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About DTC Courses

We’re glad that we are one of your possible choices. Here is why we know our courses provide the best preparation.

Dedicated Instructors: The heart of what makes Dr. Tom’s courses different from other exam prep courses is Dr. Tom and his team of dedicated instructors. Dr. Tom has devoted many years to developing and providing the best preparation for the Mechanical and Civil PE Exam. He taught live preps courses for many years before beginning an online course. For Civil Engineering, he has gathered an amazing team of dedicated, bright, young and enthusiastic instructors. They were chosen for their deep understanding of their discipline and their passion for teaching. Our instructors personally answer all questions from participants and are genuinely invested in our participants’ success.

Always Improving: DTC started developing our online PE Exam courses in 2009, and in the years since we have made numerous improvements to our courses. With each session, the DTC team listens to the feedback from our participants and makes adjustments to make sure our reviews are the best preparation we can provide. We also keep a close eye on changes in the NCEES specifications and make whatever changes are needed to make sure our courses are aligned with the current specs. With the conversion of the Mechanical PE Exam to the Computer-Based-Testing format in 2020, we developed a whole new set of courses specifically designed to prepare you for this new and very different exam format.

Review Structure: Beyond the video lessons and handouts provided in the course, DTC courses have study plans that provide you with detailed daily assignments and a schedule to follow. This structure allows you to keep your review focused on material and not on having to decide what and when you should study.

Review Focus: The course material is targeted specifically to problems that will be seen on the exam. If it’s not going to be on the exam, you’re not going to waste time learning it.

The Dr. Tom Method: Dr. Tom’s approach teaches the fundamentals and a selected method of solving problems that can be applied across classes of problems. The goal is to build your knowledge base in a way that can be applied quickly to problems. By following the Dr. Tom Method, you will have fewer equations to become familiar with and you will have less decision making to do during the exam. The Dr. Tom Method also includes his Exam Strategy, which involves identifying “low hanging fruit,” or problems that are familiar and can be solved quickly, to work first, and leaving overly complex or completely unfamiliar problems to attempt only after all others have been answered. You are unlikely to be able to quickly solve a problem that is completely unfamiliar to you, but after a DTC review, you will have a wealth of carefully chosen problems that are likely to be on the exam and that will be very familiar to you.

The course is completely self-paced and available to you 24/7, so you can begin your review immediately after you purchase your course.

All DTC Reviews are based on a 20-Week review schedule plus a two-week final review. Each week requires about 15-20 hours of review, or a total of 350-450 hours. We recommend that you spend 3 to 4 hours a day, 5 days each week, taking a couple of days per week off. Because you have access to the course materials from the time you sign up, if you start sooner, you could work slightly fewer hours each week and still get through everything before the exam. If you start later, however, you will need to work more hours per week to finish the review.

All the assignments of your comprehensive and targeted review are available online 24/7 via your web browser, so you can do your review anywhere, anytime, at your pace and on your schedule. You will need a reliable, broadband internet connection to access the course and play video lessons.

You have access to all the course material for the time period that you have purchased, so you can work through the review in any order, at your pace and on your schedule.

The DTC Online Classroom is easy to use. You simply log in and there you will find a list of all the assignments for your review in the order we recommend that you approach them. Assignments include: instructions to read, handouts to download, video lessons to watch, problems to work, quizzes to take.

To access each assignment, you simply click on it. Once you have completed an assignment, the online classroom marks it as completed automatically to help you keep track of where you are in the course. You have the opportunity to view each video lesson 3 times. This limit is necessary to ensure that only one person is using the course. We have found that the 3 views are sufficient for most participants for most of the lessons. If you need to view a few lessons more than 3 times, we are happy to reset your access to those for you on request.

You will find two types of video presentations for each week. First are the Lesson videos, which are subject lectures that include problem-type examples. Then we have additional Problem Solution videos, which go over the solutions to problems that you work before viewing the video give you practice solving problems and to help you understand the context of potential exam problems.

DTC’s Lesson videos are relatively short, averaging 20 minutes. The Problem Solution videos are shorter, averaging 10 minutes. We recommend that you watch a full video in one sitting to increase your understanding of the topic. Because the lessons are short and you can watch the lessons whenever you like, our participants can be creative to work them into their schedules. We have folks who will do one lesson in the morning before work, one at lunch time, and then the rest in the evening. Whatever works for you.

