Passing the Civil iteration of the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam is a vital step for any professional who wants to take their career forward and unlock the most promising opportunities.
Thousands of individuals go through this process every year, and it is something which you will likely be looking towards shortly after passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam early in your career.
Of course pass rates can be perilously low, so there is no guarantee that you will make it through this process unscathed on your first attempt. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to increase your chances and hopefully come out on top when the big day arrives. Here is a look at a handful of strategies that are worth pursuing as you approach your Civil PE exam.
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Establish your eligibility
Before you can even think about passing this test, you will need to make sure that you meet the criteria that the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) sets out for prospective applicants.
As well as having already attained a passing grade in the aforementioned FE exam, it is also necessary for you to have worked for at least four years in the engineering discipline of your choosing; in this case, working in civil engineering will clearly be the best option.
It is also worth noting that each state has its own engineering licensing board, with these bodies controlling their own registration procedures, which can differ from place to place. Being aware of these ahead of time will give you a greater chance of making a successful application.
Take a prep course
There are lots of PE prep courses available, as this guide explains. A good course can provide you not only with the information and resources you need to study for successful performance in the exam itself, but also with the structure you need to manage your preparations effectively and make sure that you have done as much as you can in the time you have available before the exam date rolls around.
It is also necessary to factor in the points at which the Civil PE exams are held; in general they are twice a year, although certain PE disciplines are tested either more frequently or less often, so it is always sensible to work this out well in advance so you can plan your studies accordingly.
A modern prep course will be a multifaceted experience that includes everything from live instruction from expert tutors to the provision of practice questions and even entire mock exams that you can take to gear yourself up for the real thing.
Since the exam will last for eight hours and cover a total of 80 questions, it definitely pays to prepare thoroughly and put yourself through this process in realistic conditions, so that you do not find it as daunting or crumple under the pressure.
Take a break
One of the most important tips for exam success in any context, whether you are aiming to pass the Civil PE test or are facing any other educational hurdle, is to minimize the chances of burnout during the rigors of preparation.
There is no doubt that hard work and expert guidance will set you on a course to exam success, but you also need to give yourself breathing room in between, especially if you are still working full time in addition to studying.
This is where the merits of early preparation really come into play, as rushing to cram everything into the final days and weeks will rarely work in your favor.