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roy167

Time Management

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Trying to devise a strategy on time management. 

I am guessing out of 40 questions in each half. If you are reasonably prepared, should be able to answer 10-12 questions(roughly 1/3rd) without referring at all to little look up. 

Another 10-13 questions(1/3rd) will be of code type. which You will need to look in code book/NESC etc. 

That leaves us with 1/3rd remaining hard questions, half of which 5-6 questions , you might be able to answer with heavy referencing. That leaves us another 5-6 questions which are really tough. 

Does the above sound about ball park right? If you have a different understanding, please let's know.   

 

 

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I posted this elsewhere from my feelings:

 

Very Easy 5

Easy 10 

Medium 50

Hard 10

Very Hard 5 (no clue/straight guesses)

 

Very easy were answered maybe less than 30 seconds - includes reading, answering, no lookup or simple calculator.  

Easy were no lookups but maybe more reading or more calculation

Medium includes NEC and lookups

Hard + very hard were lots of lookups

NEC questions definitely took up the majority of the time; also since there were so many, but because even if you know where to look it's still time consuming.  But you know the ansewr is there if you can find it, you must do well on these, I'd say at least 10/12 or more

 

It's all relative.  It could be a simple word question but you've never seen that piece of equipment before and spend time going through each book ad nauseum.....while someone else knows it and they finish it in less than 30 seconds.

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I used this guide  in regards to time management.  It came from the intro in the Spin-up review guide.  Approach using a "5 pass" strategy

Go through all problems in order.  Morning and afternoon.  On this first pass go ahead and work low hanging fruit.  You either know the answer from the top of your head or you can find it quickly from your notes and formula sheet.  You will assign numbers 2 - 5 on the rest of the problems but will not work them on this first pass. 

Mark all Code problems with a "2" to work on second pass. 

Mark all problems (non-Code) that you can quickly look up in a reference book with a "3" to work on the third pass.

Mark all problems with a "4" that you know you can find but you don't recall which specific reference.  Work these on the fourth pass. 

Mark all problems with a "5" that will be a flat out guess.  Also, certain previous problems may end up being "5"'s by the time you get to the fifth pass. 

Passes 1-4  should be able to be worked no more than 4-6 minutes.  if they take longer move them to a "5" for work on the fifth pass. 

The beauty of this plan is you end up working all the Code  problems on the same pass without having to go back and forth between the NEC book and other references.  I also strongly recommend getting Complex Imaginary's NEC drill book and going through as much of that as possible prior to the exam.  I only went through a third of it but it was still very helpful.

By the time you start working the fifth pass problems hopefully you may have realized how to work some without having to guess.  For the ones I had to guess on I looked at which letter had been trending on the one's I'd actually worked and chose that one.  Some people have said that they chose the one that hadn't been trending.  Whatever logic you like.  Much better than just choosing all "C"'s. :D

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Katy, that's very helpful summary. 

So it looks like you can write on your question paper? Is this correct? When do you bubble answer sheet? As you go? or at the end? or you can bubble 5 or 10 at a time?

 

 

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1 hour ago, KatyLied P.E. said:

I used this guide  in regards to time management.  It came from the intro in the Spin-up review guide.  Approach using a "5 pass" strategy

Go through all problems in order.  Morning and afternoon.  On this first pass go ahead and work low hanging fruit.  You either know the answer from the top of your head or you can find it quickly from your notes and formula sheet.  You will assign numbers 2 - 5 on the rest of the problems but will not work them on this first pass. 

Mark all Code problems with a "2" to work on second pass. 

Mark all problems (non-Code) that you can quickly look up in a reference book with a "3" to work on the third pass.

Mark all problems with a "4" that you know you can find but you don't recall which specific reference.  Work these on the fourth pass. 

Mark all problems with a "5" that will be a flat out guess.  Also, certain previous problems may end up being "5"'s by the time you get to the fifth pass. 

Passes 1-4  should be able to be worked no more than 4-6 minutes.  if they take longer move them to a "5" for work on the fifth pass. 

The beauty of this plan is you end up working all the Code  problems on the same pass without having to go back and forth between the NEC book and other references.  I also strongly recommend getting Complex Imaginary's NEC drill book and going through as much of that as possible prior to the exam.  I only went through a third of it but it was still very helpful.

By the time you start working the fifth pass problems hopefully you may have realized how to work some without having to guess.  For the ones I had to guess on I looked at which letter had been trending on the one's I'd actually worked and chose that one.  Some people have said that they chose the one that hadn't been trending.  Whatever logic you like.  Much better than just choosing all "C"'s. :D

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like a good plan. How much time did it take you to read all the questions and mark them based on difficulty ?

Edited by Messi

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Hey! I wrote up my whole 'exam taking strategy' (it is a general strategy for all test I ever took, really). Similar to the above method with identifying difficulty of questions. 

Quick summary of what is discussed at that link, though I go into more detail on the link:

I used a ‘1-2-3’ method while taking the exams. I used to do this in college – it helps identify which questions to return to at the end, and lets you estimate how you did on the exam (so you can spend less time worrying afterwords.) While working on the questions, annotate each one with a ‘1, 2, or 3’ on the far right margin of the page.

