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Any limit to amount of reference material?

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Hi, I'm taking the PE exam in a few weeks (Environmental exam in Kentucky, if it matters). I have quite a few reference books that I'd like to bring the the exam, as well as binders of prep notes, frequently used equations, tables, conversions, example problems, etc. I'm well aware that I won't have time to search through a large pile of books during the exam.



My question is - is there a limit on the amount of reference material that may be taken into the exam? I've read all the rules and info I can find on this, and all my reference material follows the guidelines for what's allowed (only properly bound, no loose papers, etc). I just wanted to know if I'll be allowed to bring in a small rolling cart or rolling luggage (ie, rolling airline carry on suitcase) to carry my reference books and binders into the exam...? Is this typically allowed? Or are people only allowed to bring in whatever they can carry with their hands? I just don't want to show up on exam day and be told "oh no, you can't bring all those books in here" or something similar...



Thanks in advance for any help!


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I am bringing two plastic crates I got at Walmart and a folding cart from target. Everything will be in plain sight along with a clear bag for all of my accessories (aspirin, earplugs, batteries, etc....)

I will probably have between 10 - 15 references.

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The general rule is anything you can bring in one trip. And that includes using rolling suitcases/dollies, etc. With that said, if you are bringing more than one Bankers Box, two tops, you are probably bringing too much. Good luck.


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I am bringing two plastic crates I got at Walmart and a folding cart from target. Everything will be in plain sight along with a clear bag for all of my accessories (aspirin, earplugs, batteries, etc....)

I will probably have between 10 - 15 references.

I'm curious as to why you specify a "clear" plastic bag? That's only for the closed book exams isn't it?

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My dang Iphone will not let me copy and paste the PDF file??

This is on my October 2013 exam ticket.

Additional Instructions to PE, FE and FS Examinees:

Pack all personal items in a clear bag; opaque bags such as the green, blue, yellow, white, or brown plastic bags used by grocery stores are not allowed. No purses or backpacks are allowed in the exam room.

Edited by Ship Wreck

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My dang Iphone will not let me copy and paste the PDF file??

This is on my October 2013 exam ticket.

Additional Instructions to PE, FE and FS Examinees:

Pack all personal items in a clear bag; opaque bags such as the green, blue, yellow, white, or brown plastic bags used by grocery stores are not allowed. No purses or backpacks are allowed in the exam room.

Not that it matters, but check and make sure it doesn't say PS instead of PE. Someone else here posted about that before. It doesn't make sense that you can bring in anything you want for references, but have to bring in personal items in any kind of bag, let alone a clear one. But it does make sense for a closed book exam where that's the only thing you get to bring in.

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I Think that I must need glasses?? It does say PS and not PE.

No worries. I think someone said their proctor was not allowing non-clear bags into the PE exam even though they were allowing suitcases of books. Also, another one was allowing suitcases but not backpacks. Once people started pointing out it said PS, not PE, the proctors for all hemming and hawing about it........

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My advice for how much to bring: Bring everything you can that is useful to you and that you can use efficiently. Having 50 books isn't going to do you any good if you take 10 minutes just trying to find the correct reference for each problem.



Someone with 5-10 references that they know inside and out is going to out-perform someone with 20 references they are slightly familiar with.



Honestly, I ended up only using about 3-4 references for the entire exam. By being so familiar with the handful of books I had, I found that I only used them as a cross-check because I had remembered the material.


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Honestly, I ended up only using about 3-4 references for the entire exam. By being so familiar with the handful of books I had, I found that I only used them as a cross-check because I had remembered the material.

Same Here. Used just a few references. Brought, the MERM, Cameron Hydraulic Data, ASME steam tables, and bound notes from a ME review course (not one I took, but a friend gave me a copy of the notes).

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My advice for how much to bring: Bring everything you can that is useful to you and that you can use efficiently. Having 50 books isn't going to do you any good if you take 10 minutes just trying to find the correct reference for each problem.

Someone with 5-10 references that they know inside and out is going to out-perform someone with 20 references they are slightly familiar with.

Honestly, I ended up only using about 3-4 references for the entire exam. By being so familiar with the handful of books I had, I found that I only used them as a cross-check because I had remembered the material.

Agree wholeheartedly with this suggestion. I took in about 5 references into the exam and also a binder of photocopied frequently used equations, tables, conversions, figures etc. that I had put together which cut down on the references I needed to take to the exam and also the need to hunt for information in the exam as I knew what was in the binder.

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Hi, I'm taking the PE exam in a few weeks (Environmental exam in Kentucky, if it matters). I have quite a few reference books that I'd like to bring the the exam, as well as binders of prep notes, frequently used equations, tables, conversions, example problems, etc. I'm well aware that I won't have time to search through a large pile of books during the exam.

You're getting a lot of advice from people who didn't take the Environmental exam. Bring your reference books, at least anything you used while studying. I had a rolling suitcase one size up from a carry-on. I had about 4 books/binders that were my primary references, but I used probably 20 different reference materials during my studying, and I have a good memory for where things were located. I must have used 10-12 references during the actual exam, and I was able to answer several qualitative questions from references that wouldn't have been on my must-have list if I'd been trying to keep it to just a banker's box.

Our exam is roughly 50% quantitative and 50% qualitative. That leaves you a lot of time to look things up. Keep the books you plan to use on your desk or on the top of the stack, but when you have an hour left at the end, by all means start searching your backup references.

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I took any text I reffered to during my studying. Mainly used condensed notes I wrote by hand and shoved in a binder. You don't want to waste time fumbling through unfamiliar books. I brought a giant duffel bag with my books and personal items.

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On the suggestion of someone I work with, I've tabbed each section in all my references that I've relied on during my studying. That helps me get to the right section faster than flipping pages.


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I'm guessing you probably saw the same crazy stuff as we saw, but for those who view this thread in the future: There was a guy with a flat bed cart, with 6 rubbermaid containers on it full of books. I honestly don't think I have ever owned that many books. Whatever you do, get something with wheels or is easy to carry.


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Not sure what's GA rule. Just make sure whatever you are bringing there is no loose paper, pencil marking on anything because in MD/PA you will loose those reference before test if you give it to them before the start of exam or get kick out once the exam started


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Not sure what's GA rule. Just make sure whatever you are bringing there is no loose paper, pencil marking on anything because in MD/PA you will loose those reference before test if you give it to them before the start of exam or get kick out once the exam started

Well, in MD. PA allows pencil marks, you just can't write in your reference material during the exam. And it seems each state varies on how picky they are about those rules...

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Not sure what's GA rule. Just make sure whatever you are bringing there is no loose paper, pencil marking on anything because in MD/PA you will loose those reference before test if you give it to them before the start of exam or get kick out once the exam started

Well, in MD. PA allows pencil marks, you just can't write in your reference material during the exam. And it seems each state varies on how picky they are about those rules...

very true I thought PA is the same but how they can proved if you wrote during or before in your reference materials...

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