It's that time of year to find someone who is taking the PE Exam and give them a hug. Or don't, because that's kind of unprofessional, but do be very empathetic.
It's always clear from my end that there are so many people who are spending lots of time preparing for the big day on October 26th.
Interest Way Up
Thanks in large part to word of mouth from those who had purchased the PE Prep Guide and Weekly Exam series in past years and the use of the guide in the 2018 SFPE Online Course, I've seen a major uptick in interest this year.
As an estimate from the overall participation in last year's exam, roughly 2/3rds of all examinees this year will walk into the exam room with the 2018 Edition of the Prep Guide. That's very encouraging and I thank you all who have promoted the book and continue to give feedback to help make it better for others.
I'm shipping copies daily with even more in inventory, so if you're looking to get a copy you can still get one today.
Big Impact with Weekly Exam
This year was the first summer I've been able to use data from last year's users to refine and improve the questions. It's been a major improvement over last year and I am glad to continue to get positive feedback and interest. The Leaderboard posted weekly on the Daily page shows these all-stars at work. I think each year the folks studying seem to get better and better in their preparation and this year is no exception.
We've had some requests for even more problems (above the 300 in the weekly exams and the on-demand series), so I've just opened 4-hour and 8-hour exams that mixes old problems from weeks 1-18 to test yourself again. If you're a Weekly Exam user you can see those here.
Checklist of Resources
Occasionally around this time of year I hear from a few people that don't know about some of the available prep materials. Here's a short list to make sure you're taking advantage of everything available.
1. A list of all Fire Protection PE Exam materials I know
2. Join the free private Facebook group with many great discussions and questions about the exam
3. Daily PE Exam Problems (over 90 to date)
4. PE Prep Guide and Weekly Exam Series, with Errata
Last Exam Tips
If you have a copy of the Prep Guide you already know there's quite a bit of detail on exam advice passed down through the years included in the book.
For this summer I'd just like to say to remember that no matter how hard you've prepped, there will be questions that seem to come completely out of left field, are over-emphasized in the exam, or are worded poorly. Not only do some of these questions not even end up graded, but remember that everyone else taking the exam will have a similar experiences. All you can do is your best and forget the rest!
SFPE Releases 2018 Required References
This week the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) released the required references for this fall's Principles of Engineering (PE) Exam. Interestingly enough, NFPA 72 is back on the list of required references after being removed for the 2017 exam.
Changes to Weights of Topics for 201
One other important update from last year's exam is the weighting of problems overall. SFPE has adjusted the number of questions dedicated to each topic, which has been a point of focus to modernize the exam for SFPE's Professional Qualifications Committee.
The 2018 Fire Protection PE Exam incorporates changes in topic weighting to better match industry expectations.
Thoughts on Adjusted Exam Weighting
If you plan to take the exam this year, what does this mean? Not much in the big-picture. The bulk of the content is still very closely related to what was in the exam before. The weighting of the questions isn't a firm barrier but more of a loose goal for each year's exam anyways.
I believe the most noticeable difference might be the number of special hazard questions, which has been reduced by half to now make up only 5% of the exam.
Fire Protection Remains 3rd Toughest Exam for First-Timers
Of 24 different PE Exam disciplines, Fire Protection remains one of the most difficult for first-time test takers to pass.
Why is this? Primarily, it's because the Fire Protection PE Exam covers such a variety of topics (active systems, smoke control, fire dynamics fundamentals, and life safety) that any one individual is unlikely to have depth in. It can be easy to underestimate the exam when taking it for the first time.
Pass Rate for Repeat Examinees Improves
If there's reason for hope, the pass rate for repeat-test examinees was the highest in 2017 that it's been in recent years, at 48%. The interest in obtaining a Fire Protection PE has also grown, up to 266 examiness marking a 23% growth in just two years.
Weekly Exam Series Returning
The best source for extra problems and practice is also returning this summer. The Weekly Exam Series incorporates 20 weeks of 10-question, 1-hour mini exams that simulate the pace and difficulty of the actual exam. If you don't pass with this tool you'll get it free the following year.
I'm excited to add additional practice to the Weekly Exam Series this year - for no additional cost, you'll be able to take unlimited 1-hour mini exams on-demand. These mini exams are only limited by the total bank of questions, but will offer flexibility and simply far more opportunity to practice questions than available before. This new feature begins in July.
