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I failed the PE Civil Structural exam.  This was my first time taking it, and I had a feeling I didn’t pass when I left.  But it’s still incredibly disappointing.  In college, I always thought I didn’t do well on tests after taking them, but when I got them back I almost always actually did really well.  So I was hoping maybe somehow that’d happen for the PE exam. 

The past couple years I’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t even be doing engineering, and then this just brought my confidence down even more.  I like my job, but I’m just not passionate about it like some people in my office, so I’m just not as good an engineer as them.  I’m not bad at it, but not great.  I have absolutely no idea what else I’d even do though. 

Are these feelings normal?  What have you guys done to help boost your confidence?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Last time I only started studying 2 months before the exam on the weekends and a couple week nights.  By the time I really figured out the best way to study for me and get organized, I only had about 4 weeks left until the exam, which didn’t leave enough time to really get good studying in.  This time I plan to start studying now. 

Does anybody have any recommendations on good study materials?  Especially structural depth related.  I tried looking through past forums, but was getting overwhelmed.

I wish I could buy an online class, but with having to pay $350 again to take it, I can’t really afford to spend a whole lot more.  I have the NCEES 2014, 2011, 2008 and 2000 practice tests, several PPI practice tests, three PEcivilexam.com morning practice tests, and nine PEreview.net morning practice tests, all passed down to me from coworkers. 

Obviously, I didn’t have time to do nearly all of these.  But I did do all the NCEES practice tests.  And I tried some of the PPI but a lot of those seemed harder than the actual test problems and I felt like I was kind of wasting time on some things.

Sorry for writing a novel.  If you stuck through it and read the whole thing, thanks so much.  You’re great.

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Maybe you just haven't found your niche within Engineering, maybe you're better off in another role (sales, Project Management, Design, QA, etc) or maybe you're in an industry that you're not passionate about.  

 

regarding recovering from the exam, Don't look or contemplate studying again for at least a month, then get back on it. 

My study habit was essentially studying 3 different practice exams ( 2016 NCEES, 2001 NCEES, and Slay the PE) I also studied a bit of the PPI study guide to nail all the topics. 

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56 minutes ago, MeowMeow said:

I failed the PE Civil Structural exam.  This was my first time taking it, and I had a feeling I didn’t pass when I left.  But it’s still incredibly disappointing.  In college, I always thought I didn’t do well on tests after taking them, but when I got them back I almost always actually did really well.  So I was hoping maybe somehow that’d happen for the PE exam. 

The past couple years I’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t even be doing engineering, and then this just brought my confidence down even more.  I like my job, but I’m just not passionate about it like some people in my office, so I’m just not as good an engineer as them.  I’m not bad at it, but not great.  I have absolutely no idea what else I’d even do though. 

Are these feelings normal?  What have you guys done to help boost your confidence?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Last time I only started studying 2 months before the exam on the weekends and a couple week nights.  By the time I really figured out the best way to study for me and get organized, I only had about 4 weeks left until the exam, which didn’t leave enough time to really get good studying in.  This time I plan to start studying now. 

Does anybody have any recommendations on good study materials?  Especially structural depth related.  I tried looking through past forums, but was getting overwhelmed.

I wish I could buy an online class, but with having to pay $350 again to take it, I can’t really afford to spend a whole lot more.  I have the NCEES 2014, 2011, 2008 and 2000 practice tests, several PPI practice tests, three PEcivilexam.com morning practice tests, and nine PEreview.net morning practice tests, all passed down to me from coworkers. 

Obviously, I didn’t have time to do nearly all of these.  But I did do all the NCEES practice tests.  And I tried some of the PPI but a lot of those seemed harder than the actual test problems and I felt like I was kind of wasting time on some things.

Sorry for writing a novel.  If you stuck through it and read the whole thing, thanks so much.  You’re great.

I'm so sorry you didn't pass. :(

I know nothing about civil stuff, but as far as the PE exam goes...there are many very smart people who do not pass the PE exam on their first try. Heck, there are plenty of smart engineers on this board who did not pass on their 2nd, 3rd, or many more attempts! Point is, don't look at your fail result as a reflection on your abilities as an engineer; the two things are completely unrelated.

As for your work life, I believe that every engineer goes through periods of low confidence about their abilities. I go through this at my job (which I believe I am passionate about) in waves, and when it happens, I try to do three things: 1) keep on push through and do the best I can, 2) get outside help/support, and 3) look for things I could do to set me apart at my company.

