Advice for PE test?
February 18, 2011 7:49 AM   Subscribe

Any advice on taking the Mech. Engineering PE test, beyond taking the refresher course?

So, this was me. I took a refresher course for the EIT, and rocked that test back in '09. Now I'm taking the PE this spring. I'm taking a refresher course this time around, too (School of PE), but wondered if there was anything else I should be doing, and magic tricks, etc. For what it's worth, I've opted for the Mechanical Systems and Materials afternoon session.
posted by notsnot to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I took the mechanical PE test in 2009, except I took the HVAC afternoon option. I don't know if there are any magic tricks, per se, but I found these things helped:

-Study for 1 hour per day for about 3 months. That is, today until the test. I forget the exact numbers but you should be aiming for an average time of 6 minutes per problem, so sometimes I would attempt to do 10 practice problems in an hour. The PE review course should give you a schedule of what subject to study each week for 10 weeks or so. Follow it.

-Don't study the night before the test. Go out to dinner, get plenty of sleep, relax, etc.

-Scout out the test location beforehand. Figure out where it is, exactly which door they'll use, where to park, etc. so that when the day comes there's no uncertainty.

-Do practice problems out of the big blue engineering review book. IMO the problems in that book were much harder than the actual test was, and thus that made good practice.

-The test is as much about knowing where to look things up as actual engineering knowledge, so do your practice problems with an eye towards what you had to look up and how to find it again quickly. I put tabs on the psychometric chart and steam tables, I'm not sure what the mechanical systems/materials equivalent would be.

-Don't worry about relearning subjects that you remember nothing about. Focus on your area of study. The PE is much more focused on the subject at hand, so you won't get the random chemistry or biology question like the ones that showed up on the EIT. I basically ignored trusses and 3-d statics because I wasn't going to waste time relearning how to do a matrix.

-After having done practice problems out of the big blue book, do the NCEES practice exams. They will give you a very good idea of what the exam will look like.

-Always read carefully the questions. They tend to provide a lot of misinformation for what ends up being very simple problems. One problem gave a full description of a building but the real question was "What's 50% of 600 GPM?"
posted by zompus at 10:57 AM on February 18, 2011

In a multiple-choice exam, treat each choice as a T/F question. Eliminate the clearly wrong choices. Eliminate any choice that would be suspect as a T/F question. If it's in the form of a sentence to complete, complete it mentally before looking at the choices.

As zompus says, take enough time to reach each question twice, to make sure you know what they're looking for. Many tests have answer choices that say something correct but are unconnected with the problem.
posted by KRS at 1:34 PM on February 18, 2011

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