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This blog includes a compilation of subject-matter expert-authored articles covering topics within engineering, project management, architecture, and more.

How to pass the PE Exam on first try

Jan 21, 2016

For many engineers, earning the licensed Professional Engineer tag could spell a major leap in their career. Nearly all the top engineers in their field, most likely hold a PE license. Four years of study and nearly four years of work experience later, a PE allows you to fully reap the benefits. Although earning the Professional Engineer's stamp is a dream come true for many, the road to getting there is not as easy.

Despite the PE exam's reputation for being difficult, the right kind of planning and study can help you ace it. Believe it or not, nearly two-thirds of engineers taking the exam, clear it on their first attempt.

If you'd like to ace the PE exams in your first attempt, follow these steps and watch how success comes knocking at your door:

How to pass the PE Exam on first try

Step 1: Applying for PE

Make sure you meet all of NCEES requirements before applying for a PE. A degree in engineering and at least four years of relevant work experience under a professional engineer is a must. With a lot of engineers lining up to take the exams, it is better to apply for the PE well in advance to process it quickly. For instance, filling out the application form for the April session at least 5- 6 months earlier, say January, is necessary. Early registration will leave you with plenty of time for planning out your PE exam prep.

Step 2: Buy the right reference materials

It goes without saying, that buying the right reference and study materials is a crucial part of your PE Exam Review Course. More often than not, engineers tend to make the mistake of buying too many course books. Fumbling through these books in the exam hall will do you no good. The right approach is to buy the required course book as per the NCEES certification. work your way through them and get comfortable with the content.

Step 3: Charting out a study plan

It is suggested that at least 300 hours are required to clear the PE exam. The number is sure to send you into frenzy. Besides a professional life, an individual may have a lot of personal responsibility and commitments. Trying to cover the entire study material seems highly improbable. The trick is to chart a smart study plan and stick with it. Plan on preparing for engieering within days in the field of your expertise with adequate preparation time. Space out your study plan and take steps towards learning for the PE exam.

Step 4: Avail the right guidance

You may have the best books and study plan at hand, but what you'll really need is a review course. A few may disagree on the importance of joining a review course and are apprehensive about shelling out a few extra bucks. Would you rather pay for a PE exam review course? Or retake the PE exam investing a lot of your personal time? Those who have taken a review course will swear by its effectiveness in clearing the exam on first try. Acquiring PE training will equip you with the necessary skills to tackle any kind of question. The practice sessions accompanying the PE prep course will let you know exactly what to expect before taking the exam. The School of PE offers excellent PE review courses that you can choose from.

Step 5: Formulate a test taking strategy

You have prepared well and have learnt all you need to know during your review course. Does this suffice to ace the test? Apparently not! Many have fallen prey to lack of a test taking strategy. Pick out the reference books you'll carry with you to the exam. For easy access, use tabs and highlights in the book to get to the section you want during the exam. You'll also need to ensure that you have the right tools with you provided by the test conductors. And most importantly, approach the exam with confidence!

If you follow these steps sincerely and take the exam, your PE stamp is most likely on its way. If you do not make it, then as Winston Churchill rightly puts it, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts"

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