Helping Chemical Engineers Prepare for the PE Exam on the Path to Registration Professor N. S. Nandagopal, P.E. Associate Professor, UH-downtown AIChE New Orleans Section Meeting November 11, 2003
Requirements for Registration As a Professional Engineer (P.E) Mandated by State Laws – Can Vary From State to State. General Requirements: Engineering Degree From EAC Accredited Program Passing the 8-hour Fundamentals of Engineering (FE, Formerly Known As EIT) Exam
Requirements for Registration As a Professional Engineer (P.E.) Four Years of Experience Acceptable to the State Engineering Board Passing the 8-hour Principles and Practice in Engineering (PE) Exam. Additional requirements as mandated by the state board.
Issues Concerning Registration Requirements Educational Requirements: Foreign Degrees, Technology Degrees Experience Requirements: Sales, Computer Science, Administration, Management FE Exam: General Vs. Discipline Specific PE Exam: Related Areas – Environmental, Control Systems
Importance of Registration As a PE Improves public perception of the engineering profession. Adds legitimacy to practice of engineering profession. Promotes stature of engineering practice similar to board certification of doctors, lawyers and accountants. Improves quality of engineering practice and promotes competence and professionalism. Career rewards.
PE Exam in Chemical Engineering: Exam Topics Mass/Energy Balances and Thermodynamics (24%) Fluid Mechanics (17%) Heat Transfer (16%) Mass Transfer (13%) Kinetics (11%) Plant Design and Operations (19%)
Exam Format and Specifications Number of questions (80). Morning (40 questions) and afternoon (40 questions) sessions. Exam sub-topics.
Criteria for Passing NCEES emphasizes “Minimum Competency”. Definition of “Minimum Competency”. No fixed percentage for passing scores. Key issue is to ensure the competency of the individual. Raw score and standard score.
Exam Preparation Resources NCEES Publications. Undergraduate texts. Published prep materials. Review classes.
Exam Preparation (Continued) The Chemical Passing Zone. Strategy – Evenly paced review. Emphasis on fundamental concepts rather than in-depth research of topics.
Exam Preparation (continued) Commitment of time. Diagnostic test. Review weak areas first. REMEMBER: ALL QUESTIONS MUST BE ANSWERED.
Exam Related Publications NCEES PE Chemical Engineering Sample Questions & Solutions “Chemical Engineering Practice PE Exams” , Professor Nandagopal, Professional Publications, Inc. “Chemical Engineering Review Manual”, Professional Publications, Inc.
Taking the Exam: Strategy Build confidence first. Attempt easy/familiar topics first. Keep track of units – check for consistency. Keep track of bubbling of answer choices !
Exam Strategy (continued) Avoid referring as far as possible. Quick recall of fundamental concepts and equations. Watch time spent on each question. Approximately 6 minutes per question. Avoid panic, stay calm.
What You Will Not See in the Exam Stereotypical, textbook problems. Essay questions. “Plug and chug” type of problems.
What to Expect in the Exam Complex problem statements (but simple solutions!). Questions that really test comprehension of fundamental principles. Extra data, detractors designed to confuse you. “Back of envelope” type of analysis and calculations.
What to Expect in the Exam (Continued) Questions that require use of engineering judgment in practical situations Detractors (answer choices) that anticipate typical mistakes made by test takers.
What to Expect in the Exam (Continued) • Morning session – Mass & Energy Balances, Thermodynamics, Fluids, Heat Transfer • Afternoon session – Mass Transfer, Kinetics, Plant Design
Helping Chemical Engineers Prepare for the Exam Over 15 years experience in teaching review classes. Developed and Created Chemical Engineering PE Review Class at UH-Downtown. Witnessed many changes in the exam format over the years.
Experiences Details on Review Classes – format issues and other challenges. Typical format of review class: M&EB (6 hrs), Fluids (6 hrs), HT&HE (6 hrs), Thermo (6 hrs), Mass Transfer (6 hrs), Kinetics (3 hrs), Plant Design (3 hrs): Total 36 hours
Experiences • Generating original problems and solutions. • Keeping up with changes in exam format. • Writing the Practice Exam book.
Experiences Advisor – Chemical Engineering Zone (CHEPZ). Creating original problems and solutions (88). Format of CHEPZ. Q & A forum – challenges.
Role of the Chemical Engineering Profession Actively promote and encourage registration. Links / Information on Registration Process on local and national AIChE web sites.
Role of the Chemical Engineering Profession Communicate the importance of registration. Meetings / Seminars to discuss the registration process.
Role of the Chemical Engineering Profession Registered PE s guide and mentor prospective candidates. Provide financial and other incentives for acquiring a PE license.
Conclusions • The registration process requires significant investment of time and effort. • The chemical engineering profession must do more to encourage and promote registration. • The goal is to have a well qualified competent work force that can compete effectively in the global market.
Useful Websites • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying: www.ncees.org • National Society of Professional Engineers www.nspe.org
Useful Websites • Test Masters Educational Services – offers Fe and PE Review Courses www.testmasters.com • Professional Publications, Inc. www.ppi2pass.com