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Hey everyone I just thought I'd create a post and see how everyone is doing with the studying for the October exams. I've passed vertical and am retaking lateral (second time overall). I had planned on skipping October and taking it in April, but my work wanted me to do it now. Since they didn't ask me until the end of July, I got a late start studying this time but it also meant that I didn't feel bad asking for work to pay for the AEI review course, which has been super helpful. I've been keeping a log of my study hours in Excel to hold me accountable. I've got 117 hours in since August 1st, and there are six weeks to go. I'm going to end up around 250 hours total or so, and could add in around 60 hours from this spring studying for the canceled April exam. I passed my PE 6 years ago. In the last two years I've taken and passed the CA state specific exams (took seismic twice), passed vertical once and failed the lateral once. I'm so sick of studying, but also starting to feel like I might be able to pass with a little luck. Thankfully once I pass this thing I AM DONE!


How about everyone else? GOOD LUCK!


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12 hours ago, vhab49_PE said:

Going terribly, thanks for checking in.  Sounds like you are on the right track at least!

Yeah I really hit a wall yesterday. I sat down and started to do PPI/Buckner's SE solved problems book. I was struggling right off the bat because I couldn't remember how to do virtual work or some of the other analysis methods. It was incredibly demoralizing. I decided to instead rework all of Hiner's and PPI/Barajdar CA seismic practice problems first and then give Buckner another try when I'm more in the habit of working problems. 


Don't give up!

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The way I think of studying is like this--has it invaded your dreams yet? When things like overstrength, redundancy, irregularities, and gable wind loads on an overhang are a part of your REM cycle, you're almost there.

Contrary to what NCEES says, the SE isn't a "minimum competency" exam. The Cali licensing board aptly labels it a "mastery-level" exam. For the morning, you're studying for speed and accuracy. For the afternoon, you're studying for speed, accuracy, and completeness. I've approached studying in that fashion. As a final resort, I plan to sign up for Covid vaccine trials in the hopes it enhances performance.

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Just a few more additional thoughts, as we hit the 4 week mark, based on the source of all truth--superhero movies:

1. "We're in the endgame now"--Dr. Strange, Avengers: Infinity War
Play time is over, ladies and gents. Things are about to get very interesting, very fast. 

2. "You should have gone for the head"--Thanos, Avengers: Infinity War
Remember this when you walk into the exam in a blaze of glory, brimming with power accrued from hundreds of hours of practice. Don't forget the fundamentals, and remember that portions of problems (just like normal engineering) are more important than other parts. Stay focused, otherwise NCEES will snap their fingers, fail you, and all your preparation will be so much dust in the wind.

3. "The training is nothing! The will is everything! The will to act!"--Ra's Al Ghul, Batman Begins
Don't freeze on the exam; or all the practice will be for naught. Don't panic, and don't waste time.

4.  "Theatricality and deception. Powerful agents to the uninitiated. But we are initiated, aren't we Bruce"--Bane, The Dark Knight Rises
This isn't college, or the PE. This is the real deal; you can't hide knowledge deficiencies in the afternoon essay problems. And a "throw everything at the wall" approach won't fool NCEES. This test is for the initiated; tread carefully.

5. "Peace has cost you your strength; victory has defeated you"--Bane, The Dark Knight Rises
This test has a pass rate which hovers at around 30%. Most of us here are probably successful in academic pursuits; but don't let previous victories on the PE, in school, or secularly lead to defeat here. The exam is HARD. Don't take it for granted, expect it to be a horrible, painful experience and you will be better prepared.

6. "I get emails from a Raccoon, so nothing sounds crazy anymore"--Black Widow, Avengers: Endgame
Expect the unexpected. The exam will have ridiculous parts to it; don't be surprised or expect NCEES to play fair.

7. "So he turns to me, and he says, WHY so SERIOUS? Let's put a SMILE on that face"--The Joker, The Dark Knight
This process is enough to make you question your sanity. Hang in there folks. Find ways to mentally decompress. SMILE.

8. "14,000,605 possible outcomes. In how many did we win? One."--Iron Man & Dr Strange, Avengers: Infinity War
The odds are not in our favor here, but still, some people will pass. Take solace in that fact. 

9. "Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves up again"--Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins
Even if you fail, don't be demoralized. Pick yourself up, ask your family for forgiveness, and try again.

10. "No one cared who I was until I put on the mask"--Bane, The Dark Knight Rises
Covid is annoying. The SE exam is annoying. If you're taking it in a place where you need to wear a mask, don't forget it.

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