PE Exam – Tips on reference books

How many books should I take to the PE exam?

How many books should I take to the PE exam

Never memorize something that you can look up.”

~ Albert Einstein

You probably don’t want to memorize all the information you learned during your studies to become a mechanical engineer.  Luckily you don’t need to for this exam, because the PE exam is an open-book exam.  Basically, you can take any books you want.  This blog is not intended to tell you which books to take to the PE exam… for my recommendations of reference books for the exam please go here.

So the question I get a lot… how many books should I take to the PE exam?  This is tough for me to answer, because it depends a lot on you… the test-taker.  I have seen people take the exam and only have a few reference books.  I have seen people with suitcase loads of books.  Though I don’t remember exactly, I think I used around 10 – 12 books and I had around 3 – 4 binders with miscellaneous information.  The biggest thing to remember here is that you don’t have a lot of time to search through several books to find an answer to any problem!!  Pick the minimal number of books that you feel covers the required material for the test.  Too many books will make it hard to find material.  If you have too few books you are risking not having the information you need.

A very useful tip is to pick the books you think you need when you start your studying, and use them as you prepare for the exam.  Store those books in a specific area so you know that is what you plan on using.  Over the time you prepare you will fine-tune the book selection.  You will determine that some books you thought you needed you actually never use while studying.  Modify your book selection as needed, and by the time you take the exam you will have optimized your book selection.

3 comments on “How many books should I take to the PE exam?

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