Discussion Thread

PE Licensure - Your Experience

  • 1.  PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-05-2021 09:09 AM
    Since some states have started allowing PE candidates to take the exam before their 4 years of experience are complete, I wanted to start a discussion on your PE licensure experiences. I'll share my experience below to get us started.

    Here are some questions to consider sharing from your experience:
    -When did you take the exam?
    -Do you wish you'd taken it earlier or later?
    -What kind of preparation did you do for the exam?
    -If you are licensed in multiple states, do you have any recommendations on being prepared for applying in other states?
    -If you could give any additional advice to those seeking licensure, what would it be?

    Here's my experience:
    -I graduated in 2016, and Oklahoma dropped the requirement that you had to wait until your 4 years of experience were complete.
    -I sat for the exam in April 2019 after 3 months of studying using School of PE's review course.
    -I was able to apply for my PE license a few months before my 4 years were complete because per the regulations I was able to apply for part of my internship experience to count toward my 4 years.
    -I applied for my initial PE license through the NCEES Record since Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that allows you to do so. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to get additional PE licenses in other states in the future.

    Here's my recommendations:
    -Take a look at your state's PE requirements when you are graduating from college. This will give you an idea of what your options are. Some people also choose to apply in a surrounding state if the timelines are different there.
    -When I took the PE exam, the younger EI that I was mentoring also sat for the exam and passed after being out of school for only 1 year. I would recommend taking the exam 1 to 2 years out of school if you have that option. The longer you wait, the less of the general knowledge you'll probably remember from undergrad.
    -My final advice would be to keep detailed records of what projects you work on and what portions of the projects you specifically completed. This will make it much easier to complete your PE application since you have to list detailed work experience from the time your graduated up to your application for licensure.

    ------------------------------
    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-05-2021 07:59 PM
    Good idea for a topic Heidi!

    -When did you take the exam?
    I took the exam in October of 2018. I took it in NJ, doing the General section in the morning and Water Resources in the afternoon.

    -Do you wish you'd taken it earlier or later?
     As far as my understanding goes, I took it about as early as was possible for me. NJ requires 4 years of work experience before sitting for the exam, 2 of which need to be focused on "design" work. (More on that at the end). Note that having a masters removes one year of your required 4 years of work experience.

    So, I took it as early as I could, and am glad due to the general knowledge that I still (sort of) remembered, that Heidi brought up above.

    -What kind of preparation did you do for the exam?

    I did about a year of prep. 6 months were just going through slides and power points, which was probably only slightly useful but helped me get my head in the game.

    The next 6 months I would do problems for a few hours after work 2-4 days a week, getting more and more frequent as I got closer to the exam.

    I studied by going through the NCEES practice tests, as well as by going through PowerPoints from the School of PE that I was able to get my hands on.

    I did the practice problems over and over until I did almost all of them done correctly and within the time limit. For every problem, I made sure I had a clear tab in my reference manual that would lead me right to it.

    For problems that I still struggled with, I wrote them out in a binder in pen, with steps so that I could use it as a reference during the test.

    Overall, I would say that the test demanded more from me than just what I learned through the NCEES practice tests. However, if you do those problems and understand them well enough that you are able to read them, and immediately understand exactly what you are looking for and how you're going to find it (I had a tab for every equation in my CERM), that will go a long way towards helping you get at least 60% of the questions correct and still have time for the rest of the questions. For the remainder of the questions, I found myself turning to my geotech knowledge that I picked up during my internship, looking through my extremely tabbed reference manual, referencing some practice problems that I wrote out, and at a few points, checking in two textbooks that I brought.


    -If you could give any additional advice to those seeking licensure, what would it be?

    If your responsibilities are not design work, and the State Board that you need to apply to requests to see design experience, try to frame the work that you do as "design support."

    Everyone is different. Study and time yourself, and practice for as long as you need to. For me, practice problems that look as close to the real thing are what I learn best from, so I used mostly the NCEES practice tests. Some people who struggle with motivation or want structure from a third party may do better taking a class like from the School of PE. Tab the absolute heck out of your Reference Manual while you are working problems.  The test is about speed, not complex design work. By the time you finish reading a question, you should know how to approach it or know where to find it in your references. In that way, it is very similar to the FE/EIT exam.

