Dr. Z’s Corner

Dr. Z

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., Ph.D., Fellow-NSPE, Fellow-ASCE is an award-winning professor, structural engineer, author and mentor living in Washington, D.C. Since joining academia at UDC, "Dr. Z", as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond. He is passionate about engineering, gifted in teaching, and is a true champion for professional licensure. Dr. Z. has extraordinarily high standards; has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and infects others with these same values. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, including recent national awards from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Since 2014, he has been regularly writing monthly articles for “Dr.Z’s Corner “ and offering hundreds of engineering problems, for free, every month for students, engineers and engineering educators worldwide. Dr. Z. also offers pro-bono Saturday classes for students and engineers; his free classes are open to all in the greater Washington metro area and cost nothing, nada, zilch! Starbucks coffee is always a must have for Dr. Z.

Dr. Z's Corner

Dr. Z’s Corner (201601)

ASCE-2016 Centennial Celebration:
Dr. Z’s Corner & Exciting New Features

By Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., F-NSPE



Our readers may know by now the “Outstanding Website Award” winner, the NCS is celebrating its 100th year in 2016. Accordingly, all activities, including our column, will have a centennial focus this year. You may have already noticed the new look and user-friendly functionality of the new Dr. Z’s Corner. This major overhaul was the result of a great teamwork of many individuals at the NCS, the Board members, Scott, Chris, Ranjit, Rachel, L.J., and my good friend Prof. Dr. Vagelis Plevris from Greece. I would like to thank each of you for your dedication to the profession and commitment to engineering students and practicing engineers not only in the Washington metro area but also in the nation and around the globe.

Now with the new features of Dr. Z’s Corner, our readers will have easy access to all timeless articles, past issues, hundreds of original problems, solutions, tips, and applications with a click of a mouse. Once www.asce-ncs.org is entered, the readers will see the NCS’s beautiful centennial logo on the top left of the menu bar and “Special Features” on the right. As soon the cursor is placed on the “Special Features,” Dr. Z’s Corner will welcome them in no time with its debut issue published in June 2014.

This holiday season, as we reflect on 2015, I would also like to congratulate the students from all engineering schools in the metro area. This includes UDC, Howard, UM-College Park, George Mason, Catholic, Morgan State, Virginia Tech, and Villanova, who read our column, downloaded hundreds of problems from this site for free, tirelessly attended our pro-bono Saturday classes and finally “conquered” the FE and PE exams. We have to add; some of our readers were not as fortunate and could not make it on their first attempts. Still, they have graciously sent us thank-you notes as well. I will never forget the note that I received from an engineering student from CUA who not only diligently attended to our Saturday classes, but also brought several students with her from her school week after week. She wrote:

Dear Dr. Z,

I hope all is well with you. With finals approaching and the semester almost over, I won’t be able to stop by your Saturday classes before the year ends. Although I did not receive your email, my friend told me that you have sent us an email asking about the FE exam results. Unfortunately, I was not able to pass the FE exam… I apologize Dr. Z., for letting you down! I know that you had faith that I will pass…. However, my goal is still to pass the exam before I graduate this coming May, so I’m planning on retaking the exam probably on February. I will be working on the problems on Dr. Z’s Corner during the holiday break. Despite failing, I would want to thank you for all your help in our preparation for the exam. I also look forward in going to your Saturday Classes, if you still have them early next year. Sincerely

I want this outstanding engineering student to know that she did not let Dr. Z. down at all. Just the contrary, considering her full-time work to support herself and pay her bills, her course work to finish and the finals, she did remarkably well on her first try. I am confident; we will support her and she will pass her exam in February. Our promise has always been “we’ll never rest our case, until all our students who read Dr.Z’s Corner and attend our pro-bono Saturday sessions conquer their FE & PE exams.” For this month’s problems click here.

Finally, I want to wish each of you a joyous holiday season with peace & cheer in the New Year!

Until next time,

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., (Dr. Z.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Z’s Corner (201511)

Three Es & Statistics: Journey to Become a P.E.

By Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., F-NSPE



Quite often engineering students ask us why engineering graduates with engineering degrees need licensure to practice. The answer is quite simple: to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. To ensure the protection, the practice of engineering has been entrusted by various governmental entities only to those persons duly licensed and registered. To become a licensed Professional Engineer, commonly called the three Es: approved Education, appropriate Experience, and Examination is required.

For the last five articles of Dr. Z’s Corner, we focused on the PE exams to answer some of our readers’ questions – mostly senior engineering stu-dents. This month, we will talk about the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exams and provide some basic facts and statistics.

  • The FE exams are designed for recent graduates and students who are close to completing an undergraduate degree in engineering.
  • Passing the FE exam is an important first step in the engineering licensure process.
  • The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) administers the FE exam throughout the year, during the months of January, February, April, May, July, August, October, and November.
  • NCEES policy allows an examinee to take the FE exam once during a two-month window, and no more than three times during a twelve-month period.
  • NCEES is a national nonprofit organization composed of engineering and surveying licensing boards representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Many schools realize that engineering positions at all levels of industry and government increasingly require licensure and because of that, they promote the benefits of licensure to their students and encourage their students to take the FE exam.

According to the American Society for Engineering Education:

  • The total number of engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2013 was 93,360, and among those, the total number of FE exam takers was about 50%, or about 45,362.
  • The pass rate of all first-time FE exam takers was about 70%.
  • The total number of the first time takers with EAC/ABET Bachelor’s Civil Engineering degrees in the same year was about 9,650, with the pass rate of 72%.
  • There were 3,180 repeat takers, with a pass rate of 31%.
  • The average age of FE exam takers was about 27.5 in 2010, while in 2014 the average age of the FE exam takers dropped to 25.

The FE exam fee is about $225. It consists of 110 questions, and you have 5 hours and 20 minutes to complete the entire exam. The latest version of the appropriate NCEES Reference Handbook (Currently version 9.3, Computer Based Test) will be supplied onscreen as a searchable PDF. All NCEES examinees will use a 24-inch monitor while testing to allow sufficient space to display both the exam question and the reference handbook.

Those preparing for the FE exam are strongly advised to use a self-study approach and review subject areas with which you are familiar or you know best. This will give you more time and build your confidence. For many students, reviewing the problems given in the NCS archives for “Dr. Z’s Corner” monthly articles was very helpful (available on our website). 

As we always remind our readers, FE is a very fast-paced exam and you will have little time to look up information. Knowing the locations of the various formulas in the FE Reference Handbook is a crucial time saver. Also, remember to consider reverse engineering the problems by substituting the answers and seeing which one works. To help prepare for the exam, Click Here for this month’s problem set.

As we always advise, stay relaxed and confident. Keep a good attitude and remind yourself that you are going to do your best!

Until next time,

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., (Dr. Z.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Editor’s note: All of the past problem sets are available on our website.

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