Balancing work, school and parenting are challenging, to begin with, and it can be even more of a challenge during these times where many people work remotely, when one has to study for the PE Exam with kids around them.
In this article (and video above) Isaac Oakeson from Civil Engineering Academy provides some tips on how you can study for the PE Exam when you have kids or other responsibilities that take up a lot of your time. We have 6 kids between us, so we have some experience with this, and Isaac has been helping engineers pass the PE exam for years.
Here are 7 Tips to Help You Study for the PE Exam When You Have Kids:
Some of these tips can apply to people studying for the PE Exam without kids too, so check them out!
1. Set a Specific Time to Study
When preparing for the PE Exam, you must set a specific time to study for the exam. Once you have built a schedule, you can start to get support around your schedule. This might require that you set up a couple of times to study during the day (some in the morning and some at night) but you have to set a specific time and let everybody in your immediate circle know what’s going on. If you are in the workplace, a lot of employers allow you to work and study at the same time, so make use of those times as well.
2. Stay Strong and Believe In Yourself
80% of this exam is a mental game and if you are going into the exam thinking that you can’t do it, or you don’t have the time for it, you already set yourself up for failure. It is easy to get discouraged when you are raising kids and trying to study. You need to stay strong and believe that you can do this and remain confident in the process. Even if you are a repeat taker, you must have confidence in doing it and have a really good mental attitude. By doing this, you have already won half the battle. Be strong and believe in yourself. You can do this!
3. Find Your Study Zone
Finding your study zone means finding your place where you can do really deep work and deep problem-solving. You have to get your mind back into homework mode. It can be the library, your mom’s kitchen countertop, the computer desk area, or maybe just your office at work. You need to find your study area and make it your study zone for the next few months. I don’t recommend that you study on the couch or in front of a TV, or something that is going to distract you. Find your study place where you can mentally get into a zone and do some deep problem-solving.
4. Keep the Kids Busy
It is important to tell everybody within your immediate circle of influence that you are planning to study for the exam. If your study time is late at night, after your kids go to sleep, then you should be all set. However, if you are trying to make time for study after work, consider asking your spouse, friends, or family for some help watching the kids. Every hour you get to study is important, so if it comes down to spending some money and getting a babysitter, consider doing it, as getting your PE license will be career-changing for you.
5. Better To Stay Up Than Catch Up
It is better to continue to study and to stay up on your skills than to lapse in what you are studying. Stay on task and do not allow yourself to slip in your study schedule. It is so much easier to stay up to speed, and keeping the habit going, than trying to catch up on things. This also applies to the amount of study time that you allow yourself to study for the exam. If you try to cram this exam preparation into 3 months and you have children, it will be very difficult for you. Prepare ahead and give yourself the ability to catch up on anything that you might have missed during the week.
6. Study With a Friend
If you can find a friend that is in the same situation as you, consider studying together, as you will be able to help each other when you get stuck on certain concepts or problems. Finding a friend to study with, might be just what you need to keep you going and to remain confident. That friend might also have kids and there might even be a way you could help each other out with the kids while preparing for the exam.
7. Be Realistic
Be realistic with what you’ve got going on in your life compared to the amount of study time you give yourself, as having kids is a full-time job on its own. Allow yourself more time for preparing for the exam as things happen all the time. If you have kids around the house and you are trying to study, you probably won’t achieve a perfect score on the PE exam. Your goal with the PE exam is to just pass. Don’t kill yourself to get a perfect score. Be realistic in your efforts and do whatever it takes to get this it done.
So there you have it. Those are the 7 tips from Isaac on studying for the PE Exam when you have kids in the house. How do you study with kids in the house? Or maybe how do you study when you are surrounded by distractions? Let me know!
I hope you found this week’s article helpful. Remember the 80/20 Rule in YOUR studying efforts and your reference material selection. In upcoming videos, I will walk through some more practice problems, but also talk about tackling qualitative problems.
We publish videos weekly on our Pass the PE Exam YouTube Channel. Be sure to visit our page here and click the subscribe button as you’ll get expert tips and tricks each week – to ensure your best success – that you can’t get anywhere else. Believe me, you won’t want to miss a single video.
Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of the videos or on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week.
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success