Saturday, April 12, 2008

D is for DONE

Many months of study and preparation came to a head yesterday, as I took the Principles and Practices of Professional Engineering (PE) Exam. We were so anxious, Jane and I drove out to the site the night before, to make sure we knew how to get there, and how long it would take. We had maps, we had a GPS unit. There was a plan for messages and phone calls to guarantee we were both up and ready on-time. Each of us brought a ridiculous number of references. I had an entire rolling suitcase full of textbooks. We had this thing wired.

The test itself was challenging in a number of ways. Even though I reviewed all the study modules, there were some questions I was completely clueless about. Time was a factor - in order to complete the 80 questions in time, you have to average 6 minutes per question. It sounds like plenty of time, until you are staring at the test booklet, dumbfounded. Plenty of pressure to rush, and so many different topics - electrical motors, harmonic vibrations, ship resistance and propulsion, beam strength and deflection, and on and on. Lastly, the scale of the thing is daunting. While we got an hour off for lunch, we sat down for the exam a little after 7 AM, and we were dismissed a few minutes before 6 PM. It is a long, long day.

The length of the day was compounded by the site they held the exam. It was in a Shriner hall, which holds plenty of people, but has horrible exit design from the parking lot. The lot fed out onto a short frontage road, which had only one outlet onto a side street which in turn fed into Route 50 about 20 feet away. That intersection was governed by a streetlight with a very short green and a long red. We spent more time bumper-to-bumper on the frontage road with the other 200-odd examiness than we on the whole rest of the drive home. That didn't help anyone's mood. Luckily, we went directly to the Dogfish Head Brewery to meet Zina, Sarah & Paul, and some of their friends for dinner. That made up for a lot the trials of the day.

While I admit the test was difficult, I feel confident about my work. Perhaps it is overconfidence, but I think I passed. Historically, the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering test has one of the highest pass rates. Unfortunately, results are going to be sent "within twelve weeks." So it could be until July before I find out one way or the other. At least I don't have to study every night anymore.

1 comment:

Matt Boulanger said...

Congrats on being done, Dan.