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Re: PE Exam

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Wesley Werner wrote:

    I just received the letter stating that I passed Structural I exam. Unfortunately, PA doesn't report your score anymore. The letter just says passed. It certainly was a great feeling though after waiting 2 days shy of 10 weeks.

    I thought I would write a few of my observations on the test for the benefit of those on the list who are looking to take it. I did not do a lot of studying, and wish I had done some more than I did. I really only started to study in earnest in October, the month of the exam. The most helpful study book that I had was the example problems from NCEES. The questions gave a good picture of what was on the test. The worst problem with this book was that it used outdated references for the problems.
    I borrowed a copy of the Structural Engineering Reference Manual by Alan Williams. It was helpful, particularly on the precast problems. I don't do precast design, but the precast questions on the test were simple enough for me to figure out using the Manual and the little bit of practice I had from college days.
    There seemed to be a lot of bridge problems on the test. I don't do bridge design, and had never opened the AASHTO spec before I started studying. However, I concentrated my efforts on the bridge problems in the NCEES practice booklet, and these helped me a great deal. On the whole test there was only one question that I purely guessed at the answer, and it wasn't a bridge problem.
    One of the things I worried the most about before the test was time, but this turned out to be a non-factor. I am not a fast at working math problems. When in high school, my lowest achievement test scores were in math, because I couldn't complete the math section in time. I did not have that problem on this test, though. In the morning session, I was well over the half way point in an 1 1/2 hrs. I completed all the questions and had time to recheck a few questions in both sessions.
    Make sure you have the calculators that are approved for the test. There are only five that they will allow this April. The proctors checked the calculators very carefully and recorded what models each person brought into the test.
    I found the NCMA Tek notes very helpful on the test. I printed several of them out along with the Army's masonry design manual, and these resources helped me answer most of the masonry problems without using ACI 530-02. In PA you are allowed to bring in material like this if it is in a three ring binder, but you should check with your state board before bringing this type of reference to the test.
    On some of the questions, all of the choices were very close together. There were some questions on test that I think you could have ended up with two different choices depending how you rounded. Don't think that you will be able to work the problems by eliminating the wrong choices.
Wesley C. Werner, soon to be PE