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Preparation for October 2018 Power PE Exam

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Hi all. I will be taking the Power PE exam in the fall for the first time. Please critique my study plan and let me know if there are notable resources or steps I'm missing that I should take a look at or reference. Also if anyone wants to share their study plans in preparation for the upcoming exam, please do. I didn't sign up for a review course since I don't have trouble staying focused doing independent studying as long as I have my resources together.

I started studying in late July and have been staying on track so far putting in ~16-20 hrs/week. Below is my outlined study plan:

JULY 

Researched and gathered resources (ordered below by importance per category based on research and conversations with those who have passed the exam)

  • Study Guides
    1. EngProGuides Technical Study Guide
    2. Graffeo's book
  • Practice Exams
    1. NCEES practice exam
    2. EngProGuides full exam
    3. Graffeo's book
    4. CI code drill book
    5. CI practice exams (vol. 1 & 2)
  • References
    1. 2017 NEC codebook (borrowed the codebook, not spending $200 for the handbook)
    2. Tom Henry's 2017 NEC Key Word Index
    3. 2017 NESC & 2015 NFPA 70E (since these are on the NCEES outline)
    4. Wildi's book
    5. Blackburn's relaying book
    6. 3" binder organized with recommended online references and articles per topic
    7. Camara's book (for one off problems)

AUGUST (warm-up month)

  1. Printed out EngProGuides Technical Study Guide.
    • Organized in 3" Binder with A-Z Tabs and created table of contents.
    • Used cheat sheet as primary formula sheet, to be updated while studying.
  2. Grinded out CI practice exams #1 & 2 at my own pace.
    • I've read that the CI practice exams are not representative of problem type or difficulty compared to the actual exam, but they are good for getting warmed up and nailing down basic concepts.
    • Scored 38/80 and 41/80 respectively... built solutions and added notes to resources & formula sheets.

SEPTEMBER (get learnt month)

  1. Read through my presumably #1 resource, EngProGuides Technical Study Guide, front to back.
  2. Grinded out the EngProGuides Full Exam at my own pace.
    • I've read this exam is pretty close in difficulty to the actual exam, if not slightly harder.
    • Got 49/80 on this one... built solutions and added notes to resources & formula sheets.
  3. Read through my presumably #2 resource, Graffeo's book, front to back. 
  4. Did practice exam in Graffeo's book.
    • I've read this exam is slightly easier than the actual exam.
    • This practice exam is slightly more involved than the CI exams. 
    • Grinded out exam in 1 sitting with a break in between, scored 65/80 (81.25%). Completed in 4 hours and 45 mins. 
    • Build solutions and add notes to resources and formula sheets (IN PROGRESS)
  5. Do NCEES practice exam.
    • I've read this exam is slightly easier than the actual exam.
    • Simulate actual test taking environment.
    • Aiming to get a high score on this one.

OCTOBER (game-time month)

  1. Practice a bunch of CI code drill book problems.
  2. Watch YouTube videos on weak areas.
  3. Tab references that contain relevant information per NCEES outline.
    • Wildi's book
    • Blackburn's relaying book
    • IEEE Buff Book
    • IEEE Green Book
    • 3" binder organized with recommended online references and articles per topic 
  4. REVIEW

I understand that everyone has different study methods and ways of learning, but in general I think the plan outlined above should adequately cover the exam topics and give me a good shot at passing the exam come October. I definitely want this exam process to be a "one and done" sort of deal. A combination of practice problems, study guides (EngProGuides and Graffeo specifically), and tabbed references is what I'm leveraging to prepare for the exam. 

Edited by chener16

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I am in the same boat as you. I am taking the exam my first time this October. If you are working out problems, and understanding the material 100% then your study plan seems pretty solid, although not have taken a review course is pretty daring. There are a few similarities with my approach.

 

Study Guides

Primary source! Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review. This is gold. Trust me

Secondary Graffeo's book

EngProGuides Technical Study Guide

 

Practice Exams

Electrical PE Review quizzes (Completed most)

NCEES practice exam (Completed entire exam)

EngProGuides full exam ( I am 2/3 done with this exam. I am planning on finishing it this upcoming weekend. From what I done so far it seems like it will help.)

