Wednesday, June 27, 2012
PE examinees: If you seriously plan to pass the NCEES exam, you need to beat the competition. There is no set passing score for the professional engineering exam. This is because you compete against other working FEs for placement above the cut score. The cut score is the yet-undetermined qualifying score. If you can score 70 on the scaled score, you pass (a rule of thumb.) To be sure, if you can regularly score a literal 70% on practice exams, you will earn your state license. You need to outperform the 30 to 40 percent of examinees who will not pass.
How will you beat all those other engineers studying diligently? Simple: get the best materials and take many practice exams. I passed both NCEES exams on the first effort. (Please don't ask about the California seismic exam!)
Online review courses have some advantage: they cover most or all of the material; they provide a framework for you to follow; they (often, not always) include a PE to answer any questions.
Is there a better way? Well, a classroom environment is superior. Online, you are often at your own pace. Always, you are alone (unless a friend joins you at your home.)
When cost is isolated as a consideration, there is a better method than online review courses. Take a series of practice PE exams. There are several good offerings on Amazon: PE Exam Study Materials
Study Plan for the Professional Engineer Exam: This links to a 6-week study plan for the PE. Most sources recommend 3 months and 300 hours. However, if you are starting late, this is a great plan, and I believe you can pass with it.