The Key to Passing the PE Exam

Do you want to know the key to passing the Professional Engineer Exam? 

Do you want to know the key to passing the Professional Engineer Exam?  The idea behind this strategy is really quite simple, but the follow is a little more difficult.  I believe that the primary key to passing the PE Exam is preparation.  Of course you will need to be sharp and ready on test day, but being prepared will help to ensure that as well.

1.  The PE Exam is Hard, so be Prepared

The Professional Engineering Exam is eight hours long, containing 80 problems on the exam.  The difficult part about the exam is that the knowledge base is quite vast, even within your specific discipline of engineering.  The result is that you do not know exactly which type of problems will be asked on the exam, and so you must prepare for any number of questions.   The other issue is that you have likely been away from much of the subject area during the past four years or so while you have been specializing in your area of expertise.  While this specialization is good for your career, it can make the PE Exam preparation more challenging.

2. Know What’s on the Exam

Since there is such a wide possibility of questions that you can be asked on the PE Exam, the best way to prepare for this scenario is to be ready for anything the exam will throw at you.  You will want to know of course what it is that is expected on your exam.  Those topics likely covered on your exam are provided in the exam specifications.   You can find the PE Exam design standards for your discipline of the PE Exam at the link.

3. Put in the Time

I have read in Lindeburg’s manual, and validate from my own experience, that a a PE preparation program including 300 hours of preparation will increase your chances substantially.  I realize that is quite a bit of preparation, but this requirement only underscores the fact that this test is a challenge to pass, and the key to passing is preparation.  During your preparation, most of your time should be spent working problems, with some time allocated to studying and brushing up on theory.  Some of the test will have questions related to theory, but even more will be solving problems.

4.  Get on a Schedule

Once you find out exactly what you should be studying for on the PE exam, then you need to establish a study schedule in order to cover each of those areas.  Most people allocate three to four months to study for the PE Exam.  Over that period, identify when you will cover each section, and then follow through with that schedule.  Of course, you can adjust the schedule as you go, but the schedule is there to keep you on track.  The benefit of a schedule is that it allows you to break the exam down into components so that it is easier to digest.  Over 12 weeks you will need to put in about 20 hours or more in order to reach the goal of 300 hours.  Just think of it as a new hobby ;)

5. Get Motivated to Work Hard! 

The work and time required to pass the PE Exam is hard.  So in order to follow through with the recommendations, you will need to be motivated to pass the exam.  Some things that will help you stay motivated include the following ideas:

Five Quick Motivation Tips to Help Pass the PE Exam

1) Write out three benefits of passing the PE and place that on your refrigerator

2) Connect with others taking the PE Exam

3) Write a Schedule and Follow It

4) Explain to your family the preparations will keep you busy over the next few weeks, and

5) Try to something each day to move you closer to being prepared.

The PE Exam is not easy, if it were the pass rate would be 100%.  I am a believer that in order to pass the PE Exam you need to prepare adequately and stay on track with a good study program.  Hopefully you this key to passing the PE Exam will help you unlock your potential of passing!

What do you Think? 

I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment! 

What do you think is the key to passing the PE Exam? 

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