October 2021 Post Exam Wait Period - Welcome to the Suck

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Question: How does Texas deal with the computer based tests? Is the 7-10 wait period that NCEES tells you longer because Texas would still have to do their own scaled score kinda thing? Or do they not do that since NCEES already does a scaled score for CBT tests?
No idea. I've never seen a Texas CBT exam taker respond back about their post exam percentage. I haven't looked for it either.
 
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At this point I'd like to take a short detour and discuss the history of when States release. I don't work for a Board or NCEES. I don't actually know what happens behind the scenes. But I have been monitoring things closely since 2013 and have looked at the data going back to 2005.

From my experience there are two different release eras for the P&P exam. Everything that happened up to and including Oct 2013, and everything that happened after Oct 2013.

Prior to April 2014 there was a pretty big range of dates between the initial release and the last State to get their results back. Typically, the range would be weeks long and only a handful of States would release on any given day. I'm not sure exactly why. It seems like there may have been a throttle on the NCEES side of things.

One factor was the proliferation of third-party companies, like PCS and CTS which would aid the State boards in processing the results. According to their websites, these companies would provide QC on the results and confirm their validity. I'm not sure what that means. As best I can tell, those companies would do a lot of the grunt administrative work for the boards. Things like processing applications, data entry, mailing out notices, database management, etc. These firms were pretty common back then. And the States that used those firms would also tend to be some of the last to release, sometimes excessively late. Many States ceased using those services between 2013-2015. By the time this last test was offered, I think only three States still used those companies.

This slow-release period had several effects on EB. Firstly, was State release threads. It was common practice for someone from nearly every State to create a thread to discuss their State's release. These threads served as a way for people to exchange information on the process, ask questions, share notes, or just rant about the wait. Usually, these threads were made after the respective State released. This was a time before the WttS, and there may not have been a single equivalent thread at the time - and sometime we'd learn of those initial release via those threads. But sometimes they would be created before release if someone had something useful to say. But they were also used for trolling. Vets would post a thread "STATE released" or "I just heard from STATE" or whatever. And this would get a rise out of people thinking that their State came out. It was easy to see in the first post that it was trolling, but people may have waiting days or weeks by that point and were pretty high strung. Sometimes those troll threads would even end up being the State thread for that session.

The other effect of a slow release was on the map. It was pretty easy to maintain the map when only a handful of states released per day. Generally speaking, the map would get updated once or twice a day. It was not a major time commitment and we all appreciated the work. For most of my early time here the map was done by @snowbum PE. He wasn't very active after 2015, and it fell to other users after he departed.

Things began to change with the April 2014 exam. That's when 30+ States would release on the same day, and all-but-a-few would come out the next day. I don't know what changed. I suspect it was a change in how NCEES transmitted information to the State boards, or how the Boards sent out information to the examinees, or both, or some combination of other factors. It may or may not have been related to the phasing out of third party contractors.

The accelerated release also meant that updating the map became a lot more work. Nobody minded a map coming out after COB when only 2-4 States released that day. People expected things to move faster when there were 2-5 States releasing an hour. And it was the 2010’s and everything in society was available on-demand. Most users didn't realize it, but maintaining the map now became a full-time job on the first day. A nearly thankless job too.


I never wanted to be the ‘map guy’.

As I posted earlier, I had a very busy job through 2016. I wasn't especially active on the site. I would drop in during the wait periods and help answer questions where needed. Things didn't slow down for me until spring 2017. And that's when I became more active with the proto-WttS threads. I was helping to keep the peace for the Oct 2017 proto-WttS threads. The release happened and none of the previous users who did the map was active that day; and after a delay it became clear that no one was going to do it. I volunteered to do the map. The rest is history.

The map isn't easy. Especially with so many States coming out at once during the first day. It was a full-time job to update the map on Day 1. I would either take leave or work extra hours to make up for the lost time.

