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Any chance they revisit the October exam questions for Structural and Construction because of this?
I doubt it. They don't target a certain pass rate, nor do they have any kind of target or quota of the number of passes.

Can anyone offer a reason why they feel the repeat pass rate is so low?
Is it just because there are some people that would likely never pass the exam, and with each exam administration those people make up a higher percentage of the people taking it?
Yes, that's pretty close to the reason why. There a bunch of threads on this topic.
 

txjennah PE

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Can anyone offer a reason why they feel the repeat pass rate is so low?
Is it just because there are some people that would likely never pass the exam, and with each exam administration those people make up a higher percentage of the people taking it?
I can only offer my personal experience, but I think a lot of it has to do with repeat test takers who realize they may have been close on their previous attempt, so they make the mistake of not changing their study habits for the subsequent try. I was close on my first attempt, so didn't do anything to change my studying habits on my second attempt - and ended up scoring lower than I did on my first attempt. I completely overhauled my approach for my third try, and finally passed that way.
 
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I can only offer my personal experience, but I think a lot of it has to do with repeat test takers who realize they may have been close on their previous attempt, so they make the mistake of not changing their study habits for the subsequent try. I was close on my first attempt, so didn't do anything to change my studying habits on my second attempt - and ended up scoring lower than I did on my first attempt. I completely overhauled my approach for my third try, and finally passed that way.
Do you mind sharing what you did when you overhauled your approach? Failed the first time this time around, but hoping to take it again in October.
 

DrRich PE

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Do you mind sharing what you did when you overhauled your approach? Failed the first time this time around, but hoping to take it again in October.
I don't know if this will be what you're looking for, but a fellow geotech test taker asked me my preparation and approach to the exam. This can be applied generally and isn't specific to geotech. This worked for me. Some key points to remember are to keep your cool if you don't know how to do/have never heard of a problem. You're not expected to know everything. Also, remember that this is a standardized test and there are certain skills and methods that can be applied to standardized test taking that will boost your scores. Here's what I told him:

For my preparation, I didn't use a prep course, so I can't really speak as to which one may be good or bad. I bought the NCEES practice test so that I could get a feel for the difficulty and types of problems that might be on the test. I specialized in geotech in graduate school, so I then studied materials that I had from coursework. My approach was to review general geotech stuff from my soils course just to get back in the swing of things and jog my memory a bit. I then went over the list of topics provided by NCEES and practiced numerous problems of each type and tested myself with more difficult problems as well. After doing this, I focused on doing problems in areas that I struggled with. As for the morning portion, I studied all of the topics provided on NCEES's list and then focused particularly on structures, as that's not my best subject. A week or so before my PE exam, I took the NCEES practice test in it's entirety to get a feel for how the 8 hr test would be and to practice my strategy with time management. For time management strategy, I would read a question, If it was easy and wouldn't take long, I went ahead and worked the problem and answered it. If I knew how to do the question, but it would take a bit longer, I marked it as a "1" and came back to it after I'd done all of the easier quick ones. If I didn't know how to do the question, I marked it as a "2" and came back to those at the end. I ended up having plenty of time for both morning and afternoon sections, about an hour or so of time after I'd answered about 90% of the questions. For the questions I didn't know how to do, I took my remaining time and looked in the index of my text books, etc. to see if I could find answers to questions. Don't forget to do a little bit of review on geology and simple facts about soil. Usually reading the first chapter or two of a geotech text book will provide a good review on geology, soil types, how soils are transported, etc. I hope this helps. Let me know if I can help you out!

Also, a few things to remember: There will be questions that you read and don't know how to do and think "what the hell are they talking about?" Don't let these make you nervous, I promise nobody knows all of the subjects. Just keep your cool and move on to a problem you do know. If you use my time management strategy, you'll gain confidence up front doing problems that you know how to do and you can use that momentum to get you through the rest of the test. Also, remember that this is a multiple choice test, so use some some standardized test taking skills on problems that you don't know. Look through answers and try to eliminate a few that you know are incorrect. You don't actually have to know how to do the problem to get the right answer. For example, Let's say you have a cantilever beam with a load placed in the middle and you're asked for the shear at this point. Assume you don't know how to do the problem if the load is in the middle, but you do know the shear at the left end and the shear at the right end of the beam. You know that in the middle, the shear will be some value between the shear value at the left end and the shear value at the right end. Although you don't know how to get the actual answer, if there is only one answer between the value of the shear at the left end and the value of the shear at the right end, you can still get the correct answer without knowing how to do the problem. Even if there are two possibilities, you can guess and have a 50/50 chance at getting the problem right. I guess the takeaway here is that on problems you don't know exactly how to do, try and eliminate a few answers to increase your chances if you have to guess.
 

