Power exam, October 2023

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Jul 17, 2021
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So I took the PE exam years ago when it was paper and pencil. I went all the way down to texasuse I could take it before I hit 4 years experience. As luck would have it, as soon as I had gotten it booked, my work started needing me to work some serious overtime. I did some light studying, got a hold of reference materials to lug down there and took the test. Generally hated it. Uncomfortable seat, freezing cold arena, I started hurrying through the test just to get out of there. 8 hours of testing is just too much in those conditions. Even had I soldiered through it I wasn't going to pass. There were too many questions I wasn't prepared for at all.

So I finally decided to do a retake since my work needs me to get my pe. I decided to just take as soon as possible and again try light studying and see if I can pass since it's a CBT now. I'm fine if I failed, I know what material I need the most study time for now and I will retake in a couple weeks.

Still waiting on results, but some notes on the differences I will make: testing center had much more comfortable seats, just cushioned office chairs instead of the hard plastic chairs at the paper exam. Not having to worry about bringing ref material was a big relief. Temperature of the facility was way more reasonable. My only gripes were:

* that they give you a single small computer screen to work on. Like 2010s sized screens, I legitimately havent had to use a screen that size (besides laptops) in over 10 years. I did waste time fumbling around with UI to see reference material.

* Ctrl+f on references is great, but the intentionally use different words, and use hyphens and slashes to arbitrarily waste your time. Navigation tools of reference material is also very poor besides that. You can see the page numbers in the search, but they don't appear on the pages that you're looking at like that. Like NEC 310.15 tables on page you don't see the same page numbers as what's shown in the search. Having a physical code book is much easier to switch between known pages.

* computer screen being the standard cool blue, low resolution was very hard on my sensitive eyes as time went on. I was forced to rush through the last 20 questions because of the eye strain.

As far as content differences, I think they were relatively the same. I think the CBT was easier with the reference sheet they created for you.

Final thoughts. I still butt heads with the idea of testing like this to begin with. I've been preparing engineering design for 10 years now and there's plenty on the exam I've never needed. If i did need it, I would just go look it up, not rely on my memory. An 8 hr test is just absurd. They can compress this to 4 hrs max and test your knowledge of the basics sufficiently.