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S Go Geo

Please help how to study to pass Geotech

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Hello all, 
I really need help and advice of how to study for PE. Any comments or advise will be greatly appreciated. 
 
2018 October was the 3rd attempt. 2019 April exam will be the 4th attempt. I am so lost and really don't know how to study. If there are any ways to follow or any books I must study
to pass the exam,I would definitely follow them. My background and work experiences are actually not related with geotech. I graduated with Architectural engineering Bachelors
degree not in US and have been working for general contractors as a project manager and an estimator for almost 10 years.
 
Last year I studied with EET and it was helpful for the AM session definitely. I  have studied NCEES problems, 6 minutes and the unsure sources I could collect like Goswami and PPI.
I thought I was quite prepared for AM but I still cannot believe my score.  
 
Depth is more problem for me. Should the exam takers be the only ones who work for the related field?  
Like many exam takers being said, I should have solved PE problems with my educated knowledge and could not find what problems are asking in any materials I have...  
I have studied CERM and solved NCEES sample questions, 6 minutes and others I could get as pdf files.  
This time I have bought "Geotechnical Engineer's Portable Handbook" by Robert W Day. I have not read through every page but I tried to be familiar with topics PE exam asks and was very
helpful for some problems for PM session.
Do I need to buy more books and read through? I have "Principles of Foundation Engineering by Braja A Das" and "Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering by Braja A Das" and have
read through some part.For Principles of Foundation Engineering, most of the subjects are too difficult for me.. so I tried to get geotechnical concepts of the theories...  
 
Please advise me if I have done something wrong or if I need more study. Please advise me how to study and what materials are helpful to study.  
Any comments will be greatly appreciated...
Edited by S Go Geo

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14 hours ago, S Go Geo said:
Hello all, 
I really need help and advice of how to study for PE. Any comments or advise will be greatly appreciated. 
 
2018 October was the 3rd attempt. 2019 April exam will be the 4th attempt. I am so lost and really don't know how to study. If there are any ways to follow or any books I must study
to pass the exam,I would definitely follow them. My background and work experiences are actually not related with geotech. I graduated with Architectural engineering Bachelors 
degree not in US and have been working for general contractors as a project manager and an estimator for almost 10 years.
 
Last year I studied with EET and it was helpful for the AM session definitely. I  have studied NCEES problems, 6 minutes and the unsure sources I could collect like Goswami and PPI.
I thought I was quite prepared for AM but I still cannot believe my score.  
 
Depth is more problem for me. Should the exam takers be the only ones who work for the related field?  
Like many exam takers being said, I should have solved PE problems with my educated knowledge and could not find what problems are asking in any materials I have...  
I have studied CERM and solved NCEES sample questions, 6 minutes and others I could get as pdf files.   
This time I have bought "Geotechnical Engineer's Portable Handbook" by Robert W Day. I have not read through every page but I tried to be familiar with topics PE exam asks and was very
helpful for some problems for PM session.
Do I need to buy more books and read through? I have "Principles of Foundation Engineering by Braja A Das" and "Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering by Braja A Das" and have
read through some part.For Principles of Foundation Engineering, most of the subjects are too difficult for me.. so I tried to get geotechnical concepts of the theories...  
 
Please advise me if I have done something wrong or if I need more study. Please advise me how to study and what materials are helpful to study.  
Any comments will be greatly appreciated...

I am sorry for your frustration.  First off, I relate to you in that my line of work is more-so project management with a very niche geotechnical contractor and not geotechnical design.  I went back and forth between taking construction depth and geotechnical depth.

I will say the thing that helped me the most was reviewing topics in the CERM and then also looking those topics up in the geotechnical references.  The CERM is a little weak on geotechnical so I would highly recommend you have other geotechnical references but it sounds like you have that covered with the Portable Handbook and both books by Das.  I regrettably did not have the portable handbook or the intro to geotech for the exam.  I only had the CERM and the Principles of Foundation. I would say to make sure you do the geotechnical 6 minute solutions at least once but preferably twice in preparation.  FULLY. Obviously some of the problems in there are not solvable and should definitely not be on the PE Exam but the rest are good practice. I also would recommend you revisit the NCEES Geotechnical Practice Exam (2014), and attempt to find a copy for purchase online of the 2011 NCEES practice exam as that had mostly different problems and was very helpful.  Redo Goswami practice exams, get PE Prepared Geotechnical depth practice exam and the PE Prepared Breadth practice exam.  There's not much more you can do than practice problems over and over and study the books that you have and be familiar with where the information is. 

If you don't mind me asking, what was your breakdown of this most recent exam (October)? It seems the cut score was somewhere around 50. Where you close to that? What was your breakdown between morning and afternoon? Of course, whichever you did worse in you need to make sure to spend time practicing those areas.  If you were close overall (high 40's) then keep your head up.  I took it this past October and some of the questions on there were SUPER tough and required a lot of engineering judgement/educated guessing. I believe that is why the cut score was so low.  I would highly advise you stick it out with Geotechnical and not switch depths. Geotech has the fewest references and overall I would venture to say the smallest amount of topics to cover. Make sure you practice the actual process of solving problems.  It is one thing to know how to solve a problem, it is another to be able to do it and get the right answer. Coming out of the exam I knew that 3/4 of the conceptual questions were up in the air but I felt as close to 100% confidence as I could be on the numerical problems and I believe that was key to me passing.

Hope this helps.

Keep your head up. You've got this!

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Thank you so much for your advice. 

In last April, the AM was 21 and PM was 25, in total 46 and October 2018 was also 46, 26 for AM and 20 for PM. 

Definitely I was more confident in PM for April exam and for October exam I was more confident in AM. 

Even though I have no any background of geotechnical I have been sticking to not changing my depth because I have already covered the subjects several times. 

 

I can recall the October depth problems and I was not able to even solve the numerical problems. Some of the problems did not look that difficult but I could not 

find the theories to apply. So I thought I should solve as many problems as I could this time. For conceptual questions I was able to get rid of two wrong answers but 

the two possible answers really made me confusing. I even was suspicious of my English reading. I might have to read through as many geotechnical references as I could.  

I will keep trying to study with many problems and reference books. 

I hope I could feel somewhat confident after this April exam.  

Really appreciate your advice and I will list up the books of what you said and establish the strategy by following your comment!  

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Here are list of references I am studying 

1 - Principles of Geotech Engrg - Braja Das

2 - CERM 

And list of Test books I am practicing:

1 - six-minute solutions for PE civil geotech

2 - Civi PE Geotechnical by pe prepared

3 - Geotechnical depth problems by bruce wolle

4 - Practice Tests Kit for Pe Geotechnical by Ali Sheikhbahaei -

Anything else?

Edited by YU99

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On 2/9/2019 at 10:49 AM, YU99 said:

Here are list of references I am studying 

1 - Principles of Geotech Engrg - Braja Das

2 - CERM 

And list of Test books I am practicing:

1 - six-minute solutions for PE civil geotech

2 - Civi PE Geotechnical by pe prepared

3 - Geotechnical depth problems by bruce wolle

4 - Practice Tests Kit for Pe Geotechnical by Ali Sheikhbahaei -

Anything else?

Both versions of the NCEES Practice Exam (2011 and 2014),  Goswami breadth practice exams, PE prepared breadth practice exams. As for he references I did not have it but apparently the Geotechnical Engineers Portable Handbook is a must have.

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