Top Ten Reasons DTC Is the BEST – #1: Dr. Tom

And now, folks, the number one reason why DTC is the best – we have Dr. Tom. There is no one out there with more passion for, commitment to and experience with helping mechanical and civil engineers pass the PE Exam than Dr. Tom.

Dr. Tom has been involved in PE Exam reviews for decades, virtually full time. He has made it his life work and his mission. Why? Because he understands how important it is to get your professional license, appreciates what a difference it can make in someone’s life, and knows that he has a method that can help people achieve that goal.

From his younger days in the Navy, discovering that he had a knack for teaching, through his career in industrial engineering, to teaching undergraduate courses at North Carolina State University, Dr. Tom grew into a master teacher who could make complex concepts understandable and relatable to real world applications.

“I just love teaching. I love to see the light bulb go on when someone finally understands a problem. That’s what I have always enjoyed. The more I’ve worked with mechanical engineers, the more I want to help them to get their PE. That’s why I started Dr. Tom’s Classroom. I had a vision for how I could do that for more people via an online classroom. With the help of my DTC team over the last ten years, I developed the tried and true structure and methods that we offer online today.

Getting my PE was the key that made Dr. Tom’s Classroom possible and gave me my opportunity to achieve the extraordinary. Every day I get to help others do the same by helping them get their PE with our Mechanical and Civil PE Exam reviews. Then I see how it improves their lives – allowing them to start their own business, get their dream job, or develop something brand new to improve our world. When they pass the exam, we celebrate with them in “achieving the extraordinary” because they have and they will.” – Dr. Tom

All of us a Dr. Tom’s Classroom feel fortunate to be part of a company that prioritizes the success of our customers every day. Dr. Tom’s passion is contagious, and we all work hard to follow his example and make our courses the best. We work to achieve the extraordinary so that you can too.

“I have a unique insight to Dr. Tom’s philosophy on exam preparation. I attended NC State University about 20 years ago where Dr. Tom was my instructor in an instrumental review class intended to get one ready for the FE exam. He was able to sum up four years of education in a succinct way that most people cannot. He got me ready to pass the FE on the first try.

Jump forward a couple of decades and I had let life get in the way of sitting for the PE exam. Being out of school that long, I certainly was not prepared to jump into a rigorous 8-hour exam that would encompass my career and many items I had left behind as a distant memory years ago.

Discovering that Dr. Tom had taken his class to the land of cables and keyboards, I was very relieved. I knew that if anyone could get me ready again, it would be Dr. Tom. Starting the class, I immediately knew it was the same old Dr. Tom. No non-sense, make the plan, work the plan kind of guy. He is the kind of guy that knows what a slug is, and knows when you should use it. If you want a plan that will put you on the track to first time success, Dr. Tom is your man.” – William Lowery II, PE, UNC Cogeneration Systems, Chapel Hill, North Carolina


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“I didn’t finish college. Having history as a CAD drafter for architecture firms, I got a job at a small civil engineering firm in Florida. I stayed there 4 years, learning and growing into a design engineer before moving to California where I remained in the field for anoåther ten years. However; without a degree, I never gave much thought to getting licensed.

When I finally realized I needed licensure to move forward, self study for the EIT was brutal. I made it though, but realized I couldn’t do the same for the PE.

Dr. Tom’s was very helpful in covering the broad ranges of the Civil AM and PM portions, especially helpful in areas that I had no experience in and of course, no recent school. The notebook organization and material were beyond helpful in the test, I knew where all the information was and wasn’t, there was no frantic searching. It didn’t help with all the questions on the PE, I doubt anything could, but I passed my first try. So did my coworker that also took the class. Thank you very much for your class!”
– Justin Blackwell, PE, San Diego, CA

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Tunnel Boring Methods in Gotthard Base Tunnel

A new high speed capacity railway tunnel is nearing completion, with the Gotthard Base Tunnel being the primary vein of the network. The two tunnels are each 35 miles in length, making it the longest railway tunnel in Switzerland.

Building the tunnel required excavation of nearly 30 million tonnes of granite. Fun fact – this quantity of rock would have filled a train of wagons stretching over 4,000 miles!

The tunnel excavation was performed using multiple tunneling methodologies based on the geologic conditions encountered, and serves as an excellent case history for evaluation of tunneling boring methods most applicable to a specific site condition. A CNN travel video and article highlight construction method and the tunnel in operation. – Mike Batten, DTC Civil Geotechnical Instructor

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Top Ten Reasons DTC Is the BEST – #2: The Dr. Tom Method

Dr. Tom Method of successfully preparing for and taking the PE Exam didn’t happen overnight. It was built on the foundation of Dr. Tom’s decades of experience teaching undergraduate mechanical engineering courses. It was born of Dr. Tom’s desire to use that experience to help more mechanical pass the PE Exam and benefit from the opportunities that having their professional license could bring them. It was developed through years of teaching live PE Exam prep classes and online courses.

