PE EXAM PREP TIP – Put in the Hours

There’s whole lot to learn and retain to succeed on the PE exam! Concepts you need to relearn, problem-solving skills you need to develop, references you must be familiar with. All this takes time. Start too early and your familiarity with the material will fade over time. Start too late, and the information won’t sink in and you won’t get enough practice. Start without a plan, and you’ll waste precious time studying the wrong things.

After many years of preparing engineers for the PE Exam, I found that 20 weeks is the optimal time frame for learning and retaining the knowledge and skills you need to pass the exam. That’s why my courses are based on a 20-Week schedule. I recommend you spend 3 to 4 hours, 5 days a week on your review. That adds up to 300 to 400 hours of review time.

Making the necessary weekly time commitment for your review really is one of the most important keys to success on the exam. Exactly how much time that will be each week is going to vary depending on your personal review needs, but consistency pays off. That means following your study plan each and every week, sticking to it as closely as you can. – Dr. Tom

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Should You Pull In or Back In?

DTC’s Civil Transportation instructor, Dr. Daniel Findley, PE, recently published a journal article that examines the safest way to park. The analysis from this study implies that the pull-in/back-out parking maneuver is more likely to result in a collision and therefore, is associated with a higher crash risk.

Further analysis of North Carolina’s parking related fatal and serious injury crashes found that vehicles backing out of parking spaces was overwhelmingly the main cause for these serious injuries. 90% of North Carolina’s parking related fatal and serious injuries occurred during a back-out maneuver.

Overall, this study concludes that the back-in/pull-out parking maneuver is safer than the pull-in/back-out maneuver and is the recommended approach to 90° parking.

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FEATURED TESTIMONIAL – Gave Me a Lot of Self-confidence.

“The most difficult part of preparing for the Civil PE Exam was knowing the precise scope of the morning exam subjects and identifying important concepts. In that respect, the extent of each subject presented in the Dr. Tom’s class, important conceptual explanations, examples that clearly understand the concepts, and especially the various challenges gave me a lot of self-confidence. Again, I would like to thank the Dr. Tom’s Classroom team for helping me prepare for the exam.”
– Nam Young Do, PE, Lotte E&C, South Korea

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River Surfing Catching New Waves

Growing up on the NC coast, I always enjoyed going out to the beach and watching the surfers catching waves – I even tried taking a few lessons myself a couple of years ago, so much fun! But I never realized that folks were surfing on rivers as well as in the ocean.

It looks like river surfing is gaining popularity in Ohio and other states in the Midwest. As sections of early-20th-century dams have been blasted out to create new whitewater features and water quality has been improving with advances water treatment, kayakers, paddleboarders, and even surfers are having fun taking advantage of new opportunities.

Young entrepreneurs like the ones featured in this OZY story have created businesses teaching river surfing to local water enthusiasts and the sport is growing. Next time I’m in Dayton, Ohio, I’m definitely going to check out this scene! – Beth Sciaudone, DTC Civil Water Resources & Environmental Instructor

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NEW Videos – Dr. Tom on the Computer Based Mechanical PE Exam Experience

Facing the new computer-based exam experience is understandably a bit daunting. This exam format presents you with new challenges that changes everything about how you prepare for the exam.

I want to help you understand the biggest challenges that you face with this exam and give you my thoughts on the best ways to meet them. That’s why I’m sharing these two videos about the Mechanical CBT PE Exam Experience.

In Part 1, I share my thoughts on the biggest challenges you will experience with the new computer-based test format (CBT) of the Mechanical Engineering PE Exam.

In Part 2, I go over the details of what you can expect with the new computer-based test format (CBT) of the Mechanical Engineering PE Exam.

You can also find more of my thoughts on the CBT format in my “Change Is Here” article.

I hope these videos help you understand the new exam format better. With the right mindset and preparation, you can succeed on this exam. – Dr. Tom

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FEATURED FREE CIVIL VIDEO – Civil AM Exam: Structural – Sign Convention

Enjoy one of the most popular videos on the DTC YouTube Channel, with over 4,200 views!

Often when we are using statics to determine internal or external forces and moments of a member, we’ll draw dummy forces and moments on our free body diagrams. In doing this, we tend to assume the forces are positive and then flip the direction of the force or moment on the final free body diagram if the value we calculated was negative. It is important to maintain a sign convention especially as you explore internal forces. Without a sign convention, you can quickly find yourself at odds as you start to draw shear and moment diagrams.

This video explains the typical sign convention used for beams in flexure. We’ll cover the sign convention for internal as well as external forces and moments. Then we’ll show how maintaining a sign convention can be used to help keep your shear and moment diagrams consistent. – Shannon Warchol – DTC Civil Structural Instructor

Shannon Warchol’s Explanation of Sign Convention: https://drtomsclassroom.com/free-civil-videos/

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Is That Really a Traffic Jam?

We are relying more and more on traffic information that we find on our smart phones, but do we know what data are being used by these apps to estimate the level of congestion on our roadways? This video shows how relatively low-tech hack using 99 smartphones was able to manipulate the amount of congestion that Google Maps reported. Food for thought. – Daniel Findley, DTC Civil Transportation Instructor

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FEATURED TESTIMONIAL – The way Dr. Tom prepares students for the exam is absolutely priceless.

The FE exam was probably the worst experience of my life. I did almost no preparation, but somehow I passed. I needed to pursue becoming a PE myself, but I absolutely dreaded going through that experience again. I knew I needed to prepare for the PE exam much differently than I did for the FE.

After discovering Dr. Tom’s courses, I registered for the 20-week preparation course. The Dr. Tom course does require a significant amount of time dedicated to it – three to four hours, four to five days a week. However, what is gained from the course material and the way Dr. Tom prepares students for the exam is absolutely priceless.

Personally, I actually enjoyed all the work and exercises Dr. Tom’s course contains. It reminded me very much of my undergraduate classes taught by my favorite professors. Dr. Tom is serious and very organized, but at the same time the work is enjoyable. The problems are presented in the clearest method possible (or explained how to make sense of unclear problems) and a single, definite path presented to solve all problems.

When the exam day arrived I was able to maintain the correct and necessary mindset thanks to all the coaching tips Dr. Tom had presented throughout the past 20 weeks. As I went through the exam I could solve the vast majority of the problems. Like Dr. Tom says, there will be problems on the exam you will not know how to solve. But, if the Dr. Tom method is followed, these will not hang you up.

When I completed the exam my mindset was an absolute 180-degree turn from my mindset after I had taken the FE exam. I didn’t want to assume I passed the exam, but I had a good feeling. I found out a couple months after the exam that I had passed.

I cannot speak highly enough about Dr. Tom’s PE preparation course. I completely attribute my exam I performance to Dr. Tom (and dedicating the appropriate amount of time to the course). Anyone taking the PE exam without any sort of formal preparation has a slim chance of passing. Taking the exam is not only about solving problems, but it’s about how to solve problems and about keeping to a strategy. Dr. Tom teaches all aspects of taking the PE exam to the highest level possible. Thank you, Dr. Tom!”
– Karl Peter Gubert, PE, Peaker Services, Inc. – Woodward Industrial Channel Partner, Brighton, Michigan

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