It could be that you are experiencing burnout, which I think is normal for everyone at some point in their career. Many people make rash decisions when they feel this which they regret later; I'd encourage you not to give in to that. Instead, perhaps take a step back, evaluate your situation (and find someone willing to talk through it with you), and decide whether or not you want to keep at it. It very well could be it's time for something else, but I wouldn't automatically jump to that conclusion.

I can't speak for specific study materials, since I'm electrical and you're civil, but practice exams in general are a great start. Did you simulate a real exam with them? If not, I'd take a day to sit down and work through a practice exam as if it were the real exam (4 hours morning, 4 hours afternoon, not looking at answers), and seeing how you do. It could be that you knew the material but didn't practice your strategy, which I think is equally important to passing the exam. Not presuming to know your study habits, just making a suggestion.

If you do decide to retake the exam, I wish you luck, and hope you know you have the support of a lot of people on this forum. Here's to not giving up!

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48 minutes ago, Beach_Vince said:

Maybe you just haven't found your niche within Engineering, maybe you're better off in another role (sales, Project Management, Design, QA, etc) or maybe you're in an industry that you're not passionate about.  

 

regarding recovering from the exam, Don't look or contemplate studying again for at least a month, then get back on it. 

My study habit was essentially studying 3 different practice exams ( 2016 NCEES, 2001 NCEES, and Slay the PE) I also studied a bit of the PPI study guide to nail all the topics. 

MeowMeow, I think Beach_Vince's advice is spot on.  Just because you are not passionate about the engineering role you are in now doesn't mean that you are not meant for another engineering role.

It took me several years to find my place, but when I did everything just clicked.  Few people that I have spoken with in any field had that great job right out of college.  Most people I know (including myself) had to take some time to figure out what it is they really wanted to do and worked some jobs they were less passionate abut along the way.  You knew that you liked engineering at some point which is why you studied the field and stuck with it long enough to earn a degree, so I wouldn't give up on all engineering just yet. 

My advice is to keep looking around, network with other engineers in professional societies and see if any of them are doing things that sound more interesting to you.  If you talk to some of the more experienced "characters" in those organizations (or where you work if it is a large company) that have the jobs that sound interesting, I imagine few of them had their entire career mapped out from graduation day to where they are 20-30 years later.  I know my own career arc has taken some turns that I wasn't expecting, but I am sure glad for all of the experiences over the years.  If the job you are currently working isn't very inspiring it can help recalibrate your brain to figure out what it is that you want to do. 

If you are lucky, a career is 40 years of your life so it is not only OK, but in your best interest (and your employer's) to make sure that you are happy with what you are doing.  Keep looking around the engineering profession to more clearly identify what areas of engineering you could be passionate about and don't give up after this one setback.    

 

Edited by Coastal Engineer
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45 minutes ago, Beach_Vince said:

 

1 hour ago, MeowMeow said:

Are these feelings normal? 

 

Really didn’t mean to do a quote inside of a quote lol

but, I do feel the way you describing.  As previously stated, it comes in waves.  I think it’s part of my growth as a professional or something?

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Take it easy this month. Don't dwell on it. Holidays are approaching. Spend time with friends, family etc...

When 2020 rolls around, have a good discussion with yourself on multiple topics. Still love structural? Want to try another field of Civil? 

If you stay with structural, then go over your diagnostic and see what areas you did bad in. Do you recall those sections and why you struggled there. Theoretical questions, technical sections? 

 

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3 hours ago, MeowMeow said:

Are these feelings normal? 

Yes, they are. Especially after failing.

 

I failed the Power PE six times. Yes, six. I took it a 7th time and passed.

My biggest piece of advice is to wait a few weeks before you make a desicion about taking it again or not. Let the emotions of today fade so they don't cloud your judgement .

Maybe skip April 2020 so you can scrunge for more study materials and save for a review course

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@MeowMeow I don't think you are not a good engineer, it just seems you did not prepare well for this savage exam. I'm afraid two months of studying and only on weekends/couple of weeknights is not enough, at least not for the Civil Structural. I would skip April 2020 and plan for October next year the earliest. Plan for a long term studying instead of just few weeks prior to the exam date. Good luck

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3 hours ago, MeowMeow said:

I failed the PE Civil Structural exam.  This was my first time taking it, and I had a feeling I didn’t pass when I left.  But it’s still incredibly disappointing.  In college, I always thought I didn’t do well on tests after taking them, but when I got them back I almost always actually did really well.  So I was hoping maybe somehow that’d happen for the PE exam. 