Ten years ago Dr. Tom launched Dr. Tom’s Classroom and, with the help of his experienced distance learning team, he began offering the DTC courses and refining the Dr. Tom Method. Ten years later, there are now two Dr. Tom Methods – one for the pencil-and-paper exam format used in our Civili courses and one for the computer-based-testing format used in our Mechanical courses, each tailor-made to meet the distinct challenges of these very different exam formats.

For both exam formats, passing the PE exam requires more than just understanding the fundamentals. It requires a plan of attack. The Dr. Tom Method provides you with a solid foundation of engineering knowledge plus successful strategies and skills for passing this exam.

• Lessons are focused to bring you up to speed on fundamental topics quickly and then apply that knowledge to exam-type problems.
• Topics are taught in a logical instructional order to help you build your knowledge and improve your problem identification skills.
• There are many ways to solve any given problem, and careful thought has gone into providing solutions that apply across many problems, giving you less to learn and more efficient problem-solving during the exam.
• Vital review structure and focus is provided with weekly study plans, challenge problems and assessment quizzes.
• Critical exam-day strategies are outlined, and opportunities to practice them are provided.
• Because being able to ask questions when you get caught up on a problem is so important, access to instructors is provided throughout your review via a participant forum.

The Dr. Tom Method for the pencil-and-paper PE Exam provides you with a plan for creating your personalized resource notebooks to take into the exam with you, providing you with familiar references designed for quick access to the information you need to solve problems. You also receive Dr. Tom’s Exam Day Companion, a quick reference that puts equations at your finger tips.

The Dr. Tom Method for the CBT format Mechanical PE Exams provides you with a plan to make the most of the onscreen Reference Handbook, which will be the only reference you will have during the exam, and to be prepared for the gaps in what is provided in that reference. This exam format will require you to rely on your memory more than ever, so this method works to help cement everything you learn into memory.

The bottom line is that the Dr. Tom Method is focused on that one goal – helping you to pass the PE Exam. And that’s exactly what it does.

“The way Dr. Tom prepares students for the exam is absolutely priceless. 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 a student up.

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). 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, P.E., Peaker Services, Inc. – Woodward Industrial Channel Partner, Brighton, Michigan


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CBT PE EXAM TIP – Make the Reference Handbook Your Own

For better or worse, with the new computer-based exam format, the NCEES Reference Handbook will be your only reference during the exam. So becoming as familiar as possible with what is in it and how to find what you need should be top priority.

You don’t need to know where everything is, but you should be very familiar with how it’s organized, which chapters are relevant to your exam, what general topics are covered, and where important charts are located. The Reference Handbook is not organized the way the courses you took in school were organized. So even though you’ll be using the search feature to find what you need most of the time, understanding how it’s organized could come in handy.

Take some time to browse through the chapters associated with your exam and see what’s there. You might even want to consider printing out the those chapters so that you can review them in printed form, make notes and highlight important equations.

Yes, there are a lot of pages, and most of the pages you will linger on for only a few seconds. However, as you go through this exercise, you will discover all that is provided in this very large and extensive reference.

You might have a pad handy to write down pages you want to come back to and spend more time with or print out to review more closely.

Learn to use the table of contents of the Reference Handbook as you would an Index, which the Reference Handbook does not have.

And definitely go through all the sections of Basic Engineering Practice, maybe spending a bit more time there as these pages are probably the most valuable. A key word in a question could take you to the right page and there is the answer. You want to make this resource a familiar friend. – Dr. Tom

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Comparison of Crash Prediction Methods

DTC’s Civil Transportation instructor, Dr. Daniel Findley, recently published a journal article that explores the importance and impacts of providing consistency in the geometric design of a road. Effective road design and accurate safety analyses must be a component of programs focused on reducing and eliminating roadway injuries and deaths. Various methodologies exist to determine the expected number of crashes on rural two-lane rural roads.

This research compared different procedures which allow for the estimation of the number of crashes on homogeneous road segments. In this effort, a total of 27 two-lane rural road sections located in North Carolina were considered, resulting in 59 homogeneous road segments composed of 350 horizontal curves and 375 tangents along 150 km of road. Four methods were applied to the selected roadways: the Highway Safety Manual predictive method, two jurisdiction-specific Safety Performance Functions (SPFs), and a SPF which includes a consistency parameter.

The research found that the use of SPFs which incorporate a consistency parameter allows highway engineers to consider human factor impacts on road safety assessment. The use of a consistency parameter can also simplify the crash estimation process. Analysis methods which only included local geometric variables provided unreliable results due to the calibration of only the specific road elements instead of their relationship with other road elements along homogeneous road segments.

You can find the full paper in the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security.

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