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Re: Exam prep hp33s calc

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Walter:

I am not sure what you are asking.  I assume you are talking about
calculators that you use do the math on problems (i.e. the "physical"
number crunching).  If so, to me, a calculator is largely a calculator.
The only potential challenge is the differences between HP calculators
that use reverse Polish notation and calculators that use more
"traditional" notation.  But then you have the choice as to which type of
calculator you use and I assume that you use a calculator right now that
is one of those types.

The only real thing to be aware of is that the NCEES exams have a VERY
specific calculator policy.  You are only permitted to use the calculators
that they list as approved (you can go here to see that list:
http://www.ncees.org/exams/calculators/).  You should have no problem
finding a calculator on their list that is very similar to what you are
used to using and as such should not have to worry about "learning" a
calculator...that is unless you regularly use a programmable calculator
with a crap load of pre-programmed stuff...if so, then it is not really
learning the calculator but re-learning/learning the structural/civil
engineering principles that is contained in the pre-programmed stuff that
you are currently using as a nice crutch.  The only real "problem" that I
see with NCEES' calculator policy is that you might have to go spend about
$15 or so to buy a new calculator (personally, I would double that cost
and buy two so that you have a spare calculator in case your first one
kicks the bucket during the exam).

In otherwords, personally, I don't think that which calculator you use
should have any impact on how well you do on the exam.  If you understand
the material, then you can come pretty close to using even a standard
"non-scienttific" calculator other than the fact that such calculators
generally don't have square roots or trig functions (sin, cos, tan, etc)
and be fine.

As to the Kaplan material, I have not personally used such material, so I
cannot comment from personal experience.  I do know that many people have
used their material and managed to pass the exam.

My personal studying advice would be as follows:

1) Learn and understand the exam format.  Learn what type of subjects you
might see on the exam and then prioritize which areas you need to work on.
Which areas are you most comfortable?  Which least comfortable?  That will
start to help you figure out where you might need to spend more of your
time studying.
2) Learn/know how to take multple guess exams.  Multiple guess exams are
not really about getting the right answer, at least in practical exam
taking terms.  They are about eliminating the clearly wrong answers and
narrowing your choices so that if you DON'T know the correct answer, you
at least have a better chance of guessing it.  This is why I don't really
like multiple guess exams for the PE...it is much easier for people who
really don't know the material as well as they should to do well on the
exam strictly cause they know how to take the exams well.
3) Learn and know the material.  That is a large, broad, kind of "duh"
statement.  But, the key is different people do this in different ways.
Some must cram to their hearts content.  Others know it but must refresh
their memory on where to find stuff in codes.  Some are in between that
basically know the stuff but want to refresh their memory as to where
stuff is in textbooks in case they need a crutch to help during the exam.
Personally, I did not need to actually study much, espeically for the true
"structural" exams (i.e. Struct I, Struct II, WA Struct III, and CA
Seismic exam)...after all, I do this stuff largely day to day, so if I
don't know it know, I likely ain't gonna learn it.  But, then I also
naturally pick stuff up quickly (a blessing and curse sometimes).  For me,
it was just skimming through stuff.  The only thing that I had to really
"study" (i.e. sit down and throughly read) was some preperation/study
material for the CA Surveying exam as I DON'T do surveying stuff day to
day.
4) Get some sample problems/exams.  For me, this was the BEST way to
study.  I did not actually sit down and do many of the problems, but it
helped me see what type of problems might be asked and thus allowed me to
figure out where I might need some "refreshing".  When I did encounter a
problem that did not seem abundantly clear/"known" (i.e. something that
was not fresh in my memory/knowledge base) to me, then I would do the
problem.
5) Don't stress.  You can always take the exam again if you don't pass on
the first try.  I learned this lesson the hardway.  When I took the Civil
PE exam back when I had no licenses, it had turned out that I had not
really studied a much as I wanted/should have (basically, did not have
time and more to the point was too lazy to study much).  I SERIOUSLY
flipped the night before from panic and was to the point where I was not
going to go...until my parents calmed me down and reminded me that I had
nothing to lose.  I went and took the exam and learned I had panicked for
no reason...I ended up passing.  Ever since then, I have been a LOT less
stressed when taking the Sruct I, Struct II, WA Struct III, the CA
Seismic, and CA Surveying exams.  So, don't stress too much.  And figure
out what level of studying works for you (you should know this from your
experience in college).  For me, I never needed to study much for exams
and as such did not do the whole "cramming" thing (unless it was a rote
memory type test...aka spelling or art/architecture history exam where you
had to know names of buildings/paintings, dates, and names of artists),
but I know many people who have to do hard core studying and even
cramming...that is just how they are "wired".  You should know how you are
"wired" by now and should be able to study accordingly.

Good luck and relax some...you have plenty of time until the fall exams.
Frankly, I personally think the PE exams are easier than the EIT
exams...largely cause you tend to use a lot of the material that you will
be tested upon (or you should be), while a lot of the EIT stuff was from
earlier in your college education and as such you had likely not used in
quite a while while you took the EIT exam.  To me, this is certainly true
if you are taking one of the "true" structural exams (i.e. the Struct I),
but maybe a little less true with the current format of the Civil PE exam.

