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PE Difficulty

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Hey everybody,

I curious about the difficulty of the PE exam, compared to the FE/EIT. It appears that people spend much more time studying for this one. Any comments will be appreciated. btw, I'm a ME from Texas

-Steve

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I took the EIT my last year of school, figured I would not need it did not know what to study. It was basic early school stuff, but that was long ago. The PE is much more complex, most have to get into test taking after being out of school, and most do not do all of our field every day.

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Hey everybody,

I curious about the difficulty of the PE exam, compared to the FE/EIT. It appears that people spend much more time studying for this one. Any comments will be appreciated. btw, I'm a ME from Texas

-Steve

I took the FE/EIT my senior year in college so the material was very fresh. My only additional preparation at the time was to attend a free review series offered by the IEEE at NC State. I thought the test was long and tough and seem to recall walking out thinking I'd failed it. However, I got a pass letter in the mail many weeks later.

Fast forward 14 years to the PE...

Over the course of my career I had specialized in one area to the point that I was extrememly weak in most other areas of our discipline. As a direct result I had to spend a good 4 months reteaching myself many of the basics in these areas. I'm only guessing but I think a lot of engineers fall into a similar category and thus, the need for so much study to pursue the PE.

However, as for the exam experience itself, at least as far as I can remember it was similar to the FE/EIT in general. Of course, the PE exam focussed strictly on one discipline (Electrical in my case) and in much more depth than did the FE/EIT. Similar to my previous experience, it was long and tough and I walked out thinking I'd failed it. However, many weeks later I discovered I'd passed.

I'm afraid the level of difficulty is quite subjective in either case but I can tell you that if you approach the PE with a certain amount of healthy respect and study accordingly then you will pass it. Even if it takes more than one attempt, you'll get there with adequate preparation.

I hope this helps.

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Hey everybody,

I curious about the difficulty of the PE exam, compared to the FE/EIT. It appears that people spend much more time studying for this one. Any comments will be appreciated. btw, I'm a ME from Texas

-Steve

I took the FE as a senior in college. Was out drunk the night before till 3 in the morning and didn't crack a book to study or attend any review classes and passed.

Took the PE exam 5 years later. I studied for about 2 months 2 or 3 hours a night and studied the last 2 weeks for 8 hours a day and passed first time. BUT............while studying for the PE I used the Geotech books from my college classes. I was thinking while reviewing, "I don't remember ANY of this stuff. We must not have covered this!". I would turn the page and see hand written notes in my book that I put there over 4 years ago. Most people(except a few freaks even though I wish I was a freak)forget most of what they learned in college.

Meaning, the same as what the above people have said. The FE is relatively easy if you took it while still in college. Everything is still fresh in your mind and you've been in test taking mode for alteast 4 years. To take the PE, you're out of test taking mode and usually don't have a broad range or experience to back them.

I think a lot of it is a sense of urgency too. While in college taking the FE, you really (I didn't) have that much responsibility and honestly, your career isn't exactly what is on your mind. Taking the PE, your career is the only thing on your mind and you feel more responsibility to pass it. Not downing the FE, but passing the PE really gets you more recognition and pats on the back, so that is another stress that is added to you. Just my opinion.

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I took the FE my last semester of college for giggles. I'm a chemical engineer and planned on going into manufacturing and had no thoughts or intentions of ever getting licensed. I didn't study at all for the FE and knew 80+ % of Chem E's pass the thing so I figured I'd have no trouble passing it. There was no pressure whatsoever, the material was all still fresh, and I was in prime test taking mode. With all that, I thought the test was very easy and I finished it early and left the exam room with over an hour to spare for both the AM and PM sessions. I passed - no sweat.

Fast forward 12 years. I spent the bulk of my career in management roles, then switched to engineering a few years ago. Last fall, I left the manufacturing world and joined a consulting firm. Thankfully, I had taken and passed the FE when I did. I shudder at the thought of having to relearn all those topics I've long since forgotten. I still needed to take the PE exam. That seemed a very daunting task last fall. I had forgotten (due to non-use) much of the knowledge of many Chem E topics (kinetics and mass transfer in particular). I spent 6 months studying for the exam and estimate I put in 400+ hours preparing for the PE. It was very difficult to get back into studying mode after being away from the books for such a long time. I had to not only learn or re-learn a great deal of material, but I also had to re-learn my test taking skills. I thought the exam was tough, but not overwhelming - I had put in the time preparing that I knew I needed. I passed on my first attempt, but I certainly sweated waiting for results. There was a lot more riding on the PE then there was on the FE when I took it.

Every situation is different, but I think one common theme is prevalent when gearing up for the FE or the PE - how well you prepare dictates how tough the exam is.