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Wow! Now all Civil PEs should accept that Structural is the toughest exam :)
I don’t know about all folks taking Construction exam, but I’ve noticed that people that usually take this exam do not do engineering computations on daily bases because they work in construction management field. This is probably why this exam is pretty tough on them. Would you agree?
My 2 cents, as someone who passed the Construction exam and spends 50 hours a week on the construction management side. I think think the reason the pass rate is "low" is not necessarily that the exam is "difficult" but, as another poster said, there's such a wide variety of topics. For example, I work for a heavy civil contractor that builds bridges. My day to day experience and job requires me to know geotech, structural, traffic control, water management etc. Essentially a little bit of everything that is tested on the exam. So, when someone takes a Construction exam, they've got to be able to draw on knowledge from several areas, whereas a structural or WRE examinee knows they're really only going to see those types of problems in the afternoon. So there's already several variables at play there.

In addition, "Construction" is a very broad term. I work for a company that essentially does all of it's own work from excavation to demo, to steel erection, to concrete work etc etc...So I'm exposed to a lot of the PE topics regularly. While it may not be a ton of engineering calculation (we still do them), the exposure to how to handle it in the real world is key to the exam as well. Whereas, there's also contractors that specialize in utility work and 99% of their work is putting pipe in the ground. So there's potentially limited exposure experience wise (maybe they'll only see some SOE applications in the real world). BUT Construction is seemingly the topic that best fits their line of work. I think this is the biggest factor.

just my 2 cents.
 

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My 2 cents, as someone who passed the Construction exam and spends 50 hours a week on the construction management side. I think think the reason the pass rate is "low" is not necessarily that the exam is "difficult" but, as another poster said, there's such a wide variety of topics. For example, I work for a heavy civil contractor that builds bridges. My day to day experience and job requires me to know geotech, structural, traffic control, water management etc. Essentially a little bit of everything that is tested on the exam. So, when someone takes a Construction exam, they've got to be able to draw on knowledge from several areas, whereas a structural or WRE examinee knows they're really only going to see those types of problems in the afternoon. So there's already several variables at play there.

In addition, "Construction" is a very broad term. I work for a company that essentially does all of it's own work from excavation to demo, to steel erection, to concrete work etc etc...So I'm exposed to a lot of the PE topics regularly. While it may not be a ton of engineering calculation (we still do them), the exposure to how to handle it in the real world is key to the exam as well. Whereas, there's also contractors that specialize in utility work and 99% of their work is putting pipe in the ground. So there's potentially limited exposure experience wise (maybe they'll only see some SOE applications in the real world). BUT Construction is seemingly the topic that best fits their line of work. I think this is the biggest factor.

just my 2 cents.
Well said.
 

CMM056

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Is there anyone who can tell me about compensation discussions for someone who has many years of engineering experience but is just receiving a license? I've been doing this since 2007 and am very good at what I do - I should be by now right! However, I passed the FE two years ago and just passed the PE. I'm just wondering if my experience will be primarily considered or if I'll be considered a newbie. I assume more of the latter and will find out soon. Just looking for some feedback on discussions from someone who has gone through it in the private sector.
 

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Is there anyone who can tell me about compensation discussions for someone who has many years of engineering experience but is just receiving a license? I've been doing this since 2007 and am very good at what I do - I should be by now right! However, I passed the FE two years ago and just passed the PE. I'm just wondering if my experience will be primarily considered or if I'll be considered a newbie. I assume more of the latter and will find out soon. Just looking for some feedback on discussions from someone who has gone through it in the private sector.
I can't speak to your current employer, but I've never put the date I passed the PE on a resume;). Just sayin'.
 

Be-n

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Is there anyone who can tell me about compensation discussions for someone who has many years of engineering experience but is just receiving a license? I've been doing this since 2007 and am very good at what I do - I should be by now right! However, I passed the FE two years ago and just passed the PE. I'm just wondering if my experience will be primarily considered or if I'll be considered a newbie. I assume more of the latter and will find out soon. Just looking for some feedback on discussions from someone who has gone through it in the private sector.
When I deal with new to me structural PEs, I always look up their license number and when it was first received in their primary state. This is the only way (besides LinkedIn) I can judge how experience someone is if I have not heard about him or her before.
The main reason Construction is hard because on Undergrad Civil Engineering, most programs offer almost nothing related to this area. So, i believe everyone struggles.
well, I can say the same about structural. I don’t think undergrad degree provides sufficient structural engineering background either.
I think to successfully start a structural engineering carrier, one needs to be either in a very good company that invests in training of new engineers, or be pretty talented and hard working, or get masters in structural.
Also, some structural folks work in very limited field of engineering, such as designing concrete or CFS only, which also makes passing the exam a bit more difficult.
 

