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

PE Tips for Passing the PE Exam

Jul 18, 2018

Passing an NCEES PE exam is an essential step in an engineer's career, as people cannot legally refer to themselves as an engineer until they pass the exam. Taking a licensing exam, such as the PE exam, can be overwhelming. Many PE examinees have reported studying up to 300 hours for the difficult exam. To help reduce stress and the amount of time used to study, we have created a list of PE tips to help you get the most out of studying and to help you pass the PE exam.

1. Look over the PE Exam Requirements and Specifications

Don't be that person who goes to the exam and forgets to bring an ID. Make sure to fully read all exam-day requirements including registration time, required documents, and accepted calculators. Also, read over your exam's specifications before beginning to study, as the specifications lay out the ratio of subjects that will be covered on an exam. NCEES' PE exam specifications and resources can be found here.

2. Create a PE Exam Study Schedule

Creating a study schedule is essential when preparing for the PE exam. Decide how long you want to spend studying each day and when you are going to review specific topics. If you think a certain topic will take longer to grasp than other subjects, dedicate more time toward that subject when making a schedule.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

How do you know when you've fully grasped a subject? By practicing! After studying a subject, test your knowledge by practicing 10-15 problems in that subject area. If you can answer the practice problems correctly, you can confirm that you are prepared for that given subject. If you struggle with the practice problems, consider setting some extra time aside to revisit the subject.

4. Create a Reference Binder

If you are taking a pen and paper PE exam, making an organized binder with notes and other reference materials is a great strategy when preparing for the PE exam. In your binder, add color-coded tabs for different subjects, compose your own notes on subjects you think you may struggle with, and even add a section with step-by-step instructions on how to solve difficult problems. Even the process of making the binder is a great way to refresh your memory on exam topics. Make sure your reference binder is fully bound and does not contain any loose materials. NCEES requires reference materials to be bound with ring binders, brads, plastic snaps, screw posts, or spirals.

5. Attend a Review Course

Registering for an exam review course is another helpful way to prepare for the PE exam. School of PE offers PE Architectural, PE Chemical, PE Civil, PE Control Systems, PE Electrical, PE Environmental, PE Industrial and Systems, PE Mechanical, and PE Petroleum review courses. Because of School of PE's Prepare, Practice, Pass initiative, student pass rates continue to be much higher than the national rates. School of PE provides comprehensive lectures, practice problem sessions, and organized refresher notes that are perfect to include in your reference binder. School of PE also designs its courses around NCEES' exam specifications.

We hope these PE tips will help take the stress out of studying and will help you pass the PE exam. Even though the PE exam is a difficult exam, studying for it shouldn't be.

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