The map was a lot of work. I figured out early that a 15 minute update cadence was the fastest I could achieve. The process of actually making a new map is pretty fast. Takes about a minute. Color the State, save the map, resize and change it to a jpeg. Uploading takes another couple minutes: add a new post with timestamps and descriptions. Then edit the first post with the new map. So that adds up to three minutes toal. The hard part is learning which State has just released and if it’s legit (too many false reports, partial releases, or questions) and if an asterisk is needed. The results are spread around several threads on EB, and even more on reddit. For various reasons, often down to logistics and time, I wouldn’t look at reddit myself. Plus I still had things I had to do on the WttS or similar threads. Most of the other 10-12 minutes was spent looking through threads and triaging where I could

Starting in 2019 I would have helpers track the information. @ChebyshevII PE @DuranDuran PE @MadamPirate PE @LyceeFruit PE come to mind, but there were many others. Apologies if I didn’t include you here.

Not all States would release via NCEES first and that caused questions of how to handle the map. EB precedent was to consider a State released if anyone got their results by any means: mail, license lookup, PCS/CTS breadcrumbs, calling, etc. I only partially followed that precedent. I treated the first of NCEES or mail as the official release day. Anything else got an asterisk that would be added to the map later.

Despite not ever wanting to do that map, I enjoyed doing it a lot the first three times. It was being ‘the map guy’ that made me feel like respected vet on the site. It made me much more active than I was on the site prior.

I’ll also add that when I made the first release map, the Philadelphia Eagles were playing very well. I painted the release colors midnight green and silver for that reason. Sort of an homage to bleedinggreennation. It didn’t hurt that the eagles would win the super bowl less than two months later. I kept up the color scheme thereafter in a vain hope that it would lead to them winning the super bowl again. It’s only silly if it doesn’t work. It didn’t work.

My biggest regret in doing the map was that it took me away from the WttS or similar threads. There were some many people who I couldn’t congratulate in real time because I was busy with the map. Nor could I answer questions as quickly as I would have liked either. Years later it’s something I really do regret.

By mid-2019 I would have gladly handed map duties over if another vet asked to take on the role. No one ever asked. – And if covid hadn’t happened, I would have started asking around for volunteers for the April 2020 map. But covid accelerated the CBT transition and with only three more maps remaining I figured I’d just tough it out until the end.
 
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At this point I'd like to take a short detour and discuss the history of when States release. I don't work for a Board or NCEES. I don't actually know what happens behind the scenes. But I have been monitoring things closely since 2013 and have looked at the data going back to 2005.

From my experience there are two different release eras for the P&P exam. Everything that happened up to and including Oct 2013, and everything that happened after Oct 2013.

Prior to April 2014 there was a pretty big range of dates between the initial release and the last State to get their results back. Typically, the range would be weeks long and only a handful of States would release on any given day. I'm not sure exactly why. It seems like there may have been a throttle on the NCEES side of things.

One factor was the proliferation of third-party companies, like PCS and CTS which would aid the State boards in processing the results. According to their websites, these companies would provide QC on the results and confirm their validity. I'm not sure what that means. As best I can tell, those companies would do a lot of the grunt administrative work for the boards. Things like processing applications, data entry, mailing out notices, database management, etc. These firms were pretty common back then. And the States that used those firms would also tend to be some of the last to release, sometimes excessively late. Many States ceased using those services between 2013-2015. By the time this last test was offered, I think only three States still used those companies.

This slow-release period had several effects on EB. Firstly, was State release threads. It was common practice for someone from nearly every State to create a thread to discuss their State's release. These threads served as a way for people to exchange information on the process, ask questions, share notes, or just rant about the wait. Usually, these threads were made after the respective State released. This was a time before the WttS, and there may not have been a single equivalent thread at the time - and sometime we'd learn of those initial release via those threads. But sometimes they would be created before release if someone had something useful to say. But they were also used for trolling. Vets would post a thread "STATE released" or "I just heard from STATE" or whatever. And this would get a rise out of people thinking that their State came out. It was easy to see in the first post that it was trolling, but people may have waiting days or weeks by that point and were pretty high strung. Sometimes those troll threads would even end up being the State thread for that session.

The other effect of a slow release was on the map. It was pretty easy to maintain the map when only a handful of states released per day. Generally speaking, the map would get updated once or twice a day. It was not a major time commitment and we all appreciated the work. For most of my early time here the map was done by @snowbum PE. He wasn't very active after 2015, and it fell to other users after he departed.

