General Tips on Technical Paper 1 & 2

posted Jun 16, 2018, 9:17 AM by jeffery jim   [ updated Jun 16, 2018, 9:23 AM ]
The technical papers are far from the actual exercise in weighing your ability as a great engineer with in-depth knowledge in various disciplines and good in troubleshooting technical issues; instead it is a true test to see if you are able to perform accordingly and diligently as a chartered engineer. I was wrong for I actually think the evaluation is something similar to ICE format which emphasizes on trouble shooting as a sound civil engineer. Not in this case and not within the provided time limit.

Therefore, it is best for all senior engineers to prepare themselves with the basic of engineering design which can be executed manually. The drawbacks for many experienced engineers in this exam will be the level of complacent we have enjoyed utilizing automated software in our daily routine work. Some lucky ones who were stuck with Microsoft Excel design spreadsheet benefited a lot by making various cross referencing to standard specification or code of practices; while software operators are less fortunate where most of the value are available or set to default. In order to excel in this exam, you have to go back to the basic; manual calculation and start to understand how values affect the calculation or the choice of values to be use in design.

What are the possible questions for technical papers? For Paper 1, the question are usually straight forward by using a single formula or the most three formulas to generate an answer. Apart from that, the question involves normative referencing between tables or illustrations within code of practices. Each question should be answered below 3 minutes average and it is best to predict or spot question which requires you to calculate within a time period of 5 minutes. For some reasons, certain objective questions are statements in regards to code or practice or standard specifications which can be answered within 30 seconds, and therefore i kindly reckon the longest question would be around 4 to 5 minutes for a full calculation.

As for Paper 2, the questions would involved design works. Each question will allow you 40 minutes or so to complete the main question and subsequent sub-questions. In this case, try to do exercise involving design work which will take you around 60 minutes to complete. The gist to such recommendation is due to your slow speed in making cross referencing. When prepping for Paper 2, always try to time the allowance you have to make cross referencing as you continue practicing answered fresh graduate level of questions.

During 2016 exam, most of Paper 2 questions involved geotechnical engineering and soil mechanics, and remainings are on theory of structures and reinforced concrete design. For 2017, it comes as a surprised where there is only 1 geotechnical question, 2 questions combining theory of structure and reinforced concrete design as well as 2 civil works questions (sewerage and water reticulation, if i recall correctly). The geotechnical question was divided into two sub-questions; earthwork process - cut and fill, and bored pile rock socket calculation. It is surprising that questions for theory of structure and reinforced concrete design are something from your third year and fourth year degree program.

You don't need to bring a lot of reference books and codes of practice, it is sufficient to bring what you inherited from your degree program; nevertheless, it is important your you to mark your processes in designing based on the section of the codes of practice.