Best PE Exam Prep Course 2024 – Which One Should You Pick?

PE is arguably one of the hardest exams, and only around 60% of the students can pass during their first attempt. But this should not be a reason for you to worry because, with adequate preparation from different courses that include thorough study materials, you can easily ace the exam!

So, which one should you opt for? Here’s our in-depth review of the best prep courses so you can choose the one that suits your needs.

This list has been been composed after interviewing several successful PE candidates and tutors from various backgrounds.

Prep Courses for PE Exam

The following are our top picks of the best PE prep courses:

1. School of PE

The School of PE  is one of the popular provider of review courses for engineering licensure exams. The first on the list is the School of PE, which offers extensive study materials including live classes, practice problems, course handouts and notes, detailed textbooks, and so much more. 

Our Top Pick
School of PE
8/10Our Score
  • Experienced Instructors: The instructors are often licensed professionals with significant experience in their respective fields, which can provide students with valuable insights and practical knowledge.
  • Comprehensive Course Materials: They provide extensive course materials, including video lessons, lecture notes, practice problems, and reference materials designed to cover all topics tested on the exam.
  • Structured Learning: Courses are structured to provide a comprehensive review over a schedule that leads up to the exam date, helping students to manage their study time effectively.
  • Live and On-Demand Classes: School of PE offers both live online classes and on-demand sessions, catering to different learning styles and schedules.
  • Focus on Problem-Solving: The courses emphasize problem-solving techniques and strategies that are crucial for the PE exam.
  • Practice Exams: The program includes practice exams that simulate the actual PE exam with realistic practice questions, which can help students become familiar with the format and timing of the test.
  • Free Repeat Policy: They offer a guarantee that allows students who do not pass their exam to retake the course for free within a certain timeframe.
  • Cost: The courses can be expensive, which might be prohibitive for some candidates, especially those who are self-funding their preparation.
  • One-Size-Fits-All Approach: While the courses are structured and comprehensive, some students might find that the one-size-fits-all approach does not cater to their specific learning needs or style.
  • Pacing: The pace of the course might be too fast or too slow for some students, which can affect their engagement and retention of the material.
  • Overwhelming Amount of Material: The breadth and depth of materials provided can sometimes be overwhelming, which might lead to information overload for some students.
  • Access to Resources Post-Course: Once the course ends, access to resources and materials may be limited or come with an additional cost, which can be a con for those who prefer ongoing access for extended study.

If you think receiving a premium course at a reasonable rate will do you good, then the School of PE is the best choice for you. They offer a well-designed curriculum, numerous practice works, practice problems followed by detailed explanations, simulated exams, and lecture handouts that are well written.

The high-quality practice materials, extra materials, and organized lesson plans are the main reasons why numerous students choose this course. In addition to all of these advantages, their coursework is reliable and looks premium, much like PPI2Pass, which is regarded as the industry standard.

Why Students Choose School of PE?

  • Accessible lectures

After every lecture, the content will be recorded before becoming available within 24-48 hours. Thereafter, you can watch them  frequently until the exam day. The videos are also mobile-friendly

  • An organized curriculum

School of PE includes a streamlined program to make learning efficient. Their curriculum flows naturally while their subject matter is organized into sequential lessons to simplify things. Overall, it is ideal for students who prefer using an orderly course as their subject matter is covered in a methodical and logical manner.

  • Includes multiple study resources

One good thing about preparing with the School of PE is that you will never run out of study resources. These resources consist of discussion forums, a quiz generator, refresher notes, calculator usage tips, and more.

The lecture handouts are filled with summarized topics that go up to 30-50 pages. These handouts are heavily detailed with bullet-pointed notes and illustrations for visual learners. 

In addition, the calculator training will allow you to understand how to effectively operate your calculator during exams. As a result, you can calculate any complex equation rapidly.

Why we picked it as #1?

