Step 1: Plan
So you’ve registered and have been approved to take the PE Exam. Now what? The exam date may seem a long ways away but it will surly creep up on you if you’re not prepared.
Start with a plan on what to study, when to study, and how to study. These three things are crucial in preparation to sit through one of the most intense exams you may have ever taken.
One of the best remedies for lessening the overwhelm is planning your study schedule from the beginning. Due to the sheer number of exam topics and references, having a good understanding of your focus areas are indeed important.
As it relates to planning, incorporating what and how to study, can be achieved by determining when to study, that what and how. The planning “wheel” does not need to be re-invented. A calendar is still a great way to plan the simplest of tasks. The PE Exam topics may not be simple tasks, but understanding when you plan to begin studying each of those topics is half the study battle.
As we know, days can get hectic fast, and those days turn into hectic weeks, which turn into hectic months and then before you know it, exam day is here. Having a set day and time to study certain topics is some of the best advice I can give in preparing to study for the PE Exam.
During my studies, I found if I planned in my mind that I was going to focus on signal timing problems one week, then transition to roadway alignment problems the next week, it was best that I wrote that plan down on some sort of calendar to keep me on track.
I sometimes ended up writing this down on a sticky note or sometimes under my practice problems. This turned out to be problematic (pun intended) because once I went on to the next problem I would sometimes forget to stay focused on just those topic areas. With this, I found myself jumping from one topic to the next.
I was unsuccessful on my second time taking the PE exam which may or may not have been a result of my study plan.
Third time around, my solution to this dilemma was to start writing my plan to study certain topics on an actual calendar. I wrote out my planned study topics for each week. Granted, I may not have done problems exactly as I planned each week but it definitely kept me focused on what I was studying, how I was studying, and most importantly when I was studying.
I passed the PE exam the third time around. Again, my improved study schedule may or may not have determined my passing result, but it kept me focused and allowed me to practice more problems and become more efficient with my time.
There are a lot of you out there that are about to begin your journey on becoming a licensed professional engineer. For some, right now that journey begins with preparing to study for the PE Exam.
To help in your preparation to begin studying, I created a PE exam focused planner that can be used to keep you on track from the beginning. The planner features a five month calendar as well as PE exam topic breakdowns and a quick formula conversion sheet.
My hope is that you pass the exam on your first attempt, but know it’s ok if you need to shake things up and try again! Like I did!