The past couple years I’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t even be doing engineering, and then this just brought my confidence down even more.  I like my job, but I’m just not passionate about it like some people in my office, so I’m just not as good an engineer as them.  I’m not bad at it, but not great.  I have absolutely no idea what else I’d even do though. 

Are these feelings normal?  What have you guys done to help boost your confidence?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Last time I only started studying 2 months before the exam on the weekends and a couple week nights.  By the time I really figured out the best way to study for me and get organized, I only had about 4 weeks left until the exam, which didn’t leave enough time to really get good studying in.  This time I plan to start studying now. 

Does anybody have any recommendations on good study materials?  Especially structural depth related.  I tried looking through past forums, but was getting overwhelmed.

 

After my first time taking it I got a big reality check, that's the honest truth. I was very disappointed but know that by sitting and having the experience of taking the PE is a huge step, you now know what you are up against. I very much doubted myself an engineer after my first attempt, I would say this is normal. 

I skipped the next round after my first try because of my sister's wedding and buying a house. My best attempt was my second time, I was motivated and it was slow time at work and that was my highest score so far. 

My 3rd failed attempt was this round and gosh I just felt like I fell for every curve ball NCEES could have thrown at me. I left thinking "I might just have a chance" well my diagnosis says otherwise.

I have searched high and low and what I have found reference/practice test wise is that working problems for the morning is key and getting to know those afternoon references are honestly your best bet. But I do like Civil PE practice tests (I believe there are 3 now) for the morning. PE prepared (also 3 tests available) for the morning and now have a structural depth afternoon practice test. If you can save for a class EET depth does cover a great amount of material. School of PE was great for the morning but afternoon wasn't what I was hoping for but that was back for the April 2018 test maybe its changed. 

But good luck, weigh your options and do what's best for you! I just signed up for April but I have everything I could need from my previous attempts and at work we are coming up on our slower season so its the best time for me to study. 

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4 hours ago, MeowMeow said:

I failed the PE Civil Structural exam.  This was my first time taking it, and I had a feeling I didn’t pass when I left.  But it’s still incredibly disappointing.  In college, I always thought I didn’t do well on tests after taking them, but when I got them back I almost always actually did really well.  So I was hoping maybe somehow that’d happen for the PE exam. 

The past couple years I’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t even be doing engineering, and then this just brought my confidence down even more.  I like my job, but I’m just not passionate about it like some people in my office, so I’m just not as good an engineer as them.  I’m not bad at it, but not great.  I have absolutely no idea what else I’d even do though. 

Are these feelings normal?  What have you guys done to help boost your confidence?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Last time I only started studying 2 months before the exam on the weekends and a couple week nights.  By the time I really figured out the best way to study for me and get organized, I only had about 4 weeks left until the exam, which didn’t leave enough time to really get good studying in.  This time I plan to start studying now. 

Does anybody have any recommendations on good study materials?  Especially structural depth related.  I tried looking through past forums, but was getting overwhelmed.

I wish I could buy an online class, but with having to pay $350 again to take it, I can’t really afford to spend a whole lot more.  I have the NCEES 2014, 2011, 2008 and 2000 practice tests, several PPI practice tests, three PEcivilexam.com morning practice tests, and nine PEreview.net morning practice tests, all passed down to me from coworkers. 

Obviously, I didn’t have time to do nearly all of these.  But I did do all the NCEES practice tests.  And I tried some of the PPI but a lot of those seemed harder than the actual test problems and I felt like I was kind of wasting time on some things.

Sorry for writing a novel.  If you stuck through it and read the whole thing, thanks so much.  You’re great.

Keep your head up. If you didn't feel like you were adequately prepared, chances are that you weren't ready. 

 

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 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.) Since you are already in study mode, I would plan for April 2020. You got this.

 

-TK

 

 

 

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Wow thank you all sooo much for your wonderful thoughtful responses. Having the engineer boards community has helped me tremendously through this whole process. 

 
This afternoon my boss took me aside and told me that me failing the exam does not change the way they look at me whatsoever. He told me that I’m a great engineer, even better than some of the people in the office who passed the first try. And he said that if I never passed or decided to never take it again, it wouldn’t make a difference to them and they value me as an employee. We have enough PEs in the office that it doesn’t really make a difference if I got my PE. Anyway, this really helped me feel a lot better. All of my coworkers have been really supportive. I’m still going to keep trying for my PE though, because if the economy tanks and they have to lay me off, I want it for my resume. 
 
