Any recent/newly minted PEs' here?
#1

Just curious,

I will take the EIT next April, and I can not seem to get a confident answer:

1. There is a national NCEES exam which has a list of banned machines, yet there is also a state exam that allows almost any calculator. Which exam are people taking, and why?

2. How does one's choice affect the PE exam prospects?

3. Finally, I have a 32sii, 33s, 48g, 49g, 49g+...would you advise concentrating on fluency with the 33s, or may one expect the NCEES policy to change soon (next april)? (I'd rather use the 32sii or 48g for the keyboard layout)

4. Do people expect the 33s to be discontinued or in short supply any time soon? (the local Fry's electronics (San Diego CA) quickly sold out).

Your input will be appreciated,
Eric

#2


1. There is a national NCEES exam which has a list of banned machines, yet there is also a state exam that allows almost any calculator. Which exam are people taking, and why?

I passed the EIT/FE 11 years ago (in California), and I doubt that anything has changed -- the EIT/FE is a general-knowledge national exam. You might be thinking of particular PE subject exams that each state administers.


2. How does one's choice affect the PE exam prospects?

There is no choice -- see #1.


3. Finally, I have a 32sii, 33s, 48g, 49g, 49g+...would you advise concentrating on fluency with the 33s, or may one expect the NCEES policy to change soon (next april)? (I'd rather use the 32sii or 48g for the keyboard layout)

I would concentrate on fluency in the subject matter, ideally by succeeding in collegiate courses in each of the areas. I doubt that the NCEES policy will change. I, and probably others, lobbied for acceptance of good "recent" commonplace RPN models (32SII, 32S, 11C, 15C) as well as the algebraic 20S. However, NCEES went the other way by limiting the list to presently-retailed models. If you gotta have RPN, figure on using the 33S.


4. Do people expect the 33s to be discontinued or in short supply any time soon? (the local Fry's electronics (San Diego CA) quickly sold out).

I guess that you're asking this because you might want a backup. I see no reason why HP would abruptly discontinue the 33S.

-- KS

Edited: 23 Feb 2005, 10:00 p.m. after one or more responses were posted

#3

Thanks Karl,

Ok for redundancy- Am I correct in the following?

1. FE = Fundamentals of Engr exam = EIT = Engr in Training.
2. The PE (Professional Engineer) exam is completely different, and discipline specific (ME, CE, EE, ...) taken once I have work experience, and may allow the exotic calcs depending on state?


If that's correct, I will shelf my beloved jumbo ENTER kbds for a year and master this 33s. I just found out that I may be ready for the EIT=FE exam this October, instead of next April. ( I need the Engineering Thermodynamics course, which builds on the Thermodynamics I'm currently enrolled in).

Well, I'm actually glad, I feel alot of students here relying on the ti-89/Ti's may be up for a surprise when they learn of the news...

Well, back to the exciting world of fluid dynamics!
best regards,
Eric

#4

Can the NCEES Policy make things more clear?

http://www.ncees.org/exams/calculators/

#5

"Any recent/newly minted PEs' here?"

Guilty as charged! I took the October 2004 test and passed; got the results last month.

The NCEES policy, dumb as it is, pertains to calculators with communications ability. ANY calculator with ANY port is verbotten. Even if the port is broken, even if you seal the port with epoxy (like I wanted to with my HP-28S), it's still a "no." Also, if the calculator has a QWERTY keyboard it's a no. So those dorks with the TI-92 or whatever that thing is are SOL. They've caught people cheating by either sharing/asking others in the test room via calculator communications.

That's the NCEES calculator policy in a nutshell.

You asking for advice and I will give you mine:

1. The FE/EIT is a nationwide, standardized test. It's the same everywhere.

2. The morning part is general, the afternoon part can be general engineering OR your major (i.e., Civil or Mechanical, etc.). You get to choose which you'll take in the afternoon right then and there.

3. Bring the 32SII and the 33S. Be completely fluent and comfortable with both (I brought two 33S' with me to the test - the proctors did, in fact, visually check them out). If you've studied properly, don't worry about what's on your calculator; they're not going to give you anything that can't be solved in a few minutes, by hand generally. (I can do a 3x3 determinant pretty quickely without a calculator, and that's about how difficult it'll be.) Also, the economics problems can be solved quicker by using the charts provided in the FE/EIT reference book if you don't pre-program your calculator (and with limited labels in the 33S, filling it with engineering economics problems is, IMO, wasteful).

4. Study, study, study. Do lots of problems (which I'm sure you've been doing). Get a lot of sleep; it's an endurance contest, too.

