Passing the Professional Engineering (PE) exam is the dream of today’s engineers.
Especially engineers who think of the future they are appearing in the PE Exam administered by the NCEES and tries to pass the exam on the first try. But passing the PE Exam is not an easy task. Hard work of several months can pay off during the exam hall. But only hard work without managing other ‘ISSUES’ may also result in a fail. As a lot of money is being spent to sit for a single exam, so for the beginners, it is often very hard to sit for the second time. These criterions often bring a lot ‘WORRIES’ for the engineers. So proper technique is required to pass the PE Exam on the first try and the examinee needs to follow some rules. Today we are going to discuss ‘How to Score Higher in PE Exam?’ 

Know Your PE Exam Syllabus

Syllabus for every PE Exam is different. It is different in its context and items too. Without knowing your syllabus you would not be able to know on which sector you need to focus more than the others. Knowing the syllabus enables you to outperform the difficulties you will face during your exam and helps you to know on which sector/portion most of the questions may come. It also gives you a list of codes you should have in your desk during the exam day. For example, if you analyze the PE Civil Transportation depth exam syllabus you will find that reading Traffic Engineering related questions are more than necessary than other sections. Because you are going to face around 11 questions from the traffic
engineering section whereas others are far below than 11. You can download your PE Exam syllabus from here-it’s free!!

Prepare Your Exam Day Belongings

Exam day is always crucial. As PE Exam is administered by NCEES, they have certain rules and regulations about what you can take and what not. For example, the PE Exam is an open book exam but you are not allowed to keep any loose sheets. There are several other criteria you have followed for the exam, One of such kind of criteria is you can not use any calculator of your choice. They have certain rules on which calculator you can use and which one is not allowed to be used. You need to be careful about the clothes you wear, about the ID you have and so on. You can download the full guide published by the NCEES from here.

PE Exam References

As already mentioned PE Exam is an open book exam. You can take your own note, codes, and references that you think is needed to pass the exam. But taking loose sheets, guidebooks are not allowed. As an examinee you have to choose which supporting materials you are carrying and which one is not. For example, you can carry PE Civil Reference Manual-16th edition in your exam hall but you are not allowed to carry any books that solve the problem. You can carry the 29CFR 1926 OSHA Handbook for example, but you are not allowed to carry any loose sheets. Rather than carrying loose sheets you can spiral bind them as a single book and carry to the examination center.

Click  on the links which will lead to the proper reference for PE Exam

Make a Routine to Study

Are you planning to study in a simple way for the PE Exam? If the answer is Yes, I am sorry to say that you are not going to pass. Passing the PE Exam is not so simple, because it tests your overall knowledge of the respective field. To prepare for the PE Exam, you should make a study routine. A three to four months preparation is more than enough if you study according to your routine. The routine should cover almost all areas of your respective PE Exam syllabus. Please make sure that you are following it with passion, not for the sake of passing only. When passion comes with a target, the possibility of success increases. Sometimes it is better to use a lazy time. I mean you can have some notes and study that notes while you are on the go, on the bus, train or in a lazy mood. Just keep an eye and read it. Solving the problems that usually come in the PE Exam is also important and you should keep some time for that too.

Detection of Weak and Strong Sides

Everyone has strong and weak sides. For example, an examinee may have good knowledge in project management while he may not have good command over concrete technology. Detecting individuals strong and weak sides are important. Because it helps the individual to know on which area he/she needs to focus more. PE exam judges overall performance not a performance on a single type of problems. So, you need to have good command overall on all topics in your study area. In my case, I know on which topic I am not good, just have an average knowledge. I worked on that more than the stronger topics to ensure need not leave an answer empty. In my case, this worked a lot, and you see, I succeeded. Yahoo!!

So, guys please detect which topics you need to study more. Detect on which area you are going to put some extra effort to pass the PE Exam on the first attempt.

PE Exam Review Courses

To attend PE Exam you must have to fulfill some certain obligations. For example, your job experience must have to be at least four years (differs based on which state you are taking PE Exam!!). Theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge are quite different in many terms. So, you may feel that you are quite far from your study and needs to reenergize your old enthusiasm to study basic things. There are several PE Exam review courses on the web. Be careful!! Not all of them are satisfying. Some of them are really good and helps to pass the Professional Examination administered by the NCEES. When you are preparing to take any PE Exam review courses make sure what they are teaching, what are the contents, how much time it may take, do they provide study guide and online support etc. Match the given answers with your own requirements of the study. If they match, taking PE Exam review courses could be really helpful. Review courses are not always paid, but most of them are paid. There are some free online PE Exam review course

Free Online Review Courses for FE Exam

Youtube Free Videos for PE Exam

Online mediums could be really useful if you
are not taking any paid review courses. There are YouTube channels specially
made for the PE Exam preparation. Before making a schedule of study or planning for the PE Exam you can visit those
channels as a reference. But keep in mind that, the videos may be too old in
some cases to be followed and may contain outdated materials that would not
actually help you. But still, these
channels contain some useful information about solving different problems,
guidelines for the exam day, step by step calculation procedures, book
references to be used etc.

