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jharris

How to pass after failing multiple times

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So, I was one of the unfortunate people who failed the April exam. Third time. Currently trying to assess what went wrong, what went right, and generally what's differed between exams. In preparation for the last exam, I started studying in late February, working problems from both the Barron's and Lindeburg manuals. The only practice exam I did was the 4 hour exam from NCEES. Using this method had me fairly well prepared for the morning, but things fell apart in the afternoon. My poor performace could have been due to just being plain tired or just not being prepared for all the 4 minute problems.

This go-round, I plan on beginning my studying on July 27, giving me just shy of 3 months to prepare. In trying to formulate a plan of action, I'm wondering if I should purchase another book (Kaplans perhaps), or stick with Lindeburg and Barrons. Since this would be my third time using Barrons and my third time using Lindeburg's rather extensively, I'm wondering how much good its really going to do me to go through the same problems over again.

Some people have suggested I also take a class, but I sat in classes twice now and neither time could I say that I got pointers to really help me excel. I feel as if I can re-familiarize myself with everything on my own. I need some advice, guys. It seems like people who take it multiple times have less and less of a chance of passing. I dont know why this is, but I need a strategy to help me beat the odds.

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So, I was one of the unfortunate people who failed the April exam. Third time. Currently trying to assess what went wrong, what went right, and generally what's differed between exams.

Yeah, me too. What's your PM depth? Apparently in the AM I'm doing well in water/env and geotech so I've decided that's what I need to pursue in the PM too. I just haven't decided which one. I think I'll start studying both and duke it out between sludge and seismic before making a decision.

It seems like people who take it multiple times have less and less of a chance of passing. I dont know why this is, but I need a strategy to help me beat the odds.

Don't buy into the lie. Our time will come. We're not the first to fail and we won't be the last. I refuse to give up. I don't want to live my life looking back and wondering what could've been.

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Yeah, me too. What's your PM depth? Apparently in the AM I'm doing well in water/env and geotech so I've decided that's what I need to pursue in the PM too. I just haven't decided which one. I think I'll start studying both and duke it out between sludge and seismic before making a decision.

Don't buy into the lie. Our time will come. We're not the first to fail and we won't be the last. I refuse to give up. I don't want to live my life looking back and wondering what could've been.

Sounds like you're doing the PE exam. I'm FE (General/General DS). Either way, I'm with you on not giving up. Hopefully all of us repeat takers aren't thinking about quitting. We just need to get into a niche that works.

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i really believe the trick with the PE is knowing your references. if you cant find the info fast enough youll never finish. it has NOTHING to do with what you know. if it did, it wouldnt be open book. you have to know how to solve basic equations. learn those. then learn how to find information in your books. mabe you need more books. maybe you need to tab your books more. why dont you list what books you take with you and we'll see if you're taking the right stuff in? how did you do on the practice exams? you should be able to find the answer to most of the questions in your books. if you cant then you need more books. wr and geotech are easier to take the right afternoon books in i think than some other ones, but start with the AM first.

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Sounds like you're doing the PE exam. I'm FE (General/General DS). Either way, I'm with you on not giving up. Hopefully all of us repeat takers aren't thinking about quitting. We just need to get into a niche that works.

The most important thing in my mind is to be familiar with that FE supplied reference handbook. That and your calculator are your only friends on test day.

Do not make the mistake of never looking at the reference handbook until test day. I do not believe the version of practice tests and material you choose really matter. I studied from a 1996 6th Edition FE Exam Manual by Potter and passed the first time. Also I made sure to put away my old faithful, but ineligible HP-48G, and learned how to use the Casio fx-115 EX.

I also took a review class at my alma mater which met every saturday morning for 13 weeks prior to the exam. But that review only covered the topics from the morning session.

Since I am Mechanical I bought the NCEES FE Mechanical Discipline Sample Questions and Solutions book, did every proplem in that, plus what was on the CD.

Even with that, I still took the General in the afternoon and passed it, first attempt, in April 09.

