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October 2019 PE Civil - Structural Results


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4 minutes ago, JollyGreenGiant said:

There are quite a few of us Structurals that hit the mid 40's and from the diagnostics I've seen, we are all very similar. I guess the exam just did not hit the topics we studied or were familiar with. I know I definitely walked out of there thinking "well that looked nothing like anything I had seen before". Yes there were some familiars but others were "WTF is this nonsense?". So there is some pattern there I guess, or maybe I'm reaching and trying to make sense of noise. 

I feel exactly the same way about wishing I could remember more of the problems but I also feel like that may be folly. The exam will NOT look the same and we know it gets "easier/harder" depending on the batch they brew for that session. I think this is why you see people hitting those mid/high 40's and then passing 3rd or 4th time. It's like THEY didnt change or improve on paper (understandable and not being said in a mean way) but the EXAM changed to align with their studies. 

What I am not going to do is drop a ton of money on some course right now. Sure, people that paid for courses passed when we didnt but there are many that failed doing as well, or slightly better/worse. That is not enough drive for me to put a further financial burden on my family for some course. If I fail after April, we will go from there but right now I feel like I can improve on my own.

Just so many thoughts right now. So much rambling. Lets see how I feel after a weekend of whiskey and friends.....

 

I do feel like you are my twin because I've thought all these exact same thoughts.  And whiskey is also my drink of choice.  

I just don't think I'll be able to take failing again because then that would make me the first person in my office to fail twice.  We have 14 PEs in my office, and only 3 of those failed, but passed the 2nd time.  If I fail again, I think it'll take a WAY bigger hit on my confidence than it already has. 

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6 minutes ago, MeowMeow said:

I do feel like you are my twin because I've thought all these exact same thoughts.  And whiskey is also my drink of choice.  

I just don't think I'll be able to take failing again because then that would make me the first person in my office to fail twice.  We have 14 PEs in my office, and only 3 of those failed, but passed the 2nd time.  If I fail again, I think it'll take a WAY bigger hit on my confidence than it already has. 

We are twins lol. Well this weekend I am sure to have many a glass and will certainly toast to our success in April! I am not sure what I will be drinking, it may be Wild Turkey 101, it may be something else, I will find out when I stop at the store on the way home lol. 

When I look around my office, I am the odd man out already. I'm not a Penn State grad, I started life here as a draftsman with a CAD degree and went back to college part time, to a school better known for producing ballerinas than engineers. Still accredited of course though. I am staring down the barrel of 40 years old with an amazing wife & two incredible kids that are my first priorities. I am working 40+ hours easy each week along with everything else that comes with home ownership, kids, etc. I didn't get to take the PE 5 years out of Penn State with little in the way of responsibilities and maybe a newlywed life at worst. Oh and yeah, I'm the first one to fail the first time but whatever. It's tough and most importantly DIFFERENT for me and for everyone. Even if you have someone living the same exact life as me on paper, taking the exam any random 2 or 3 times is going to be vastly different. We know this based on the varying content of the exam. You could have 11 of those 14 that hit it right based on their studies with the other 3 having the same on the second attempt. Or whatever or however you'd like to look at it. 

We will take it again and do what we can. No imaginary gold star stamp for us having failed the first time. Oh well, guess we won't get that magic bonus for being an awesome first time taker. 

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The way I see it, passing the first time or the 10th time shows you are at that same "competent" level. There is no way to prove which person is the "better" engineer at the time of passing.

While first time passers have more time to accumulate experience while being licensed, people who took the exam multiple times put in extra time learning the materials.

Edited by Stardust
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22 hours ago, Elvie said:

@hardhatsandpinkshoes Hi!  I am a several time repeat civil structural taker and just passed.  Whew!  I'm also in Kentucky and also used EET to prepare (and failed that attempt). If you haven't yet tried it, call the Kentucky Engineering Center in Frankfort and ask about their Saturday review courses. (Affordable option compared to the online courses)  I used that this time to help prepare and passed.  The classes are in Frankfort on six Saturdays.  I found a group of people in my area and we carpooled together. Good luck to you! 

That is extremely helpful! Thank you so much for this information!

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5 hours ago, JollyGreenGiant said:

Pennsylvania - 46/80 (24 AM/22 PM) - 1st attempt - All self study using CERM, 1 practice exam, code reviews, some Six Minute Solutions. Probably around 100 hours total study time but a lot of crunch in the final two weeks and a lot of that time after 9 PM because life. 

