How to Study for the PE Exam — In this post, I’m going to answer a question that I’ve received from many engineers, which is, “How do I study for the PE exam if I’m tired or just not motivated to study right now?”
So let’s assume you have to take the PE exam, but you have an engineering job or you have a family or other personal responsibilities. You’re tired and not really motivated. You need to figure out how to study for the PE exam in your current mindset. Here are three actions that you can take to stay motivated.
#1) Write an Email to Your Boss
Firstly, I want you to write an email to your boss and any other leaders in your firm or organization and let them know that you’ve registered to take the PE exam and let them know the date. Also, let them know that you’re excited about this career opportunity for both yourself and the company. This is called ACCOUNTABILITY, big time accountability. I did this when I was studying and it really drove my motivation because every time I decided that I might take a day off of studying, that email came right back to my head. I knew that I had committed to my boss and to other supervisors and that they were counting on me to get that license. I also knew that after the exam, I was going to have to report back to them on how it went.
Always look to give yourself accountability, whenever you’re striving towards a goal, with the PE license being no different. So, the first action you should take, and maybe you can do it right now, is to email your boss or supervisor and let him or her know that you’re committed to taking the PE exam on a certain date. Don’t be scared. Believe me, it will drive you.
#2) Write P.E. After Your Name
Next up, is a silly action, but a powerful one. You’re going to laugh at me, but it worked for me in a big way. When I was preparing for the PE exam, I was tired. I had a newborn child. I had doubts in my head that I could pass the exam. So I did a very silly thing that worked. I typed out my name, Anthony Fasano, and I put the letters P.E. after my name.
Next, I cut that piece of paper out and taped it to the top of my monitor. So that every day when I came to work, I stared all day at my name with the letters P.E. after it. And what happened was it started to become a near reality for me. It started to fuel my desire to have that P.E. license, as silly as it sounds. It was always there, and I was looking at it every day. It became something that had to happen for me, and it did keep me motivated. It also kept me focused on studying because I knew that I wanted to make it a reality.
The good thing about this action is it’s free to do it and it’ll take you two minutes. I know it sounds a little silly, but it will motivate you. So go ahead and write your name with the letters P.E. after it and put it somewhere that’s visible to you on a daily basis.
#3) Use the 10-10-10 Process
The third action that you can take is to utilize a process called the 10-10-10 process. This is a decision-making process that was made popular by Suzy Welch in her book, 10-10-10. The way it works is you focus on one decision that you have to make. Then you think about the consequences of that decision and how you’re going to feel about it in three different time periods. Consider ten days, ten months, and ten years.
For example, if you think about the preparation for the PE exam, which is a lot of work, consider the decision of whether or not to study hard for the exam. If you study hard and pass the exam, how will you feel about doing so in ten weeks, ten months, and ten years? You’ll probably feel pretty good about it.
Now on the flip side, let’s say that you don’t take the time to study. You don’t get motivated and you don’t pass that PE exam. How are you going to feel about that in ten weeks? You may not think much of it ten weeks from now. How about in ten months? It might bother you a little. What about ten years from now? You’re probably going to ask yourself, “Why didn’t I study for the P.E. exam when I had the chance? Why didn’t I get that license? Because now it’s going to be really hard for me to do it!”
So there you have it, three actions that you can take to stay motivated in your PE exam preparation, email your boss to build accountability for yourself, write your name with the letters P.E. after it, and utilize the 10-10-10 process.
I hope this video helps you to answer the question of how to study for the PE Exam, or really how to stay motivated in studying for the PE Exam. 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 here 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
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