Passed Civil PE - Transportation CBT Jan 2023... 10 years in the making

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May 21, 2019
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After taking the paper and pencil Construction test (2013) and Water Resources (2019), I was finally able to pass the PE transportation CBT in January 2023.

This was my first attempt at transportation. I wanted to give anyone in the land development site design business my advice and why you should take transportation.

I passed the FE in 2011 when I graduated college. In 2013 the state that I was in had a change in rules and was now allowing EITs to take the PE without 4 years of experience. Being in the land development business, we deal with all disciplines but aren't experts in any. For example, my focus has always been grading and drainage. Very little construction, water and sewer treatment, etc.. Anyway my first attempt at the PE was for construction and I did terrible. Many OSHA stuff, welding, and other items I simply had not idea about. I didn't study at all for the FE and had passed. I only studied for a weekend for the PE and all I had brough to the test was Lingburg's book. I was dead wrong that the scores reflected my preparation. I knew I was in trouble when I showed up for the test and saw other folks taking the test bringing carts of reference manuals. If your a land development Autocad monkey with little to no experience in Construction, I would probably not take this test.

My second attempt was the paper water recourses in 2019. I prepared by taking School of PE on demand. I thought the on demand videos and overall preparation for the AM portion provided by SofPE was good. I can't say the same about the PM classes. It was probably my fault in the first place because water and sewer treatments involve lots of chemistry and I had no experience with any of those topics. In the results I did above average in grading and drainage but failed miserably in water and sewer treatments. I was also under the believe that taking the course would be enough preparation but that wasn't the case. Practice problems, exposure to topics not covered in class, and being able to answer problems efficiently (under six minutes) are the key and should play an important role in preparation.

Finally on my last attempt I passed. This was CBT transportation topic. I had decided to stick with SofPE on demand transportation. I had to pay the fee again since I was changing topics. I came up with a study schedule to watch all the videos along with plenty of study time. The videos all together added up to about 180 hrs and I spend an additional 150 hrs studying and reviewing all topics. I will say, specially for the transportation, it is A LOT of information and manuals to be familiar with. But I will give kudos to SofPE and say the transportation curriculum was awesome. The instructor, even for on demand, answer all of my questions via email if I had any. Schedule wise, I would recommend trying to watch as many videos as possible in one sitting and not try to space them out.... that's just my advice. For example, my original schedule had me studying about 3 hours every night. This will space out topics by a lot. When I was done watching all of the AM videos and started to watch the PM stuff, I tried looking at some Geo and Structures practice problems and realized that I was forgetting stuff. Take some long weekends... and adsorb as much as you can in the shortest amount of time.

The actual CBT testing experience wasn't bad at all. There has been plenty of other folks here in the forums that have discussed that portion in detail. Read those.

As far as references go, the most important ones are the following ones: PE civil handbook by NCEES, HCM, AASHTO GREENBOOK, Highway Safety Manual, MUTCD, AASHTO Roadside Design Guide. Get familiar with HCM and Greenbook. You will not be able to search the entire doc. Only search by chapters and the HCM has 31 chapters. Green book has 10 I think. There are extra references that you'll have access to but in my opinion they were all easy to search thru.
SofPE will NOT provide you with the above references for the course. I googled each references and found some websites that had access to them for a fee. Pay the fee and download the copies. There are many websites that provide the same service... too many to name.

Practice problems:
If you do school of PE, they have plenty of practice stuff. I think their practice portal problems are not as in line in what you would see in the test. Every section comes with a set of workshop problems. I found those to be more helpful and in line with the general topics I saw in the test.

AM Practice Tests:
-AM NCEES transpo exam
-SofPE AM test (the course will have two of them)
-Civil Engineering Academy Tests 1 and 2 (I bought online)
-PE Civil Exams by Omid Rouhani (I bought 3 of his practice test I think $15 dollars each) [email protected]

PM Practice Test
-PM NCEES Transpo exam
-SofPE PM test (the course will have three of them)
-PE Civil Exams by Omid Rouhani (I bought 3 of his practice test I think $15 dollars each) [email protected]

For the Afternoon stuff, again I will give Kudos to SofPE and the afternoon instructor. Lots of info to cover but the workshop problems prepared me adequately.

Good luck everyone!