Author Topic: Any professional engineers here?  (Read 7266 times)

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1676
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #50 on: May 31, 2018, 09:17:26 AM »
I purchased an FE prep book https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591263336/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
and an environmental practice exam https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1532827237/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 shortly after starting this thread and studied for about 7-8 weeks.  There was a lot of math I had completely forgotten how to do, and a lot of stuff I don't use everyday that I had to review.  There was also a lot of discipline specific stuff I had to learn (I work in air only, but the exam covers air/water/soil).

I took the practice exam and got 75/110 which should be a passing score, so I scheduled the real exam for yesterday.  The real exam seemed pretty comparable to the practice exam, so hopefully I passed.

I submitted an expense report for both books and the exam fee and my company paid it no questions asked.

I'll update next week when I get my results.

Nice work, hoping you passed!  Was your mechanical pencil that they issued white?

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4006
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #51 on: May 31, 2018, 09:39:56 AM »
I purchased an FE prep book https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591263336/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
and an environmental practice exam https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1532827237/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 shortly after starting this thread and studied for about 7-8 weeks.  There was a lot of math I had completely forgotten how to do, and a lot of stuff I don't use everyday that I had to review.  There was also a lot of discipline specific stuff I had to learn (I work in air only, but the exam covers air/water/soil).

I took the practice exam and got 75/110 which should be a passing score, so I scheduled the real exam for yesterday.  The real exam seemed pretty comparable to the practice exam, so hopefully I passed.

I submitted an expense report for both books and the exam fee and my company paid it no questions asked.

I'll update next week when I get my results.

Nice work, hoping you passed!  Was your mechanical pencil that they issued white?

No mechanical pencil.  It's a computer based test.  You have a 24 inch monitor - The left half is a searchable pdf of the FE handbook, and the right half is the multiple choice exam.  They provide a small booklet of laminated graph paper and a fine point sharpie to use for scratch paper (you turn it back in after the exam).

The exam is split into 2 sections, mine was 51 questions and 59 questions.  I had 5 hours and 20 minutes total time between the 2, and I could take up to a 25 minute break between sections.  I had to manage my own time (they display total time left on the monitor) and decide when to end the first section.  Once you submit the first section you cannot go back to it, so it's really like 2 separate tests.  I split the time up proportionally between them.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1676
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #52 on: May 31, 2018, 09:46:34 AM »
I purchased an FE prep book https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591263336/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
and an environmental practice exam https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1532827237/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 shortly after starting this thread and studied for about 7-8 weeks.  There was a lot of math I had completely forgotten how to do, and a lot of stuff I don't use everyday that I had to review.  There was also a lot of discipline specific stuff I had to learn (I work in air only, but the exam covers air/water/soil).

I took the practice exam and got 75/110 which should be a passing score, so I scheduled the real exam for yesterday.  The real exam seemed pretty comparable to the practice exam, so hopefully I passed.

I submitted an expense report for both books and the exam fee and my company paid it no questions asked.

I'll update next week when I get my results.

Nice work, hoping you passed!  Was your mechanical pencil that they issued white?

No mechanical pencil.  It's a computer based test.  You have a 24 inch monitor - The left half is a searchable pdf of the FE handbook, and the right half is the multiple choice exam.  They provide a small booklet of laminated graph paper and a fine point sharpie to use for scratch paper (you turn it back in after the exam).

The exam is split into 2 sections, mine was 51 questions and 59 questions.  I had 5 hours and 20 minutes total time between the 2, and I could take up to a 25 minute break between sections.  I had to manage my own time (they display total time left on the monitor) and decide when to end the first section.  Once you submit the first section you cannot go back to it, so it's really like 2 separate tests.  I split the time up proportionally between them.

Ah Ok, I misread thinking you had just taken the P.E. test.  The P.E. test is still pencil & paper and they issue different color mechanical pencils depending on the year (even / odd) and the season (spring test vs. fall test).  I was thinking you and I would have had the same color both being even year spring (I took my P.E. in april of 2016).

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4006
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #53 on: May 31, 2018, 09:55:50 AM »
Some of the PE exams are computer based and not pencil-and-paper (chemical and nuclear are computer based already).  This october I'll be taking the last round of pencil-and-paper for the environmental PE (assuming I passed my FE).  After that they are changing to computer based. I don't know when the other disciplines are switching.  I don't know if they continue to offer it only twice a year, or if being computer based means you can do it any time (the FE can be taken year round on the computer).

Prairie Stash

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1796
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #54 on: May 31, 2018, 01:38:06 PM »
I've always wondered what the US system was like. I might have to buy the book and practice test, thank you for the links. My biggest query is if it tests practical knowledge I use or the weird stuff I learned in school and forgot long ago.

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4006
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2018, 02:45:02 PM »
I've always wondered what the US system was like. I might have to buy the book and practice test, thank you for the links. My biggest query is if it tests practical knowledge I use or the weird stuff I learned in school and forgot long ago.