When PE Exam Held in Each Year?

NCEES has certain declarations about holding the PE Exam. Most of the PE Exam held
twice a year but some PE Exams such as Professional Engineering Exam of Architectural Engineering held once in a year.

PE Exam usually held in April and October each year. Although the actual dates vary each year usually is held in the first week of April and the first week of October.

PE Exam offered in April PE Exam held in October
Agricultural and Biological EngineeringControl Systems Engineering
Architectural EngineeringFire Protection Engineering
Industrial and Systems EngineeringMetallurgical and Materials Engineering
Naval Architecture and Marine EngineeringMining and Mineral processing Engineering
Software Engineering 

All other except those listed above held twice in a year. The NCEES is now working to take PE Exam all the year round and they are on the way to introduce Computer Based Test (CBT) exam in all formats.

YouTube Channels to Prepare for the PE Exam

There are some Youtube channels that can help you in passing PE Exam with book reviews, study schedule, problem-solving and so on. If you have a shortage in balance to take paid courses you can use those channels to study. But keep in mind they are not sufficient to pass the exam and moreover, most of them are outdated now as PE Exam syllabus, references and codes changed a lot.

Facebook Groups for PE Exam

Facebook could be a great resource too. There are some Facebook groups that are specially
made to be followed by the PE Examinees. In the facebook groups, there is a community who can help you with specific problems. People are posting their problems and getting help from fellow examinees who are also attending the PE Exam. There are also engineers who already passed and keeping an eye to solve your specific problems. Following these groups can help in some time, while you feel there are no others to help you.

Practice, Practice and Practice

There is a proverb saying that ‘Practice Makes a Man Perfect’. This proverb is true in case you are going to attend PE Exam. The more you practice several problems the more your problem-solving skills going to improve. As PE Exam is an open book exam, practicing problems can also boost your knowledge from where you can get the information related to those problems. For practicing problems you can either buy books that are made for practicing and contains example questions that are more likely to come. These books always say that the questions are prepared based on the actual questions that are presented on the actual PE Exam.

The problems can familiarize you with the actual exam like questions and with the codes too. Moreover, as several solving methods, as well as step by step solving techniques, are presented in those books, it may help you recognize the problem types in the exam center.

Exam Day Schedule

There is no meaning if you can perform well on the exam day. You have eight valuable hours to prove yourself. In the eight hours, you need to present what you know and what not. Be sure to check and double check the following issues on the exam day-

  • Exam time, Center etc.
  • Belongings you can take during the exam.
  • Locker system in the NCEES Pearson Vue Exam Center.
  • Exam format and question format.
  • Your ID card
  • The time required to reach the exam center
  • Calculator Approved by the NCEES

Time Management

PE Exam is an 8-hour exam(except PE Structural which is a 16 hour 2 day exam). Without managing your time perfectly you are not going to answer all of the questions and ‘FAIL’ grade may come. Therefore you need to focus more on time management in the exam hall.

Some small but useful tactics can help you a lot to save time. If you are facing problem in solving a particular type of problem, skip it. Move to the very next question and solve it. At the last hour look at the problems which you left before and answer them.

What is the Passing Mark?

There is no hard and fast rule of ‘Passing Mark in PE Exam’. But many of the experienced
candidates said that you can expect to pass the exam if you score 70%+. In some cases, the percentage can be lower as much as 65%.

The percentage of passing in each exam type is different and differs every year.

Get Your Result

Passing the Professional Examination administered by the NCEES is always difficult. But when you choose to register for the exam, you should be able to pass it on the first attempt. Because on an average the second time exam takers around 70% are in ‘Fail’ list. Moreover, a lot of money is also associated with the exam and this forces you to pass the exam in the first try.

Knowing your syllabus, make your concept more clear on hard topics, nurturing your strong points to not lose mark on them and overall a lot of practice can really help you overcome this tough obstacle.