    Feel free to ask me questions if anyone wants to know more.

    ------------------------------
    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-05-2021 10:48 PM
    Since you mentioned the practice exams, I'll add this to what I originally said:

    In addition to School of PE, I did use practice tests we had available in the office. I did a couple 4 hour practice tests (general section for one, construction section for the other). Two weeks before the exam I did a full practice exam in one weekend. I tried to emulate the testing conditions as best I could, including the amount of table space I'd have to use. I took one week off mental break from prep leading up to the exam.

    I was glad I'd done that while taking the actual exam, because I had a good system down for not wasting too much time shuffling through my tabbed references. Not all the books and binders could be on the table at once, so having a system made the correct reference easier to quickly access in my crates.

    The day of the exam, I left the morning section feeling like I'd really nailed it. It was easier than the practice tests. The afternoon, though, I left feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. It was much more difficult than the practice exams. My coworkers that took it the same day felt the same way. (We felt more physically exhausted than mentally exhausted from being tense and trying to work so quickly.) The important part was keeping my head in the game instead of getting overwhelmed.

    I think the prep course (graciously paid for by our company) and the practice exams really helped me get to a place where I could feel confident in my approach.


    ------------------------------
    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-06-2021 09:56 AM
    My advice is to take the exam as soon as you are eligible. In my opinion, real world experience is not necessary to pass. Also, while it's not true for everyone, life seems to get in the way the later you wait (weddings, kids, etc.).

    I fell under the old rules of needing experience before taking the exam, but the exam does not test my specialty (coastal engineering). This meant that I was 5 years out of undergrad (2 years grad school and 3 years working), which was the last time that I looked at several topics the exam tested. The School of PE course can be pricey, but it's definitely worth it in my opinion. It helped refresh my memory on topics as well as provided plenty of practice questions to get me into the "testing mindset." Maybe it's not as necessary if you've just finished undergrad.

    Unrelated to the exam, my other recommendation is to start keeping a personal resume of all your projects from day 1 of working. Someone gave me that advice when I started working and it helped immensely when completing the PE applications. It can be simple: project name, client name, dates worked, brief description of duties, etc.

    ------------------------------
    Erin Rooney P.E., M.ASCE
    Coastal Engineer
    Metairie LA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-06-2021 11:15 AM
    I second keeping a good list of projects. I was so glad my notebook of daily to do lists from my internship and first year working full time were still in my file cabinet. It helped immensely in filling out the information on the NCEES Record.

    ------------------------------
    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-06-2021 09:59 AM
    Heidi,
    I really like this topic, as taking the PE exam is an experience you will never forget! Here is my experience with the PE exam:

    When did you take the exam?
    I took the exam in the Spring of 2016. I actually took the exam in a different state than the state that I lived in at the time, because the state that I lived in had strict requirements, that I felt were unfair to me.
    • Side Story - So I was living in Baltimore, and I was getting close to having my years of experience to take the PE exam. I submitted my application to the Board for        Professional Engineers, and they said that I didn't meet the education requirements. I thought, that is weird, as I went to Penn State and had a ABET accredited engineering degree. So I asked what specifically was the issue. The Board said that the issue was with some of my calculus classes, that at Penn State were combined into 1 class, but in Maryland they needed to be separate classes. I thought that was pretty nit-picky. At this time I was also looking to go back to school for my Masters degree in Maryland, and I figured I might have the same issue with my degree when applying to grad school. So I decided I would take the 2 calculus classes the Board wanted at a community college, and then everyone will be happy and I won't have any more issues with my degree. After taking the calculus classes, I submitted my application for grad school and was accepted. Great! I then submitted my application for the PE exam, and again was denied. I thought, "What is going on? I took the classes you wanted and I have the years of experience. What is the problem now?" After contacting the Board, they made the determination that since I recently passed the calculus classes, to have an equivalent engineering degree, that it was just like I received my degree, and that I would need to wait ANOTHER 5 years before I could take the PE exam in Maryland! Absolutely ridiculous. So instead of waiting to take the PE exam in Maryland, I took the exam in Maine, as I was already going to be on vacation there around exam time.

