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How did you pass the April 2019 PE exam ?

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I used Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review course notes and quizes together with the NEC handbook for 85% of the content on the Power Exam.  I highly recommend Zach Stone's PE review course as it is well worth it.  I passed the first time with only 3 weeks of engineering experience.  I ended up working as many practice questions and exams as I could get my hands on.  

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Phase 1 (Analysis) - Dec

  • NCEES practice test

  • Complex Imaginary #1

  • Engineering Pro Guide Study guide cover to cover

Phase 2 (Closing knowledge gap)

  • Graffeo cover to cover

  • Complex Imaginary #2

  • Read various textbooks (see reference section)

  • Reviewed Codes (mostly NEC & NESC)

  • Watched lots of YouTube videos (various subjects)

  • Complex Imaginary #3

  • Complex Imaginary #4

  • Graffeo Exam (back of his book)

  • Engineering Pro guide full exam

  • Engineering Pro guide Codes

  • School of PE practice problems

  • Chapter problems for machines (Chapman & Wildi), I found solution manuals online

  • Chelapati book and Handbook of Electric Power Calculations (reviewed chapters and practice problems for weak areas)

References

You don’t need all these books, one from each subject is enough. I took all of them to the exam but mostly used a few (see bold)

  • Graffeo

  • Created a personal binder (formulas, insulation testing etc.)

  • EPG (Engineering Pro Guide) + Exams

  • Power System Analysis and Design (Glover & Sarma)

  • Electric Machines (Wildi)

  • Electric Machinery Fundamentals (Chapman)

  • Fundamentals of Power System Protection (Paithankar)

  • Protective Relaying (Blackburn)

  • Power System Relaying (Horowitz & Phadke)

  • IEEE 242 (protection)

  • NEC Handbook

  • NESC

  • Ugly’s

  • Tom Henry’s Key Word Index

  • NFPA 70E

  • IEEE 142 (grounding)

  • Chelapati Review Manual (Volume 1)

  • Handbook of Electric Power Calculations (Beaty)

  • Power Electronics (Mohan) – I didn’t get a chance to review it as much

  • I got a hold of the following books shortly before the exam. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to review them at all. I took them just in case I needed them.

    1. Linden’s Handbook of Batteries

    2. Brightwood (PE Power Problems & Solutions)

    3. NFPA 497, 499, 30B. I bought pdfs online through NFPA website the afternoon before the exam. I saw discussions on EB (Engineer Boards) and decided to buy them. I spend over $200, I was pissed but I didn’t want to fail because of it. To be honest, I don’t understand why these codes were added for the exam at all.

Misc. Info

Degree: BSEE (I didn’t do Power emphasis)

Years out of school: 14 years

GPA/grades: 3.1 by the time I graduated. Why did I add this? It shows how much effort I needed for the exam. I wasn’t one of those kids locked in my room studying, I was busy outdoors enjoying Southern California weather.

Work experience: All utility, substation to distribution (no low voltage experience)

Work-Life balance: married, 3 kids and demanding job (I couldn’t study at work as much as I hoped)

Advice: Know thy self. Be honest about your knowledge/shortcomings, create a realistic study schedule and buckle up. If you have kids, add a few weeks (or months) for unforeseen circumstances. I couldn’t study for two weeks straight due to illnesses and other kids-related activities. You might get discouraged sometimes, you might want to just throw the towel and end the misery. Don’t listen to negative people or your own negative voice (you know, that critic who loves to tell you about how you are going to fail before you even begin the journey). Keep pushing, you got this. Good luck.

Edited by Mercy
Added info (reference book etc)
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I just found out that I passed.  I did a lot of practice problems.  The books I used include EngrProGuides (Used most often before and during the test), Graffeo, and Complex Imaginary, and PPI exam practice questions.  One thing I find helpful was watching youtube on power topics.  I think I spent like 300 hours studying.  I recommend EngrProGuides guide and test.  The other thing that helps is to practice as many questions as you possibly find.  