Things began to change with the April 2014 exam. That's when 30+ States would release on the same day, and all-but-a-few would come out the next day. I don't know what changed. I suspect it was a change in how NCEES transmitted information to the State boards, or how the Boards sent out information to the examinees, or both, or some combination of other factors. It may or may not have been related to the phasing out of third party contractors.

The accelerated release also meant that updating the map became a lot more work. Nobody minded a map coming out after COB when only 2-4 States released that day. People expected things to move faster when there were 2-5 States releasing an hour. And it was the 2010’s and everything in society was available on-demand. Most users didn't realize it, but maintaining the map now became a full-time job on the first day. A nearly thankless job too.


I never wanted to be the ‘map guy’.

As I posted earlier, I had a very busy job through 2016. I wasn't especially active on the site. I would drop in during the wait periods and help answer questions where needed. Things didn't slow down for me until spring 2017. And that's when I became more active with the proto-WttS threads. I was helping to keep the peace for the Oct 2017 proto-WttS threads. The release happened and none of the previous users who did the map was active that day; and after a delay it became clear that no one was going to do it. I volunteered to do the map. The rest is history.

The map isn't easy. Especially with so many States coming out at once during the first day. It was a full-time job to update the map on Day 1. I would either take leave or work extra hours to make up for the lost time.

The map was a lot of work. I figured out early that a 15 minute update cadence was the fastest I could achieve. The process of actually making a new map is pretty fast. Takes about a minute. Color the State, save the map, resize and change it to a jpeg. Uploading takes another couple minutes: add a new post with timestamps and descriptions. Then edit the first post with the new map. So that adds up to three minutes toal. The hard part is learning which State has just released and if it’s legit (too many false reports, partial releases, or questions) and if an asterisk is needed. The results are spread around several threads on EB, and even more on reddit. For various reasons, often down to logistics and time, I wouldn’t look at reddit myself. Plus I still had things I had to do on the WttS or similar threads. Most of the other 10-12 minutes was spent looking through threads and triaging where I could

Starting in 2019 I would have helpers track the information. @ChebyshevII PE @DuranDuran PE @MadamPirate PE @LyceeFruit PE come to mind, but there were many others. Apologies if I didn’t include you here.

Not all States would release via NCEES first and that caused questions of how to handle the map. EB precedent was to consider a State released if anyone got their results by any means: mail, license lookup, PCS/CTS breadcrumbs, calling, etc. I only partially followed that precedent. I treated the first of NCEES or mail as the official release day. Anything else got an asterisk that would be added to the map later.

Despite not ever wanting to do that map, I enjoyed doing it a lot the first three times. It was being ‘the map guy’ that made me feel like respected vet on the site. It made me much more active than I was on the site prior.

I’ll also add that when I made the first release map, the Philadelphia Eagles were playing very well. I painted the release colors midnight green and silver for that reason. Sort of an homage to bleedinggreennation. It didn’t hurt that the eagles would win the super bowl less than two months later. I kept up the color scheme thereafter in a vain hope that it would lead to them winning the super bowl again. It’s only silly if it doesn’t work. It didn’t work.

My biggest regret in doing the map was that it took me away from the WttS or similar threads. There were some many people who I couldn’t congratulate in real time because I was busy with the map. Nor could I answer questions as quickly as I would have liked either. Years later it’s something I really do regret.

By mid-2019 I would have gladly handed map duties over if another vet asked to take on the role. No one ever asked. – And if covid hadn’t happened, I would have started asking around for volunteers for the April 2020 map. But covid accelerated the CBT transition and with only three more maps remaining I figured I’d just tough it out until the end.
I know creating the maps is a lot of work... I may not have realize my first cycle here, but definitely by the 2nd.
I just want to add that the map job isn't thankless. ... well it shouldn't be. Everyone appreciates the maps SO MUCH, even if we don't always express it.

@RBHeadge PE
thank-youuuuuuu.gif
 

steel

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At this point I'd like to take a short detour and discuss the history of when States release. I don't work for a Board or NCEES. I don't actually know what happens behind the scenes. But I have been monitoring things closely since 2013 and have looked at the data going back to 2005.

