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Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

I studied about 250 hours and still bombed the civil/structural PE (36 OUT OF 80 QUESTIONS). I feel like I didn't have enough time on any of the questions and the difficulty was way above what NCEES conveyed in their practice exams. I had all of the recommended study material tabbed and ready (Lindeburg, co-workers old Testmasters binder, codes, etc.). I took practice exams and studied a lot but the test totally caught me off guard. It was 10 times harder than I expected.

The second time around I will bite the bullet and pay for the Testmasters course but I'm not confident it will get my score up to passing (Allegedly the passing score for OCT 2015 WAS 55/80).

1. Do I have any chance of passing this exam or should I just pursue another career path?

2. Can anyone provide reassurance on the Testamsters course or suggest other classes?

3. I have read that practice exams are useful but I ran out practice exams to do when I studied the first time. Can anyone recommend useful practice exams that will actually help me on the test (I need a lot of them)?


RE: Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

http://ncees.org/exams/pe-exam/ says the retake pass rate was 31%

How do you feel about almost doubling your test score? FWIW it is probably wiser to know 80% of the subject matter really well rather than try and cover the stuff you just don't understand, if the problem is the sheer breadth required. One issue with open book exams is that you can spend a lot of time cranking through stuff you don't know backwards (or have never seen before) as you teach yourself during the exam. It might gain you some marks but it is a slow way of doing so.


Greg Locock

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RE: Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

I appreciate your honesty and advice. I feel like doubling my test score is not a stretch because I know the material better than what my score reflected. I think part of the problem was the panic I experienced during the exam.

However, like you said, I have never heard of anyone doubling their score and the numbers are definitely stacked against me. That is why I was reaching out on this forum, to see if anyone has had an experience similar to mine and had success the second time around.

RE: Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

Wow! A retake passing percentage of 31% is down in SE exam range. But it sounds like you might have just had a rough first PE exam experience. I'd try it again and you'll probably pass.

I'd personally recommend the PPI review course; however I'm biased as I teach their SE review course.

EDIT: Oh wait, I was thinking first time passing rates. A repeat takers passing rate around 30% seems about right.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH)
American Concrete Industries

RE: Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

I would def retake. Testmasters prep course was awesome. Never took the PPI course. Just consider what you've done as practice so you are prepared for the prep course. I studied before my prep course and think I got more value out of it than if I went in cold.

RE: Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

I found that the PPI example problems and test was 5x harder than the PE. Which is a good thing. When i took the exam i finished the exam way faster than 6min per problem logic. It sounds like your hurdle is test taking (assuming you can complete practice problems without ever looking at a key). As a note, you can study for 250 hours but you have to never ever ever look at a key until you finish a section. Looking for a hint or to verify that was how you would do the problem is useless, i had a friend who studied this way and didn't pass multiple times... then finally passed when he changed his studying method.

Good luck and just be calm, it doesn't matter if you pass or fail, just know that you know the content treat it like anything else you do daily.

RE: Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

I think you just need to relax. That is a LOT of study time, and you sounded well prepared. Did you set a timer and run through a test, cover to cover, at home to see how you did? practicing with a little pressure may help you out a bit. I took it this past spring, and the roughly knowing the CERM, or sifting through its table of contents, usually got me to a good answer quickly for most (if I needed it).

The biggest advice I could offer is probably with how you approach the test rather than prep (you did much more prep than I did - I would guess I put in about 20 hours or less of actual preparation time).

1. go through the exam and answer questions you KNOW with no reference material. These questions are quick and give you that psychological time increase for the rest of the test. As you go through the test, make a mark next to questions you KNOW where to find any reference material.

2. Go back and answer the questions you marked that you knew where to find the information.

3. dive into the questions you don't know, and keep in mind about how long you may have.

4. go through all your answers as many times as you can (hopefully you have an hour left to do this, if not oh well...)

If you are a slow test taker, practice some tests to try and improve your speed. That is probably the biggest nerve generator - feeling pressed for time and then you panic. I know I am a fairly fast test taker, but I think the morning took me 2.5 hrs and afternoon about 2 hrs to complete; if you can shoot for that kind of time on a practice exam, and can do it, it may calm your nerves for the real thing as well.

RE: Civil/Structural PE Failure OCT 2015

Taking a class will help get you focused, manage time, and be well prepared.

Albeit I took the Mechanical exam I put in less than half the time you did and passed the first time with the instruction of a live online class.

Good luck

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