Another thing that I find very helpful is using the calculator efficiency .  I have the Casio calculator  and it helps me a lot.  Every second you save will help. 

Lastly, it's best to learn to skip questions.  For me, the way I did it was, go through each problem and for the ones that I know how to solve, I will solve it, and for the ones I don't, i just skip it and come back later.   Since all problems count the same, no point to waste time on the hard one in first pass.    

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I passed primarily by doing 8 practice exams and using the online course by @Zach Stone, P.E., which took a lot of guess work out of figuring out what to study and what to ignore. My first time around I went down rabbit hole after rabbit hole of trying to understand material that was minimally relevant or not at all relevant to the exam. His course also had probably 800-1000 practice problems, and I did all of those. Any practice problem or exam question I got wrong, I returned to in 2-3 weeks to try again and kept at it till my list of wrong questions was less than 10. That ingrained a lot of material in my head and allowed me to solve lots of problems quickly without reaching for my references, leaving me more time for code questions and working through confusing theory questions.

My most helpful book resources were Wildi, Grainger, Graffeo and EngProGuides. Outside of the online course notes and the NEC, those were the resources I referenced most consistently on exam day.

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I ask the question here few months ago, do you really need to study from the books, the answer I got was yes. I do not consider Graffeo guide, Pro Eng Guide notes as books. They are notes. Books to me are Grainger, Wildi, Camaro etc. You don't really need to study from books provided you are an electrical engineer and have been working in the field for past several years, so you are not going to be brand new to concepts such as PLC, drives, CT/PT, grounding etc  

You need to be strong in certain areas for e.g. Math, Circuits and other things. 

Since I did PE right after FE everything was fresh and my experience may be different than others.  I'm not recommending anyone not study from books, just stating my experience, although I did  skim through the books. I did not retain much from the books. Solve a lots of problems. 

Know one thing that many people go through similar cycles, in a month of studying they automatically figure out what is important, what to study how to study. what to study from books?  The important thing is to start with familiar topics and build. 

Heck I even didn't know how to tab, what to tab? I was afraid that I won't even have a binder full of pages when I saw previous test takers had 2-3 full binders. By the exam time, even I had enough papers for 2-3 binders and I had to cut back. I just didn't know what to put it in my personal binder and what was I going to fill up with.  That is why it is important to start at least 3-4 months/5 months preferable before the exam, so even if you are not efficient the first few weeks, you can still make it up.  

   

Edited by roy167
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On 5/15/2019 at 8:00 AM, Gsurface said:

Passed second time taking it. First time got a 38/80. I have to say that Zack Stones class really helped a tremendous amount. I'm selling the study material that helped me pass, 

 

I want to buy this book. I work in NYC let me know.

Edited by Sunny12

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I  took the exam back in October 2010 and failed with 46/80. The experience was painful for my spouse and kids, I didn’t think it would be fair to subject them to another round. I recently transferred to a different job and PE license is required for advancement . I reluctantly signed up and began studying 3 months ago for 15 hrs per week. I used material provided by Georgia Tech review course, it helped with review of power system fundamentals. I created another binder with formulas and topics not covered in the course such as batteries. I used the same references and practice exams listed by other test takers.

I spent about the same hours as previous exam but did more practice problems this time compared to 2010. I simulated the exam environment with each practice test. I would bring all my references, I did each portion within 4 hrs and tried to stay within 6 mins per problem. I studied at 4-6AM on weekdays and evenings on weekends. I had to use one week of vacation end of Feb to study because I was falling behind schedule. I was so sleep deprived, I slept for 12 hours straight after the test.

As others have mentioned, they is no secret or short cuts. Study, study, study. You can do it, I wish you all luck.

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On 5/22/2019 at 12:20 AM, Peaceful1 said:

As others have mentioned, they is no secret or short cuts. Study, study, study. You can do it, I wish you all luck.

I agree. The amount of time it takes to cover all of the subject matter thoroughly enough to pass is often underestimated. There are always outliers of people that pass with only a month or so of study but that's always the exception. 

Just like you said, no short cuts. 

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