Both.  The practice exam was pretty representative of the actual exam.  I could scan some pages to show you examples if interested.  A lot of the air questions were softballs imo, like converting a pollutant concentration from x to standard conditions.  Or showing where the double bonds on an organic compound are.  Or figuring out how much NaOH of a specific concentration is required to neutralize a given volume of H2SO4 at a specific concentration.  A lot was old shit I learned but haven't used since college, like like finding a solution to a differential equation, or finding the equation of a graphed circle.  A lot were more specific stuff that I never learned, like calculating rain run off for a new development, or sizing a waste water system, or well draw down problems, or water treatment design questions.

If I pass I will likely be selling both books as I won't have a need for them again.

GreenGrapes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2018, 04:45:08 PM »
One more for the Civil PE.  I actually liked taking the PE with pencil and paper.  If they change that too, I'm not sure how they'd still give enough table space for people's reference materials.

FrugalToque

  • Global Moderator
  • Pencil Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 649
  • Location: Canada
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2018, 06:24:07 AM »
I'm a PE and a consultant - if you're a consultant you need it we seal everything that leaves here.  The stuff we seal for Telecom drawings is far from dangerous like a building that could collapse. I'm a EE and you hit celings at our firm if you havent passed the FE and then another when you havent passed the PE.

I personally thought neither tests were much of a challenge - passed the FE after partying the night before in college - took 1 hour per session - passed the PE on my second try only studying done was a 4 hour practice test before the first attempt- then just collected the books i was missing for the sections i wasnt strong in..


These are open book mulitple choice tests i dont see how they are difficult or how it takes 4 hours per session to take.

What’s easy for one can be difficult for another.

I never figured they'd be difficult.  If you can pass through an Engineering Degree, you're automatically pretty capable of a) figuring things out and b) passing tests.  I just don't want to give them my money unless I desperately need to because of some great career advance I want.

Toque.

Car Jack

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1632
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2018, 07:14:47 AM »
I considered taking it after completing my MSEE but never followed through.  In retrospect, I wish I had as it's one of the few things that can go on a resume that means anything.  Other things are degrees, patents and arguably publications.  If you've been out of school a long time, I'd expect it would be difficult.  After passing the PhD entrance exam, it would have been a piece of cake to handle any of the math and all the basic engineering stuff.  I went back for my Masters through a program at my work, so could have taken the initial FE and then probably a year later taken the full PE exam, before all that math just dribbled out of my ears.

I've never needed the PE in the 33 years I've worked as an engineer, but I'm a EE.  My son is going into his senior year as a civil engineer and will absolutely take it.  If you're doing analysis and stamping prints to sign off a design, you legally have to have a PE license in your state.  I don't know if it's still the case, but I worked at a company acquired by a Texas based company and there was a big uproar because at the time, to put "Engineer" on your card, you had to have your PE.  Our company had long time legends in the field who didn't have their PE.  The Texas company relented and decided that since none of us were based in Texas, we could put whatever we wanted on our cards.  I considered Grand Pubah, but ended up using "Power Guy" since that's how the sales guys always introduced me anyways (I'm a power electronics designer).

ncornilsen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 912
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2018, 04:44:38 PM »
I took the exam in the Salem area back in april, and just found out I passed! I wasn't going to do it, but it's the easiest way for me to get to the next level of Engineering at work. The stamp will probably rattle around in my drawer forever.

Also, I had the white pencil :D

I'm a PE and a consultant - if you're a consultant you need it we seal everything that leaves here.  The stuff we seal for Telecom drawings is far from dangerous like a building that could collapse. I'm a EE and you hit celings at our firm if you havent passed the FE and then another when you havent passed the PE.

I personally thought neither tests were much of a challenge - passed the FE after partying the night before in college - took 1 hour per session - passed the PE on my second try only studying done was a 4 hour practice test before the first attempt- then just collected the books i was missing for the sections i wasnt strong in..


These are open book mulitple choice tests i dont see how they are difficult or how it takes 4 hours per session to take.

What’s easy for one can be difficult for another.

I never figured they'd be difficult.  If you can pass through an Engineering Degree, you're automatically pretty capable of a) figuring things out and b) passing tests.  I just don't want to give them my money unless I desperately need to because of some great career advance I want.

Toque.

I didn't find it "difficult" per se, the challenge was knowing your reference material well enough to find things quickly... and watching for unit conversion tricks. I finished each section with 30 minutes to spare.   

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4006
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #60 on: June 01, 2018, 09:49:20 PM »
I took the exam in the Salem area back in april, and just found out I passed!

I didn't find it "difficult" per se, the challenge was knowing your reference material well enough to find things quickly... and watching for unit conversion tricks. I finished each section with 30 minutes to spare.

Congrats!

Yes, lots of unit conversion trickery.  Once I found the equation I had to go through each variable and check the units.

