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Helping Chemical Engineers

Prepare for the PE Exam on the

Path to Registration
Professor N. S. Nandagopal, P.E.
Associate Professor, UH-downtown
AIChE New Orleans Section Meeting
November 11, 2003

Requirements for Registration As
a Professional Engineer (P.E)
Mandated by State Laws Can Vary From State
to State.
General Requirements:
Engineering Degree From EAC Accredited
Passing the 8-hour Fundamentals of
Engineering (FE, Formerly Known As EIT) Exam
Requirements for Registration As
a Professional Engineer (P.E.)
Four Years of Experience Acceptable to the State
Engineering Board
Passing the 8-hour Principles and Practice in
Engineering (PE) Exam.
Additional requirements as mandated by the state

Issues Concerning Registration
Educational Requirements: Foreign Degrees,
Technology Degrees
Experience Requirements: Sales, Computer
Science, Administration, Management
FE Exam: General Vs. Discipline Specific
PE Exam: Related Areas Environmental,
Control Systems

Importance of Registration As a
Improves public perception of the engineering profession.
Adds legitimacy to practice of engineering profession.
Promotes stature of engineering practice similar to board
certification of doctors, lawyers and accountants.
Improves quality of engineering practice and promotes
competence and professionalism.
Career rewards.
PE Exam in Chemical
Engineering: Exam Topics
Mass/Energy Balances and
Thermodynamics (24%)
Fluid Mechanics (17%)
Heat Transfer (16%)
Mass Transfer (13%)
Kinetics (11%)
Plant Design and Operations (19%)

Exam Format and Specifications
Number of questions (80).
Morning (40 questions) and
afternoon (40 questions) sessions.
Exam sub-topics.

Criteria for Passing
NCEES emphasizes Minimum Competency.
Definition of Minimum Competency.
No fixed percentage for passing scores.
Key issue is to ensure the competency of the
Raw score and standard score.

Exam Preparation Resources
NCEES Publications.
Undergraduate texts.
Published prep materials.
Review classes.

Exam Preparation (Continued)
The Chemical Passing Zone.
Strategy Evenly paced review.
Emphasis on fundamental concepts
rather than in-depth research of

Exam Preparation (continued)
Commitment of time.
Diagnostic test.
Review weak areas first.

Exam Related Publications
NCEES PE Chemical Engineering Sample
Questions & Solutions
Chemical Engineering Practice PE Exams ,
Professor Nandagopal, Professional
Publications, Inc.
Chemical Engineering Review Manual,
Professional Publications, Inc.

Taking the Exam: Strategy
Build confidence first.
Attempt easy/familiar topics first.
Keep track of units check for
Keep track of bubbling of answer
choices !

Exam Strategy (continued)
Avoid referring as far as possible.
Quick recall of fundamental concepts
and equations.
Watch time spent on each question.
Approximately 6 minutes per question.
Avoid panic, stay calm.

What You Will Not See in the
Stereotypical, textbook problems.
Essay questions.
Plug and chug type of problems.

What to Expect in the Exam
Complex problem statements (but simple
Questions that really test comprehension of
fundamental principles.
Extra data, detractors designed to confuse you.
Back of envelope type of analysis and

What to Expect in the Exam
Questions that require use of engineering
judgment in practical situations
Detractors (answer choices) that
anticipate typical mistakes made by test

What to Expect in the Exam
Morning session Mass & Energy
Balances, Thermodynamics, Fluids, Heat
Afternoon session Mass Transfer,
Kinetics, Plant Design

Helping Chemical Engineers
Prepare for the Exam
Over 15 years experience in teaching review
Developed and Created Chemical Engineering
PE Review Class at UH-Downtown.
Witnessed many changes in the exam format
over the years.

Details on Review Classes format issues and
other challenges.
Typical format of review class: M&EB (6 hrs),
Fluids (6 hrs), HT&HE (6 hrs), Thermo (6 hrs),
Mass Transfer (6 hrs), Kinetics (3 hrs), Plant
Design (3 hrs): Total 36 hours

Generating original problems and solutions.
Keeping up with changes in exam format.
Writing the Practice Exam book.

Advisor Chemical Engineering Zone
Creating original problems and solutions
Format of CHEPZ.
Q & A forum challenges.

Role of the Chemical
Engineering Profession
Actively promote and encourage
Links / Information on Registration
Process on local and national
AIChE web sites.

Role of the Chemical
Engineering Profession
Communicate the importance of
Meetings / Seminars to discuss the
registration process.

Role of the Chemical
Engineering Profession
Registered PE s guide and mentor
prospective candidates.
Provide financial and other incentives for
acquiring a PE license.
The registration process requires significant
investment of time and effort.
The chemical engineering profession must
do more to encourage and promote
The goal is to have a well qualified
competent work force that can compete
effectively in the global market.

Useful Websites
National Council of Examiners for
Engineering and Surveying:
National Society of Professional Engineers

Useful Websites
Test Masters Educational Services offers
Fe and PE Review Courses
Professional Publications, Inc.