vhab49_PE

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When I deal with new to me structural PEs, I always look up their license number and when it was first received in their primary state. This is the only way (besides LinkedIn) I can judge how experience someone is if I have not heard about him or her before.

well, I can say the same about structural. I don’t think undergrad degree provides sufficient structural engineering background either.
I think to successfully start a structural engineering carrier, one needs to be either in a very good company that invests in training of new engineers, or be pretty talented and hard working, or get masters in structural.
Also, some structural folks work in very limited field of engineering, such as designing concrete or CFS only, which also makes passing the exam a bit more difficult.
I don't know, we have an intern with a masters in structural, and he's... not all that. He gets the concepts, but can't apply them, and it annoys me. (This is after 2 years of on the job training. Same questions, over and over and over. They have died down somewhat the last couple of months, but that could be that he hasn't been on any of my projects.
 

Deep_Freeze26

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I don't know, we have an intern with a masters in structural, and he's... not all that. He gets the concepts, but can't apply them, and it annoys me. (This is after 2 years of on the job training. Same questions, over and over and over. They have died down somewhat the last couple of months, but that could be that he hasn't been on any of my projects.
Yup, I had something similar. Intern with a Masters from a fairly prestigious school. I knew whenever she used this one program, I was going to immediately find she used ACI318-08. Every, single, time. She just could not seem to grasp the wind changes in ASCE7-10 ....or how to change a default in a program. I must have redlined that 100 times at least. She never caught on.
 

Be-n

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I don't know, we have an intern with a masters in structural, and he's... not all that. He gets the concepts, but can't apply them, and it annoys me. (This is after 2 years of on the job training. Same questions, over and over and over. They have died down somewhat the last couple of months, but that could be that he hasn't been on any of my projects.
I had an EIT with PhD... after explaining simple concepts like tributary area for a month, we showed him at the door.... Yes, degree is not the most important thing to have in engineering, but masters at least should give a little better background to start working in a design office.
 

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Yes, this is how the PE CBT exams have been working since 2018. I can't imagine they're going to change things for the CE exams.

The reference manuals can get pretty lengthy. The nuclear reference is over 600 PDF pages plus the other tables and codes that get added on exam day.
So for the Civil PE CBT version starting in 2022, you won't be able to bring any references in with you?? It'll be like the FE where they supplied the only reference manual you will need? Seems way different than the P&P exam is, and more than just switching to computer testing. If this is how it's going to go, I'm doomed if I fail again in Oct.
 

txjennah PE

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Do you mind sharing what you did when you overhauled your approach? Failed the first time this time around, but hoping to take it again in October.
Problems, problems, problems, problems. I didn't do nearly enough the first two tries. Do as many problems as you can. I had taken SOPE the first two tries but decided to take EET (I think it's a different name now?) for the third attempt to strengthen some of my weaknesses. That, combined with the practice problems, pushed me over the edge.

Study environment was a biggie too. The first two tries, I studied on the couch while my husband watched TV. For the third attempt, I was much more rigorous - studied at the table with classical music to focus, etc.

Finally, I extended my prep time. I started studying a couple of weeks after my honeymoon in April 2018 until about 2 or 3 days before October 2018 exam. It never feels like enough time :)
 
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So for the Civil PE CBT version starting in 2022, you won't be able to bring any references in with you?? It'll be like the FE where they supplied the only reference manual you will need? Seems way different than the P&P exam is, and more than just switching to computer testing. If this is how it's going to go, I'm doomed if I fail again in Oct.
I emailed NCEES last week about wanting them to update the practice exams (you know, the ones from 2014) and she also mentioned that the specs for the PE Civil exams will NOT change when it goes to cpmputer based, but there there will be the online reference, and we won't be able to bring in outside reference material.

Similar to the PE reference books already used for CBT exams: Log into MyNCEES, your source for all NCEES services
 

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I emailed NCEES last week about wanting them to update the practice exams (you know, the ones from 2014) and she also mentioned that the specs for the PE Civil exams will NOT change when it goes to cpmputer based, but there there will be the online reference, and we won't be able to bring in outside reference material.

Similar to the PE reference books already used for CBT exams: Log into MyNCEES, your source for all NCEES services
This seems like it would make the exam more difficult, somehow. Did she mention updating the 2014 practice exams?

ETA: maybe not more difficult since they technically shouldn't be allowed to ask questions pertaining to material not found in their own supplied reference manual, correct?
 
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