Tips to pass PE exam on the first try

Earning the Professional Engineer (PE) license can result in a major leap in an engineer’s career. If you are an engineer, it always helps to have a PE license as it will allow you to fully reap the benefits of your engineering degree and experience. The financial benefit is another motivation to earn the Professional Engineer’s stamp. However, the road to get a PE license is not easy and for many, it can take multiple attempts to pass the exam.

Do not let the difficulty level of the PE exam intimidate you, because with proper planning and a smart study plan you can ace it. According to some stats, two-third of the engineers who take the PE exam, clear it on their first try.

If it is your goal to ace the exam in your first attempt, the following tips are going to help you:

Understand the requirements

NCEES has some prerequisites laid down for candidates applying for PE. An engineering degree and at least four years of experience in relevant field under a professional engineer is a must to apply for PE exam. A lot of engineers line up to take the exam every year so it is advised to apply in advance for quick processing of the application. For instance, if you are planning to take the exam in April, apply for it in January so that you have enough time to prepare for the PE exam.

Invest in the best reference materials

You cannot expect to clear the exam on the first try if you do not have the right reference and study material. If you think you can rely solely on a course to pass the exam then you are greatly mistaken. It will do you no good in the examination hall. For instance for machine design and materials PE exam the curriculum is vast and you will need many reference books. The perfect approach to prepare for the exam is to choose the right study books and practice exams. Work your way through the content so that you are comfortable with it.

Carve out a study plan

Engineers who cleared the PE exam on their first try agree to the fact that you need at least 300 hours of study time to pass. However, the number of hours stated is enough to send you into a frenzy, sinceyou have an engineering professional life, which typically requires long hours, not to mention personal commitments. It is highly improbable that you can cover the entire study material to pass the machine design and materials PE exam without a study plan. A smart move is to chart an efficient study schedule and live by it. Plan your preparations based on your expertise in the field and the time available.

Formulate a test taking strategy

Just preparing and learning for the PE exam wont to be enough to crack it on the first try. You will need a formidable test-taking strategy to top the exam. Carefully pick out the reference books you will be carrying to the exam. Highlight and use tabs in the books to easily access the sections in the book when needed.

And remember that it’s your sincerity and confidence that will help you to ace the PE exams.


Course books for machine design and materials PE exam are huge in number and you will need a lot of time to study them all. To pass the machine design and materials PE exam you will need some tools and resources like the ones provided by Engproguides.

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