    Do you wish you'd taken it earlier or later?
    I wish I could have taken the PE exam when I initially intended in 2014, but my side story process took some time and with application deadlines, I missed at least 2 exams that I feel I should have been able to sit for. The only positive was, that by taking the calculus courses, and starting grad school classes during that time did get me back into school and study mode, so when I did finally start preparing for the PE exam, I had already got back into good study habits.

    What kind of preparation did you do for the exam?
    At first, I was studying with some of my coworkers who were also taking the PE exam in the Spring of 2016. But this didn't last long, as my coworkers weren't able to devote as much time as me to study, as they had kids to take care of. I then registered for a review course through the School of PE. Best decision I ever made! The best parts for me about the review course was that they paired down the information that you needed to know, provided you with their own reference material, and also gave general test taking tips to maximize your score on the exam. I highly recommend that anyone taking the PE exam take a review course. Some of these review courses can be a little pricey, but in the long run it is an investment in yourself, and you will easily make up that money with your higher earning potential of being a registered PE.

    If you are licensed in multiple states, do you have any recommendations on being prepared for applying in other states?
    I have been a registered PE in multiple states. Once you pass the PE exam and become a registered PE, it is a relatively simple process to become registered in another state. Most states will allow registered PE's from another state to become licensed in their state through a process called reciprocity. Essentially, the state you want to become registered in will look at the PE requirements for the state you are registered in and compare them to their own PE requirements. If the requirements from each state are similar, than the state will grant you a PE license in their state. Most states use NCEES Records as a way to transfer and verify PE exam information. You don't need to take the exam again, but you will need to pay all license fees in all states your are registered in. Applying for reciprocity is similar to applying for the PE exam, so it does take some time to make sure you have all of the required information together.

    If you could give any additional advice to those seeking licensure, what would it be?
    Four things:
    • Take the PE exam as soon as possible. There are a number of reasons for this. The material is fresher, you more than likely have less responsibility and distractions (house and kids), and the sooner you become a PE, the more years you have earning a likely higher income.
    • You need to be motivated and focused. Taking the PE exam is a big commitment. It will take several months of studying and hours of solving practice problems. I don't feel the PE exam is something you can "cram" for in a few days, or even weeks. 
    • Outside of the PE material itself, you need to be able to know your reference material well so you can quickly find answers during the exam. The PE exam is an exercise on your engineering knowledge, but also on time management. If it takes you more than 2 minutes to find what you are looking for in your reference material, you probably will run out of time during the exam to answer all of the questions.
    • Prepare yourself for a 8 hour exam. Many people who have taken the PE exam say how mentally and physically drained they are afterwards. That is because we don't typically spend 8 solid hours mentally straining ourselves. Take time to build up to 8 hour practice tests. Start at 2 hours, then 4 hours, then 6 hours until you feel comfortable taking 8 hour practice tests. Also know from a physical standpoint how much food and water you need to get through a 8 hour test. You do get a lunch break during the exam, so use this to your advantage. After eating lunch, know f you need some last minute practice problems, or need to listen to some music to calm down. Use the time to benefit you the most.


    ------------------------------
    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-06-2021 11:15 AM
    What a frustrating process! I'm glad you were able to take the exam elsewhere. I think sometimes people in review situations become so far removed from the reality and impact of their decisions that all they can see is the checklist.

    I like your advice on building up to the full exam length. I knew from taking tests like the ACT that I did worse on later sections than if I took that section alone because I don't do well in complete silence. I had to get myself used to that, and I took music to listen to during the break.

    ------------------------------
    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-06-2021 10:15 AM

    Heidi:

    Excellent topic.  

    I graduated in 2010 with my BS and in 2012 with my MS.  I took the PE exam in Minnesota in April 2015, with 3 years experience plus my master's degree.  I was able to count some of my internship and teaching experience towards the experience requirement.  I took the general portion in the AM and the geotechnical portion in the PM.

    I took the exam as soon as allowed by the state of Minnesota, and it worked out pretty well.  I started studying 3 months before the exam.  I don't recall the specific reference book I used, but it was a PE prep manual with references and practice tests.  I used my old college textbooks (hang on to those, kids) and CERM for the studying.  I found the geotechnical portion to be relatively simple (main practice), but had to brush up on water resources and fluid mechanics. I ran through the entire manual, one topic per week to determine where I needed to focus my efforts.  I completed multiple practice problems from the reference manual.