Even though I’m not really passionate about my job, I love the company I work for and all of my coworkers (well, almost all of them). It’s a great environment.  I’m pretty happy and I don’t dread going to work every day. So I’ll probably just stick with it until I start becoming really unhappy. 
 
I think part of the reason I’m taking failing so hard is because the work I’ve done for the last 4 years should have set me up for this test really well. I do primarily structural design. Mostly I do the entire structural design on very large custom residential homes (I mean really very large millions of dollars homes). So wood design, steel connections, concrete design, lots of detailing, etc. Basically all the materials, although I haven’t done much masonry design. But now I feel like I don’t have as good a grasp on things as I should at this point. However, I’ll keep studying (after a little break) and trying and I’ll take all of your advice to heart. Thank you so much everyone!!! 
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Hey fellow Topeka test-taker!

I just wanted to say that I passed on my first try but studied like mad for the 4-months prior to the exam I started getting references and obtaining study materials in May.  Like you, the first month wasn't very productive, as I barely got into understanding what materials will be on the test and the standard level of difficulty for the test.  I studied like mad, because my brother had a bridge background and failed his first civil-structural PE exam and cautioned me.

You're probably ahead of me in terms of a starting point though! I don't do much design (and mostly conceptual design, if that) and I am 8 years out of school!  That said, I didn't take the courses (mostly because my company will not reimburse) and did a TON of practice exams.  I have never done any wood or masonry design whatsoever, and had 5 out of 8 years experience overseas, so I'm not exactly familiar with US construction practice.

The reality is that you're a probably LOT more competent on structural design since you've had a significant structural design experience (probably more than mine).  The problem is likely that you didn't leave enough time to study at the end, so like you said - I'd probably just start studying rightaway and plan to do the April 2020 exam.  You have 4 months til the April 2020 exam, so you should have plenty of time.  Especially since you've taken it once, you'll know the kind of questions they're going to ask.  I believe in you!!  I have some soft copy of study materials that I can share, if you want.

Edited by kidroach
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On 12/13/2019 at 5:12 PM, MeowMeow said:

I think part of the reason I’m taking failing so hard is because the work I’ve done for the last 4 years should have set me up for this test really well. I do primarily structural design. Mostly I do the entire structural design on very large custom residential homes (I mean really very large millions of dollars homes). So wood design, steel connections, concrete design, lots of detailing, etc. Basically all the materials, although I haven’t done much masonry design. But now I feel like I don’t have as good a grasp on things as I should at this point. However, I’ll keep studying (after a little break) and trying and I’ll take all of your advice to heart. Thank you so much everyone!!! 

It's important to remember that the test is nothing like the engineering that most of us do on a day-to-day basis. I'm in transportation, and even the few things that are relevant to my day-to-day would never ever be done without software and tools and other resources you can't take to a test, it's just a much different scale between real world problems and exam problems. The test isn't really measuring your worth as an engineer but your ability to take a grueling test that mostly covers things you first learned in your 4 year degree. 

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2nd Attempt failed: STRUCTURES

AM: 28/40

PM: 20/40

Felt okay leaving the exam to the point I did enough to pass, sadly I was wrong. 

I saw my grade and I was very close to passing this one 😓

I borrowed EET notes from a friend for AM and PM, I also had some test master notes. I am planning to skip the april exam and take a break and retake the exam in October. This time take the On Demand classes of EET AM and PM. 

If anyone has better tips for me please don't hesitate. 

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1 hour ago, RKo said:

2nd Attempt failed: STRUCTURES

AM: 28/40

PM: 20/40

Felt okay leaving the exam to the point I did enough to pass, sadly I was wrong. 

I saw my grade and I was very close to passing this one 😓

I borrowed EET notes from a friend for AM and PM, I also had some test master notes. I am planning to skip the april exam and take a break and retake the exam in October. This time take the On Demand classes of EET AM and PM. 

If anyone has better tips for me please don't hesitate. 

Hey,

I'm sorry to hear that. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel (I got the same score in the same discipline). I almost immediately want to retake the exam after seeing the results but I followed the advice of the other posters here and let the emotions dwindle first before deciding if I want to take it this April or on October. It has been a little over a week and I am still filled with emotions (LOL), so I have decided to take it this April.

