Professional Engineer license exam is a great deal for engineers. It helps to know how other engineers who took the exam aced it. We discussed with over a dozen engineers how they prepared for the PE exam. There were all sorts of tips and advice but here are the major three takeaways.
The PE exam covers many different topics and the reference material covering these topics range to several volumes. For instance, one of the engineers said, “when I prepared for machine design and materials PE study it had over 7000 reference pages and it was a ton of information. However, I never needed all of the information.”
You do not need to consume all the information you get on a topic. Not only it is improbable but will also eat up your time that you can use a lot more effectively elsewhere.
What do you need to do?
Organize all the information yourself so that it is indexed in such a manner that you can quickly find critical information. Remember that the PE exam is open book, so you will be taking your reference books with you. But if you are not aware of the content of the books you will be wasting critical time during the exam. You can create an outline to organize the references according to topics.
It might seem tedious to organize all the information but it will prove to be an essential tool to find critical information during the exam.
It is suggested that to pass the PE exam you need to study at least 300 hours.
What if you have a life?
To spare 300 hours when you are a full time professional and have a personal life is difficult. You need to create a study plan to utilize the available time efficient such that you can cover maximum topics for the exam.
One of the mechanical engineers we interviewed advised, “I think preparing for 180-240 hours can easily get you through the PE exam. My study plan for the week was to prepare for an hour for four nights on weekdays and a four-hour session on weekends. So in total, I studied 12 hours a week for about 14 weeks. I easily passed the machine design and materials PE test following this routine.”
PE exams are multiple choice and you have to choose the right option from four available options. The more you practice the better you get at answering the questions.
We strongly recommend that you invest in quality PE reference exams and sample exams. Choose a topic and do sample problems related to it. Work and rework until you are thoroughly comfortable with the topic. There are many resources available online to help you with PE exam preparations.
You have all the help available you need, with the right commitment you can certainly earn the PE license.