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PE Exam

PE Exam

I'm going to be taking my PE exam for the first time in April 2016. I've been out of school for a while now and have concerns about studying for the exam. Can anyone recommend a review course?


RE: PE Exam

I don't have any suggestions on a particular course, but here is some general advice.

Decide what afternoon exam you are going to take early on.

Develop a study schedule and stick to it. I divided my study time up by topics on the exam and set hard dates for starting and finishing each topic.

Spend less time on the topics you don't know. THis sounds counterintuitive, but you aren't learning how to be structural engineer in 3-4 months if you don't already know it. I took the water resources afternoon test, so I spent most of my time on that stuff. I spent a fair amount of time on geotech and transportation because I knew some about those topics. Better to get the stuff you know down pat and get those questions right, than waste time trying to learn something you don't know and probably won't get right anyway.

Take a few days off from studying before the exam. Cramming won't do you any good. Take the week of the exam of and relax. At this point stress and not being rested are your enemies.

Have a few good references and tab key tables, sections, etc. If you go in with 20 books you won't have time to thumb through them all. Know where things are in your reference materials.

If you get stuck on a question, move on to the next one. There are no questions where you need the answer from the previous question and sometimes the next question will give you keys to answer the previous.

RE: PE Exam

EET is excellent. I highly recommend them. If you are doing WREnv, Nasrul (the instructor) is the best WR professor I have ever come across. There are literally 100s of testimonials about this course on engineerboards.com

Classes probably start this weekend. Hop on it now, you can do live webinars of on-demand.


Good luck!

RE: PE Exam

My 2 cents
Set aside at a minimum 2 1/2 months...try to study at least 2 hours on weekdays, and 5 on the weekends. Tab key chapters, sections etc (very important). If you are not feeling good about your preparation, then take the week off before the test day.
You may be thinking thats a lot of hours of study time but if you are in California and want to pass 8 hour, seismic and survey, you need to IMHO. Other states may be 1 1/2 month is okay.

Good Luck.

RE: PE Exam

Thanks guys. I do not intend to practice Engineering anywhere west of the Mississippi so I don't think I have to worry about seismic. Not yet anyway. I'm studying now but there is WAY too much information to cover. That's why I'm looking at a prep course. Right now I'm doing 2 hours weekdays and 12 hours over the weekends. I do mostly do review on the weekends and exam questions on the weekdays.

RE: PE Exam

EET buddy, I seriously have never heard of anyone failing who took their course. It's almost like these guys wrote the exam.

RE: PE Exam

Based on the information that you provided, I do not think that you are ready, therefore, I would delay this exam until fall time and take every hour of every day, until then, to study material such as the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, Association and Manufacturers manuals that would include several problems in which their products would be specified. There are engineering handbooks showing problems and the list goes on. The point is to do as many problems humanly possible in all the fields that you will be tested.

RE: PE Exam

@chicopee I would agree that at this point I am nowhere near ready for the exam. Currently, I'm signed up at the school of PE that allows be to back out of the course at no charge provided I get out 10 days before the start of the course which begins next month. However, they do have a guarantee in that if you fail the exam, you are eligible to take the course again for free for the fall exam. Based on this information, the question remains.... Is it really a bad idea to take the exam in the spring then study the areas that need improvement for the Fall?

RE: PE Exam

You need about 400 hours to study for this thing. SofPE is not going to get you adequately prepared for the PM, so you'll need to focus on that more. Just take the thing. Are you really going to listen to randoms on the internet telling you you're not prepared? Get the NCEES practice exam, and look at the problems. This exam isn't that hard if you put the time in, and study the correct topics.

RE: PE Exam

I think it would be foolish not to at least consider all comments. I think at this time, the best course of action is to continue with the exam preparation with the understanding that there are good engineers that fail their exam the first time. If I fail the exam, so what.... I can still take it again in the fall and still be eligible to take the class again for free. If 400 hours of preparation are required for passing... clearly there isn't enough time to learn that amount of material before the exam in the spring. I'll be able to get in about 250 hours with my current work load and without turning my brain to mush.

I would have preferred to take the EET but the courses are offered at CA times and doesn't work as well for me on the east coast.

RE: PE Exam

I took EET from the East Coast and it worked out OK. It's not like you're waking up 3 hours early, they are behind us. It's 10 weeks, that's all. Just suck it up and do it. I've never heard of anyone from EET failing. Go over to engineerboards.com and read the reviews.

You can do it. You're never going to feel ready, even when you're over prepared.

RE: PE Exam

The problem is that the EET has already started. Wish I knew about it sooner. By the time you posted it, there wasn't enough time to get all the materials before the classes started. That and one of my professional referrals is MIA. I didn't want to sign up for something and not have the ability to back out. I did look at the reviews and I talked to them in person. That would have been my first choice. As an alternative, If I fail the first time, I may sign up for the EET depth course for the fall. The SofPE claims they have a 89% first time pass rate. However, I'm sure that's embellished to a degree.

I talked to one of the PADEP regulators who recently passed the exam and she said she studied for 3 three years and failed 2-3 times until she went to SofPE and passed after taking the class. So we'll see.

Appreciate your input Twinkie

RE: PE Exam

My study partner for the exam was in the same boat as you (missed the start of class). He took the EET AM classes on demand, then the live PM classes. You really will not get more personal instruction for this exam than with EET. They make sure you know the stuff. Class sizes are super small too. I had like 10 in my PM class, about 25 in the AM. SofPE the numbers get up there.

RE: PE Exam

My advice...

Most of what you will need to know is in the Civil Engineering Reference Manual (CERM). You want to be familiar with that book. And you want to make it your #1 tool for the test. Odds are, you will be able to find most of the answers in there. If you know how to find them and how to apply the information in the book.

I (my girl friend actually) tabbed that thing out like you couldn't imagine. Maybe I'll post a picture of it. I had a tab for each chapter with number and name, color coded by section. Each appendix was tabbed as well.

I also got my hands on a PDF of the index and printed it out separately in a binder as a quick reference (also tabbed by first letter), and included in the binder some of the more commonly accessed appendices (tabbed). That way I could rip through the index to look for something while not having to manage the unwieldy CERM on a crowded desk, or having to lose my place in the CERM.

I'm not exaggerating, but I feel these actions doubled if not tripled or better my throughput on accessing information from the CERM during the test which to me was huge on a test of this nature.

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