How To Pass PE Exam Without Studying?

If you want to pass the PE Exam without studying, it is difficult but not impossible. You can do it by focusing on the relevant topics and saving most of your time. The PE exam comprises many topics, but not all course content is equally important or worth your effort.

Consider, for instance, that you have experience in structural engineering and do not intend to further your education in any other areas of civil engineering. Why would you spend hundreds of hours studying for something you’ll likely never use? To pass the test, you don’t need to know “everything.”

Therefore, you need to focus on the exam topics and fundamental concepts that are highly likely to appear in the exam.

Though candidates often put in long hours of preparation for the PE exam, passing is not guaranteed. Without a well-defined strategy and focus, those hoping to succeed may find themselves unable to meet their goal despite significant effort.

This PE exam study guide will help you discover how to pass PE exam without studying in depth and maximize your chances of succeeding by relying on suitable study sources and approaches.

Strategy to Pass PE Exam

Strategy to Pass PE Exam

According to engineers’ feedback on different forums, passing the PE Exam without studying requires an efficient plan that ensures maximum results by saving most of the time and effort.

Your chances to pass the PE exam without studying are more favorable for some of the most straightforward ones, like the PE water resources or PE transportation exams. But it is recommended to opt for the expert’s guidance or enroll in any efficient PE exam course for more detail-oriented and daunting PE exam categories like civil, mechanical, or electrical.

Read our separate blog to make an informed decision about which PE exam you should opt for.

Below are some proven PE exam tips that will help make your exam preparation journey more efficient and smooth.

  1. Get Familiar With the Exam Requirements
  2. Study Important Exam Topics
  3. Quickly Find the Topics/Keywords
  4. Revisions of All the Study Materials

1. Get Familiar With the Exam Requirements

Regarding the professional engineer exam, you must familiarize yourself with all the exam requirements and mandatory steps for quick and to-the-point preparation.

  • Acknowledge the course content and specifications directed by NCEES® for your particular PE exam discipline. It will help you quickly find the related sections in your study sources or exam guides.
  • Make sure you know all the exam topics and find them quickly in your reference materials without any need to read the entire book or guide. For example, you cannot expect to find the topic of rectification in the electromagnetic section.
  • For the vertical course depth—you need to know everything that is part of your PE exam specification. Do not leave any topic uncovered and focus more on industry-specific topics.
  • For the horizontal course depth—just focus on the key and essential exam areas without going into deeper detail.

Another important aspect is using an NCEES®-approved calculator during practice and the actual exam. You cannot use calculators in your exam unless approved by the NCEES®. You will most likely mark victory if you enter the battlefield with your tested weapon.

Therefore, it is recommended to use the same calculator during exam preparation that you are going to use during the exam. It helps you discover all the functionalities and limitations of your calculator. Don’t forget to read our blog on NCEES®-approved calculators for the FE or PE exams.

If you don’t have an engineering background, read our detailed guide about how to get a PE license without an engineering degree.

2. Study Important Exam Topics

If you are confident about any exam topic(s), you should not repeat them and waste your limited time. Skip the prepared and unimportant exam topics and focus on the main exam specs that are more likely to appear in the exam. No need to go deeper. You are not here to prepare anything from scratch and perform a laboratory test for all the exam topics.

Consider you want to appear for the PE Power exam. Look at the exam specifications for the afternoon slot. If you find it practical to crack at least 80% of the exam questions after studying smartly, it means you can answer all the power and electrical-related core questions completely.

Now, compare it with the morning slot exam. The questions asked in the afternoon slot (based on mass opinion and practice exams) are relatively easier, and you can easily score 100% based on the prior assumption. It means 20% better performance in the a.m section.

If you must attempt 80% of power and electrical-related questions correctly, you require only 60% (80% – 20%) correct answers for the remaining non-electrical exam topics. Simply put, the non-electrical PE exam topics need only 75% (60 / 80 = 75%) of your attention.

The vertical and horizontal depth of the course materials you will use to prepare determines how well you approach your exam and the outcome. The PE exam courses offered by Study for FE are intended to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure success in their PE exams. The course outline and roadmap of our prep course cover all the technical details and critical exam topics of the PE power exam.

3. Quickly Find the Topics/Keywords

If you rely on online sources, search your PE exam topics by relevant keywords to get accurate results faster. For example, search by writing Rectification methods if you want to know how AC voltage converts into DC voltage. You will instantly get accurate and to-the-point written or visual content for your query.

Studying for the PE exam on your own requires more time and effort. You find it overwhelming to clear the challenging PE exam without any supervision. Therefore, the best way to prepare for the exam is to enroll in the PE exam preparation courses and use authentic PE exam course guides.

Cover only the important exam topics from trusted sources to crack the most challenging and career-determining exam you will ever take. Go through all the official resources like NCEES® exam reference handbooks to complement your quick notes.

Investing your time and efforts in seemingly negligible aspects creates a compound effect, and in the end, you waste a lot of your time and energy. Don’t forget to highlight and bookmark the critical exam topics, pages, and paragraphs. It will help you quickly find the required topic or page.

If you use a PDF format for your exam reference book or study guide, you can bookmark a page in your PDF file using Adobe Acrobat Reader by:

  • Open the PDF document in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Navigate to the page you want to bookmark.
  • Hit the “Bookmark” button in the toolbar (or click the “Insert” menu, then click the “Bookmark.” option from the drop-down menu)
  • Your bookmark will be marked on the said page.
  • Add a title to the bookmark in its “Name” field.

You can also add a bookmark to a particular page location by dragging the bookmark icon to the required location. And To create a nested bookmark (bookmark within a bookmark), select an existing bookmark and click the “New Bookmark” button. The steps may vary depending on the Adobe Acrobat version you are using.

Don’t forget to maintain a directory or indexing of your bookmark in a separate diary that reflects the bookmark reference assigned against each topic. It will further help you navigate through the various bookmarks you created.

4. Revisions of All the Study Materials

Revision helps further strengthen your PE exam preparation. Cross-verify all your learning and knowledge by at least five or six different study materials and go through them one by one until you can answer all the questions perfectly without having to look at your notes. This way, when exam day comes around, you’ll be well-prepared to score high.

The perfect revision strategy is to test your preparation by attempting as many sample papers and mock exams as possible. Appearing in different PE practice exams will help you gain the confidence you need to mark success in the exam. The PE Power preparation course offered by Study for FE involves computer-based practice exam questions to give you a real-time simulation of actual PE exams.


Overall, the key to pass PE exam without studying too long and cramming the entire course content is creating an efficient study plan, focusing on the essential PE exam study material, and seeking help from the expert. It will help you make the most of your study time and increase your chances of success in your PE exam.

Connect with Study for FE for dedicated guidance and learn more about the PE exam aspects. Read our separate guide to learn more about how difficult is the PE exam to pass.

Wasim Asghar – P.E, P.ENG, M.ENG

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.