1 = I’m sure I got this right.

2 = I was able to narrow it down to 2 answers (of a possible 4) and I had to ‘guess’ a little between those two.

3 = No better than a monkey, I guessed.

Edited by ItsStudyTime!
updating to correct URL
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Thanks Katy, that's very helpful summary. 
So it looks like you can write on your question paper? Is this correct? When do you bubble answer sheet? As you go? or at the end? or you can bubble 5 or 10 at a time?
 
 

That’s right. Unless they’ve changed the you can write in the book. I bubble answered as I went.


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Looks like a good plan. How much time did it take you to read all the questions and mark them based on difficulty ?


My memory is fuzzy since I took it in 2014 but I’ll say it took me 30 minutes to make my first pass. By that time I’l answered about 7 “low hanging fruit” questions and assigned all numbers. I went with my first mind on what to assign numbers. Did not delay. I figured if the numbers changed that would work itself out as I made the passes. Obviously it was easy to assign 2 to Code problems. I cannot stress enough how helpful Complex Imaginary’s Code drill book was. That book has a great strategy on how to approach Code problems. It took me about 4 minutes to answer each one of those. I felt like I’d gotten all those right.


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katy, 

I haven't even started preparing for code problems yet for April exam. I just got CI drill book and busy with going through other material. If you allot a week or two to code problem is that enough? studying 1 hour on weekdays and 5-6 hours on weekend. I bought Tom's Index, did you use any tabs to find the info quickly? We need to get most of the code problems right because you know they are in the code book. Rest of the stuff is wide open.  

 

 

  

 

 

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 2:42 PM, roy167 said:

katy, 

I haven't even started preparing for code problems yet for April exam. I just got CI drill book and busy with going through other material. If you allot a week or two to code problem is that enough? studying 1 hour on weekdays and 5-6 hours on weekend. I bought Tom's Index, did you use any tabs to find the info quickly? We need to get most of the code problems right because you know they are in the code book. Rest of the stuff is wide open.  

 

 

  

 

 

If you use the Complex Imaginary book I think a solid week of study would suffice.  I actually did it in spurts over the last 2 months.  You might find it better to try to do 10-12 problems a week out of the drill book.  The key to the Code is knowing the correct section to look at and the only way to do that is to work as many of the drill problems as possible.  Keywords!!  The drill book's intro has a good explanation on how to do this and also provides a great template in how to approach the problems.  The approach is the same so even if you don't work all the problems you will know how to approach any NEC problem that comes your way.  As you work through the sample problems you will also find that the answers are concentrated in a select number of sections.  Knowing those key sections will go a long way. 

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 2:42 PM, roy167 said:

katy, 

I haven't even started preparing for code problems yet for April exam. I just got CI drill book and busy with going through other material. If you allot a week or two to code problem is that enough? studying 1 hour on weekdays and 5-6 hours on weekend. I bought Tom's Index, did you use any tabs to find the info quickly? We need to get most of the code problems right because you know they are in the code book. Rest of the stuff is wide open.  

 

 

  

 

 

Also, I did not buy Tom's index so I can't speak for that.  I do want to reemphasize the importance of reading and following the guidance in the CI NEC drill book introduction. 

Edited by KatyLied P.E.
Added the word "introduction".

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15 hours ago, KatyLied P.E. said:

Also, I did not buy Tom's index so I can't speak for that.  I do want to reemphasize the importance of reading and following the guidance in the CI NEC drill book. 

Have you used anything besides CI drill book to prepare for NEC code problems? or Just reading and following the CI drill guidance and then work all the practice and this should prepare you for the code problems?  Code is my weaker area. Thanks

 

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2 hours ago, roy167 said:

Have you used anything besides CI drill book to prepare for NEC code problems? or Just reading and following the CI drill guidance and then work all the practice and this should prepare you for the code problems?  Code is my weaker area. Thanks

 

I felt that the CI drill book adequately prepared me for the Code questions.  Follow their process as you work through the problems!!  I also took the Georgia Tech PE review course (Great course BTW.) which had some Code material.  It was good but if you use the CI book you will get the same info and also more sample problems.  Also, don't forget about the NESC (electric utility guidelines).  The general consensus is that the exam is more focused on the NEC as opposed to the NESC.  I did not focus a lot of my review time on the NESC.  I did check out a copy of the NESC handbook from the library to take into the exam with me.  I read the introduction, reviewed the table of contents, and gained a high level understanding of where the general topics were.  Different people have different experiences with the NESC questions but that's what worked for me.

Full disclosure:  I am an electric utility employee but I still felt that, if you have the book,  NESC questions were straightforward even for non-utility employees.

One final thing.  For the NEC and NESC I used the handbook as opposed to the regular code book.  Same info.  it's just that the handbooks are written in plain English and also have illustrations.  Some folks say that the handbooks are more of chore to navigate through because of the additional plain English.  I feel that by the time you go through the CI drill book you won't find that to be a problem

 

Edited by KatyLied P.E.
Corrected punctuation

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Based on practice tests, I noticed I make silly mistakes when I try to stay within 6 mins per question (using a timer). If I forget about time, my score improved significantly but I end up with a few questions unfinished at the end of the allocated 4 hrs for each section. I guess I don’t do well under pressure, which was not the case when I was in school. I am getting worried now ☹️

Any advice? I am thinking to start with questions I know well, then guess the few at the end (when I run out of time).

