural users here , just trying to calm my nerves by posting here and getting some feedback

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There's no such thing as separate cut score.. I'm trying to plan for either way, and find something productive to do for a month :)

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17 hours ago, PE 2018 said:

Well the more I think of it , the more mistakes I realize I made in the afternoon session. That being said I am hopeful of scoring 34 in the AM and 24 in the PM(Structural). Not sure that if 58 would be enough to pass. Do you think they will have separate cut offs for both sessions ? There are not many Structural users here , just trying to calm my nerves by posting here and getting some feedback

If 58/80 doesn’t pass structural then the pass rate would be next to nothing..

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Based on the comments posted, it seems most of us are in the same boat. Just curious...How many Geo’s out there think 54ish will be enough to pass?

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