See more about the Weekly Exam Series here.
After having a difficult experience taking the PE Exam several years ago with a lack of great resources, I decided to do something about it and begin providing resources that created a better experience for examinees.
See all the resources (good and bad) I've found on the PE Tools page and free daily practice on the Daily page.
If you haven't felt that tinge of anxiousness in the air, then you probably aren't spending time near someone taking the 2017 PE Exam.
This Friday over 200 professionals throughout the world will sit for the eight-hour Fire Protection P.E. Exam. It's a recognized mark of competency and for those taking the exam, a major milestone in his or her career.
In May of this year we published the 2017 MeyerFire PE Prep Guide, which introduced over 100 new questions, additional tips and references, and major revisions to the 2016 Guide. It was nothing short of a monstrous effort to compile the new 376-page volume. In addition, in June we launched a 20-week Weekly Exam Series in an effort to provide more practice while simulating actual exam conditions. This was joined by our continued free Daily PE Problems throughout the summer.
While this year was a big step up in involvement, it also was a very positive experience. We have had probably our most involved group of test takers to date, both in the number of questions posed, comments on the daily problems, and lively discussions in the PE Prep Facebook Group. A handful of last year's examinees provided real-time feedback in the Facebook discussions and a couple helped us compile new daily problems for this year.
There have been some learning curves on my end that cropped up this summer - namely needing better editing on my part as we had (in my opinion) too many errata updates to the 376-page guide. We will be incorporating all of those updates in the 2018 Guide. Another improvement I'm wanting for 2018 is to open up my availability late in the fall (September & October) better one-on-one help. I'll be exploring ways to better share and discuss content between now and next summer in that regard.
This summer I have again been impressed by how hard and thorough so many test takers are in their preparation. We've had some of the most in-depth content discussions around prep material of any summer to date. It seems as though the more problems and content we're able to distribute, the more discussion and depth everyone is able to soak up. It's certainly a good thing from a learning perspective.
For those taking the exam this week, remember that each year there's always some subject that appears completely out of nowhere. Just remember that those are just as surprising to everyone else taking the exam, and, some of those questions may not even be scored but rather trial questions for future exams. Do your best and forget the rest.
For those not taking the exam but know someone that is, give him or her a hug. Or don't, because that creeps people out - but do encourage beforehand and help celebrate with them afterwards. It's a big effort and for many an anxious time, but can be just as rewarding as well.
We are very excited to announce that the MeyerFire 2017 PE Prep Guide is now available in our Store or on Amazon!
The 2017 Edition improves upon the highly-rated 2016 PE Prep Guide with all internal references updated to the 2017 PE Exam specifications (including the 5th Edition of the SFPE Handbooks), has our top exam-passing strategies based on interviews of past examinees, and has one-hundred additional peer-reviewed practice problems alongside the full-length practice exam.
Read more about the 2017 PE Prep Guide including feedback received from buyers of the 2016 Edition.
On Wednesday, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (organization who handles PE Exam development and test writing), released the required references and editions for the 2017 P.E. Exam.
Items in question since last year's exam included whether the 4th Edition of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering and 2014 Edition of NFPA 25 would still be utilized. Both were removed, as well as NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code) altogether. Here's the required references for the 2017 Fire Protection PE Exam:
NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 20th Edition (Amazon, NFPA)
NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 2016 Edition (Amazon, Free Access)
NFPA 25: Inspection, Testing, & Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, 2017 Edition (Amazon | Free Access)
NFPA 30: Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, 2015 Edition (Amazon | Free Access)
NFPA 101: Life Safety Code, 2015 Edition (Amazon | Free Access)
SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 5th Edition (Amazon)
In recent years developers of the Fire Protection PE Exam have stressed the importance of moving the exam away from code and standard recitation and instead towards fundamentals of the fire protection engineering as outlined primarily in the NFPA and SFPE Handbooks. That appears to certainly be the case in this year's update with the removal of NFPA 72 as part of the requirement materials.
Here at MeyerFire we're keeping busy with just a month left before our launch of the 2017 MeyerFire PE Prep Guide. The new edition of the guide will match all of the required references for this year's exam with a full-length peer-reviewed practice exam and 100 additional practice questions. You can Pre-Order the Guide now for our best price and for arrival before the end of May.
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Joseph Meyer, PE, is a Fire Protection Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri. See bio on About page.