EngProGuides NEC exam (  done a few will  finish next weekend as well)

Graffeo's book ( I did a couple, not planning on finishing the exam completely. Questions seem too easy compared to the other material )

 

References

2017 NEC codebook

Tom Henry's 2017 NEC Key Word Index

2017 NESC & 2015 NFPA 70E, 497,499, 30B

 

 

 

 

Edited by RadioBox
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I'm with Radio, except if you're putting in that much time and you are understaning how to do the problems you get wrong after you take the practice exams, then you should be in great shape.

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13 hours ago, RadioBox said:

I am in the same boat as you. I am taking the exam my first time this October. If you are working out problems, and understanding the material 100% then your study plan seems pretty solid, although not have taken a review course is pretty daring. There are a few similarities with my approach.

 

Study Guides

Primary source! Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review. This is gold. Trust me

 

Practice Exams

Electrical PE Review quizzes (Completed most)

 

 

1

Thanks for the kind words and the mention. Glad you enjoyed your time with us!

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one last thing i would mention.....i brought a decent amount of books to the exam, some i hadn't opened in a while, and 1-2 that i had opened maybe once since owning them

 

a good idea to do, maybe a week or two before the exam, go through everything you're bringing, even if quickly.  you'll never know what you'll remember (sample problem or section) and if you don't ever see it, you may not know it's there; or you may not know where to find it.

 

one question could be the difference between passing and failing 

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On ‎9‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 6:18 PM, chener16 said:

Hi all. I will be taking the Power PE exam in the fall for the first time. Please critique my study plan and let me know if there are notable resources or steps I'm missing that I should take a look at or reference. Also if anyone wants to share their study plans in preparation for the upcoming exam, please do. I didn't sign up for a review course since I don't have trouble staying focused doing independent studying as long as I have my resources together.

I started studying in late July and have been staying on track so far putting in ~16-20 hrs/week. Below is my outlined study plan:

JULY 

Researched and gathered resources (ordered below by importance per category based on research and conversations with those who have passed the exam)

  • Study Guides
    1. EngProGuides Technical Study Guide
    2. Graffeo's book
  • Practice Exams
    1. NCEES practice exam
    2. EngProGuides full exam
    3. Graffeo's book
    4. CI code drill book
    5. CI practice exams (vol. 1 & 2)
  • References
    1. 2017 NEC codebook (borrowed the codebook, not spending $200 for the handbook)
    2. Tom Henry's 2017 NEC Key Word Index
    3. 2017 NESC & 2015 NFPA 70E (since these are on the NCEES outline)
    4. Wildi's book
    5. Blackburn's relaying book
    6. 3" binder organized with recommended online references and articles per topic
    7. Camara's book (for one off problems)

AUGUST (warm-up month)

  1. Printed out EngProGuides Technical Study Guide.
    • Organized in 3" Binder with A-Z Tabs and created table of contents.
    • Used cheat sheet as primary formula sheet, to be updated while studying.
  2. Grinded out CI practice exams #1 & 2 at my own pace.
    • I've read that the CI practice exams are not representative of problem type or difficulty compared to the actual exam, but they are good for getting warmed up and nailing down basic concepts.
    • Scored 38/80 and 41/80 respectively... built solutions and added notes to resources & formula sheets.

SEPTEMBER (get learnt month)

  1. Read through my presumably #1 resource, EngProGuides Technical Study Guide, front to back.
  2. Grinded out the EngProGuides Full Exam at my own pace.
    • I've read this exam is pretty close in difficulty to the actual exam, if not slightly harder.
    • Got 49/80 on this one... built solutions and added notes to resources & formula sheets.
  3. Read through my presumably #2 resource, Graffeo's book, front to back. (IN PROGRESS)
  4. Do practice exam in Graffeo's book.
    • I've read this exam is slightly easier than the actual exam.
  5. Do NCEES practice exam.
    • I've read this exam is slightly easier than the actual exam.
    • Simulate actual test taking environment.
    • Aiming to get a high score on this one.

OCTOBER (game-time month)

  1. Practice a bunch of CI code drill book problems.
  2. Watch YouTube videos on weak areas.
  3. Tab references that contain relevant information per NCEES outline.
    • Wildi's book
    • Blackburn's relaying book
    • IEEE Buff Book
    • IEEE Green Book
    • 3" binder organized with recommended online references and articles per topic 
  4. REVIEW

I understand that everyone has different study methods and ways of learning, but in general I think the plan outlined above should adequately cover the exam topics and give me a good shot at passing the exam come October. I definitely want this exam process to be a "one and done" sort of deal. A combination of practice problems, study guides (EngProGuides and Graffeo specifically), and tabbed references is what I'm leveraging to prepare for the exam. 