As a reviewer who has experienced different exam prep options, I can say that the School of PE stands out for several reasons. Here’s why I think it has an edge over other review courses:

First off, the instructors at School of PE are top-notch. I found that they didn’t just teach the material; they provided insider tips on the exam itself. For example, in the Civil PE course, one instructor highlighted common pitfalls in the Transportation section, which directly helped me avoid making those same mistakes.

Course structure is another big plus. With School of PE, the review is methodically paced to cover all exam topics thoroughly. This was evident in the way the Environmental PE review was divided, allowing for deep dives into complex subjects like water treatment processes, which can be glossed over in less structured programs.

The practice problems and exams closely mimic the actual PE exam format. When I sat for my PE exam, I felt a sense of déjà vu because the practice sessions with School of PE were so reflective of the real deal. The problems were not just similar in difficulty but also in the way they were worded and presented.

School of PE’s reference materials are another standout feature. They’re not just comprehensive; they’re organized in a way that makes them incredibly easy to use during the exam. I remember flipping through the provided notes during my Electrical PE exam and finding exactly what I needed quickly, which saved precious time.

School of PE’s free repeat policy shows immense confidence in their prep program – and rightly so. Knowing I could retake the course at no cost took the pressure off. While thankfully I passed my PE exam on the first attempt, a friend benefited from repeating and felt it was a major advantage.

The accessibility of School of PE’s online platform was also game-changing for me. I could study anywhere, anytime – huge when traveling for work while prepping for the Chemical PE exam. Reviewing lectures from my hotel room kept me on track.

In my experience, no other PE prep course matches School of PE’s combination of comprehensive materials, expert instruction, and flexible, student-centered delivery. The program is clearly designed for student success. From the free repeats to the on-demand accessibility, School of PE gives you the tools and support needed to pass the PE exam.

2. PPI2Pass PE Prep

PPI2Pass is one of the most famous prep courses for aspiring engineers. To be fair, the platform has been operating for nearly 5 decades and always offers high-quality practice materials. Preparing for the exam using this platform allows students to feel confident about sitting for the real thing.

Firstly, PPI2Pass uses premium stellar reference manuals among other print study materials, and you will probably find other PE prep courses using this platform’s content as their written materials. 

Secondly, PPI2Pass applies various study techniques in its curriculum to help students understand specific topics. These techniques include robust lectures, on-demand videos, and live classes. It also has experienced instructors that guide the students and lead them in the right direction. 

Deciding if ppi2pass is worth the price tag isn’t straightforward. The robust Learning Hub and customizable study plans are impressive features you won’t find elsewhere. However, the complexity and cost may be overkill for many PE exam candidates.

My take is that ppi2pass shines most as a reference library, not as a full prep course. The $2500+ price tag is hard to justify compared to more affordable options like School of PE that can deliver efficient, focused PE exam prep.

I don’t want to completely dismiss ppi2pass – they undoubtedly have strengths. For some learning styles, the in-depth courses could be the perfect fit and worth the premium price. But for most, School of PE matches or exceeds the prep experience at a fraction of the cost.

The bottom line in my book: Use ppi2pass for their unparalleled reference materials, but look to School of PE or lower-priced providers for your main exam review course. Get the best of both worlds for your study needs and budget. Test out ppi2pass’s free trial to decide if the lavish course is truly worth it for you before purchasing. With smart mixing and matching, you can optimize your study plan without overspending.