Regards,

Scott
Adrian, MI

On Sat, 29 Apr 2006, Walter Don DeVore, Jr. wrote:

> Scott Maxwell wrote:
> Is proficiency with the calculator of prime importance for PE exam
> problems? Does one learn the calculator and then the problems or problems
> then the calculator? Is the Kaplan program as good as any other?
>  Thanks
>
>  Walter:
>
> To my knowledge, all states use the NCEES exams for the PE level exams for
> the "primary" exam at least (some states will supplement those exams with
> a/some state specific exams such as California's seismic and surveying
> exams).  For most states (and it appears that New Mexico is one of them
> based upon their webiste), structural oriented people getting their PE
> will take the NCEES Civil PE exam.  Some states will allow or even require
> those who specialize in the area of structural engineering to take the
> NCEES Structural I PE exam.  And as I mentioned in the parenthesis above,
> it appears that New Mexico is a state that just requires or uses the NCEES
> Civil PE exam.
>
> The Civil PE exam is an 8 hour, multiple guess exams (sorry, don't much
> "approve" of multiple choice exams for this type thing).  The 8 hours is
> divided into two 4 hour sessions - the morning session, which is called
> the "breadth exam" and the afternoon session, which is called the "depth
> exam".  The "breadth exam" (the morning session) "...contains questions
> from all five areas of civil engineering: Environmental, Geotechnical,
> Structural, Transportation, and Water Resources." (quoted from the NCEES
> website)  The "depth exam" focuses "...more closely on a single area of
> practice in civil engineering.  Examinees must choose one of the following
> areas: Environmental, Geotechnical, Structural, Transporation, and Water
> Resources." (again quoting from NCEES website)  The NCESS website at the
> following location will offer more details, including detailed list of
> topics, study materials and design standards:
>
> http://www.ncees.org/exams/professional/pe_civil_exams.php
>
> The NCEES Structural I PE exam is formatted basically the same as
> mentioned above for the Civil PE exam, except that is ALL on structural
> topics.  As such, it does not really have a "breadth" and "depth"
> portion, so to speak...at least not in the same way.  You can get detailed
> topic information at the following NCEES website:
>
> http://www.ncees.org/exams/professional/pe_structural_1_exam_specs.pdf
>
> As to your specific question, first I would suggest that you contact the
> New Mexico board and ask them if you will be required to take the Civil PE
> exam or the Struct I exam.  Since they just offered the exams last week,
> you must be starting to study for the fall, which means that you have
> PLENTY of time to call them and ask them (unless they changed the testing
> date to this weekend or something else).  The answer to that question will
> start you off in the right direction rather well.
>
> If you are required to the Civil PE exam, then I believe it is much less
> likely that you will see a bridge question (at least that requires
> detailed knowledge of the AASHTO code) and even if they do, it will likely
> be only one or two questions (i.e. very few) and as such missing it may
> not be the end of the world (this gets into priorities when studying...in
> other words, where can you get the most "bang for your buck" so to speak
> when studying).  You will, however, need to study MUCH more than concrete
> structures.  You will need to study many non-structural topics (see the
> above website).  Beyond that I am not all that much help, as I took the
> Civil PE exam back under the "old" format when the morning session was
> "short answer essay" problems (i.e. you write out solutions and could get
> partial credit) and the afternoon sessions was 40 multiple guess questions
> and they did not do this "breadth" & "depth" stuff.
>
> And even if you are required to take the Struct I PE exam, while you will
> likely see some bridge problems, they will likely again be few and far
> between...although much more likely than the Civil PE exam.  But again,
> you will DEFINITELY need to study more than concrete structures as the
> Struct I exam covers structural analysis, steel, concrete, masonry, and
> wood...mainly for buildings, but some problems will be bridge oriented.
>
> If you ever reach the point where you must/want to take the NCEES Struct
> II exam (i.e. to get you SE license in some states such as California,
> Washington, Illinois, etc), then you will be taking an exam that gives you
> the choice between taking a building oriented exam or a bridge oriented
> exam.  If you choose the bridge oriented exam, then you will DEFINITELY
> see specific bridge problems that require detailed knowledge of the AASHTO
> code.
>
> There are lots of PE exam study materials out there that will help you
> study...or at least get you some feel for the types of questions that you
> will see.  This website is a good source for study guides:
>
> http:/www.ppi2pass.com
>
> HTH,
>
> Scott
> Adrian, MI
>
>
> On Fri, 28 Apr 2006, Walter Don DeVore, Jr. wrote:
>
>  For preparing to take the PE exam for New Mexico, is bridge design part
> of it or can one focus only on concrete structures? Or are structures one
> session and the bridge the other.  Thanks
>
> Jnapd(--nospam--at)aol.com wrote:
>       Try this set
>
>
> KaplanAEC Engineering Product Details
>
>
> Joe Venuti
> Johnson & Nielsen Associates
> Palm Springs, CA
>
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