In this week’s article (and video above), I share with you the biggest mistake that most engineers make, and if you make, might cause you to fail your PE exam.
The biggest mistake that engineers make in preparing and taking the exam is not realizing or remembering that the biggest obstacle that you face during the exam is TIME – PERIOD!
So, just as important, if not more important than studying all of the different problem types, is having a solid approach to the exam in terms of approaching the problems and using your time efficiently.
How Can You Do That?
- You must establish a test taking protocol or a process that you follow no matter what happens on exam day. This will help you cut the emotional aspect out of it, or reduce nerves and keep you focused on time. One approach that I have spoken about before in past articles, but want to reinforce is to go through the exam the first time around and do only the problems that you are 100% certain you can get right. WHY? Because the whole game here is you need to get a certain number of questions right in a limited amount of time. This approach ensures that you get off to a quick start and you accumulate right answers.
- The opposite approach of going through each problem sequentially in order, and trying to complete each question can literally kill your chances. What if you spend 15 minutes on a question that you are not familiar with? If you get it wrong, it prevents you from getting to easier problems that you would have gotten right. As easy and obvious this method sounds, many engineers do not employ this approach. Sometimes as engineers, we think too analytically, and our brain wants us to go in order. As easy and as obvious this method sounds, many engineers do not employ this approach.
- Another strategy for ensuring you use your time efficiently is to ensure you are 100% comfortable with your study materials and you can quickly find what you need WHEN you need it on the exam. If your exam has already gone to Computer Based Testing or CBT, you should be comfortable with the online reference handbook. If your exam is not CBT yet, then you will still be using your own materials and can tab them up accordingly. When I took the exam, I focused on these two things a lot. Firstly, taking on the easy problems first. Secondly flagging the harder ones for later. I had spent adequate time preparing the material. Surprisingly I passed by just one problem. So these small things matter big time. When you use these strategies above, your changes will be much higher pass, and not fail your PE Exam.
Last but Not the Least, Do Not Forget That Time Is Your Biggest Obstacle When You Are Trying To Pass the PE Exam.
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