Tell me about it!Overall, I must say that folks at NCEES are masters at framing the questions.
I took the TFS exam last Friday and received my results today, and I'm thrilled to have passed.
Having been out of school for several years, I did not think until late last year that I would one day take the P.E. exam, but I did and I am glad I did.
I started my preparation in late January after signing up with Dr. Tom's Classroom, which was highly recommended by 3 of my coworkers. Dr. Tom's course also requires working problems from the NCEES Practice Exam. I did not use any other material to prepare, but after the exam, I felt that the exam problems were at a much higher level than the DTC coursework and the NCEES practice problems. Nevertheless, as it turns out now, what I did was sufficient.
I spent a total of about 23 weeks preparing, which included 18 weeks to get through the 20 week planned coursework, a couple of weeks of intermittent reviews and 3 weeks of final review. Each week included about 25 hours of preparation (I was literally starting from zero theoretical knowledge). I thought the DTC coursework was very well structured for someone who has no clue where to begin and for anyone considering taking a course, I would highly recommend DTC.
The exam itself was super tedious. Wearing a mask was mandatory, but wasn't necessarily strictly monitored. My morning session had 37 questions for which I decided to give myself 3 hours and 40 minutes. I was able to get through most of the questions in less than 3 hours and spend the next 40 minutes trying to work problems that I had skipped or flagged. I took my break at that point and returned after a 40 minute break only to lose 6-8 minutes trying to get a pen that would write on the erasable booklet. The questions in the afternoon needed more time to work and some of them kept me spinning in circles with the way they were framed. There were some that looked very similar to the NCEES Practice exam, just twice as twisted. In my opinion, the difficulty level for the morning 37 questions was medium and the afternoon felt more like medium/hard with a couple of easy questions here and there. I had a fair amount of "Alternate Item Type" questions which I hated and most of those, you either knew based on your field of work or you didn't. To my surprise however, despite several questions seeming like curve balls, I managed to stay calm throughout the whole exam and I think this definitely played to my favor. Towards the end of my 8 hours, I still had several flagged questions and didn't manage to review them all. So, I walked out a bit low on confidence but high on hope and needless to say, hope prevailed.
Like others have mentioned, it is important to know how to navigate the Reference Handbook and the number you unit conversions throughout the exam will indeed wear you out. Also, be prepared for some questions that are unrelated to the Reference Handbook and I'd say Dr. Tom did a good job on some of these, which certainly helped me.
I too apologize for the lengthy post, but I hope some of you find it helpful and good luck to future test takers!
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