That being said, I was wondering if you can provide an honest review for EET? I'm planning to take the Structural Depth On Demand too. Also, I have a few practice exams that I can send you. I hope you consider taking the exam again this April so we can conquer this exam together.

 

 

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On 12/20/2019 at 11:18 AM, Aspiring Engineer said:

Hey,

I'm sorry to hear that. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel (I got the same score in the same discipline). I almost immediately want to retake the exam after seeing the results but I followed the advice of the other posters here and let the emotions dwindle first before deciding if I want to take it this April or on October. It has been a little over a week and I am still filled with emotions (LOL), so I have decided to take it this April.

That being said, I was wondering if you can provide an honest review for EET? I'm planning to take the Structural Depth On Demand too. Also, I have a few practice exams that I can send you. I hope you consider taking the exam again this April so we can conquer this exam together.

 

 

thank you for the reply.

Yes I might take it in April, for my opinion about EET was pretty good honestly. 

I almost passed this exam just with the notes of EET, if I took the on demand classes then I think I would have passed. EET is a powerful tool for structural depth. The morning portion was okay. I found myself using some sections of testmasters over EET, so I am debating to take EET or school of PE for the morning part. 

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Please, if you did not pass the first time, DON’T GIVE UP! It took me twice on the FE to pass and 4 times on PE. I passed the PE just before I turned 50 and I am now retired. It was worth trying that fourth time and made a difference in the last chapters of my career.

Don’t give up.

Don’t get discouraged.

Pick yourself up and make a good plan based on solid advice (given above and other places in forum).

Stick to your study plan.

Work problems for most of your study time. It will force you to look back and learn what you don’t know without spending a lot of review time on what you don’t need to review.

Don’t give up on yourself or engineering. 

Know that I am cheering for you. So many factors play a part in your preparedness for exams. Prepare as best you can. If you don’t pass, do it again.

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On 12/13/2019 at 11:16 AM, MeowMeow said:

I failed the PE Civil Structural exam.  This was my first time taking it, and I had a feeling I didn’t pass when I left.  But it’s still incredibly disappointing.  In college, I always thought I didn’t do well on tests after taking them, but when I got them back I almost always actually did really well.  So I was hoping maybe somehow that’d happen for the PE exam. 

The past couple years I’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t even be doing engineering, and then this just brought my confidence down even more.  I like my job, but I’m just not passionate about it like some people in my office, so I’m just not as good an engineer as them.  I’m not bad at it, but not great.  I have absolutely no idea what else I’d even do though. 

Are these feelings normal?  What have you guys done to help boost your confidence?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Last time I only started studying 2 months before the exam on the weekends and a couple week nights.  By the time I really figured out the best way to study for me and get organized, I only had about 4 weeks left until the exam, which didn’t leave enough time to really get good studying in.  This time I plan to start studying now. 

Does anybody have any recommendations on good study materials?  Especially structural depth related.  I tried looking through past forums, but was getting overwhelmed.

I wish I could buy an online class, but with having to pay $350 again to take it, I can’t really afford to spend a whole lot more.  I have the NCEES 2014, 2011, 2008 and 2000 practice tests, several PPI practice tests, three PEcivilexam.com morning practice tests, and nine PEreview.net morning practice tests, all passed down to me from coworkers. 

Obviously, I didn’t have time to do nearly all of these.  But I did do all the NCEES practice tests.  And I tried some of the PPI but a lot of those seemed harder than the actual test problems and I felt like I was kind of wasting time on some things.

Sorry for writing a novel.  If you stuck through it and read the whole thing, thanks so much.  You’re great.

Sorry to hear about this. I am also a structural guy and passed my PE in Oct 2018 with my first trial. Hope my suggestions will help.

I think it is really important to make sure you understand the concepts before spending much time on practice questions. Just think about it, all the questions are 6-min questions, so the calculation should not be too hard. But if you do not have a basic concept on what NCEES is asking, you cannot solve it. Right? There are so many topics for the AM test, you need to make sure that you are familiar with you materials and find the references fast enough to get time on calculation. The PM portion is a little bit harder than the AM, since it is deeper. You need to have solid concept on basic structural engineering design, especially for the topics that you might not do in you daily work. 