Feeling pretty dumb about portions of my diagnostic. I know I flat out had to guess on probably 6 in the morning and 6 in the afternoon (last 5 minutes of each portion). I'm torn. on one hand I feel like I'm close and some sharpening will have me passing. On the other, I feel that if & when the exam is different in April, I could easily put another 100 hours in and still get a mid 40's result just because of how the exam changes.

- Geometrics I am pretty sure I punted due to time. I just couldn't "see" this direction to take like I should have been able to so I panicked, waited, and then guessed. 

- Design and Details of Structures : Component Design and Detailing is a huge blow, humbling, embarrassing and is leaving me wonder just what did I do wrong? I mean this one hurts and makes me feel like I don't deserve to be designing diddly squat right now. Like yeah, I don't deserve a PE anytime soon.

My game plan? Take it again in April 2020 with review of the parts I did good on, hard core review/study on the parts I boned. I feel like I learned a really good time management lesson during the exam, so that's something I am going to practice that. Probably use at least 1 practice exam to reproduce those 8 hours so I can hopefully not scramble in the last minutes for 10+ questions. 

 

Diag.JPG

Of the 3 times I failed before passing, I scored like 12 out of 15 on the Component design and detailing first attempt and like 5 out of 15 the next time after studying even more.  Pretty sure I didn't do much better on third attempt.  Sometimes it's just a crap shoot.  Don't let this test shake your self-confidence (easier said than done, I know).  You got this.

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One more thing i wish to add that will probably make significant improvements is: to nail your basics down. 
 

Your problem is not getting the hard ones wrong, it is making mistakes on the fundamentals. Make sure you know by heart your: influence lines; shears and moments; forces in trusses; buckling of columns; sizing steel beams; etc. Practice those religiously! Do not screw any such question, and most importantly do these questions immediately after you start. You will find that you are ahead of the clock and you have bubbled 8-10 questions right off the bat. This is a huge confidence boost and a great way to start.

 

these are my two cents. Dont give up, and dont let it get to you!

 

good luck folks

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4 hours ago, MeowMeow said:

I did all the NCEES practice tests, did some PPI practice tests but they seemed harder than the NCEES and I felt like I was wasting time on some things.  If I had to guess I'd say I also spent around 100 hours studying.  

And I feel the EXACT same way about feeling like I could put another 100 hours in and still fail because of how the exam changes.  I also did poorly in geometrics and site development.  I only got 2 right in hydraulics/hydrology.  Forces/load effects and component design/detailing are what I also did worse in in the afternoon. 

I wish I remembered more of the problems on this past exam so I knew what to try to study on.  But I can't for the life of me think of hardly any problems in what my worse areas were.  It sucks. 

I have roughly 6-8 different practice exams ranging in ages from 1-10 years old, all from different suppliers (NCEES, PPI, 6 Minute Solutions, Goswami, etc.) and I really just don't feel like they help. You can work all those problems and that's grand, but there is no way you can predict what's going to be on that test. There is just so much information they can pull from. I know my April and October exams were drastically different, and I studied for roughly 100 hours each time, honestly. I truly feel like I could have studied for 100 more hours and still not been prepared for either of them. Maybe I'm studying the wrong things? Is that how you feel?

I think for this go-round, I'm going to heed the advice from those on this board who've recommended intently studying the code books. Sure, I'm familiar enough with them to do my daily work, but I don't think I know them well enough to know where the random, off-the-wall PE questions will come from. Maybe that will help.

3 hours ago, JollyGreenGiant said:

There are quite a few of us Structurals that hit the mid 40's and from the diagnostics I've seen, we are all very similar. I guess the exam just did not hit the topics we studied or were familiar with. I know I definitely walked out of there thinking "well that looked nothing like anything I had seen before". Yes there were some familiars but others were "WTF is this nonsense?". So there is some pattern there I guess, or maybe I'm reaching and trying to make sense of noise. 

I feel exactly the same way about wishing I could remember more of the problems but I also feel like that may be folly. The exam will NOT look the same and we know it gets "easier/harder" depending on the batch they brew for that session. I think this is why you see people hitting those mid/high 40's and then passing 3rd or 4th time. It's like THEY didnt change or improve on paper (understandable and not being said in a mean way) but the EXAM changed to align with their studies. 