I considered taking it after completing my MSEE but never followed through.  In retrospect, I wish I had as it's one of the few things that can go on a resume that means anything.  Other things are degrees, patents and arguably publications.  If you've been out of school a long time, I'd expect it would be difficult.  After passing the PhD entrance exam, it would have been a piece of cake to handle any of the math and all the basic engineering stuff.  I went back for my Masters through a program at my work, so could have taken the initial FE and then probably a year later taken the full PE exam, before all that math just dribbled out of my ears.

I've never needed the PE in the 33 years I've worked as an engineer, but I'm a EE.  My son is going into his senior year as a civil engineer and will absolutely take it.  If you're doing analysis and stamping prints to sign off a design, you legally have to have a PE license in your state.  I don't know if it's still the case, but I worked at a company acquired by a Texas based company and there was a big uproar because at the time, to put "Engineer" on your card, you had to have your PE.  Our company had long time legends in the field who didn't have their PE.  The Texas company relented and decided that since none of us were based in Texas, we could put whatever we wanted on our cards.  I considered Grand Pubah, but ended up using "Power Guy" since that's how the sales guys always introduced me anyways (I'm a power electronics designer).

When our company got acquired my title changed from engineer to manager.  I don't know if it's because the new company doesn't allow it, or they have a set structure of titles (that doesn't include engineers) and reassign accordingly.

Radagast

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1700
  • One Does Not Simply Work Into Mordor
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #61 on: June 01, 2018, 09:58:54 PM »
I took the exam in the Salem area back in april, and just found out I passed! I wasn't going to do it, but it's the easiest way for me to get to the next level of Engineering at work. The stamp will probably rattle around in my drawer forever.

Also, I had the white pencil :D

I'm a PE and a consultant - if you're a consultant you need it we seal everything that leaves here.  The stuff we seal for Telecom drawings is far from dangerous like a building that could collapse. I'm a EE and you hit celings at our firm if you havent passed the FE and then another when you havent passed the PE.

I personally thought neither tests were much of a challenge - passed the FE after partying the night before in college - took 1 hour per session - passed the PE on my second try only studying done was a 4 hour practice test before the first attempt- then just collected the books i was missing for the sections i wasnt strong in..


These are open book mulitple choice tests i dont see how they are difficult or how it takes 4 hours per session to take.

What’s easy for one can be difficult for another.

I never figured they'd be difficult.  If you can pass through an Engineering Degree, you're automatically pretty capable of a) figuring things out and b) passing tests.  I just don't want to give them my money unless I desperately need to because of some great career advance I want.

Toque.

I didn't find it "difficult" per se, the challenge was knowing your reference material well enough to find things quickly... and watching for unit conversion tricks. I finished each section with 30 minutes to spare.
Yeah I shaved the year off my stamp with a knife because it became wrong six months after I got it. On the rare occassion I use it I need to write in the year.

I didn't understand the people with suitcases of reference materials. I brought two books and didn't open one of them. Its all about time management and quickly locating a handful of equations.

Steeze

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 566
  • Age: 32
  • Location: NYC Area of Earth
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #62 on: June 03, 2018, 03:26:11 PM »
Civil engineer here, taking the PE in October.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4374
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #63 on: June 04, 2018, 06:27:09 AM »
I don't know if I'd be so blase about it being easy to pass. The first time pass rate is in the 50-70% range, but the second time pass is only 25%. And that I'd with a lot of people studying pretty be hard.

At this point, 13 years out (and not using any serious math since) I'd have to do significant studying to pass. Luckily I have no plan to take it (rarely needed for ChemE except for consultants).

Brother Esau

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 650
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #64 on: June 04, 2018, 07:01:50 AM »
Civil engineer here, taking the PE in October.

Good luck!

Steeze

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 566
  • Age: 32
  • Location: NYC Area of Earth
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #65 on: June 04, 2018, 09:08:39 AM »
Civil engineer here, taking the PE in October.

Good luck!

Thanks!

Studying 1hr a night weekdays and 4hrs a day on weekends for approx. 6 months to prepare. Signed up for the PPI2PASS study course (company paid). Once the ppi course starts that will be 3hrs 3 times a week.

Took a practice test before I started studying and passed first try (barely). Even after just a month or so of studying I am already feeling more confident. Should be good to go by October.

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4006
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #66 on: June 06, 2018, 08:19:06 AM »
Just found out I passed the FE.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1676
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #67 on: June 06, 2018, 08:35:06 AM »
Just found out I passed the FE.

Congrats!  Isn't it the worst as an engineer that they don't give you the actual results?

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4006
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Any professional engineers here?
« Reply #68 on: June 06, 2018, 08:43:06 AM »
It would be nice to see the results just so I know how much I over prepared for it.  I'm pretty sure I crushed it.  I got 75/110 on the practice exam, and the real one seemed pretty comparable, and since I learned how to do all those problems I missed I probably got like 90/110.  From what I've read you only need 55-65 to pass.  Still made me nervous that whole time waiting for results.