Just in case you are really looking for online classes, I would like to recommend Civil PE Breadth from EET (Engineering Education & Training) for AM portion and Civil PE Structure Depth from AEI (Advanced Engineering Institute) for PM portion. These two classes used to be one same institute which offers both breadth and structure depth. But since this October, Dr. Ibrahim and Dr. Zayati (who taught structure depth at EET) started their own business. I would like to say their classes cover majority of the topics in the exam, and they also offer practice problems and mini exams for each topic, as well as a full-time simulated practice exam two weeks before the exam date, so you can test if you are fully prepared. Also, all the instructors are really professional and responsive. You will get quick reply whenever you have questions to ask. Their handout is really detailed and straightforward. They have a summary sheet for each topic which contains important concept and equations. 

At last, do not lose your confidence. You will never fail until you give up! Give yourself some confidence and some rest. And then try it again! Good luck!

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First off, an exam does not determine one's intelligence or ability to do one's job.  Just because you can't pass the PE doesn't mean you're a failed engineer.  You have to keep trying.  Perseverance is key.  

Secondly, if you want the best chance of passing the exam you really need to shell out some money and take an online course.  It sucks, I know.  I took the exam 4 times, and all of my expenses were just under $5,500 (exam fees, registration fees, hotels, courses, materials).  It was $5,500 well-spent once I finally passed.  I highly, highly recommend the Ultimate Civil PE Review Course by Civil Engineering Academy.  You can sign up for their 6-month access for $697, or 12-month for $897.  I credit a lot of my success to this course.  I took PPI2Pass prior to this course and felt it was too basic and that the material did not help me at all.  The Ultimate Civil PE Review Course has fantastic material and a couple hundred practice problems to work.  Don't hold off on taking an online course because of the cost.  This is really the best way to be fully-prepared to take the PE exam in my opinion, and in the opinion of many, many others as you're already finding out.  EDIT:  I took the Construction depth so I can't speak to this course's structural contents.  The course was more geared towards the breadth, but does include depth practice exams and notes for each depth option.

The best study schedule I was able to follow was basically me spending 2 hours every night either going through the online class or working practice problems.  Shut the phone off, shut the TV off, go to the basement, do whatever it takes to shut yourself off from the rest of the world for 2 hours a night and focus solely on crushing the exam.  Take it from a 4-timer, hard work really does pay off.  But the first step is putting in the hard work.

Edited by Michael Scott, PE
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On 12/27/2019 at 2:13 PM, Just_SE said:

Sorry to hear about this. I am also a structural guy and passed my PE in Oct 2018 with my first trial. Hope my suggestions will help.

I think it is really important to make sure you understand the concepts before spending much time on practice questions. Just think about it, all the questions are 6-min questions, so the calculation should not be too hard. But if you do not have a basic concept on what NCEES is asking, you cannot solve it. Right? There are so many topics for the AM test, you need to make sure that you are familiar with you materials and find the references fast enough to get time on calculation. The PM portion is a little bit harder than the AM, since it is deeper. You need to have solid concept on basic structural engineering design, especially for the topics that you might not do in you daily work. 

Just in case you are really looking for online classes, I would like to recommend Civil PE Breadth from EET (Engineering Education & Training) for AM portion and Civil PE Structure Depth from AEI (Advanced Engineering Institute) for PM portion. These two classes used to be one same institute which offers both breadth and structure depth. But since this October, Dr. Ibrahim and Dr. Zayati (who taught structure depth at EET) started their own business. I would like to say their classes cover majority of the topics in the exam, and they also offer practice problems and mini exams for each topic, as well as a full-time simulated practice exam two weeks before the exam date, so you can test if you are fully prepared. Also, all the instructors are really professional and responsive. You will get quick reply whenever you have questions to ask. Their handout is really detailed and straightforward. They have a summary sheet for each topic which contains important concept and equations. 

At last, do not lose your confidence. You will never fail until you give up! Give yourself some confidence and some rest. And then try it again! Good luck!

What this guy said is spot on.

I had to take it twice before passing. The first time I walked out of the exam I knew I failed but hey I knew what I needed to do the second time. Use that as a building block to study next time.

I took EET on demand breadth and live webinar depth the second time and it was a wake up call in terms of the way I needed to study. It's easy to just jump into example problems but it's useless without the concepts behind them. Put in the hours during the week and weekends even when it's 8-12 weeks off. Don't even attempt NCEES practice exams or any other type of practice exams till a month before. That is your dry run test prep...I spent so much time the second time going through codes and finding where everything was. Time is your worst friend during the test and being able to find anything and everything quickly is your best friend. Learn to skip a problem immediately if you don't know what to do...each problem is worth the same points.

You can do this and you will.

Good luck!

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