How I Passed the P.E. Exam is a guest post by Thomas A. Anderson, P.E.
First off, let me say that if you are considering or already enrolled to take the P.E. exam, good for you. It will help your career tremendously. Your potential for advancement will increase and you will find avenues for career growth you never considered before.
For more on why you should take the P.E. Exam visit my article here: My Top 5 Reasons to Get Your P.E.
To pass the P.E. Exam, I went to PPI for their 18-week preparation course. The course is offered online and live, but also allows you to view the recordings later. I watched each recording repeatedly.
Plan, plan, and plan some more. Nothing will help you more on the P.E. exam then having a solid plan. Lay it out on paper and follow through. This will ensure your preparations are complete. This is another reason why the PPI course is so valuable. They do the planning for you with their weekly lectures and homework assignments.
I completed every portion of the PPI course. The course has a guarantee that if you follow all the guidelines you can take the course again for free if needed. I made sure I followed all the guidelines to be absolutely sure I was adequately prepared to pass the exam or to take the class again. (Note from Editor: You can receive a discount from PPI if you visit their website through the banner in the right sidebar of our website.)
This is what I took with me for the Mechanical – Thermal and Fluids exam:
- PPI Mechanical Reference Manual
- PPI Practice Problems book
- Notes and homework from the PPI course
- Copy of the FE reference manual
- Heat transfer book (depends on which exam your taking)
- Mollier diagrams 11×17 (depends on which exam you are taking)
- PPI Quick Reference Guide
- PPI Unit Conversions Book
Tab your reference manual, guides and notes diligently. I had labeled / color-coded tabs at each section that I used on the PPI homework. My ability to quickly find the right equation was critical to completing the exam on time. I even pasted equations directly into the reference book in the correct section. If I rearranged an equation to complete a homework assignment, I wrote it in the reference book. I even highlighted and tabbed any conversion factors I used during my preparation in the PPI Unit Conversions Book. My ability to quickly find the correct information was critical to completing the exam on time.
Bring only what you know
I noticed a lot of students hauled in a ton of books to the exam. When I spoke to them after the test they did not use many of them. Simpler is better. Bring what you know and nothing you don’t. You don’t have time to rifle through a bunch of books to find the right equation. You need to have the information readily at hand.
Prepare for the worst
I arrived at the testing site the day before the exam. I checked into a hotel and walked the path to the exam location that night before. Being able to visualize the route in the morning gave my brain some relief.
Do not study the night before the exam
This may sound counter-intuitive but the test is 8 hours long. Your brain needs a good night’s rest before the big day. If you are not as prepared as you should be the night before the exam, a few hours of studying will not help.
Always guess. If you do not pick a solution you will always get the question wrong. I don’t recommend taking a pure guess, I would try your best to eliminate an answer or two and then guess from there.
If you prepare accordingly, the test will be easier than you thought. I had an enormous amount of anxiety prior to the exam and couldn’t concentrate on anything but the exam weeks prior. I even found myself making wrong turns on the way home from work. What I found was that the test was easier than I anticipated. I think I over prepared, but I wouldn’t do it any other way. When I was complete I had all the confidence that I had passed and sure enough, I did.
For more PE exam advice visit: https://ppi2pass.com/pe-exam/resources/pe-exam-advice
About Thomas A. Anderson, P.E:
Thomas is a licensed mechanical engineer from Point Park University. He has 10 years of experience designing equipment and managing projects within the steel industry. Thomas works for Hatch in Pittsburgh, PA and belongs to the Engineer Society of Western Pennsylvania, Association for Iron and Steel Technology, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is a dedicated Toastmaster and owns his own coaching business called “engineer your career” where he spends his free time helping engineers reach their career goals.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions you may have regarding the P.E. Exam, and remember you can receive a discount from PPI if you visit their website through the banner in the right sidebar of our website.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success