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Hey everybody,

I curious about the difficulty of the PE exam, compared to the FE/EIT. It appears that people spend much more time studying for this one. Any comments will be appreciated. btw, I'm a ME from Texas

-Steve

Hello there,

EIT/FE and PE are different animals. I passed EIT in my first try but it took 3 straight attempts to pass my PE. Know your strengths and weaknesese first and work on as many problems as you can. The AM section is all about basics. Score as many as you can in the morning. The PM questions are little harder than the morning questions. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Thats the key to passing the test.

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Hello there,

EIT/FE and PE are different animals. I passed EIT in my first try but it took 3 straight attempts to pass my PE. Know your strengths and weaknesese first and work on as many problems as you can. The AM section is all about basics. Score as many as you can in the morning. The PM questions are little harder than the morning questions. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Thats the key to passing the test.

for me if you have a look on the topics covered EIT is more broad and needs more time to study prepare than PE, coz PE is more straight forward, although I will be writing it on Fall 2008 PE Civil/Struct PM, while I'm reviewing right now, I have already finished Const module in CERM and it is easy, and currently working on Struc area and still easier for me, I know I will have a hard time on Water, envi and some in Depth Geo Tech., still it is better than FE which is too broad and I'm uninterested on some areas like Elect, thermo etc.

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for me if you have a look on the topics covered EIT is more broad and needs more time to study prepare than PE, coz PE is more straight forward, although I will be writing it on Fall 2008 PE Civil/Struct PM, while I'm reviewing right now, I have already finished Const module in CERM and it is easy, and currently working on Struc area and still easier for me, I know I will have a hard time on Water, envi and some in Depth Geo Tech., still it is better than FE which is too broad and I'm uninterested on some areas like Elect, thermo etc.

I agree totally. I felt the FE exam was more difficult than the PE exam just based on the content. I do not enjoy areas outside of civil. The emphasis is primarily on the discipline of engineering you are familiar with which just makes it less painful.

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I agree totally. I felt the FE exam was more difficult than the PE exam just based on the content. I do not enjoy areas outside of civil. The emphasis is primarily on the discipline of engineering you are familiar with which just makes it less painful.

I think it's ridiculous to even suggest that the FE is more difficult than the PE. Sure, the FE exam is more well-rounded, but the scope (at least when I took it) is limited to the single reference book provided during the exam. The potential for difficult problems within the specialized fields of the PE exam is much more daunting and requires significantly more review.

BTW, I passed the FE (EIT) exam on the first try with absolutely NO study - the PE, however, required significant time, effort, and resources.

I realize that your opinion is your opinion, but just look at the pass rate numbers. The numbers prove that the PE exam is more difficult, as does the existence of this board for engineers to vent about difficulties / frustrations encountered.

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I think it's ridiculous to even suggest that the FE is more difficult than the PE. Sure, the FE exam is more well-rounded, but the scope (at least when I took it) is limited to the single reference book provided during the exam. The potential for difficult problems within the specialized fields of the PE exam is much more daunting and requires significantly more review.

BTW, I passed the FE (EIT) exam on the first try with absolutely NO study - the PE, however, required significant time, effort, and resources.

I realize that your opinion is your opinion, but just look at the pass rate numbers. The numbers prove that the PE exam is more difficult, as does the existence of this board for engineers to vent about difficulties / frustrations encountered.

While I was studying for the PE a co-worker, who had been out of school for a longer then I had, was studying for the FE. He would come to me on occasion and ask questions always saying "you passed this test, you should know how to do this". All I have to say is that upon reviewing the material that was on the FE (and after being out of school for a while) I was very happy I was taking the PE and not the FE again. The material on the FE, while being 'fundamental' to engineering I think is much more abstract then the material that is covered on the PE. Even on topics on the PE that aren't in your area of expertise have practical applications (most of the time). The FE seems to cover material that I knew years ago but have long forgotten and can be difficult to re-learn in a short time frame. Like previous posters have said, if you take the FE while still in or just recently out of college it makes the exam seem so much easier (I hardly studied for the FE when I was in school, but spent 3 months studying for the PE). The material is fresh on your mind and you are still in the college 'test taking mode'. After a few years of 'practical experience' you tend to lose some of those faculties and I would say that would make taking the FE a much more difficult exam for most.

The moral of the story is this, if you are about to graduate take the FE whether you think you will need it later in life or not. I have friends that graduated and thought to themselves that they don't need to take the FE b/c the field they are going into doesn't require it. Later in life they switch careers and find themselves having to go back and take the exam. That makes for a much more arduous task.

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The moral of the story is this, if you are about to graduate take the FE whether you think you will need it later in life or not.