From my experience there are two different release eras for the P&P exam. Everything that happened up to and including Oct 2013, and everything that happened after Oct 2013.

Prior to April 2014 there was a pretty big range of dates between the initial release and the last State to get their results back. Typically, the range would be weeks long and only a handful of States would release on any given day. I'm not sure exactly why. It seems like there may have been a throttle on the NCEES side of things.

One factor was the proliferation of third-party companies, like PCS and CTS which would aid the State boards in processing the results. According to their websites, these companies would provide QC on the results and confirm their validity. I'm not sure what that means. As best I can tell, those companies would do a lot of the grunt administrative work for the boards. Things like processing applications, data entry, mailing out notices, database management, etc. These firms were pretty common back then. And the States that used those firms would also tend to be some of the last to release, sometimes excessively late. Many States ceased using those services between 2013-2015. By the time this last test was offered, I think only three States still used those companies.

This slow-release period had several effects on EB. Firstly, was State release threads. It was common practice for someone from nearly every State to create a thread to discuss their State's release. These threads served as a way for people to exchange information on the process, ask questions, share notes, or just rant about the wait. Usually, these threads were made after the respective State released. This was a time before the WttS, and there may not have been a single equivalent thread at the time - and sometime we'd learn of those initial release via those threads. But sometimes they would be created before release if someone had something useful to say. But they were also used for trolling. Vets would post a thread "STATE released" or "I just heard from STATE" or whatever. And this would get a rise out of people thinking that their State came out. It was easy to see in the first post that it was trolling, but people may have waiting days or weeks by that point and were pretty high strung. Sometimes those troll threads would even end up being the State thread for that session.

The other effect of a slow release was on the map. It was pretty easy to maintain the map when only a handful of states released per day. Generally speaking, the map would get updated once or twice a day. It was not a major time commitment and we all appreciated the work. For most of my early time here the map was done by @snowbum PE. He wasn't very active after 2015, and it fell to other users after he departed.

Things began to change with the April 2014 exam. That's when 30+ States would release on the same day, and all-but-a-few would come out the next day. I don't know what changed. I suspect it was a change in how NCEES transmitted information to the State boards, or how the Boards sent out information to the examinees, or both, or some combination of other factors. It may or may not have been related to the phasing out of third party contractors.

The accelerated release also meant that updating the map became a lot more work. Nobody minded a map coming out after COB when only 2-4 States released that day. People expected things to move faster when there were 2-5 States releasing an hour. And it was the 2010’s and everything in society was available on-demand. Most users didn't realize it, but maintaining the map now became a full-time job on the first day. A nearly thankless job too.


I never wanted to be the ‘map guy’.

As I posted earlier, I had a very busy job through 2016. I wasn't especially active on the site. I would drop in during the wait periods and help answer questions where needed. Things didn't slow down for me until spring 2017. And that's when I became more active with the proto-WttS threads. I was helping to keep the peace for the Oct 2017 proto-WttS threads. The release happened and none of the previous users who did the map was active that day; and after a delay it became clear that no one was going to do it. I volunteered to do the map. The rest is history.

The map isn't easy. Especially with so many States coming out at once during the first day. It was a full-time job to update the map on Day 1. I would either take leave or work extra hours to make up for the lost time.

The map was a lot of work. I figured out early that a 15 minute update cadence was the fastest I could achieve. The process of actually making a new map is pretty fast. Takes about a minute. Color the State, save the map, resize and change it to a jpeg. Uploading takes another couple minutes: add a new post with timestamps and descriptions. Then edit the first post with the new map. So that adds up to three minutes toal. The hard part is learning which State has just released and if it’s legit (too many false reports, partial releases, or questions) and if an asterisk is needed. The results are spread around several threads on EB, and even more on reddit. For various reasons, often down to logistics and time, I wouldn’t look at reddit myself. Plus I still had things I had to do on the WttS or similar threads. Most of the other 10-12 minutes was spent looking through threads and triaging where I could

Starting in 2019 I would have helpers track the information. @ChebyshevII PE @DuranDuran PE @MadamPirate PE @LyceeFruit PE come to mind, but there were many others. Apologies if I didn’t include you here.