    During the exam itself, I didn't find myself struggling for time due to my preparation.  The test problems were of similar difficulty to the practice problems, but sometimes required less steps/derivations to arrive at the answer.

    My original PE application was through the state of Minnesota, but approximately three months after the test I became a NCEES Model Law Engineer for applications to multiple states.  Over the next year, I became licensed in four additional states, and I am currently licensed in nine total.  The initial reaction of the cost to send to each state was poor, but the value was realized in the time savings of each subsequent application ($75 is cheaper than 4-6 hours of PM labor + transcript expenses).

    My recommendations for any engineering graduates - get licensed, even if it's not your main job function.  Getting the license when you are relatively young and the general material is fresh is the easiest way to achieve this professional status.  The cost to maintain a license is relatively low and is usually covered by the employer.  In addition to being able to sign project documents, the status gives you some "soft power" when discussing technical topics with clients, colleagues, and teammates.



    ------------------------------
    Joseph M. Rozmiarek, P. E., M.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Roseville, MN
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-06-2021 11:16 AM
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! I'm glad my professors emphasized the importance of getting our PE licenses. I can't imagine trying to get it later in my career when the aspects I don't use in my job aren't close to fresh from school.

    ------------------------------
    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-07-2021 09:29 AM

    Heidi,

     

    Great discussion on PE Licensure and advice for fellow engineers who are yet to take the exam. I specifically wanted to mention that ASCE also offers a review course for all five depth disciplines. The course is 8-week long  is focused on exam topics; the reference materials includes handouts, practice problems, free recordings, access to instructors and discussion forum. Member can also access other free resources for PE Civil preparation in AccessEngineering, a free technical online resources for members.



    ------------------------------
    Charu Gupta Aff.M.ASCE
    Manager, PE Exam Review
    ASCE
    Reston VA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-09-2021 01:18 AM
    I took the PE exam twice... October 2018 & October 2020, which the biggest mistake I made was taking it in October 2018 because I decided 3 months prior to it to take the exam knowing that I wanted to take it in April 2019. I wasn't prepared and I really didn't take it as serious as I did the 2nd time. I rescheduled to take in April 2020 but it was obviously cancelled.

    I studied with testing materials from PPI only. I had no gameplan for the first exam so I studied willy nilly. The 2nd time I created a 9-month timeline & dedicated 4 hours each week to a specific topic based on my performance on the first exam. I wanted to take review courses, but I didn't want to spend the money.

    The PE was a big commitment for me. Up to the months leading to the exam, I stopped doing some hobbies, I put my side hustles on pause, and grinded. The week of the exam I took the entire week off just to study and give myself a mental & physical relief prior to the exam so that I didn't go into the exam stressed like I did the first time.

    Michigan requires that you apply for the PE license through the State Licensing Board, however it's a good idea to utilize NCEES if you're going to apply for multiple state licenses. It also is resourceful for recording your PDHs. Michigan also waived the experience requirement for taking the exam so I would likely recommend taking the exam maybe a year after studying because the exam itself is not an experienced based exam.

    The other thing to note is that NCEES is planning to make all Civil PE exams computer based in 2022, similar to the FE exam.  I think that really gives an advantage to test takers as they don't have to reference multiple books for the exam. All the test material would be in one book. That may be helpful for some future test takers (I took full advantage of this when I took the FE Exam) so just throwing that out there.

    ------------------------------
    Jay Garth P.E.
    Structural Engineer I
    Progressive AE

    EWB: An Engineering Culture Shift
    Grand Rapids, MI
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-09-2021 07:00 PM
    I didn't realize they'd pushed the date forward. I really liked having the searchable PDF for the FE, but I'm not sure about that setup for the PE. I'm a visual person, so I liked the tabs on my physical books. Definitely interesting for everyone to just have one common reference instead of having to haul references to the exam. Hopefully that transition goes smoothly.

    ------------------------------
    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-09-2021 01:20 AM
    Adding another data point to the discussion:

    When did you take the exam?
    I took the 8 hour in spring 2018 with geotech for the afternoon.  My experience clock lined up almost to the day with California changing to allowing taking the 8 hour before accruing the necessary experience.

