Engineering Exam Prep Company Revamps PE Mechanical Course As Scantrons Go Extinct

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The PE Mechanical Exam has changed from your standard paper pencil exam to computer based testing and School of PE has revamped their course to cater to the new exam type.

“Change is always hard, especially when someone is preparing for an exam that has an affect on his or her career” C. Miller

Scantrons and number two pencils are slowly becoming less and less popular for testing as computer testing becomes the preferred testing method in many industries- including the engineering industry.

In fact, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), an engineering licensing company, has been in the process of migrating all of their licensure exams to the computer-based exam format since 2014. Now, all Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exams, the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Chemical, and PE Environmental, and other exams are being offered only via the new Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format.

NCEES’s PE Mechanical is one of the next exams to be transitioned to the CBT format; the exam to transition in April of 2020.

The PE Mechanical exam is the exam that one must take and pass to become a licensed Mechanical Engineer. Most of the time, examinees must have also taken and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam prior to taking the PE exam.

While the upcoming PE Mechanical exam changes do worry many examinees, Chris Miller, the Association Vice President at School of PE, is confident that the exam prep company will sufficiently prepare its students for the PE Mechanical exam despite the changes.

“Everytime an exam changes to the CBT exam, our students show concern for how they are to prepare for their exam,” Miller said. “At School of PE, we want to ensure that our students get the best resources possible to pass their exams- whether it’s still in the traditional pencil and paper format or has transitioned to a CBT.

School of PE, an exam review company dedicated to prepare its students for various NCEES licensure exams, has been offering engineer review courses since 2004. School of PE has a track record of high student pass rates. For the Spring 2019 PE Mechanical exam, which was offered in the traditional pencil and paper format in April 2019, School of PE students achieved an average pass rate of 87% while the national pass rate for the exam was 72%.

Miller explained that School of PE has already went through many CBT transitions with other courses prior to the PE Mechanical transition, including the PE Chemical exam, the PE Environmental Exam, and all FE exams.

“Every time an exam is transitioned to the CBT format, I meet with School of PE’s instructors to go over how we will approach the change. We’ll evaluate the exam specifications, discuss strategy, and talk about if we need to restructure a course for the change” said Miller. “Typically, the exam content doesn’t necessarily change due to a CBT migration, but we want to make sure we make our students as comfortable with the new testing format as we can.”

When asked about how School of PE specifically prepares students for CBT exams, Miller mentioned School of PE’s Practice Portal- a feature that the business released in 2018.

The Practice Portal features a bank of practice problems for students to test their knowledge. The practice problems closely mimic NCEES’ CBT experience. To accommodate the upcoming updates to the PE Mechanical exam, School of PE will be launching questions specifically for the exam in January of 2019. The Practice Portal will be a free feature those who sign up for a PE Mechanical Ondemand or Live Online exam review course.

“Change is always hard, especially when someone is preparing for an exam that has an affect on his or her career,” Miller said. “But, if we can create an exam-like experience for our students, I think we will give them the experience necessary to confidently walk into their exam.”

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Vinod Dega
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