You have access to all the course material for the time period that you have purchased. You can go back and review items whenever you like. We do limit you to 3 views per video lesson. We do this to protect our courses from being used by more than one person, while only paying for the course once. If you have a few lessons that you need to review more than 3 times, we are happy to allow you additional views for those on request. We have found for the vast majority of our participants that 3 views are sufficient. We receive a handful of requests to reset a few lessons each session.

As part of the course, you will receive a material that you will need to download and print: study plans, lesson handouts, problem handouts, and other material.

Each course also has required texts that you will need to acquire separately. You need to check the Course Details for the course you are taking to find out more about which texts are required.

If you learn by doing practice problems, this course was designed for you. Our instructional philosophy is based on getting you doing lots of problems and interacting with them in very tactile ways. We give you assigned problems from the NCEES Practice Exam, but we also give you weekly challenge problems and assessment problems that we have created ourselves. When you have completed the course, you will be familiar with a wealth of problems and their solutions. We firmly believe that if you do the work outlined in our course, it’s all you need to pass the exam.

You will have direct access to all the course instructors via Participant Forums where you can ask questions about any of the course materials and receive answers from the appropriate instructor. You can also view the questions asked by other participants and see the responses to those.

We do not offer live classes as part of our PE Exam Review courses. We tried those in the past and found that a very small percentage of the participants attended the live class. We also found that those who did not attend did just as well on the exam as those who did. We do offer direct access to all the course instructors via Participant Forums where you can ask questions about any of the course materials and receive answers from the appropriate instructor. You can also view the questions asked by other participants and see the responses to those.

With DTC exam review courses, you are paying for access to a specific course for a set period of time. It is up to you to take advantage of the course materials during the timeframe allowed by your purchase. We unable to extend your access to any course beyond the purchased timeframe. If you would like to continue your review beyond the end of your purchased timeframe, you will need to sign up again for another course. We do offer deeply discounted Retake Prices to participants who are unable to finish the course or take the exam for any reason. See our Terms and Conditions for full details.

We do not offer free retakes or refunds to participants who do not pass the exam. 

We do, however, offer a steeply discounted Failed Test Retake Prices to participants who take the exam and do not pass. See Terms and Conditions for full details.

Our overall pass rate is consistently around 80% for both first time and repeat exam takers. To learn more about what our participants think about our courses, check out some of the many testimonials we have received. [SEE TESTIMONIALS]

ABOUT CIVIL COURSES:

About Civil Courses

Both options contain the same 20-Week Review course material. The only difference is in how you pay for the course and the total price. When you purchase the Pay-As-You-Go Option, you will be able to purchase the course in 6 installments for a total price of $950. If you purchase the full 20-Week Review up front, your cost is only $750, a $200 savings. All the reviews are self-paced, and you have access to all the materials from the day you sign up until the day of the exam for that review. So you can move through the courses at the pace that works for you, but you need to try to keep up with the suggested schedule provided with each time frame to make sure you get through all the material before the exam. If you start sooner, you can work fewer hours each week and still get through everything before the exam. If you start later, however, you will need to work more hours per week to finish the review.

You can sign up for the 20-Week Review anytime between 12 months and 2 months before the exam and begin your review immediately, but the ideal schedule for the 20-Week Review begins at least 24 weeks before the exam date. This suggested schedule allows you one week to review each week of course material, plus 3 weeks of final review before the exam. But the course itself is self-paced, so you can get started right away, and work at your own pace, taking more time if you start early or catching up if you get behind.

For the initial review for the Common AM Exam, you will need to purchase the CERM and the NCEES Practice Exam for the PM Depth Exam you plan to take. Those you should order right away.

Depending on which PM Exam you are taking, there may be additional required and recommended references you will need to acquire for your PM Exam Review. Those references are listed in your course. You will have some time to gather those references while you are reviewing the morning topics, and many of those you may be able to borrow or find at the office.

Before you make your PM Exam choice, we strongly recommend that you watch Dr. Tom’s Civil Exam Strategy – Part 1 Video. Even if you think you know which one you are taking, it may not be the best choice for you. Some exams are easier to prepare for than others and require familiarity with fewer references. And it doesn’t really matter which exam you take, once you pass, you’re a Civil PE.

That is a very good question, especially in light of the fact that the points distribution is the same between the AM and PM sessions. The answer is that in Civil Engineering there is very little cross over between the five areas, so someone working in Geotechnical deals mostly with Geotechnical. Therefore, in preparing to take the PE Exam, it can be very difficult to become proficient in the other four areas, which constitute about 40% of the total points. We believe it takes at least 3 weeks to cover the necessary material that is specified by the NCEES for the Common AM Exam.