What I am not going to do is drop a ton of money on some course right now. Sure, people that paid for courses passed when we didnt but there are many that failed doing as well, or slightly better/worse. That is not enough drive for me to put a further financial burden on my family for some course. If I fail after April, we will go from there but right now I feel like I can improve on my own.

Just so many thoughts right now. So much rambling. Lets see how I feel after a weekend of whiskey and friends.....

 

My bolded portion from your post above: you are NOT reaching. I 100% felt like this, and have been saying it since October 25th. "WTF is this nonsense?"

Additionally, I think I would have to support your statement on not dropping the money on a review course. My afternoon score only increased by 1 point, and I don't feel like $600 was a reasonable amount for a 1 point increase. (And I solely put 100 hours into the PM portion this time around.)

Honestly, though, I could have spent 100 hours on the morning too and it wouldn't have helped. The questions were just different this time around, weren't "up my alley," and it showed when my score went from a pretty solid 31 to an average 27. If I could have gotten a 31 again, or even improved my morning score by one point AND my afternoon score by one point, I really think I would have passed. Talk about frustrating. 

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  • 1 month later...

TN. 46/80. AM: 27 /PM: 19. First attempt.

I'd take again in April 2020. Looking for advice from colleagues for structural depth preparation. I have already created a thread for April 2020 exam preparation.

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On 1/17/2020 at 2:14 PM, LaRCos said:

TN. 46/80. AM: 27 /PM: 19. First attempt.

I'd take again in April 2020. Looking for advice from colleagues for structural depth preparation. I have already created a thread for April 2020 exam preparation.

I took the Civil Structural, and passed (self studied). Here is what I did:

1. I spent about a month only going through the CERM. I went through every chapter and subtopic and tabbed it all so I knew what the hell was in there. I did problems here and there. I tabbed the index, table of contents, misc calcs that I saw repeatedly in sample problems. (1 month). This was the only thing I used in the morning session. (I used the AISC beam diagrams in the steel manual too for a couple problems)

 

2. I went through my codes and did the same thing. I tabbed every chapter and any subtopics that were important. I made sure I read through the codes to understand what is where. These codes include AISC Steel Manuel, ASCE 7-10, ACI 318-14, NDS, Masonry, IBC 2015 (I did not bring AASHTO with me). I got to know ASCE and ACI very well from reading it a bunch of times, I tabbed tables, equations, etc. For the afternoon session, I spent a lot of time in the ACI and ASCE codes just reading my tabs and figuring out where to go because the questions were look up type questions. 

 

3. At this point, I had about 3 weeks to go. I did the NCEES practice exam like 4 times & did old ones too. I basically tried to cover at least 1 of every type of problem (i.e. horz curve, vert curve, beam design, etc.) but I didn't get to everything. I did the practice exam a bunch of times to get used to how long the exam is. I wanted to make sure time was not an issue - so I did the exam enough times to know my pace and understand what I need to do to have at least an hour to review. I ended up have plenty of time left over because I was pushing my pace during the exam. 

 

4. One thing I suggest is Codemasters. They have these design laminated sheets that summarize processes for you. I had one for NDS wood design and that helped me soo much because I didn't have to flip through the NDS for all the factors. Codemasters has these sheets for NDS, Masonary, Wind Loading, etc. You can purchase all of them and they will be a big tool for you. You can put these in a binder. I think this is a HUGE help. Wish I had this for all the topics.

 

5. There is no way of knowing every problem. I saw some questions where I had absolutely no idea how to do it, and I knew it involved multiple steps. At that point, I just said screw it and moved on. I guessed. I really felt like if I spent 6 minutes and tried to solve it, I would've gotten it wrong anyway. So I guessed, and now I had 6 additional minutes to spend on a problem that I felt like I could get. 

 

6. If you feel like you know a problem, do it and move on. When you are reviewing your work, confirm you answer with some sort of reference from your codes or CERM just to be safe. This helps you not miss questions you knew you had right. 

 

I genuinely think 3 months is good preparation. Spend 1.5 months tabbing your CERM and codes vigorously and really get to know your codes. then 1.5 months on practice exams and problems. Instead of counting hours, set goals to your studying (1 month you must go through entire CERM and tab, 1 week to tab and read through ACI, etc.).

