8 Quick Tips About the Mechanical PE Exam
1. Understand units:
The PE exam is administered in both metric and US customary units. It is important to know the pound mass and pound force and their relationship.
Practice exams are your best friend. Various sources produce practice exams and there is a lively debate about which is best. Most test takers do agree that the NCEES provided practice exam provides the closest experience to the real deal. It's also important to treat practice exams like exams and do them under as close to real world conditions as possible. That means, don't do them in your bath robe and slippers.
Get a good night of rest before the exam. Know where you need to be and arrive with plenty of time to spare. Work backwards from that time to determine when to go to bed and get the right amount of sleep for you.
4. Check the specs:
Always check the most up to date version of the exam specification. Sometimes you might be studying topics that have no chance of being on the exam or overlooking others that are extremely important.
5. Have a support system:
The PE is not an easy exam and its best not to go it alone. Tell your family of your significant other about your plans for study. Make sure they realize how important this exam is to you. Look for communities online that can help prepare you or work our problems with you if you are struggling.
6. Know your calculator:
For those that have only known the TI-83 or the old TI-30 calculators from their university days, the calculators allowed on the PE are a bit less powerful for the former and more powerful for the latter. Though you can use a TI-30 calculator for the exam, you would be forgoing some increased capability by not using a TI-36 of Casio FX-115. Also importantly, you should practice and become knowledgeable on the workings of whatever calculator you choose to use for the exam. Getting through a problem only to realize you had the calculator set to radians would not make for a good day.
7. Plan your lunch accordingly:
The exam is a full day affair and it's important that if you eat on your lunch break, you do not suffer any nap inducing aide effects. You know your body best and it's important to plan what if anything you will eat for lunch to ensure you can be at your best for the second half of the exam.
8. When in doubt, make the units match:
Sometimes the exam will give you a question on a topic you are not familiar with. If the question is quantitative in nature, your best bet is to see what you are given and the units for the answer and work out how to go from one to the other. Be sure not to devote too much time to such problems unless it's your last one or two before being done.