Not all States would release via NCEES first and that caused questions of how to handle the map. EB precedent was to consider a State released if anyone got their results by any means: mail, license lookup, PCS/CTS breadcrumbs, calling, etc. I only partially followed that precedent. I treated the first of NCEES or mail as the official release day. Anything else got an asterisk that would be added to the map later.

Despite not ever wanting to do that map, I enjoyed doing it a lot the first three times. It was being ‘the map guy’ that made me feel like respected vet on the site. It made me much more active than I was on the site prior.

I’ll also add that when I made the first release map, the Philadelphia Eagles were playing very well. I painted the release colors midnight green and silver for that reason. Sort of an homage to bleedinggreennation. It didn’t hurt that the eagles would win the super bowl less than two months later. I kept up the color scheme thereafter in a vain hope that it would lead to them winning the super bowl again. It’s only silly if it doesn’t work. It didn’t work.

My biggest regret in doing the map was that it took me away from the WttS or similar threads. There were some many people who I couldn’t congratulate in real time because I was busy with the map. Nor could I answer questions as quickly as I would have liked either. Years later it’s something I really do regret.

By mid-2019 I would have gladly handed map duties over if another vet asked to take on the role. No one ever asked. – And if covid hadn’t happened, I would have started asking around for volunteers for the April 2020 map. But covid accelerated the CBT transition and with only three more maps remaining I figured I’d just tough it out until the end.
I'll second @jean15paul_PE sentiments above. While we may not express is, I think everyone here looks at the maps and are extremely grateful that they were made.
 
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@jean15paul_PE @steelnole15
Thank you for those kind word. Yes you are correct, and perhaps "thankless" isn't the appropriate word. Maybe I should have used underappreciated, insofar as the amount of effort required to do it seamlessly and quickly isn't immediately obvious. Sort of like being the sound manager at a stage show. Nobody notices if its done right, but everyone notices it if its wrong, and most people in the audience do realize what goes into doing it right.

I forgot to mention above that if the P&P were continuing indefinitely then I would have tried to work with the site admins to set up a widget or otherwise support a real-time fillable map. If I had known back in Oct '17 that I'd become the "map guy" I would have tried to set one up immediately. It would have saved me so much time and effort in the long run.
 
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We've now arrived at the part of the story where we can actually talk about the WttS itself. I fully intended to start a WttS for the April 2018 wait. But between forgetting/procrastinating/and being too busy at work the week before, I didn't start to type it until after the wait period began. Oops.

I didn't forget for Oct '18. I drafted it during the summer, and copy/pasted immediately when the forums reopened after the exam.

Most people on this site may not remember that for most of the site's existence the forum would shut down the day of the exam. Sometimes the closure would run through the weekend afterwards too. Towards the end, the forums would remain open for the vets to post. Why were the forums closed? To keep dumbass examinees from discussing the exam right after the exam. Every session people would come onto the forum and start discussing test questions. The mods would rush to delete them but some posts would slip through and would be found by NCEES staff who would monitor EB and other threads afterwards. Inevitably NCEES would send a legal nastygram to the site to remove the content and provide the information of the users who violated the candidate agreements. Again, I'm not a mod on this site, so I don't have any official information, but I've overheard at local NSPE meetings that every session there was usually a number (in the teens) of candidates who had their exams invalidated and refereed to their local boards because they posted information here or elsewhere.

But I digress. The first WttS was posted in October 2018. The initial post for that WttS isn't too different from what is found at the beginning of this thread. It had all the important information a waiting candidate could need. It explained why the grading process took so long, how long it took in the past, and what was noise to be ignored, the psychology and games of the wait, and the overall EB culture. It was a safe place for candidates to ask questions and talk through the process and their jitters. Finally it was intended to be the central waiting thread to cut back on the numerous other threads that the vets had to parse through to answer questions.

The first one wasn't a success.

The usual other threads were still made. Most of which were asking the same questions found in the WttS. I made some minor efforts to guide everything back to the WttS but in the end it didn't matter and the other threads took over.

As of the time of this writing, the original WttS only has 9k pageviews. The thread that became the central place has 98k views! By comparison, the 3 weeklong WttS for January 2021 has 5k pageviews, and the thread I made for the Maryland PE exam site tips has 7k pageviews.