Pros Cons
  • Thorough Preparation: Bridges knowledge gaps from college education and elevates understanding to a professional level.
  • Comprehensive Study Materials: PPI2Pass provides extensive, high-quality print materials  featuring easy-to-understand explanations and well-organized content, although the volume of material (over 1000 pages) might be overwhelming for some.
  • Effective Live Classes: The platform offers well-structured live classes with experienced instructors and interactive tools like a chat function and a virtual whiteboard, enhancing the learning experience and comprehension of complex subjects.
  • Expert Instructors: Access to highly experienced and approachable instructors who have taken the PE exam themselves.
  • Structured Learning Environment: The program mimics a rigorous academic course with homework, graded assignments, and accountability.
  • Supportive Community and Flexibility: It includes a flexible schedule for study times and a community feature for ongoing interaction with instructors, facilitating personalized support and the opportunity to reinforce weak areas outside of scheduled class times.
  • Civil Engineering Reference Manual (CERM): Comprehensive reference material that is intricately tied to the course content, enhancing study effectiveness.
  • Extensive Practice Problems: Offers a vast array of practice problems, including a quiz generator, NCEES practice exam, and additional full practice exams, totaling approximately 800-900 problems.
  • Updated for CBT Format: Continuously revises course materials to align with the current closed-book, computer-based PE exam format.
  • Personal Connection: Opportunities to connect with instructors outside the virtual classroom for personalized guidance. Instructors and resources are accessible for additional support, aiding in the overall learning process.
  • Discipline and Rigor: The program’s format encourages a high level of discipline, reflecting real-world engineering practices and responsibilities.
  • Alignment with CERM: The CERM is not just a study aid but serves as a backbone to the PPI2Pass course structure, ensuring consistency and comprehensiveness in preparation.
  • Complex Practice Problems: The practice problems may be excessively complicated compared to what is needed for the PE exam, potentially leading to inefficient study time. Solutions to practice problems can be intricate, adding to the difficulty and potential confusion during preparation.
  • Time-Consuming: The practice problems often exceed the average 6-minute time limit per question on the PE exam, which could misalign with the time management skills necessary for the test.
  • Cost: PPI2Pass’s main course is expensive, costing over $2,000, which is substantially higher than some competing prep courses. It is advisable to test out PPI2Pass’s materials through the $59 weekly learning hub subscription before committing to the full course

3. Civil Engineering Academy PE Prep

What We Like?

  • Affordable Comprehensive Preparation: Civil Engineering Academy’s Ultimate PE Review Course stands out for its affordability, offering 10 well-structured video modules that align perfectly with the NCEES PE Exam specifications, ensuring a thorough preparation without breaking the bank.
  • Practice-Oriented Approach: With over 200 practice problems available in PDF with detailed video solutions, candidates can hone their problem-solving skills, and with the inclusion of 2 Civil PE breadth exams and 5 depth exams, the course facilitates a realistic exam practice experience. Isaac, the founder of CEA, offers video practice problems that are particularly effective in clarifying challenging topics. He employs the Civil Reference Manual for cross-referencing equations, ensuring students learn efficient problem-solving techniques.
  • User-Friendly and High-Quality Learning Interface: CEA’s use of a high-quality platform ensures seamless navigation through its extensive array of study materials, including 10 modules of video content and practice problems with detailed explanations.
  • Expert Instruction and Advanced Content: The instructors at CEA are experienced professionals providing high-level instruction on every topic. The course content includes advanced equations, theory, and comprehensive notes, with instructors guiding students through complex practice problems. The video practice problems that CEA offers are guaranteed to help you understand any tough topic. Isaac, who is the founder of the course, approaches every problem effectively by using the Civil Reference Manual to cross-reference equations and come up with efficient solutions.
  • Focused Content with Experienced Guidance: With CEA, you’ll receive everything necessary for a well-rounded exam preparation, including the expertise of well-trained instructors who assist with understanding difficult areas and applying knowledge to practice problems. The content covered will include advanced equations, theory, and notes, and thereafter your instructor will help you solve the practice problems
  • Considerations for Live-Class Enthusiasts: While CEA provides a robust preparation platform, it’s important to note that it focuses exclusively on PE Civil and does not offer live classes, which might be a consideration for those who prefer real-time instruction.
  • Collaborative Learning and Support: Purchasing the course provides access to a private group for interactive learning and support, amplifying the benefits of community-driven success in a user-friendly online environment hosted on Teachable.

The Civil Engineering Academy PE Review Course is like having a personal trainer for the PE exam. Just as a trainer creates customized workout plans, tracks progress, and offers encouragement along the way, this course provides everything you need to go from PE exam amateur to pro. The course is your PE pocket coach – anytime you’re stuck, it’s there to provide expert explanations until concepts click. Hundreds of practice problems teach you how to nail questions the right way. Video solutions diagnose weaknesses so you can double down on trouble spots for a strong finish.

