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How long should I give myself to prepare for the new CBT PE Power Exam?

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jujux15

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Hey guys, I recently passed the fe exam electrical a few weeks ago. I've been out of school for a few months now trying to find a job and I figure I might as well try for the PE exam since I have nothing better to do, and it'd be great to keep me focused and ready. I was wondering how far out should I sign up for it? I've seen people plan for as far off as a year and others just four months. I am also not entirely sure how to prepare as a broke new graduate haha, I have the graffeo book so I want to read through and do the problems for that. I also was wanted some insight on the nec and the code books I would need.
 

Dothracki PE

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Hey guys, I recently passed the fe exam electrical a few weeks ago. I've been out of school for a few months now trying to find a job and I figure I might as well try for the PE exam since I have nothing better to do, and it'd be great to keep me focused and ready. I was wondering how far out should I sign up for it? I've seen people plan for as far off as a year and others just four months. I am also not entirely sure how to prepare as a broke new graduate haha, I have the graffeo book so I want to read through and do the problems for that. I also was wanted some insight on the nec and the code books I would need.
Congratulations on passing the FE. I would say it really depends on how much time and effort you can afford to put into studying. On average, test takers estimate around 250 hours of preparation so if you can spend at least 20 hours a week on studying, you can possibly be ready within 3 or 4 months, but I would ballpark 6 months. That said, everyone is different. I spent over a year preparing, but that was only spending a few hours a week studying at first and then ramping up to 30-40 hours by the time I got to two weeks until my exam and took a staycation from work to do my final preparation.

Graffeo is a decent book, but there are a few errors and typos in the book. Not to mention that it could use an update to the current (2018) specifications.

I would most definitely look into the 2017 NEC for preparation at minimum. There is a free access of the PDF available online on the NFPA website. The NESC is also a code book on the exam but it is expensive for not a lot of content. You might only see a few questions on it and it might not take time to search the PDF to find a solution.

This forum is also a good place to go. If you skim through the forum posts, there is a lot of information on suggested resources, practice problems, and many more. Plus there are often used resources posted for sale for less than market value in the yard sale section.
 

jujux15

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Congratulations on passing the FE. I would say it really depends on how much time and effort you can afford to put into studying. On average, test takers estimate around 250 hours of preparation so if you can spend at least 20 hours a week on studying, you can possibly be ready within 3 or 4 months, but I would ballpark 6 months. That said, everyone is different. I spent over a year preparing, but that was only spending a few hours a week studying at first and then ramping up to 30-40 hours by the time I got to two weeks until my exam and took a staycation from work to do my final preparation.

Graffeo is a decent book, but there are a few errors and typos in the book. Not to mention that it could use an update to the current (2018) specifications.

I would most definitely look into the 2017 NEC for preparation at minimum. There is a free access of the PDF available online on the NFPA website. The NESC is also a code book on the exam but it is expensive for not a lot of content. You might only see a few questions on it and it might not take time to search the PDF to find a solution.

This forum is also a good place to go. If you skim through the forum posts, there is a lot of information on suggested resources, practice problems, and many more. Plus there are often used resources posted for sale for less than market value in the yard sale section.
Thank you so much this is exactly the type of answer I was looking for. Any other books you’d recommend for me then? I used lindeburg for the fe exam and loved it but sadly there’s no PE power version for the book. And also do you believe in terms of code books the nec one would suffice?
 

akyip

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My take on this is somewhere around 4 months to 8 months minimum. I myself studied for over a year, but that was because my exam was pushed back twice. I started studying around November 2019, and I was originally supposed to take the exam on April 2020. But that got pushed back due to CoViD. Looking back though, I don't think I would've been well-prepared on April 2020 as opposed to when I finally took my exam just 2 weeks ago.

We highly recommend Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review course. I believe he is currently doing a live weekly course, and his website also has Premium Course notes. It is a monthly subscription, I myself was fine with using just 2 months.

Another good prep is Engineering Pro Guides.

We also recommend doing as many practice exam problems as you can, to better drill the concepts needed for the exam into your head. Here is the list of practice exams that I used, and below is my opinionated list:

JUST BEGINNING TO PREPARE AND STUDY FOR EXAM:
  • NCEES Practice Exam
  • A.S. Graffeo Exam
  • Complex Imaginary Exam: 4 sets of problems
  • Spin-Up PE Exam: 5 sets of problems
MIDWAY STUDYING FOR EXAM:
  • PPI Practice Exams: 2 sets of problems
  • Shorebrook Exam
HARDER DIFFICULTY PRACTICE EXAMS:
  • Electrical PE Review Practice Exam
  • Engineering Pro Guides Full and Final Exams
  • Cram for PE Power Exam Volumes 1 thru 4
 

jujux15

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My take on this is somewhere around 4 months to 8 months minimum. I myself studied for over a year, but that was because my exam was pushed back twice. I started studying around November 2019, and I was originally supposed to take the exam on April 2020. But that got pushed back due to CoViD. Looking back though, I don't think I would've been well-prepared on April 2020 as opposed to when I finally took my exam just 2 weeks ago.

