Bob Masta on tue 26 apr 05
John Kudlacek says:
> The subject brings to mind and oft repeated phrase
> of my father's, "farmers can do anything".
This brings back memories! Many years ago I took the
Michigan Professional Engineer's Exam, two 8-hour exams
on successive days. The first day covered theory, and
the second covered practice. I took a mini-refresher
class to prepare for this, and the instructor had some
really useful tips.
I should first point out that there is only a single
Professional Engineer certification, and everyone takes
the same exams no matter what type of engineer they claim
to be. So the exams covered all kinds of engineering:
Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, you-name-it. In the
practical exam, divided into morning and afternoon
sessions, you got a big booklet of about 100 "story
problems" for each session, divided into several problems
from each of dozens of engineering specialty areas. You
had to work 5 problems, but no more than 2 from your
specialty, with the rest from different areas. That
meant that after you worked your 2, you had to cast about
in this huge booklet for other things you could handle...
and the clock kept ticking while you read problem after
problem that was out of your league.
The refresher instructor pointed out the fact that John
mentions: In their normal existence, Agricultural
engineers had to handle anything that was thrown at
them... but as it turned out, they weren't expected to be
quite as expert in any particular area as a specialist in that
area. So no matter what our other specialty, we could be
pretty sure there was at least one Agricultural problem
we could solve as well.
Indeed, Agricultural was *fertile ground*. Say what you
will about farmers, but they really *saved my bacon*!