PE Exam Study Tips — In this post I am going to answer questions related to how long it will take to study for the PE exam, and also give some tips for studying productively.
However, before I get into the PE exam study tips, firstly, if you aren’t too familiar with the PE Exam, let me start by telling you what the PE Exam is. The Principles and Practice of Engineering exam is the examination required for one to become a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the United States. It is the second exam required, coming after the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and is created and scored by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). As a general rule, a professional engineer who has an approved four-year engineering degree, four years of qualifying engineering experience, and who successfully completes the eight-hour Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination can take the PE exam. That being said, you should confirm these items with your local state education board as some states do vary on these experience and timeline requirements.
Alright now, let’s dive into some PE exam study tips by answering some questions I’ve received related to studying and preparing for the PE exam.
#1) How many months of studying will it take you to be prepared for the exam?
Everyone is different, so the true answer to this question is — it’s up to you. That being said, I would recommend budgeting at least six months for preparing for the PE exam, and I will discuss how much time each day in a moment, but if you plan for six months, it should give you ample time to cover the materials you need to in time for the PE exam.
#2) How much time on average should you spend studying each day?
While the answer to this question may also vary from person to person, here’s what I recommend based on my own experience studying for the PE exam. Shoot for sixty to ninety minutes each day, no more, no less. It takes time for your brain to get into the topics on the PE exam, so it’s hard to have a productive study session that is less than one hour, because by the time you really get into the material it will be time to stop. At the same time, you’ll most likely be studying for this exam while maintaining a full time engineering job and also having family responsibilities, so it’s not realistic to think you will have more than 90 minutes per day to dedicate to studying, which is another reason it’s important to budget at least six months for studying if not more.
#3) How can I fulfill my parenting or other job and personal responsibilities and study for the PE exam at the same time?
As I mentioned earlier, you most likely won’t be only studying for the PE exam, you will have to really manage your time to be able to study and maintain your other responsibilities. When I took the PE exam, my wife and I had recently had a child and I had a very intense civil engineering job at a private consulting firm. So here’s what I did. I scheduled study time on my calendar for every morning before work for one hour. Yes, you read that right. I would get up extra early and be at the kitchen table for sixty minutes each morning. And if you’re not a morning person, you can study at night. But whatever you do, put the time on your calendar. You need to hold your study time at a high level of importance, because if you don’t, you will find ways to skip it or do other things instead, and while you might not feel that bad about skipping study sessions, you very well may, when you get your exam results back.
Regardless of how many PE exam study tips you receive, always REMEMBER — once you get that PE license, as long as you maintain it, you never have to take this exam again for the rest of your life! SO, it’s worth investing this time for six to nine month.
I hope you found these PE exam study tips helpful. 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