    Do you wish you'd taken it earlier or later?
    I would have preferred to have been able to take it closer to graduation.  I technically graduated May 2013, but was done with technical coursework in December 2012, and the first couple years after weren't directly applicable experience, so taking it closer to having done similar work in class would have been nice.  Knowing what I know now, I would probably try to take it within 2 years of graduation, and would shoot for within 1 year.

    What kind of preparation did you do for the exam?
    I took ASCE's review course Charu mentioned, and honestly that's about it.  Test-taking, especially multiple choice, seems to come somewhat naturally to me so I have a rather casual approach to preparing.  For the exam, I took printed copies of all the ASCE review course material, CERM, AASHTO Green Book, and a couple textbooks (primarily for geotech - one of them largely got me through the afternoon by itself).

    If you could give any additional advice to those seeking licensure, what would it be?
    • Echoing Joseph, hold on to textbooks, even if they aren't an area of interest or emphasis.  The PE questions will be much more that level than what you're doing in practice.  Good for both studying and as potential references on test day.
    • Know what kind of test-taker you are, and plan accordingly.  I know my casual approach to test prep is not something that would work for most (even taking a review course was a change for me).  If an approach has worked well for you in the past (school, EIT, other license/certification), go with it.  This applies for both studying and test day.
    • Don't go overboard with references.  I probably had a couple too many things with me (don't think I touched the Green Book) and extra references clutter your space and give you one extra thing to move around or mistakenly flip through.
    • Depending on your state's requirements, and going along with tracking projects, identify who you might want to have as a reference for your application early.  California requires 4, and all must be currently licensed (I think with a couple exceptions for federal workers.  I really only worked with 2 for most of my experience-gathering, but was fortunate to have additional engineers familiar with me and what I did that they were willing to provide references.  If you're at a small firm, or an agency with a small technical staff, it's worth planning and potentially opening dialogue ahead of time.


    ------------------------------
    Gavin Finley P.E., M.ASCE
    Associate Civil Engineer
    San Jose, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-10-2021 11:11 PM
    Thanks Heidi for opening this thread! Always good to tips and tricks from past takers!
    These are some past threads that I found useful too
    Questions about licensure
    PE Civil Exam Reference Manual
    PE Structural Exam

    ------------------------------
    Tung Nguyen, PhD
    Water Resources Engineer
    Sacramento, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-14-2021 01:49 PM
    Here's my experience:
    • I took the FE exam in November 2019, graduated in December 2019 and I took the PE in October 2020. 
    • I have no regrets taking it as soon as I did. There was a lot of mixed opinions about whether or not you need the real life experience to take the PE and while yes I do believe there are some things that I picked up at my job before taking the PE, it was all basic concepts that made it easier to apply problems and solutions to real life projects. It does partly suck knowing I have to wait so long to apply for my license, but I know I wouldn't be confident signing off on an engineering plans at this time in my career.
    • While I thought it was really expensive, I paid for the School of PE On-Demand Course which I signed up for in the summer of 2019. This gave me the freedom to spread my studying out over several months. I think this was a key to my studying. I knew that I was going to be unwilling to sit and watch a live 6 hour course on a Saturday morning knowing that I could be on the beach. Instead I allowed myself to watch a couple hours of videos a week planning out in advance to make sure I had enough time to watch all the videos. I started watching the General knowledge portion first, knowing this was probably fresher on my mind from having taken the FE exam less than a year before. I then switched over to studying my In-depth portion. I took one practice exam 2 weeks before my actual exam leaving me time to focus on the questions and topics I got wrong on the practice exam. One thing I did while studying was I made equation/reference sheets or "cheat sheets" while watching the videos. I typed/copied all the concepts, equations, practice problems, and any pictures/diagrams I thought were important, which I eventually put into one binder and used this as my main reference instead of flipping through a huge book. If I didn't have what I needed on my sheet I could then go and find the book and look through it. I also integrated some of the quizzes into my studying which were accessible through the School of PE website.  
    Here's my recommendations:
    • I agree about taking the exam sooner rather than later if your state allows it. I took it 10 months after graduating and I think it was a good time. A lot of my first year or at least first couple of months was education and training anyways since we all know school doesn't exactly teach you what you need to know for your job, just the basics behind everything that goes into your job. 
    • Know your studying habits and keep a reasonable schedule of studying. Working a full-time job, trying to still enjoy life, and still find time to study can be stressful and you will have to make sacrifices where you want to but it is worth the long hours. 
    • You can never predict what will be on the exam so make sure you feel confident on the basics and concepts from every subject, don't get caught up on one example problem you can't understand and spend too much time on it.