HI There, I also just joined Engineer boards. Cleared my FE in July end. I initially thought of giving PE  in April 2019 session to give myself more time but have decided to give in Oct 2018. Had been studying off and on for last month or so but I think I will push real hard in next 40 odd days. Will visit this forum daily to get updates. All the folks appearing for PE exam in October All the best. keep rocking. Cheers..

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Truthfully I wish I had gone for my PE before having children...I passed the FE shortly after graduating college.  Its been extremely difficult to get in enough study time. Lunch hour at work I have been studying and at night during the week. In addition, the weekend is when I spend most of my time studying. I'm trying to get through the coursework in the Electrical PE Review so I can then take a test.

I compiled all the same references as you guys have. I need to work on my formula sheet. The Engineering Pro Guide formula sheet is a good start but I see additional items I need to add in.

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On 9/17/2018 at 1:07 PM, Nashi said:

Truthfully I wish I had gone for my PE before having children...I passed the FE shortly after graduating college.  Its been extremely difficult to get in enough study time. Lunch hour at work I have been studying and at night during the week. In addition, the weekend is when I spend most of my time studying. I'm trying to get through the coursework in the Electrical PE Review so I can then take a test.

I compiled all the same references as you guys have. I need to work on my formula sheet. The Engineering Pro Guide formula sheet is a good start but I see additional items I need to add in.

i am in the same boat.  it's near impossible to study at home with kids yelling/crying wife yelling at them.  and working full time....

 

what's discouraging sometimes too is some of the practice problems in books/sites are soo lengthy and difficult.  It's necessary to work through them to see all angles that could be asked in a problem but I need to remind myself they won't be that long and difficult on the real exam.

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I would not recommend the book problems found in the technical books like Power System Analysis. 

They are great for academic study, but very poor test problems.  (At least I thought so) 

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On 9/12/2018 at 6:18 PM, chener16 said:

Hi all. I will be taking the Power PE exam in the fall for the first time. Please critique my study plan and let me know if there are notable resources or steps I'm missing that I should take a look at or reference. Also if anyone wants to share their study plans in preparation for the upcoming exam, please do. I didn't sign up for a review course since I don't have trouble staying focused doing independent studying as long as I have my resources together.

I started studying in late July and have been staying on track so far putting in ~16-20 hrs/week. Below is my outlined study plan:

JULY 

Researched and gathered resources (ordered below by importance per category based on research and conversations with those who have passed the exam)

  • Study Guides
    1. EngProGuides Technical Study Guide
    2. Graffeo's book
  • Practice Exams
    1. NCEES practice exam
    2. EngProGuides full exam
    3. Graffeo's book
    4. CI code drill book
    5. CI practice exams (vol. 1 & 2)
  • References
    1. 2017 NEC codebook (borrowed the codebook, not spending $200 for the handbook)
    2. Tom Henry's 2017 NEC Key Word Index
    3. 2017 NESC & 2015 NFPA 70E (since these are on the NCEES outline)
    4. Wildi's book
    5. Blackburn's relaying book
    6. 3" binder organized with recommended online references and articles per topic
    7. Camara's book (for one off problems)

AUGUST (warm-up month)

  1. Printed out EngProGuides Technical Study Guide.
    • Organized in 3" Binder with A-Z Tabs and created table of contents.
    • Used cheat sheet as primary formula sheet, to be updated while studying.
  2. Grinded out CI practice exams #1 & 2 at my own pace.
    • I've read that the CI practice exams are not representative of problem type or difficulty compared to the actual exam, but they are good for getting warmed up and nailing down basic concepts.
    • Scored 38/80 and 41/80 respectively... built solutions and added notes to resources & formula sheets.