The April 2019 WttS was a completely different story. I already wrote the text, so I made a few token changes and reposted it for the April 2019 wait. This time around I was also more aggressive in herding people toward the WttS. Between the reputation from October 18 and the herding the thread was a success! Few side threads emerged, and those that did ended quickly. The WttS became a central place to ask questions and meet people in the same situation. The thread currently has 193k views.

It was a lot of fun, especially on release day. A huge advantage to having one central thread on release day was being able to see and congratulate everyone in one place. I felt like a parent on Christmas morning seeing all the examinees jubilant on seeing the green pass box.

April 2019 was only the second WttS, but the WttS was in it's golden age.

From April 2015-April 2019 the exams had a pretty short wait: 34-42 days. Sure the waits sucked but they was manageable. That was about to change.
I remember logging onto the NCEES exam site in June and looking at the exam specs for the October 2019 exams. I noticed that the control systems exam spec was changing. And I knew that there was potential for a long October wait.

Things were going to get very dark.
 

Hamilton

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We've now arrived at the part of the story where we can actually talk about the WttS itself. I fully intended to start a WttS for the April 2018 wait. But between forgetting/procrastinating/and being too busy at work the week before, I didn't start to type it until after the wait period began. Oops.

I didn't forget for Oct '18. I drafted it during the summer, and copy/pasted immediately when the forums reopened after the exam.

Most people on this site may not remember that for most of the site's existence the forum would shut down the day of the exam. Sometimes the closure would run through the weekend afterwards too. Towards the end, the forums would remain open for the vets to post. Why were the forums closed? To keep dumbass examinees from discussing the exam right after the exam. Every session people would come onto the forum and start discussing test questions. The mods would rush to delete them but some posts would slip through and would be found by NCEES staff who would monitor EB and other threads afterwards. Inevitably NCEES would send a legal nastygram to the site to remove the content and provide the information of the users who violated the candidate agreements. Again, I'm not a mod on this site, so I don't have any official information, but I've overheard at local NSPE meetings that every session there was usually a number (in the teens) of candidates who had their exams invalidated and refereed to their local boards because they posted information here or elsewhere.

But I digress. The first WttS was posted in October 2018. The initial post for that WttS isn't too different from what is found at the beginning of this thread. It had all the important information a waiting candidate could need. It explained why the grading process took so long, how long it took in the past, and what was noise to be ignored, the psychology and games of the wait, and the overall EB culture. It was a safe place for candidates to ask questions and talk through the process and their jitters. Finally it was intended to be the central waiting thread to cut back on the numerous other threads that the vets had to parse through to answer questions.

The first one wasn't a success.

The usual other threads were still made. Most of which were asking the same questions found in the WttS. I made some minor efforts to guide everything back to the WttS but in the end it didn't matter and the other threads took over.

As of the time of this writing, the original WttS only has 9k pageviews. The thread that became the central place has 98k views! By comparison, the 3 weeklong WttS for January 2021 has 5k pageviews, and the thread I made for the Maryland PE exam site tips has 7k pageviews.


The April 2019 WttS was a completely different story. I already wrote the text, so I made a few token changes and reposted it for the April 2019 wait. This time around I was also more aggressive in herding people toward the WttS. Between the reputation from October 18 and the herding the thread was a success! Few side threads emerged, and those that did ended quickly. The WttS became a central place to ask questions and meet people in the same situation. The thread currently has 193k views.

It was a lot of fun, especially on release day. A huge advantage to having one central thread on release day was being able to see and congratulate everyone in one place. I felt like a parent on Christmas morning seeing all the examinees jubilant on seeing the green pass box.

April 2019 was only the second WttS, but the WttS was in it's golden age.

From April 2015-April 2019 the exams had a pretty short wait: 34-42 days. Sure the waits sucked but they was manageable. That was about to change.
I remember logging onto the NCEES exam site in June and looking at the exam specs for the October 2019 exams. I noticed that the control systems exam spec was changing. And I knew that there was potential for a long October wait.

Things were going to get very dark.
@RBHeadge PE Leaving us on a cliff hanger for 6 months.
 

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