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Wish Me Luck!

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    joshschr | Male | 43 years old | Barnesville, MN

"How fares my Juliet? that I ask again; For nothing can be ill, if she be well."

If great responsibility comes with great power, what are you supposed to do with a great sense of humor?

September 2020




Wish Me Luck!

1104 views • Oct 24, '08 • (4) Comments

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:

  • Oct 24, '08 by dough boy's avatar dough boy
  • Oct 24, '08 by Fireboy's avatar Fireboy
  • Good Luck
    Very Happy
  • Oct 26, '08 by Ms Marvel's avatar Ms Marvel
  • Well, WELL??????? how did it go?
    • Oct 26, '08 by joshschr's avatar joshschr
    • I can definitely say... I answered all the questions! I feel about as good as I expected to, so it's really honestly a toss-up.

      But I know that if I study as much as I had planned to begin with, I can pass it next spring, if I need to. Crossing my fingers, not holding my breath.

      I get the results around Christmas. I'll update then!
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