SEPTEMBER (get learnt month)

  1. Read through my presumably #1 resource, EngProGuides Technical Study Guide, front to back.
  2. Grinded out the EngProGuides Full Exam at my own pace.
    • I've read this exam is pretty close in difficulty to the actual exam, if not slightly harder.
    • Got 49/80 on this one... built solutions and added notes to resources & formula sheets.
  3. Read through my presumably #2 resource, Graffeo's book, front to back. (IN PROGRESS)
  4. Do practice exam in Graffeo's book.
    • I've read this exam is slightly easier than the actual exam.
  5. Do NCEES practice exam.
    • I've read this exam is slightly easier than the actual exam.
    • Simulate actual test taking environment.
    • Aiming to get a high score on this one.

OCTOBER (game-time month)

  1. Practice a bunch of CI code drill book problems.
  2. Watch YouTube videos on weak areas.
  3. Tab references that contain relevant information per NCEES outline.
    • Wildi's book
    • Blackburn's relaying book
    • IEEE Buff Book
    • IEEE Green Book
    • 3" binder organized with recommended online references and articles per topic 
  4. REVIEW

I understand that everyone has different study methods and ways of learning, but in general I think the plan outlined above should adequately cover the exam topics and give me a good shot at passing the exam come October. I definitely want this exam process to be a "one and done" sort of deal. A combination of practice problems, study guides (EngProGuides and Graffeo specifically), and tabbed references is what I'm leveraging to prepare for the exam. 

You got it covered but the last week before the exam you want to sit down and practice the exam as if you were doing 4 hours then 4 hours except don't just sit idle if you finish 40 questions, take your break then begin with the next 40.  This is like prepping for a 5k, your mind needs that conditioning.  Atleast mine did.  Its exhausting sitting and doing this for 8 hours, beyond knowing your stuff and hwere to reference, you'll be in the flow to do all this with ease.

Best wishes.

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3 hours ago, a4u2fear said:

i am in the same boat.  it's near impossible to study at home with kids yelling/crying wife yelling at them.  and working full time....

 

what's discouraging sometimes too is some of the practice problems in books/sites are soo lengthy and difficult.  It's necessary to work through them to see all angles that could be asked in a problem but I need to remind myself they won't be that long and difficult on the real exam.

I understand (about the kids).  I have a 1-1/2 year old.  I started studying in March and started putting in serious hours in July.  I have my own "man-cave" upstairs, so my wife has been very supportive.  When the child naps on Saturday I get 2 hours uninterrupted study time, and on Sunday I get 4 hours.  That's in addition to the 3-4 hour online class once a week.   I get off early at work on Fridays so that give me another few hours, plus I've taken a few Fridays off and I go to the library to take my simulated 8-hour practice exams.  Having a family can add stress, but it can actually be a plus because it forces you to schedule your study times (I have a calendar on the fridge with study times and online class schedule.  This forces me to take advantage of whatever free time I can get to study.  It's worked out well so far.  

I will be a first-time test taker in October, but from what I gather the NCEES practice exam problems are the most representative in terms of length of time it to solve.  Difficulty on the real exam could be another matter, but I'm guessing the length of time is similar.  Yes, some of the practice problems in other books/sites might take longer, especially ones with mutliple steps.  I try to look at those as being 2-3 problems in one.

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I hear you. I have a 2-year old. Studying at home was next to impossible, so I didn’t. What worked for me is 3 nights a week (M, W, F) I stayed at the office after work and did 20 problems a night 5-7pm then went home and got kiddo time. Then every Sat, I went to the library and alternated either a 4 hr half exam or a full 8 hr exam. It was me and the homeless guys there open till close. Then Sun was family time day. Did that for 4 months straight (Jan-April), but was confident and well prepared in April 13th. Passed it first try. 

You can do it! 

Wish you the best. 

BTW if you need/want extra practice exams, I have Spin-Up for sale:

 

Edited by Surf and Snow

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Thanks Surf.  I appreciate it and your inputs.  One thing that takes up a lot of my study time is going back to my index list of missed problems on the NCEES practice exams.  (I have the 2009 and 2017 but only several problems changed on the latest one as we all know).  That plus Zach Stone's online course is full of quiz and practice problems and the ones from his live courses are especially challenging.  I have the Complex Imaginary practice problems but those are quicker and easier to solve than NCEES (for me).  I have Graffeo and Wildi's book so I'm not sure a different set of practice problems is going to help.  I'm trying not to let myself fall into any kind of false sense of security because I'm reading a lot of feedback from people who took the test in April and I'm noticing a particular pattern, especially those who bought the Engineering Pro Guides materials and took a survey after finding out whether or not they passed.  The consistent feedback is:

1.  NONE of the practice exams come close to resembling what's on the real exam.  NCEES and Pro Guides might come close in terms of verbage and time it takes to solve the problems, but I'm hearing the real exam questions are harder in terms of difficulty so I'm more concerned with tackling the difficult problems on the online course I'm taking and making sure I understand them.  It's easier to learn how to solve a particular problem than really go through learn the how and why.  Trying to avoid that trap.