 

-TK

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Guest biffnater

Passed it without the CERM.  It is possible to do that.  I had another all-in-one ref manual, all tabbed out.  Found that I only used it for a couple problems and equations I had already in my head.    Used more of a better source in-my opinion --- the FE Exam Reference manual.  Proved to be best for the AM portion.  It even has good structural stuff like the conc column tables.    The afternoon I recommend  bringing all the references listed in the list from NCEES for structural.  I did not have IBC or AASHTO..  wish i did. Still managed to pass.  Best practice problems are the NCEES exams.  Strive for acing the AM section 30+.

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Is it worth spending time practicing on complicated wood connection problems (like Bolt Lateral - Single Shear Wood-to-Wood,  Bolted Wood-to-Wood Tension Splice Connection) for the Structural depth exam?

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Guest biffnater

I remember the wood problems invovled me looking up factors, equations, or strength capacities of certain wood types straight out of the NDS book.  Nothing complicated at all.  Seem to remember a double shear problem that may involve calculating force or stress possibly in the AM section.  Check out the NCEES Structural exam for good example types of problems in the PM.

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On 1/25/2020 at 12:57 PM, LaRCos said:

Is it worth spending time practicing on complicated wood connection problems (like Bolt Lateral - Single Shear Wood-to-Wood,  Bolted Wood-to-Wood Tension Splice Connection) for the Structural depth exam?

Like biffnater said, the wood design problems should be very very basic. No design of wood connections. Basic lateral loads are valuable to study as well (shear walls, flexible diaphragms).

I'd say one of the most important pieces of advice I could offer would be, understand your ACI 318 and Steel Manual. Understand organization, table of contents, index. You can be sure you will use concrete and steel design codes intensively. 

Edited by PlanCheckEng PE
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Guest biffnater
7 hours ago, LaRCos said:

Thank you @biffnater.

Do any of you remember using the NDS SDPWS specification?

I dont recall having to use that.   Like PlanCheckEng said, know the main manuals well.  Especially steel & ACI. Bring everything on the references listed in the structural exam specs.     I would have done better if I brought AASHTO & IBC.   Thought I would be good with just ASCE-710 and an all - in -one for seismic and the bridge questions... but I struggled. 

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Thanks again @biffnater.

I've bought all the references except AASHTO and AWS welding. I believe I'll be able to manage fairly without those two codes.

Working on:

1. Structural analysis of beams and frames

2. Structural design focusing on Concrete, Steel, Wood and very basic problems of masonry design. 

My next focus will be thoroughly study the ASCE 7-10, especially wind and seismic load calculation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

45/80 30 AM 15 PM South Carolina, First Attempt.

 

I pretty much "self studied" if you could consider my efforts "studying." It was really disappointing to know I did so well in the morning section and then fall completely flat on my face in the afternoon section. The structural stuff is what I deal with regularly so it's very disheartening. My main objective for the next round is just to work on problems for the afternoon section, and gain speed when looking through the references.

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Guest biffnater
23 hours ago, Rodman said:

45/80 30 AM 15 PM South Carolina, First Attempt.

 

I pretty much "self studied" if you could consider my efforts "studying." It was really disappointing to know I did so well in the morning section and then fall completely flat on my face in the afternoon section. The structural stuff is what I deal with regularly so it's very disheartening. My main objective for the next round is just to work on problems for the afternoon section, and gain speed when looking through the references.

Seems to me you almost made it!   I would still study the AM and strive for 35 for the AM portion.   15 for the afternoon is not too shabby. I think doing as you said as far as gaining speed when looking through the references is a good idea for the PM.  Also try not to overthink a problem.   In another thread a person posted a problem about camber in a prestressed concrete beam.  I recall a very similar problem on the test and remember going through the PCI text looking for help... Turns out it was more of a structural analysis type problem and I overthought it and just made an educated guess.  It had nothing to do with PCI prestressing calculations at all.    I also got burnt out out in the PM portion and left 2 hours early after thinking I felt like I made the best attempts on all problems.. Needless to say I barely passed. ... and literally on my drive home a problem donged on my that I did totally wrong.  Still barely passed but could have done better if I would have just ran through my thought process for every problem again after attempting it all. 

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