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Based on practice tests, I noticed I make silly mistakes when I try to stay within 6 mins per question (using a timer). If I forget about time, my score improved significantly but I end up with a few questions unfinished at the end of the allocated 4 hrs for each section. I guess I don’t do well under pressure, which was not the case when I was in school. I am getting worried now
Any advice? I am thinking to start with questions I know well, then guess the few at the end (when I run out of time).


See my first thread in this particular post for the strategy I used to answer questions. Some tips from Spinup.


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On 3/11/2019 at 11:30 PM, Mercy said:

Based on practice tests, I noticed I make silly mistakes when I try to stay within 6 mins per question (using a timer). If I forget about time, my score improved significantly but I end up with a few questions unfinished at the end of the allocated 4 hrs for each section. I guess I don’t do well under pressure, which was not the case when I was in school. I am getting worried now ☹️

Any advice? I am thinking to start with questions I know well, then guess the few at the end (when I run out of time).

Hey! I second what Katy said RE: review their advice post regarding strategy. I'm piping in to say that you should remember that 6 minutes is an average. Some questions will take less than a minute (quick equation or a word problem you know the answer to) and some will take longer than 6 minutes (though very few should). Six minutes is not a hard limit, it is a guideline to make sure you understand the average you need to hit in order to complete the exam. You can't just forget about timing yourself (since you do need to hit that average) but you can go lower or higher than 6 minutes depending on difficulty. 

 

Edited: Gender reference removed!

Edited by ItsStudyTime!
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Hey! I second what Katy said RE: review her advice post from about regarding strategy. I'm piping in to say that you should remember that 6 minutes is an average. Some questions will take less than a minute (quick equation or a word problem you know the answer to) and some will take longer than 6 minutes (though very few should). Six minutes is not a hard limit, it is a guideline to make sure you understand the average you need to hit in order to complete the exam. You can't just forget about timing yourself (since you do need to hit that average) but you can go lower or higher than 6 minutes depending on difficulty. 


Good advice ItsStudyTime! By the way I’m a dude but I can understand why someone looking at my name would think I’m a woman. It’s a reference to an old Steely Dan album (Yes I’m a geezer who still has some albums.) No harm. Just having fun. In fact there may be others who think I’m a woman. LOL.


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What is the effective way to bubble in answers? Bubble as you go or few at a time? You definitely don't want to save all of the bubbling for last as who knows you run out time and not even realize it and you have to turn the blank page in!  

 

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41 minutes ago, roy167 said:

What is the effective way to bubble in answers? Bubble as you go or few at a time? You definitely don't want to save all of the bubbling for last as who knows you run out time and not even realize it and you have to turn the blank page in!  

 

I would do it as I solve each question. As you mentioned you dont wanna keep it to last & bubble wrong answers after solving correctly

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The on thing i can say is being able to answer questions fast is key.

 

For the Am section i answered 30 question in 2.5 hours. The last 10 i spent 1.5 hours on.

PM section 25 questions in 2 hours followed by the last 15 over 2 hours.

 

The best thing i can say is the CI 4 practice exams help you recognize questions really fast. Towards the end i was working one of those exams in 4 hours. I recommend getting the following the practice exams:

CI

Engineers Guide to passing the Power Pe exam

NCEES practice exam

 

Engineering Pro guide and extra problems.

 

( I worked all of these exams several times until i could answer all the questions correctly).

 

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The on thing i can say is being able to answer questions fast is key.
 
For the Am section i answered 30 question in 2.5 hours. The last 10 i spent 1.5 hours on.
PM section 25 questions in 2 hours followed by the last 15 over 2 hours.
 
The best thing i can say is the CI 4 practice exams help you recognize questions really fast. Towards the end i was working one of those exams in 4 hours. I recommend getting the following the practice exams:
CI
Engineers Guide to passing the Power Pe exam
NCEES practice exam
 
Engineering Pro guide and extra problems.
 
( I worked all of these exams several times until i could answer all the questions correctly).
 


Good advice about CI. I found it to be very helpful for the reason you stated. Some folks find CI to be too easy. I don’t think that’s the case. The sample tests and the CI NEC drill book was extremely helpful to me.


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4 hours ago, KatyLied P.E. said:

 


Good advice about CI. I found it to be very helpful for the reason you stated. Some folks find CI to be too easy. I don’t think that’s the case. The sample tests and the CI NEC drill book was extremely helpful to me.


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The trick for this exam is timing, reaction time and knowing your references.

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Thanks for your input. I did more practice  problems and got better results. I used the method suggested, doing the exam in multiple passes. Also, I started studying at coffee shops for “conditioning”. My usual study place is too quiet, I need to practice ignoring distractions. Hopefully no Zumba conventions next door.

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