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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 Tutoring Increases Chances of Passing Engineering Exams

May 14, 2018

Various academic studies have been performed to evaluate the effects of online tutoring. Tutoring has been shown to not only increase exam scores but also has been proven to help students grasp difficult topics at a faster rate compared to students who were not tutored on a specific subject, increase confidence while taking an exam, and improve overall studying skills.

It has been proven that online instruction has immensely helped the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) exam applicants prepare for their engineering exams. For example, the national pass rate for the October 2017 PE Civil exam was 66 percent for first-time takers while School of PE's pass rate was 90 percent.

To provide further exam review assistance to its students, School of PE has launched a new tutoring program for its FE Civil and PE Civil students.

Studies have shown that tutoring, in addition to other routine exam prep methods, has had a significant and positive impact on overall performance. The American Education Research Journal compared findings from various tutor-related studies and concluded that students who were tutored significantly outperformed students who did not participate in tutoring. Nearly 90 percent of the compared studies found that tutoring positively impacted overall exam performance.i

Preparing for an NCEES exam can be overwhelming to many examinees, as many exam applicants attempt to manage working full time and preparing for the exam. Past examinees report spending 200 to 300 hours preparing for NCEES exams, which includes attending exam review courses, reading supplemental material, and taking practice exams. Tutoring has been shown to reduce the average time needed to complete a learning objective by up to 30 percent.ii Learning objectives are completely learner-based but could include understanding a specific concept or being able to solve a problem in a specific amount of time.

Typically when adults place themselves in a learning environment, they tend to lack confidence, experience anxiety, and encounter other barriers that would have detrimental effects on their overall exam preparation approach.iii Tutoring is often believed to be a tool for building confidence and self esteem during studying and test-taking.iv Therefore, tutoring can significantly help adults prepare for NCEES exams and increase their chances of passing.

Tutoring is often viewed as a tool to help students understand and grasp difficult concepts. A well-rounded tutoring program offers more than instructional teaching; it also includes initial diagnostics, study/learning plans, and guidance for strong study habits.v A study performed by the American Society for Engineering Education showed those subjects who participated in a tutoring program rated tutoring 4.17 out of 5 when asked how effective the tutoring was in improving overall knowledge of a subject and 3.56 out of 5 when asked how effective the tutoring was in aiding study skills such as time management and study

School of PE has recently launched a new tutoring feature for its FE Civil and PE Civil students in order to provide them with as much guidance and support in exam preparation as possible. Tutoring sessions will be one hour each and will be led by School of PE's instructors. Sessions will revolve directly around a student's exam preparation needs, and the tutor will create a structured, individualized study plan for each student.

Check out our FE and PE Civil tutoring page to further learn how School of PE's review courses and tutoring sessions can help you pass an NCEES exam.


i. VanLehn, K. (2011, Oct 17). "The relative effectiveness of human tutoring, intelligent tutoring systems, and other tutoring systems." Educational Psychologist.
ii. Kuhne, G. Dr. 10 Characteristics of Adults as Learners.
iii. The Power of Tutoring Infographic. Retrieved from
iv. Lincoln Land Community College. (2014, Oct). Online Tutor Training Module.
v. Cohen, P., Kulik, J., & Lulik, C. Educational Outcomes of Tutoring: A Meta-analysis of Findings.
vi. Paljug, B., DR, & Lampe, L. (2017, Aug.). Assessing usage, satisfaction, effectiveness, and learning outcomes for an engineering peer tutoring program.

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