What is the difference between passing the PE exam on first attempt and passting it on 5th or 6th attempt? Do people ask later how many times did you take the exam? - Mechanical - Engineer Boards
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Engineer_562

What is the difference between passing the PE exam on first attempt and passting it on 5th or 6th attempt? Do people ask later how many times did you take the exam?

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Hello All,

I took the exam second time and didn't feel good about it. It looks like I have long way to go but I am going to keep taking it till I pass. I was wondering if people took 5 or more attempts to pass the PE exams? What did people think about you when you told them that? Or it is basically same as passing the exam on first try.

thank you All.

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5 minutes ago, Engineer_562 said:

Hello All,

I took the exam second time and didn't feel good about it. It looks like I have long way to go but I am going to keep taking it till I pass. I was wondering if people took 5 or more attempts to pass the PE exams? What did people think about you when you told them that? Or it is basically same as passing the exam on first try.

thank you All.

It doesn't matter what people think. When you pass it, you will be a PE just like the person who passed it on the first attempt. You might be out of pocket $1500 more than them, but you'll still be a PE. Don't get discouraged and don't give up...

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It is n-1 times less stress and n-1 more time & money.  Once it is passed, it is one PE license.  Many of the engineers in our office have taken it multiple times.  Not passing on the 1st go does not make you any less of an engineer.

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there are tons of circumstances that could affect passing/failing by a question or two. I don't think an employer would think/care to ask how many attempts it took. I have had it come up in discussion before but not like an interview inquiry. although, I haven't applied for a job post licensure yet.

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If you are ever in court as an expert witness, it would be a likely question from opposing counsel, obviously in an attempt to discredit you.  Happened to my dad - though in his case he did pass on first try so it was a stupid question. 

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I think its a self induced stress we add on to an already stressful process. No one cares how many times it took you to pass the test. Your client doesn't give a rats ass, as long as your designs saves him/her money and works. Your employer/ future employer doesn't care because it probably took them multiple times to get it as well, or they probably dont even have a license. And if you were asked this question in an Interview, i think you should look the person asking such an asinine question in the face and respond, "does it really matter". You are a licensed Engineer. Be proud of it. Very few people could boast that.

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I took it 4 times... each time i attempted/failed my superiors at work, peers, friemds, amd family all cheered me on. Yea you feel pressure of “geez they must think this or that”.... it doesnt matter, one pass is all u need.

It shows determination To acheive your goals.

Compare to an engineering student struggling to graduate to the one who just gave up and switched major to something “easy”.

Plus you can inspire others who take it and didnt pass first/fifth/etc attempt.

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On 11/3/2017 at 2:15 PM, JHW 3d said:

If you are ever in court as an expert witness, it would be a likely question from opposing counsel, obviously in an attempt to discredit you.  Happened to my dad - though in his case he did pass on first try so it was a stupid question. 

A good lawyer would be able to easily fight this question in court. If you testify you are testifying on a specific area. You most likely won't be giving expert testimony on traffic engineering and on environmental impact also. PE exam gives you a taste of all areas. If you work as a traffic engineer, who cares if you are not an expert in structural design and  hydraulics or soil mechanics.

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A good lawyer would be able to easily fight this question in court. If you testify you are testifying on a specific area. You most likely won't be giving expert testimony on traffic engineering and on environmental impact also. PE exam gives you a taste of all areas. If you work as a traffic engineer, who cares if you are not an expert in structural design and  hydraulics or soil mechanics.


A lawyer would not object to a relevant question, assuming your PE license is relevant to your expertise.

By the way people, a PE license does not make you an expert: it states you satisfied the minimum requirement by law to practice in your field.

Establishing your expertise in a court of law would require further interrogation. How many attempts at passing your licensing examinations would be relevant, as would your advanced degrees, positions held, publications, etc.

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Depending on the state, you may have to submit a new full application after several unsuccessful attempts.  I recall MA had a maximum of 3 tries on an application submittal (i.e if someone fails they can sign up for the next exam without submitting a new application and go through the application approval process).  After the 3rd unsuccessful attempt the candidate would need to start the application process from scratch.  I don't know if that has changed or not since I took it 10 years ago.

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Study like you only have one chance to pass.  You might be amazed at the results.

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Iowa has a 1 year application.  So you get 2 tries.

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