How Long Does It Take to Study for the PE Mechanical Exam?
This is a common question that many people who have passed the FE exam often ask when they make the commitment to embark on the road to passing the PE exam. Many who have passed the FE exam will recall taking it during their senior year in college, being well versed in all of the concepts, and waltzing through to a passing score with little to no preparations.
Sadly, PE is not such an exam, and those lucky or gifted classmates of yours that never studied but got straight A's won't be so lucky. It's important to note that while the PE has moved to a single reference handbook, there is still considerable content that must be known from memory both in terms of basic concepts and industry experience/knowledge.
Before the CBT version of the exam, the paper and pencil exam was administered two times per year. A good baseline of study time was to study for at least one 6-month exam cycle. This would usually break down to 3 months of review of the materials and 3 months of practice problems. You may choose to pace yourself differently based on the time available to you. Use the exam specifications and determine what you do and do not know well. Make a plan and study around this. You must also do practice problems and attempt to take a full-length practice exam so you can judge your time management and gauge your weak topics. It's very important to know how to use your calculator and the PE handbook to find the right answer. Knowing where information is located is critical to getting through the exam in a timely fashion. You should also try and commit a few of the more basic formulas to memory so that you do not need to look them up for each question. Basics for stress and strain as well as motion and force equations are highly recommended.