While you could try preparing solo, this course builds a whole training team around you for motivation. Connect with fellow exam candidates online for camaraderie and insights. Practice exams simulate test-day conditions so you’re ready for game time.

In the end, it’s not just about passing the big test – it’s feeling completely prepared through smart, structured training. PE exam “lifters” who’ve used this course enter test day energized and exit confident in their performance. Invest in the Civil Engineering Academy program to become the strongest version of yourself for the PE exam. With the right training, there’s no plateau you can’t conquer.

Having said that, CEA is ideal for students who prefer learning on their own and later solving practice problems from the platform.

Pros Cons
  • Cost-Effectiveness: At around $400, Civil Engineering Academy offers an affordable alternative to popular courses like School of PE and PPI2Pass, which can exceed $1,000, while still maintaining a high pass rate among its students.
  • Abundant Quality Practice Problems: The course provides around 300 practice problems, including two volumes of breadth exams, a depth exam for each civil discipline, and additional individual problems, all accompanied by video solutions. These problems are praised for closely resembling actual PE exam questions.
  • Simplicity and Accessibility: The course material is straightforward and not overly complex, ensuring that students study efficiently without wasting time on unnecessarily difficult content. The course is also designed for easy access, streamlining the learning process.
  • Personalized Support: Isaac and his team offer a high level of personal assistance and are readily available to help, providing a level of support and camaraderie not commonly found in other PE review courses.
  • Up-to-Date with Exam Format Changes: The course content is continuously updated to align with the recent shift from pencil-and-paper to computer-based PE exams, addressing the new challenges and ensuring students are well-prepared for the current exam format.

  • No Free Course Repeat: Unlike some competitors, such as School of PE, CEA does not offer a free course retake if you fail the PE exam. Nevertheless, the more accessible price point mitigates this, and the option for 12-month access can cover multiple exam attempts.
  • Lack of Live Instruction: Students who thrive on the structure and real-time interaction provided by live classes may find the absence of such offerings a challenge with Civil Engineering Academy. The course is self-paced and may require learners to be more proactive in managing their study schedules.
  • Digital-Only Text Materials: Civil Engineering Academy delivers its coursework exclusively in digital format. For those who prefer the tangibility and ease of annotation that comes with physical textbooks, this could be a limitation.

4. Excel Test Prep PE

Excel Test Prep is like the underground indie band of PE exam prep – not as widely known but with devoted fans who swear by their courses.

The instructors here take you beyond just reviewing concepts to mastering the specific thought processes needed to pass the PE exam. Live classes deliver insider tips and tricks you won’t find in textbooks. Sure, the 7-8 hour Sunday sessions feel marathon-long, but the laser-focused teaching keeps you engaged in the mile-20 wall.

At times their whiteboards look like calculus exploded on them, making key points hard to decipher. Yet their manuals provide clarity, with exam-aimed insights you won’t get from other prep material rehashes.

While more flashy, well-known courses might distract you with theoretical minutiae, Excel Test Prep constantly reinforces the practical skills vital for exam day. Their goal is to transform how you think and problem-solve under pressure.

Excel Test Prep is like an old-school private tutor – esoteric at times but brilliant if you stick with their methods. They strip away the fluff and shape how you mentally attack problems. It’s a cerebral boot camp guaranteed to have you nerd-shredding come test time.

Why Students Choose Excel Test PE?

Includes streamlined classes that stick to the exam

Rather than using concepts or theories to teach, Excel normally uses tutoring to help students nail the exam. As a result, their students are able to solve particular questions, which enables them to gain their licenses. In addition, Excel also focuses on study materials, lessons, and practice materials for their exam problems, and are all high-quality to help learners prepare effectively.

