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One week out from the test advice

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I probably did the exact opposite of most people, but I did what I always have done and what works for me.  I had studied for 3-4 months before. Got a hotel room by the test site the day before. Continued to look over stuff and be familiar with the CERM and my other references. Did a few practice problems, went to dinner, came back, looked over practice exams and ran a few 6 minute solution problems up until it was time for bed. Made some tea (chamomile, part of my normal routine), laid down, passed out.

Woke up in the morning and got there as the doors were opening, as someone above mentioned there was so much time between when doors opened and the exam room was opened. I sat, calmly reflected on everything, and mentally prepared before going into the room. Didn't eat breakfast, just drank some water because I rarely eat breakfast.

My point is, do what you know works for you. If you are like me and have always crammed before exams on top of studying for them in a regular manner, don't eat breakfast, whatever it may be, then that is what you should do for this. Don't change your past study habits/test taking habits because people on here suggest a different method.

I do agree with everyone on here that it is important to get a good nights sleep regardless of your past habits and make sure you are familiar with the test site and where to go.

In regards to taking the exam, again, I operate differently and just go from A-Z. The first problem on October 2018 made me scratch my head and think of impending doom and how I am not fit to be an engineer but I just sat through and figured it out as much as I thought was correct. There was only one problem that I spent 2-3 minutes on and then decided to skip, circle, and come back to after my first go through.

Again, I think everyone has different strategies to exam prep and test taking. Do what you know and what has always worked for you.

It worked for me first try and thankfully that wretched test is behind me now and I have the coveted, post-nominal letters, P.E. as of a few weeks ago.


Good luck to all test takers this go round, you got this!

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Like GeoDude, I got hotel room near the exam. I would have preferred one that was walking distance away, but I couldn't find anything in that bubble.

I did not do any studying the day before the test (that was driving day). I drove to my hotel and checked in, and then did the drive to the test site to make sure I had that location correct, and knew how to get there. Then I went for a (familiar) dinner (i.e. don't go eat something you never eat or go to a fancy place where you don't get served enough food).

I did study on the Wednesday though, and all preceding days that week. 


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I teleworked the workweek before exam day. Three layers of management wanted me to study during official time as part of an approved professional development program. It really helped me do the last bits of studying and get into a good mindset for the exam.

I still did the minimum amount of normal work to "keep the lights on" through Monday. I did more normal work that Thursday than I did the other days and, in retrospect, it was a useful distraction from studying too hard. As mentioned above: I hit peak preparedness on Wednesday; Thursday was better spent getting in the right mindset.

I'd recommend taking the day off if your boss isn't as accommodating though.

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Passed first try after lots and lots of studying.

I took the week off (comp time, Agency gave me the test day off) and worked as little as possible by telecommute.  I did not study the day before the exam, just packed and drove - I got a hotel near the exam because it's a 2.5 hour drive from my house.  I downloaded some sleep meditation videos from Amazon to make sure I got some sleep.

I made the mistake of having too much caffeine.  On the upside the lines to the women's restroom are remarkably short.  I also brought a pillow to sit on (friend recommended) which was oddly helpful.  

I panicked when the exam started.  Just move on until you find a problem that seems easy, then go from there and come back to those you skipped.  There is lots of time on this exam.

Best wishes!!!

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