My PE Exam Experience

Amanda LafleurBy Amanda Lafleur, PE, Senior Design Engineer

The Professional Engineering exam is something I anticipated from the moment I graduated and started my career in engineering. In our field, the PE license is a game changer in regards to the market we work in, and I knew that I wanted to advance myself and be an even more valuable asset to KCI. When the opportunity came for me to apply for the test, I could not believe how fast time had gone. I had not studied for anything in quite some time, let alone an eight-hour exam that would probably be the biggest test I ever take.

When I was officially accepted to take the Professional Engineering exam, the nerves began to set in very quickly. I collected advice from past examinees through connections at work and from online sources. I heard many experiences of having to take the exam two, three, or more times, and horror stories of being escorted out midway through the test for a simple rule misunderstanding. I knew that I did not want to take the test more than once if I could help it. I decided that I would make sure to have every variable that I had control over on my side. I mapped out a two-month timeline for studying and noted down what tips I would follow. My regimen was very straightforward. Monday through Thursday I would work 8am-4:30pm, drive home, cook dinner, and take my review class 6pm-11pm. Fridays I would work a normal day and take a break from studying. It was important to me to maintain some part of my social life, because if I didn’t, I knew I would get too burned out from studying, and it would actually make me more unproductive. On Saturdays, a friend of mine would come over, and we would conquer either a four-hour or an eight-hour timed, official practice exam. Finally, on Sundays I would review the material that I had covered over that past week.

KCI helped me immensely throughout the preparation process. I did not stress about the additional expense of the review course, exam fee or study materials. KCI reimbursed me for the exam registration fee, School of PE review course, and study materials I had purchased right away, months before the exam even took place and without knowing my test results. I was also able to have a more flexible working schedule while studying. The review course I took was a live video online course Monday through Thursday from 6pm to 11pm. During the months leading up to the exam, we were very busy at work, but my direct supervisor helped me to coordinate staff and resources to ensure that I did not need to work overtime while studying for the test. I stayed in a hotel nearby the testing center the night before to minimize the chance of over sleeping, hitting traffic, or other unnecessary stresses. Once the test was over, multiple coworkers came out to celebrate those of us who had just sat for the exam. Even at the time and not knowing whether I had passed, I was so proud to be done and to have people around me who truly cared and wished for my success. It was certainly even more of a treat celebrating with the KCI family when a couple months later I officially heard the news that I had passed!