We highly recommend Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review course. I believe he is currently doing a live weekly course, and his website also has Premium Course notes. It is a monthly subscription, I myself was fine with using just 2 months.

Another good prep is Engineering Pro Guides.

We also recommend doing as many practice exam problems as you can, to better drill the concepts needed for the exam into your head. Here is the list of practice exams that I used, and below is my opinionated list:

JUST BEGINNING TO PREPARE AND STUDY FOR EXAM:
  • NCEES Practice Exam
  • A.S. Graffeo Exam
  • Complex Imaginary Exam: 4 sets of problems
  • Spin-Up PE Exam: 5 sets of problems
MIDWAY STUDYING FOR EXAM:
  • PPI Practice Exams: 2 sets of problems
  • Shorebrook Exam
HARDER DIFFICULTY PRACTICE EXAMS:
  • Electrical PE Review Practice Exam
  • Engineering Pro Guides Full and Final Exams
  • Cram for PE Power Exam Volumes 1 thru 4
Thank you for the concise write up! I don’t really want to spend a lot of money being that I’m out of college looking for a job as I said but, I think if it comes down to it I’ll just have to go for it
 

akyip

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Thank you for the concise write up! I don’t really want to spend a lot of money being that I’m out of college looking for a job as I said but, I think if it comes down to it I’ll just have to go for it
Then at the very least I recommend just doing 1 or 2 months of Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review premium online review course. For me, it took me 2 months to cover his entire premium online review course. Also do his practice review exam (in addition to the NCEES PE power practice exam). His solutions are very detailed.

Zach Stone is a regular member of this board, and he does peruse this board from time to time.

The website is electricalpereview.com

I should mention the monthly subscription price is $299 per month... But many people here recommend at least 1 or 2 months. 2 months was enough for me to cover the premium online review course...
 

jujux15

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Then at the very least I recommend just doing 1 or 2 months of Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review premium online review course. For me, it took me 2 months to cover his entire premium online review course. Also do his practice review exam. His solutions are very detailed.

Zach Stone is a regular member of this board, and he does peruse this board from time to time.
Yeah I’ve seen him around, ok I’ll think about that. So is the graffeo book really that not up to par compared to other things?
 

akyip

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Yeah I’ve seen him around, ok I’ll think about that. So is the graffeo book really that not up to par compared to other things?
The A.S. Graffeo reference book is a bit outdated at this point, but I myself would still sort of recommend the exam included at the end of the Graffeo reference book for beginners' practice.

I should mention that currently I am seeing it listed as $108 on Amazon, since you did raise your concerns about cost. It's your call.
 

jujux15

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The A.S. Graffeo reference book is a bit outdated at this point, but I myself would still sort of recommend the exam included at the end of the Graffeo reference book for beginners' practice.

I should mention that currently I am seeing it listed as $108 on Amazon, since you did raise your concerns about cost. It's your call.
Oh I have that one already, a friend had a pdf and lent it to me.
 

akyip

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What is your budget for which you are willing to spend up to, for prepping up?

I'm reviewing pricing for some of the materials that I used. Aside from Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review course which is $300 per month, and aside from A.S. Graffeo since you already have it, here are some of the cheaper exams I would recommend for practice:

Just trying to help you prepare, in light of the fact that you raised some understandable concerns about cost. My take on your preparation situation is that you probably should first spend 1 or 2 months on Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review premium review course (and maybe the live class if you want to join that too), and then do practice exam questions... Do not be surprised if you find yourself repetitively doing the same questions over and over again to better understand the concepts you need for passing the exam.
 

akyip

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I'm re-reading your first post, and I just want to make sure (with all due respect) - you do know that you need at least a few years of work experience to even qualify to take the PE Exam, right? During the paperwork application for the PE exam, you will have to fill out relevant work experience...
 

jujux15

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What is your budget for which you are willing to spend up to, for prepping up?