Pros Cons

  • Live Classes with A+ Instructors: Thorough, engaging instruction from knowledgeable teachers, which is essential for maintaining focus during the long 7-8 hour weekend sessions.
  • Adequate for Certain Depth Sections: It’s particularly useful if you’re taking Construction or Transportation depth sections due to the course’s targeted content for these areas.
  • Quality Study Material: The review manual alone is comprehensive and might be sufficient for those who are disciplined in self-study.
  • Time-Saving Strategy: The course effectively narrows down content, which can save significant study time. For self-motivated learners, the materials provided could be all that’s needed, avoiding the need for full course enrollment.
  • Their practice questions are not as simulated as those from other courses.
  • Practice problems are not realistic.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for a PE test?

Preparing for the PE (Principles and Practice of Engineering) exam can be a significant undertaking, and strategies may vary depending on individual learning styles. Here’s a comprehensive approach based on the experiences shared by students who have successfully passed the exam:

  • Determine Study Hours: Aim for consistent, daily study sessions. About 2-3 hours per day on weekdays after work, coupled with additional hours on weekends, seems to be effective. This should start approximately 3 months before the exam date.
  • Set a Study Schedule: Break down study time into manageable blocks. If you experience diminishing returns after long study periods, consider splitting study sessions into two parts to maintain focus and efficiency.
  • Practice Intensively: The last two months leading up to the exam should be heavily focused on practice. Solving full-length practice exams multiple times can reinforce knowledge and test-taking skills. It’s suggested to solve at least 7 different full-length practice tests, going through each one 3 times for thorough familiarity with question formats and content.
  • Simulate Exam Conditions: A couple of weeks before the exam, dedicate a full day to taking a practice test from start to finish, such as the official NCEES practice exam. This helps in time management and understanding exam endurance.
  • Review Weak Areas: Use the final weeks before the exam to review incorrect or skipped questions on practice tests. Focus on understanding the concepts behind these questions to strengthen weaker areas.
  • Embrace the CBT Format: Computer-Based Testing (CBT) can actually be more convenient since it eliminates the need to carry multiple books and notes into the exam. Familiarize yourself with the CBT interface and available reference materials to reduce anxiety and optimize the test-taking experience.

Is a PE prep class worth it?

A PE prep class can be worth it if you prefer structured guidance, expert instruction, and the accountability that comes with a formal study environment. However, it may not be necessary if you’re disciplined in self-study and have access to good study materials.

How much does a PE Prep Course Cost?

 On average, most students opt for a prep course that  costs around $1,500. In case you want to know the cost difference and other features of the courses highlighted above, then here’s a comparison table.

School of PE  PPI2Pass Civil Engineering Academy  Excel Test Prep 
Price $1,690 $2,595 $697 $1,899
Video Instruction 96 hours 72 hours 150+ lessons 72 hours
Live Classes Hours 96 72 hours None 72 hours
Practice Questions  1,000+ 900 500+ 700+
Content Access Period Until exam date Until the date of the exam 6 months Until the date of your exam 
Books Digital and hardcopy  Hardcopy and digital Digital  Digital 

Which PE Prep course is the best?

The type of PE prep course you need will depend on your schedule, budget, and study needs. When it comes to your study needs, you need to go for a course that tutors according to the way you learn best. It is also important to choose a course that falls under your budget. You can do this by looking for:

  • Self-paced courses, which allow you to buy study materials and go through them whenever you please. Platforms that offer this are the least expensive.
  • The average price is for courses that have live online where students learn through online classes from remote instructors.
  • The most expensive choices are courses that give live in-person courses where students go to a physical location to study in a traditional classroom.

How long should one study for the PE exam?

The most recommended time is 120 hours of study, but this will also be based on the type of student you are. It can also be based on the kind of discipline you are studying as well as when you are planning to do your PE exam. It is advised to use premium study materials that will allow you to understand certain topics effectively and rapidly, thereby reducing the number of hours you need to study.


There’s nothing more satisfying than adequately preparing for your exam since it allows you to be confident when doing the actual thing. However, it is essential to go for a course that will suit your study needs, budget, as well as your daily schedule.


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