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oh sorry- i was thinking we were talking about the pe. let me try again.

largo is correct. you have a calculator and your equation book. if you dont know either one by heart, then youre at a disadvantage. you need to know exactly what section to turn to for each equation youre looking for. when youre studying, dont look up equations in your study material, use our equation manual. you can write in it if it helps but remember your writing goes away on test day. also, ONLY use your test calculator. at work, studying, balancing your checkbook or wherever. youll know it well that way.

get a study guide, doesnt really matter which one as long as its reputable, and do one chapter a week. you have plenty of time. if its your depth area, skip it for now.

when you get finished, go over your depth area one chapter every 2 weeks. know it well. make sure you can find all your equations. its not about what you know but how fast you can find and solve equations.

in the am, dont skip whole sections just because you dont know it well. look for plug-and-chug questions- theyre easy points. do longer questions only if you have time. you can go through the whole test and do just the easy questions and start the whole thing over and still be fine on time. YOU WILL NOT ANSWER EVERY QUESTION SO DONT TRY. pick your favorite subjects and do those. at the end, pick your favorite letter and fill it in. i picked D because no one else did. :-)

dont get discouraged. some of my coworkers took it 5 and 6 times and then passed the PE on the first time. theyre different tests so dont think youll be doing this again necessarily. good luck and keep coming back with questions!

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Good luck. I took EIT 2 times and PE 4 times. Finally passed. Don't give up. And don't be discouraged by statistics.

I'm cheering for you.

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The most important thing in my mind is to be familiar with that FE supplied reference handbook. That and your calculator are your only friends on test day.

Do not make the mistake of never looking at the reference handbook until test day. I do not believe the version of practice tests and material you choose really matter. I studied from a 1996 6th Edition FE Exam Manual by Potter and passed the first time. Also I made sure to put away my old faithful, but ineligible HP-48G, and learned how to use the Casio fx-115 EX.

I also took a review class at my alma mater which met every saturday morning for 13 weeks prior to the exam. But that review only covered the topics from the morning session.

Since I am Mechanical I bought the NCEES FE Mechanical Discipline Sample Questions and Solutions book, did every proplem in that, plus what was on the CD.

Even with that, I still took the General in the afternoon and passed it, first attempt, in April 09.

Agreed with all of this. I took the FE 5.5 years after graduation and when I first started studying (8-9 months in advance!) I was sure I'd never pass it.

I picked up the latest version of the FERM, the reference handbook and the Casio fx-115 EX. The calculator was a big adjustment; I was very used to using a TI graphing calculator. What I did was switch out my TI at work to the Casio. For 99.9% of all of my work-related calculations, the Casio does the job just fine, and using the Casio at work forced me to become an expert with it. When I took a graduate math course this summer semester I suddenly needed the TI-89 again and had to re-learn how to use it because I was so used to the Casio. Good little calculator...

I worked my way through the FERM, even the stuff that didn't interest me or that I thought I could remember how to do. Honestly the hardest part for me was the math. At work, most of our math is arithmetic and matrices and I do virtually no calculus. Any statistics work is done with Minitab. As you might guess, I had a LOT of trouble with math review. That said, math (including stats and probability) makes up a sizeable portion of the AM and the general PM exams. If your math is solid, you can afford to forget a few other areas and still pass - but if your math skills are poor you will really struggle.

One caveat - I didn't review electrical engineering at all. I hated it as an undergrad and didn't want to waste time on something that counted for relatively few points on the general exam. My strategy on test day was that anything harder than Ohm's Law was getting a randomly selected letter.

Get to know the reference manual so that you're not hunting for an equation when you need it. There were several questions on the FE that I was able to answer solely because I remembered where the equation was in the reference manual!

I passed the FE on my first try, but I know the PE may take more than one attempt. I'm eligible for the PE any time now (I have more than the required work experience) and have decided to wait a year or two.

Good luck!

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-In my opinion this time you should work more on the practice exams, also refresh all the material again...by the third time you should be very familiar with the references manual, if you are not that might be the problem. you most know everything thats on that manual. When i took the FE i worked general in the afternoon, i can't tell you what is easy or not, that all depends on how much you know at the time of the test. Also trying to stay positive and clearing your mind and handling pressure plays a big part. this is why i am telling you to work practice test because you will be surprise how many question you know how to work out and you get wrong, because of whatever reason (units, etc.). When i worked practice exams i broke the morning into 30 problem intervals and i gave myself 1 hour to solve. after that interval i checked my answer and i moved to the next set.

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