I'm reviewing pricing for some of the materials that I used. Aside from Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review course which is $300 per month, and aside from A.S. Graffeo since you already have it, here are some of the cheaper exams I would recommend for practice:

Just trying to help you prepare, in light of the fact that you raised some understandable concerns about cost. My take on your preparation situation is that you probably should first spend 1 or 2 months on Zach Stone's Electrical PE Review premium review course (and maybe the live class if you want to join that too), and then do practice exam questions... Do not be surprised if you find yourself repetitively doing the same questions over and over again to better understand the concepts you need for passing the exam.
Oh hey man this is really nice! I was aware of Zach course price but I didn’t realize everything else was less than $100. I was also wondering should one go back through their power textbooks? I plan to only do so if I’m completely lost on something. Thank you for the thoughtful question, I’m in CA. We are able to take the exam after the fe but I wouldn’t be a full fledge PE until I get the experience and references. So taking the exam now wouldn’t be a waste of time.
 

akyip

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Oh hey man this is really nice! I was aware of Zach course price but I didn’t realize everything else was less than $100. I was also wondering should one go back through their power textbooks? I plan to only do so if I’m completely lost on something.
Absolutely go back to your textbooks for reference if you are only beginning studying.

Some of the most top recommended textbooks are:

 

jujux15

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Absolutely go back to your textbooks for reference if you are only beginning studying.

Some of the most top recommended textbooks are:

Excellent, thank you!
 

akyip

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One more (cheap in price but highly recommended) practice exam I forgot to mention: the NCEES PE Power practice exam. It costs about $40. I think you need to create an NCEES account to order this exam (someone can correct me if I'm wrong).

This is highly recommended, so you can get an idea of what to expect. In terms of difficulty, IMO the NCEES practice exam is similar in difficulty to the A.S. Graffeo practice exam.
 

jujux15

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One more (cheap in price but highly recommended) practice exam I forgot to mention: the NCEES PE Power practice exam. It costs about $40. I think you need to create an NCEES account to order this exam (someone can correct me if I'm wrong).

This is highly recommended, so you can get an idea of what to expect. In terms of difficulty, IMO the NCEES practice exam is similar in difficulty to the A.S. Graffeo practice exam.
This I bought, felt like it’s a must. That’s the one thing everyone recommended
 

RedRaider2020

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Buy the NCEES practice exam, take it and see how you do on it. That will give you a good idea of how much you need to study to pass the test.
 

Sparky Bill PE

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Hey guys, I recently passed the fe exam electrical a few weeks ago. I've been out of school for a few months now trying to find a job and I figure I might as well try for the PE exam since I have nothing better to do, and it'd be great to keep me focused and ready. I was wondering how far out should I sign up for it? I've seen people plan for as far off as a year and others just four months. I am also not entirely sure how to prepare as a broke new graduate haha, I have the graffeo book so I want to read through and do the problems for that. I also was wanted some insight on the nec and the code books I would need.
If you're not working, you could take it in around 3 months easily. Like you said, what else do you have to do? It would be quite silly to not get this behind you right now as this is the easiest as life is going to get for you. If you decide to blow it off you might try it later while working 50 hours a week, with a spouse, with 3 kids screaming, etc etc.

You already got a great book for a resource. You don't have to throw a ton of money to pass this test (anymore) since its CBT now.

1st step is to buy the NCEES practice exam. You should take this exam MINIMUM 4 or 5 times before taking the exam. Make sure you understand every question on that practice exam (just like the FE).
 

LyceeFruit PE

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Guys the advice is great but @jujux15 needs to answer this question:
I'm re-reading your first post, and I just want to make sure (with all due respect) - you do know that you need at least a few years of work experience to even qualify to take the PE Exam, right? During the paperwork application for the PE exam, you will have to fill out relevant work experience...

There are few states that would allow them to take the exam right now anyway.
And @jujux15 would need references on the application to attest to work experience and needs work experience as well.

I think you've put the cart before the horse here friend.
And also to be frank, trying to save a few bucks by not buying things, is not going to end well.
Look at the yardsale forum for 2nd hand items when you can actually take the exam.
And toss out Graffeo, it's garbage and will not be updated since it's one person who was like "hey here's what I did" and there's no incentive for them to update it (not that they'd even be able to with any real authority since they passed in 2011 and the exam specs and format have changed 3-4 times since).
 

jujux15

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Guys the advice is great but @jujux15 needs to answer this question:


There are few states that would allow them to take the exam right now anyway.
And @jujux15 would need references on the application to attest to work experience and needs work experience as well.

I think you've put the cart before the horse here friend.
And also to be frank, trying to save a few bucks by not buying things, is not going to end well.
Look at the yardsale forum for 2nd hand items when you can actually take the exam.
And toss out Graffeo, it's garbage and will not be updated since it's one person who was like "hey here's what I did" and there's no incentive for them to update it (not that they'd even be able to with any real authority since they passed in 2011 and the exam specs and format have changed 3-4 times since).
I did answer it, I’m in CA . We can take the test after passing the EIT, but I won’t be a PE without the experience and references. Everybody seems to say graffeo isn’t the best, I’ll keep that it mind then.
 

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