2.  Many of the test takers seemed to be unprepared for the amount of "qualitative problems" vs the more math oriented "quantitative problems".   This is the reason I'm trying to focus on the "how" and "why" and things like "What's the biggest difference between a full-wave rectifier and a half-wave rectifier?

3.  This exam is going to be heavier on Codes and Protection.  Most of us know this already.

4.  There are going to be several problems that are going to look completely different to us and we'll have no clue how to solve them.  I'm trying to mentally prepare for this since I'm the type of person who tends to get stuck and spend too much time on a problem I can't solve.

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1 hour ago, MEtoEE said:

1.  NONE of the practice exams come close to resembling what's on the real exam.  NCEES and Pro Guides might come close in terms of verbage and time it takes to solve the problems, but I'm hearing the real exam questions are harder in terms of difficulty so I'm more concerned with tackling the difficult problems on the online course I'm taking and making sure I understand them.  It's easier to learn how to solve a particular problem than really go through learn the how and why.  Trying to avoid that trap.

Agreed. General consensus is the NCEES practice exam only reflects difficulty, type, and length of problems. If the actual exam problems came close to the practice test in terms of what they're asking for, it'll be too easy. The actual exam problems are said to be "harder" probably because it contains problems test takers haven't seen before that resemble the difficulty of the best practice tests out there. It's like taking the EngProGuides exam for the first time (it was challenging). I'm expecting spin-off questions from the NCEES practice test problems so I'm noting what else could be asked for that relates to each question (ex. if practice test has a delta source and wye load problem, I better be able to solve a delta source and delta load problem with different variables given). With that being said, there are easy problems too. People tend to only freak out and remember what they got wrong or couldn't solve (we're Engineers, in training). Speculating forums and reviews may not accurately reflect the actual exam - it's like reading reviews on Amazon, it's all subjective with some truth to it from different experiences.

2.  Many of the test takers seemed to be unprepared for the amount of "qualitative problems" vs the more math oriented "quantitative problems".   This is the reason I'm trying to focus on the "how" and "why" and things like "What's the biggest difference between a full-wave rectifier and a half-wave rectifier?

This is the way I'm approaching theory problems:

1) Have a general idea of the basics of each topic and relate them to the quantitative problems of each respective topic. (Study Guides and YouTube)

2) Tab all references (only bringing 1-2 per relevant topic that I will actually read and conceptualize) and create table of contents if not already provided. The breadth of topics for this exam is way too broad for me to understand everything and cram in my brain. I'm trying to be as organized as possible when it comes to references, so if there is a theory problem, I'll know exactly where to look. If I can't find the answer with my study guides and tabbed references, it's a crap shoot for that problem, onto the next. 

3.  This exam is going to be heavier on Codes and Protection.  Most of us know this already.

Yessir.

4.  There are going to be several problems that are going to look completely different to us and we'll have no clue how to solve them.  I'm trying to mentally prepare for this since I'm the type of person who tends to get stuck and spend too much time on a problem I can't solve.

P.S., I haven't passed the exam (yet), so I don't know what I'm talking about (yet).

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First time taker here. Some people say the exam they took was a breeze while others say the exam was very difficult. I tend not to get hang up on what people say about the difficulty of the exam...It's just too subjective. They can have all the same references, books, and notes like you, but you don't know that person's study habits or how long they studied. 

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Or if they are full of ####, or have 40 years in the industry.  :)

Too many variables, so just worry about what you can control!

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I'm planning to do another practice exam on Sunday...planning to wake up early. I have been doing problems during lunch and after work.

But does anyone feel like once you start a new topic you forget important items of another...ugh. Its driving me crazy. I'm going to combat this by adding to my formula sheet steps.

I am also a person that spends too much time on one particular problem...im hoping as I do the passes on multiple practice exams that I stop doing this.

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