5. I do not expect the 33S to be in short supply nor do I expect them to be discontinued. As far as a run on them prior to the exams and the usual eBay vampires... I don't care. I bought my 33S' right after the April 2004 exams were over - since I figured that there'd be a glut of 'em then. I bought them direct from HP on the web and was happy.

#6

Hi Eric,

I bought my 33s from Amazon. It als ohad a $10 rebate.

1234 to delete

#7

All FE (or EIT) exams, and the vast majority of PE exams, are developed by NCEES. Anyone taking an NCEES FE or PE exam must abide by the NCEES calculator rules.

Historically, almost any calculator was acceptable on NCEES exams, but they have become much stricter in recent years. For 2005, you must choose from a short list of approved models. If you want programmability or RPN, then currently your only option is the 33S. There is no way to predict future calculator policies for 2006 or beyond, but it is highly unlikely that NCEES will return to their old, flexible policy.

As far as I know, the only PE exams that are exempt from the NCEES calculator rules are certain civil-related exams offered in California. These include the California Traffic, Geotechnical, Structural Seismic, Special Civil Seismic, and Special Civil Surveying exams. These exams were developed by the California Engineering Board (not NCEES), so they can set their own rules. Currently, California continues to allow any non-QWERTY calculator on these exams; for example, my 48GX was allowed on the two Special Civil exams in 2004. California also uses the NCEES Civil PE and Structural II PE exams, but in these cases the NCEES rules do apply.

Certain other states also offer state-specific exams in minor disciplines not addressed by NCEES (e.g. Forest Engineering PE exam in Oregon and Washington, Geological Engineering PE exam in Arizona and Nevada). In theory, the NCEES calculator policy could be waived on these exams as well, but I don't know if this actually occurs in practice. These states may enforce the NCEES policy for both NCEES and non-NCEES PE exams, because it's obviously simpler to enforce uniform rules.

Bottom Line: The NCEES calculator policy applies to the FE exam and to practically all PE exams; the only exceptions that I know of are certain civil-related PE exams in California. You should review the current policy at ncees.org, and watch for annual changes in the future.

#8

Quote:
Bring the 32SII and the 33S.
Unfortunately, if you bring the 32SII it will be confiscated. According to this, current policy is as follows:


"The following calculator models will be allowed in the exam room for use during the April 2005 and October 2005 examination administrations. No other models of calculators will be allowed. Only the models listed below may be used on the examination."

Hewlett Packard – HP 33s

Hewlett Packard – HP 9s

Casio – FX 115 MS and FX 115 MS Plus (Note: Models with "-SR" designation at end are also allowed.)

Texas Instruments – TI 30X IIS and TI 30X IIB

Texas Instruments – TI 36X Solar


Of course, last year the 32SII was on the approved list. Not sure what happened to get it banned, other than the NCEES wanting to lighten the burden on the proctors.
#9

Eric,

You've gotten a lot of great advice about exam formats and permitted calculators, and I'll add one more tidbit:

When it's time for your PE in four years or so, beware of reference overload. Unlike the FE/EIT, it's open book. Spend several months studying and working sample problems, and on exam day bring a select number of books that you absolutely need and are very familiar with (along with your 33S). You simply won't have the time to wade through dozens of references!

Good luck -

Doug

#10

Holy Shi'ite!

Well, at least they made a decision...

#11

quote:
Unlike the FE/EIT, it's open book.

The FE/EIT is open-book in the sense that you are permitted the 'provided' reference manual during the exam, right?

So the PE is actually o p e n book, as in bring what you like? I did not know, but that is great advice, I'll be choosy.

Thanks to all for the great feedback. I'm getting used to the 33s as we speak.
Eric

#12

The PE is basically "open book", but there are a few restrictions. Some states ban books with solved sample test problems. Many states do not allow loose papers or post-it notes; all material must be bound in some manner (usually binders are OK).

Many states have an unusual rule: any handwritten notes in your reference books must be in ink, and *not* pencil. This rule is supposed to prevent people from copying PE test questions or answers into their reference books during the exam.

The only writing implement that you are allowed to have during the exam is the NCEES mechanical pencil. If your books have notes in ink, then they were presumably made before the exam, and are OK. But if your books have notes in pencil, then those notes could have been made during the exam, and could represent cheating.

It may sound strange, but you should get in the habit of marking potential PE reference books in pen, rather than pencil.

#13

Exactly - nowadays the FE/EIT is restricted to the designated reference manual. I took my EIT in Virginia twenty years ago, before this policy was in place (I was able to take in a big honkin' binder), but coworkers who recently passed the test considered the new official manual adequate. Provided you studied beforehand, naturally!

For your future PE exam and its "open book", be sure to check your particular state's current rules as Norris has kindly & thoroughly described. Given the flux in allowed calculators, who knows what will be allowed in 2009...



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