You’ve spent the last few months behind a stack of books studying and preparing for the pe exam! Want some last minute advice for things you can do to make sure you pass the mechanical pe exam the first time? Here they are.
Take it easy
During high school I ran cross country. To this day I can still remember our coach yelling out “relax and accelerate!”. When you’re running, if you’re not relaxed your body will tend to tense up and restrict your movement. Your chest becomes tight, limiting your breath, your stride becomes shorter slowing you down, you get cramps in muscles you never knew existed and basically your body just shuts down. Our coach knew that if we were relaxed, we would perform better during the race. The same thing applies to taking the PE. You gotta relax.
One of the main things that prevents people from passing the PE exam the first time is nerves. Everyone going into the PE exam has spent months preparing (if you haven’t spent a decent amount of time studying then, ok, nerves probably aren’t the main factor in you passing). Everyone in that room taking the exam has spent multiple years out in industry working. They’re all bright people. But they all might not do well under pressure.
If you go into the exam with a relaxed attitude, ready to take the exam with a clear mind and not cluttered with a bunch of “what ifs” you’re well on your way to passing. People who go into the exam with thoughts of “what if I didn’t study the correct material” or “what if I should have brought in different books” or “what if I don’t pass this exam” are just knocking themselves down.
I can’t stress this enough. Relax and focus.
Scan the test before you scantron
Ok, you’re relaxed. The test proctors have handed out the test booklets and you begin. The first thing you should do is go through the entire test booklet (only the section-morning or afternoon you’re on). What you’re looking for here is those easy “gimme” questions on the tests. You’re looking for all those “plug and chug” questions that you immediately know how to answer. Work these problems first. Lock in your answers to these questions to ensure you get those easy points. Not only will this help you boost your score but it will boost your confidence which will help you with the previous point: relaxing.
Keep your answers organized
This point is directly linked to the previous one. Make sure when you bubble in your answers on the scantron that you are answering the correct number! You will be skipping problems, going forward and backward in your test booklet. Keep track of what problem you’re working on and what answer number you’re filling in.
Guessing is fine
There are no penalties for wrong answers on this exam. There is no reason at the end of each section that you should leave any questions blank. The test proctor will be giving you a running tally of time at the end of the test. Once there is about one minute left you should be filling in answers to any blank questions that are left. Now, ideally you would go over any unanswered questions before this last minute of the exam. If you can, try to eliminate one or two of the presented answers leaving you better odds when guessing. A 50% chance at guessing will be much more benefitial than a 25% chance.
Four hours sitting in one place (on a hard surface) is tiring. If you’re not physically comfortable, your ability to focus on the exam will be lowered. Don’t be afraid to take 30 seconds and stretch at your seat. Roll your head around and stay loose. Look up and stare at a point far off to give your eyes a break. During both the morning and afternoon sessions I got up for bathroom breaks. The five minutes I spent walking were a welcomed break from the sitting. Staying loose will help you stay focused on the exam.
Don’t eat out
The final bit of advice I’d like to give to you is bring your own lunch. While you will have a decent amount of time during your lunch break you don’t want to be out searching for lunch. Last thing you want is to be late for the second half of the exam because your lunch took longer than you thought. Go out to eat for dinner after the test is done. You’ll have plenty of time to order food then.
That’s it! There is your exam day advice. Now go out and pass that mechanical PE exam the first time!