    ------------------------------
    Deziree Ramirez A.M.ASCE
    Shalimar FL
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-16-2021 01:39 PM
    I took the exam in 1995. I would recommend to anyone to take a PE Exam review course. It is well worth the time. There were three of us at the firm I was working for at that time eligible for the exam. We all took the review course and we all passed the first time.

    ------------------------------
    David Lee P.E., M.ASCE
    City Engineer
    City of Sedro-Woolley
    Sedro Woolley WA
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 04-20-2021 04:42 PM
    Heidi,
    I really enjoy this topic, as the PE exam is such a major step in your civil engineering career.

    When did you take the exam?
    I graduated in Spring of 2016 and I took the exam in the Spring of 2018. I took the exam in a different state than the state that I lived in at the time, because the state I lived in was not decoupled so chose to take it in a decoupled state.

    Do you wish you'd taken it earlier or later?
    I took the PE early just two years out of college. I do not wish that I took it later but rather advocate that more people take the test earlier. I do not think the test is difficult to pass if you have less that four years of experience and should not scare anyone thinking about taking it earlier. I believe taking and passing it early gave me added peace of mind and made sure I would not have to balance other things that may have been in my life 2+ years later had I waited.

    What kind of preparation did you do for the exam?
    I studied with co-workers and we did practice problems together. I also got a review course that our employer reimbursed us for which was paramount in our success. I highly recommend anyone taking the PE to consider a review course and ask if your employer with help with offsetting the cost as you passing would be mutually beneficial.

    If you are licensed in multiple states, do you have any recommendations on being prepared for applying in other states?
    I have been a registered PE in three states. Once you pass the PE exam and become a registered PE, it is a pretty simple process. Luckily for me my initial PE was from the State of North Carolina and they are one of a few that allow you to use the NCEES Record to apply for initial licensure. As many know the easiest why to gain and track multiple licenses is through your NCEES Record where you can apply for comity with other states. Given my initial license was through NCEES Record, all I had to do was transmit my record to the states I wanted to apply for comity with and then pay the application fee on their website.

    If you could give any additional advice to those seeking licensure, what would it be?
    • Take the PE exam as soon as possible. Similarly as other have states, you will have more time to study with fewer distractions and less responsibility at work, the breadth material will be fresher from college and the peace of mind is priceless.
    • Purchase a review course and set a schedule that you are dedicated to. The PE should not be taken lightly and you need to give yourself ample time to go through the review course and practice as many problems as you can.
    • Tab your material and get familiar with your manuals even if you don't use them regularly. Having my manuals tabbed saved precious time in the test for other more difficult questions.
    • Remember test-taking strategies and tips and practice with those tips in mind. If you can time yourself while doing problem to give yourself to mirror the experience of the test.


    ------------------------------
    Kush Vashee, PE, CAMP, ENV SP, LEED GA
    Project Engineer
    RK&K
    Fairfax, VA
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 05-07-2021 11:00 AM
    Great topic and some awesome answers!

    When did you take the exam?

    I took the Exam in October of 2020 in NH

    Do you wish you'd taken it earlier or later?
    I registered to take it as early as was feasible in the states surrounding me - New England area. Though I work in MA I chose to take it in NH because they allowed me to use my internship experience which qualified me to sit the exam one session earlier, scheduled April of 2020. However, in March it was canceled due to the pandemic and pushed back to October. 

    What kind of preparation did you do for the exam?
    Originally I had registered to take the two day SE exam so I had enrolled in a PPI course which coworkers had also used for preparation. Once the exam was canceled I switched my registration to the PE Civil - Structural course for career reasons and also switched the PPI course enrollment. I found the course to be incredibly helpful as it kept me on a schedule for study helped me focus on the general topics that were likely to come up as well as mark up the Civil Exam Reference Manual that's a bit overwhelming if you don't know what to focus on.

    I also bought the practice exam and a couple of weeks before the exam did a practice session where I timed myself out like the exam day to get a feel for the exam.

