Reference Books

The PE exam is an open-book exam.  You can take as many reference books as you want for the exam.  So this always generates some questions from first-time test takers.  This section will discuss the books I recommend as reference books for the PE exam.  For advice on how many books to take, read my blog post that discuss that question.

reference books

Which books should I take?

First off, use books that YOU are most familiar with when possible!  The biggest thing to remember is that you must be able to find information quickly in order to finish the exam.  The more familiar you are with the reference books the faster you can find material within that book.

During my time teaching engineering courses I had the opportunity to review a lot of different textbooks.  I know which books have good organized information and which books don’t.  Below I will give some of my recommendations of books to use.  If you have books of your own that YOU are more familiar with… USE THEM!  Otherwise, you can use some of the recommendations below.  I have provided links to the books on Amazon to help you find the books for more information.

Go to the categories below for book recommendations.

General Reference Books

Engineering Mechanics

Machine Analysis and Design Books

Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer Books

Now that you have the reference books for the PE exam, the next question is… How do I carry all of these books?

I noticed that people used a lot of different ways to get their books from the car to the test site.  If possible, try to determine how far you will need to walk with the books.  I simply used a crate like this or this and carried my books.  If you want to spend a little more money you can get one like this that has wheels.

One thing to keep in mind… you need to also think about how you will organize your books during the exam.  That is why I like some of the crate options.  I think you can have the books pre-arranged in the crates to make them easy to find.  You will probably not be allowed (or not have room) to have several books ‘displayed’ on the table during the test.  You will need to have them organized in your storage container (and probably kept on the floor next to you during the exam) to allow for quick retrieval.