I agree.

The ONLY reason I took the EIT was because my dad told me a guy in his office wanted his PE and was trying to pass the EIT. He'd taken it three times at that point.

I took it with no studying and passed. I think I might have been

THANK YOU DAD!!!

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I took the FE my senior year in college, and passed on the first attempt. I graduated as a General Engineer from Illinois, and sort of fell into Civil Engineering. I basically learned everything with on the job training, and just passed the civil PE with transportation. I took some basic CE classes in college, but ironically no trans. I took a PE review course (PEreview.net) and passed on the first try. I studied for about 3-4 months, and did tons of practice problems.

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I think it's ridiculous to even suggest that the FE is more difficult than the PE. Sure, the FE exam is more well-rounded, but the scope (at least when I took it) is limited to the single reference book provided during the exam. The potential for difficult problems within the specialized fields of the PE exam is much more daunting and requires significantly more review.

BTW, I passed the FE (EIT) exam on the first try with absolutely NO study - the PE, however, required significant time, effort, and resources.

I realize that your opinion is your opinion, but just look at the pass rate numbers. The numbers prove that the PE exam is more difficult, as does the existence of this board for engineers to vent about difficulties / frustrations encountered.

Thanks for pointing that out to me, Woogie.

I apologize if I stepped on anyone's toes by mentioning that the FE exam was more difficult for ME than the PE exam. In the future, I will try to be more objective with my opinions.

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I thought the PE exam was easier than the FE exam. I do what was on the PE exam 8 hrs a day 40 hrs a week. I took the FE 9 yrs out of school, so the brain was rusted.

I was more nervous going into the PE for a couple of reasons. I did not have a good study guide like the FE and only had 50 sample problems, so I had no idea what to expect.

In both sessions of the FE I finished in about 3 hrs, in the PE, I went right up to 5 minutes to go. Even with that I thought the PE was easier.

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I passed the PE on my first try this past April. I might get yelled at for saying this but I thought the PE exam was easy, almost too easy. I am not a genius and I did not graduate with a 4.0. I didn't even study for months leading up to the exam. I am a procrastinator and as such didn't start really studying until 2 weeks prior to the exam. I studied for 6-8 hours everyday leading up to the exam. When I left the exam I was very confident that I passed. I was even worried that I was too confident. I had a good strategy that helped me know how I stood when I left the exam as far as how many problems I was unsure of. I think with the proper preparation anyone that was able to pass an engineering curriculum should be able to pass the PE. Of course even with the "weed out" courses some slip through the cracks. The PE exam tends to be the last of the "weed out" tests.

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I passed the PE on my first try this past April. I might get yelled at for saying this but I thought the PE exam was easy, almost too easy. I am not a genius and I did not graduate with a 4.0. I didn't even study for months leading up to the exam. I am a procrastinator and as such didn't start really studying until 2 weeks prior to the exam. I studied for 6-8 hours everyday leading up to the exam. When I left the exam I was very confident that I passed. I was even worried that I was too confident. I had a good strategy that helped me know how I stood when I left the exam as far as how many problems I was unsure of. I think with the proper preparation anyone that was able to pass an engineering curriculum should be able to pass the PE. Of course even with the "weed out" courses some slip through the cracks. The PE exam tends to be the last of the "weed out" tests.

NICE BASS YA GOT THERE G-LOOSE!!!

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NICE BASS YA GOT THERE G-LOOSE!!!

Thanks, it weighed 7.5 lbs. I'm expecting to get it back from taxidermist at the end of September. Caught it on a Bigfoot Scumfrog last August on Lake Lincoln in Mississippi. My biggest so far, but I have a charter trip booked in November to Lake Toho so I might be able to upgrade it.

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Sorry to disagree but I also found the FE to be much harder than the PE. Closed book is closed book- if you don't know which page something is on in that manual it's hard to dig through pages and pages, especially with no highlighting. It covered all areas which made it even harder, as you had to know each equation in each area, or look up the variables.

The PE was all about organization. You could look up anything. If you had the right book, you had the answer. I just don't see the comparison. I think people think the FE is easier bc they generally take it near college, when studying something they are used to doing. When you have to relearn how to do that, the test might seem harder when it's just a matter of how well you studied.

rw- don't worry about stepping on toes. That's what forums are for. A opinion question was asked, and what's ridiculous is for someone to tell someone else their opinion is wrong.

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Since I took both tests a fairly long time from graduation, I studied an awful lot for both. I thought both were tough in the afternoon. The AM sessions were not that hard. I think people may have a harder time passing the PE because a lot of anectdotal evidence suggests the pass rate for the FE is around 50-55% and for the PE it is closer to 70%.

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