If great responsibility comes with great power, what are you supposed to do with a great sense of humor?
If my calculations are correct (and I really hope they are today), when this posts, I'll be sitting in a small room at Bismarck State College with around 30 other professionals taking an exam to earn my Structural Engineer license.
I earned my Professional Engineer license back in 2004 while I still worked in Kansas. I spent more than 200 hours studying that time, starting about over 2 months before the test and covering all the areas of Civil Engineering: environmental, transportation, geotechnical, water resources, and structures. I was earning my master's degree at the time, and I counted my time in class as study time. I had also taught half of my company's PE structures review for 3 years by then. The NCEES doesn't give a score for the test, just pass/fail, so I don't know how well I did, but the 8 hour, 80 question test took me roughly 5 hours. I felt good going in, and better coming out, but the test only had a 65% pass rate at the time, so I didn't do too much premature celebrating. I was pleasantly but mildly surprised when I got the results saying I passed, just in time for Christmas.
4 years later...
I had always planned on taking the SE exam within a year or two of earning my master's degree, so when my boss told me I should take it this fall (earned my MCE from KU in 2006), I didn't have to be signed up kicking and screaming. But then the late summer/early fall got away from me. We were involved in 3 weddings since the end of August, and we've both been busy with work and parent stuff. I tried studying at home. Didn't work. I tried studying at work. Didn't work. I finally got desperate and crashed the MSUM library to study, and wow, what a difference that made. I got maybe 40 hours of studying done there versus 30 at home. I could get more done in a 3 hour session than I could in a weekend at home. But I still didn't get to cover all the topics I needed to for this exam.
So now I don't know how to feel. Between my BS and MCE, I've got quite a few years of structural engineering education. I've been working on bridges since I graduated, and I've got some solid building design experience too. I passed the PE the first time! And I like what I do. But this test has a 46% pass rate. And I didn't get much study time in. And I feel a bit of a cold coming on. And a friend who took the test had this to say:
My best advice would be to not take it! It sucked. I am actually surprised I passed. I was ready to give up halfway thru. I guess I would say that it isn't set up the same way as the Civil where it is easier in the morning.
Those are my excuses. If I don't pass this time, it's because I didn't take it seriously enough early enough.
But I really want to pass the first time.
So, wish me luck! And here's a video about luck:
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