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RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE CIVIL PE EXAM PREPARATION PROCESS

Prepared by CIVILPEEXAMS.com

1) The Civil PE exam is broken down into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning covers basic topics in Transportation, Construction, Geotechnical, Water Resources/Environmental and Structural. The afternoon session consists of a more intensive examination on 1 of the 5 topics listed above. During exam registration, you will need to select the discipline you would like to be tested on (a new change in the NCEES registration process). So, once you register with NCEES there is no changing your afternoon session discipline during examination. Make sure you know exactly what discipline you want to be tested on before applying for the exam. 2) Before you begin to study, make sure you download and review all topics that will be on the exam. NCEES prepares outlines for every discipline that contains topics that will be on both the morning and afternoon sessions in addition to the codes used to prepare the examination. If you have not already done so, you can obtain these from the "References" web page in our site. 3) Now that you have made up your mind on the afternoon discipline you want to take, make sure you obtain the appropriate references/books before you even start to study. Make sure you get either the CERM or the AllinOne Review Manual to study for the morning session (visit our "References" section in our website for details and a discussion on the two manuals). Some people prefer one book over the other. The CERM has been around for a long time and is highly recommended. However, keep in mind that with the CERM you will need to purchase the companion practice problems textbook in order to do practice problems. Either one of these manuals are necessary to pass the morning session. For the afternoon session, NCEES outlines provide codes that were used to prepare examinations for Transportation, Construction and Structural. So, make sure you purchase or borrow these manuals and codes for preparation and examination day. You need to have these codes with you to pass the exam! For Geotechnical and Water Resources/Environmental, NCEES does not specifically list required codes/references used to prepare the exam. Visit our "References" section on our website for highly recommended references for these two disciplines.

www.civilpeexams.com © 2011 CIVILPEEXAMS.com v1.0 February 2011

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RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE CIVIL PE EXAM PREPARATION PROCESS

Prepared by CIVILPEEXAMS.com

4) Try to come up with a schedule for studying. Attempt to designate set days and times that you can study on weekdays and weekends. Most of us work fulltime and have families so trying to stick to a schedule can be difficult. Remember that if you put in hard work for a few months you may never have to do this again if you pass. Therefore, try to take the scheduling of studying time serious. 5) If possible, try to join a study group with friends during preparation. You will be surprised how much you learn from others as well as teaching others. Helping others and explaining topics you already know to others aids in reinforcing topics you have learned. 6) Once you have decided on a schedule for studying, discuss this with your family and friends. Let them know how important this is to you and how long you have worked to be at the level you are in. You would be surprised how a simple conversation with your family can clear a lot of headaches in the future (particularly a significant other or children). You will be surprised how kids will be extremely supportive of what you are doing (even though the little ones do not fully understand what you are doing and why). Remember, take the time to discuss this journey you are going through with your family. Without them, you probably would not be where you are. 7) Make sure you tag your reference books while you are studying. Do not wait to the last minute to do this. As you are doing practice problems you will come across tables, graphs and charts that may be useful and save you lots of computation time. Tabbing your references will save you lots of time during examination. 8) Designate an area in your house for studying. Identify a room and table that you can leave your materials when you are not studying. Make sure that your family and friends know that this area is completely off limits for the duration of your exam preparation. 9) Spend a good amount of time doing problems, preferably after you have gone over all topics. Doing many practice problems will help you further learn the topics you have covered, tab appropriate reference pages and maybe even discover errors in your reference books (this does happen believe it or not). Remember "Practice Makes Perfect" so sharpen that pencil and spend lots of time doing practice problems.

www.civilpeexams.com © 2011 CIVILPEEXAMS.com v1.0 February 2011

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RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE CIVIL PE EXAM PREPARATION PROCESS

Prepared by CIVILPEEXAMS.com

10) Don't be discouraged when you start doing practice problems. Some of the available problems will be much harder than anything you see on the actual exam. Our opinion is that most of these problems are prepared to help you grind through the subjects so that you are well prepared for the examination. Don't be surprised if you get even 50% of the problems wrong during preparation. Just make sure you learn the material, tab your references, make notes on your books and try some of the problems you have trouble with on later days to see if you remember the procedures. 11) Try, at all possible, not to look at the solution to problems. It's very easy to flip to the end of the chapter/book to find the solution to a particular problem. Spend as much time possible (while doing practice problems) trying to solve the problem. This will only benefit you in to future. 12) During the exam preparation, try to narrow down on the references you will plan to use. There is a thin line between too many references and to little reference books. 13) Do a few timed practice tests. Do not underestimate the mental and physical strain that you go through during an 8hour exam. By taking a few practice exams, you will get a feel for how much time you have for each problem, the mental awareness you need and what reference books you actually use the most. If 8 hours of practice examination seems unreasonable (most of us work and have families) try doing 4hour blocks of practice testing. This will make you feel much more relaxed during exam time. 14) While doing practice examinations, make sure you try to make it as realistic as possible. Do not break during practice examination for any reason, make sure you have plenty of fluids to drink near you, and wear ear plugs (if necessary). The more you make the practice exam realistic, the more comfortable you will feel during exam time. 15) Make sure you at least look over the Reference Manual you will use for the morning session forwards and backwards. If you did not cover a topic for whatever reason, make sure you at least know where to find the subject. Also, make sure you are aware of what is included in the Appendices. The Appendices contains many charts, figures and graphs that can help you save on computation time. There may be a few freebie questions that the Appendices help you with.

www.civilpeexams.com © 2011 CIVILPEEXAMS.com v1.0 February 2011

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RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE CIVIL PE EXAM PREPARATION PROCESS

Prepared by CIVILPEEXAMS.com

16) The index of your morning Reference Manuals is your Best Friend! Make sure you practice using the index. It will save you lots of time during the actual exam. Some people like to copy the index to save time during the exam. This is a great idea and some websites out there contain scanned copies of the Index for your morning Reference Manual. Happy surfing! 17) Do practice problems with the calculator you will be using during the exam as well as your backup calculator (oh yes, you need a backup). Make sure you know the general features of your calculator. You don't want to waste your time during the exam trying to figure out how the thing works. 18) In the exam you will have an average of 6 minutes to do each problem. That does not mean that a problem cannot take you more than that. Remember that some questions you will be able to answer in a matter of seconds. So, be prepared to spend a little more than the 6 minutes on a handful of problems. 19) The NCEES website sells preparation guides for each discipline which contains 80 sample questions (both morning and afternoon). Make sure that you obtain a copy of this book for the discipline that you will take for the afternoon session. These manuals provide representative practice problems and provide a feel of how the problems will be presented in the exam. 20) Do not study on the day prior to the exam! At this point you have studied long enough and 1 more day of studying will only drain you mentally. Instead, take the day off of work and do something relaxing like play your favoring video game or watch some movies. Also, take this time to gather all of the materials you will take with you to the exam (i.e. reference books, calculators, NCEES registration form, identification, snacks, etc.) Get a good night's sleep and eat a light dinner. Mentally prepare yourself on this day for what is to come. Check out our affordable sample examinations that provide realistic problems for the examination by clicking www.civilpeexams.com.

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v1.0 February 2011

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