    If you are licensed in multiple states, do you have any recommendations on being prepared for applying in other states?
    Only the single licensure for the moment. 

    If you could give any additional advice to those seeking licensure, what would it be?
    • Take the FE while you're in school - I have a number of friends and coworkers that waited until they were in grad school or in their career and it's so much harder to get back into study mode and balance life/job 
    • Likewise, take the exam as soon as you're able. I personally didn't want to fly to California or another state where I could take it immediately or after 2 years but applied to take it as soon as possible in my nearby state
    • Know what you need to do to be confident when you sit the exam. For me it's that I needed to put in about 3 months of studying 4 nights a week rather than cram for the exam. I also knew that I needed to take a full practice exam - mask and all - so the experience wouldn't' throw me off. I know many people that are successful without that level of preparation so it's all just knowing what you need to be confident
    • Once you have the manuals and references that you're going to use, mark them up like crazy and use only those to do any practice problems. So much of the test is about leaving yourself bread crumbs and knowing how to find the information quickly 
    • Figure out how you're going to prioritize the questions. I went through the full exam 3 times. If you don't know how to go about it immediately move on and come back 
    • Get pumped up the morning of, breathe throughout the exam, and celebrate when you're done!


    ------------------------------
    Taygra Longstaff
    Arup
    Ipswich MA
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 05-07-2021 11:31 AM
    Absolutely agree about having a system for approaching the exam questions. I also did the exam in about 3 sweeps.

    1st time through, if I knew how to answer it without looking anything up I solved it right away. If I didn't, I marked it so that I would know at a glance if it was one I could do quickly or not with a reference. (If I didn't know it at all I marked an answer and moved on)

    2nd time through, if I knew I could solve it quickly with a reference I looked it up and solved it.

    3rd time through, I did the ones I thought I could solve with more time.

    This is the same approach I used on my FE, but since that was computer based I used a combination of flagging and leaving things blank as my marking system on the first pass.

    ------------------------------
    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 05-07-2021 06:15 PM
    Hello Heidi,

    Great timing for me to discuss this topic as I just sat for the Water Resources section of the PE exam a few weeks and I'm still shook!
    I definitely wish I had taken it earlier because in Nevada the 4 year experience is not a requirement to take the exam. It was especially difficult for me since I have a Bachlor's degree in chemistry and I had to take extra courses, often condensed, in order to meet pre-requisites to get into the graduate engineering program. It was a steep learning curve and more challenging than for most, but I got my masters in civil and environmental engineering in 2017.
    To prepare for the PE exam I enrolled in the PPI Kaplan review course which started in January and ended a week before the exam. The course was definitely helpful and I highly recommend it for the sole fact that it kept me on a study schedule and gave some useful tips for approaching the problems. Another piece of advice I have for preparing for the exam is bringing effective and condensed notes- I brought my CERM, CEWE (provided by PPI), FE reference manual, Metcalf and Eddy wastewater book from college and binder with notes from the course. Before the exam make sure you can recall and know where all the equations are and which appendices need to be tabbed. Its a long exam but it goes quick so its crucial to not waste time flipping through pages.
    Hope this helps for anymore preparing for the exam and good luck!


    ------------------------------
    Assumption Grimaldi EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
    Las Vegas NV
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: PE Licensure - Your Experience

    Posted 09-18-2021 10:13 AM
    Hey Heidi!

    Thank you for this post.

    -When did you take the exam? I took the exam this last April. 
    -Do you wish you'd taken it earlier or later? Yes, however, having five years of construction experience was helpful in some visualizing some of the questions.
    -What kind of preparation did you do for the exam? I took a course by Engineering Education and Training. I would encourage all to take this course. 
    -If you are licensed in multiple states, do you have any recommendations on being prepared for applying in other states? Complete the NCEES Record. Keep good working relationships with PMs, Contractors and other PEs. Describe your work experience following the NCEES examples. Follow up with the respective board to know if anything else is needed.
    -If you could give any additional advice to those seeking licensure, what would it be? If you fail, try again. Put in the work. Purchase a course to keep you accountable.

    ------------------------------
    Rafael Estrada Moncada P.E., M.ASCE
    Construction Engineer
    Saint Paul MN
    ------------------------------