Mechanical PE Exam Topic Concepts

Mechanical PE Exam Topic Concepts Introduction

Mechanical PE exam topic concepts think outside box

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

~ Marilyn vos Savant

Welcome to a new blog series on Mechanical PE Academy!  This blog is the overall introduction to a blog series to help you build your understanding of Mechanical PE Exam Topic Concepts… which is critical to passing the exam.

What is the overall intent of this blog series?

The main focus area for the Mechanical PE Exam Topic Concepts blog series is just as the name implies… it will focus on understanding the concepts of the different topics covered on the Mechanical PE exam.  Too many people preparing for the PE exam work problem after problem after problem and wonder why they do not pass the exam.  I believe the answer is generally that you focused on working problems and did not focus on understanding the concepts needed for solving the problems!  You cannot predict what problems you will need to solve on the PE exam.  Spending all of your study time on working problems only significantly helps you if the PE exam is filled with problems very similar (which will not happen).  You really need to understand the concepts!  You need to change your studying philosophy and ‘think outside of the box’ to focus more intently on understanding concepts.

So am I telling you to not work problems during your review?

No!  You need to work problems… lots of problems!  You should work all different types of problems.  What I am telling you is that you should not focus exclusively on working problems for the sake of working problems.  Don’t think that you have enough time during the PE exam to look through several books to find an example problem that will guide you through the solution for each problem.  Having a good grasp on the concepts will help you solve the problems quickly.

Here is a basic example…

Mechanical PE exam topic concepts isobaricLet’s say you are taking the PE exam and you need to solve a thermodynamics question asking about work done during an isobaric process.  If you are mostly unfamiliar with the concepts of thermodynamic processes you would need to grab your thermodynamics reference book and search for a similar style of problem to guide you through the process.  Understanding the concept, however, you would realize that an isobaric process is simply a process that has constant pressure.  Plotting that process on a p-v diagram and finding the area under the curve (which in this case is the VERY SIMPLE process of finding the area of a rectangle) will give you work done during the process.  Understanding the concepts can drastically expedite the solution process!!  You may think… that example is too easy… there would not be questions on the PE exam that only require me to solve for the area of a rectangle.  Honestly, you would be surprised how easy some questions can be if you have a good understanding of the concepts!  After all, the PE exam is testing you to see if you do understand the concepts!!

So here is the plan…

I plan to post blogs to this series frequently!  How frequently?  I am not sure yet… but frequently.  My goal is to help you understand the concepts so you can work problems faster!  I will try to give good actions for you to take after the blogs to help you reinforce your understanding of the concepts.  Check back often to get new topics.

Let me know your thoughts! 

What topics would you like to see discussed in this series?  Leave comments on ideas, and I will do my best to cover topics most needed.  Also, please share this post with others!  That helps me a lot.

As always feel free to leave a comment!  Be sure to check out the Mechanical PE Academy Facebook page for updates and exclusive content!


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