 For example, consider Transportation. There are only 3 topics listed in the NCEES specifications for the AM session. However, each of those topics will take a week of intense study to become proficient. This goes for the other four areas as well.

 And realize that within a single area, there are actually 8 weeks of material, 3 weeks for the AM session and 5 weeks for the PM session. So the split is actually 12 weeks for topics not associated with someone’s PM Exam choice and 8 weeks on the material for their choice.

The five Civil PE Exams are scheduled to convert to the year-round Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format starting in 2023. The new CBT format is going to present you with an exam experience that is more daunting and one for which carefully preparing and choosing your exam references will no longer give you an advantage. Our advice, take the Pencil-and-Paper exam before the conversion to CBT.

The most significant consequence of the CBT exam format for examinees of the PE Exam is that no personal reference materials will be allowed into the exam facility. The only reference that will be available to you during the exam is a searchable PDF of the Reference Handbook, sharing half the 24-inch computer screen with the PE Exam itself. The PE Civil Reference Handbook is likely to be hundreds of pages. Think about how that limits your ability to prepare for this exam and what it means to have only one, generic, on-screen reference to help you solve problems during the exam.

To learn more about the consequences of the conversion to CBT, read our Change Is Coming article.

ABOUT MECHANICAL COURSES:

About Mechanical Courses

The three Mechanical PE Exams will be offered in the year-round Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format starting in April of 2020. The new CBT format is going to present you with an exam experience that is very different from the traditional pencil-and-paper format and will require a completely different approach to your preparation.

The most significant difference with the CBT exam format is that no personal reference materials will be allowed into the exam facility. The only reference that will be available to you during the exam is a searchable PDF of the NCEES Reference Handbook, sharing half the 24-inch computer screen with the PE Exam itself. The PE Mechanical Reference Handbook is over 500 pages, with 200 pages needed for Machine Design & Materials topics, 260 pages for Thermal & Fluids Systems, and 385 pages for HVAC & Refrigeration. Let that sink in. Think about how that limits your ability to prepare for this exam and what it means to have only one, generic, on-screen reference to help you solve problems during the exam. 

Dr. Tom and his team have been planning for this conversion for some time, zeroing in on the best approach for preparing for these specific exam conditions. We have been working hard to make sure our courses are designed to give you the best chance to pass the PE Exam in the new CBT Format. Dr. Tom discusses the CBT format and his recommendations on how to best prepare for it in his Mechanical PE Exam Strategy Videos.

Read Dr. Tom’s Change Is Here article to learn more about how the exam experience and preparation will be different from CBT. 

Both options contain the same 20-Week Review course material. The only difference is in how you pay for the course and the total price. When you purchase the Pay-As-You-Go Option, you will be able to purchase the course in 6 installments for a total price of $950. If you purchase the full 20-Week Review upfront, your cost is only $750, a $200 savings. All the reviews are self-paced, and you have access to all the materials for one year from the day you sign up. So you can move through the courses at the pace that works for you, but you need to try to keep up with the suggested schedule provided with each time frame to make sure you get through all the material before the exam. If you start sooner, you can work fewer hours each week and still get through everything before the exam. If you start later, however, you will need to work more hours per week to finish the review.

You can sign up for and start your review anytime, but it is wise to wait to purchase your course until you are committed to beginning your review and have a clear idea of when you plan to take the exam. You should have a set date in mind for your exam, based on the course time frame you select and schedule your exam accordingly.

The ideal schedule for the 20-Week Review begins at least 24 weeks before the exam date. This suggested schedule allows you one week to review each week of course material, plus 3 weeks of final review before you take the exam. But the course itself is self-paced, and you have access to all the materials from the day you sign up. So you can get started right away, and work at your own pace. Just remember that when your six or twelve-month access is up, you will no longer have access to the course, and will need to register for another course if you did not complete your review. We do offer discounted retake prices to our participants.

You will only need two references for your review: the NCEES PE Mechanical Reference Handbook and the NCEES Practice Exam for your exam (MDM or TFS). You can get both of these references from the NCEES website. You can download the handbook for free, and you will need to purchase the Practice Exam from NCEES. Check out our NCEES Information Page for more details.   

Before you make your Exam choice, we strongly recommend that you watch Dr. Tom’s Mechanical Exam Strategy – Part 1 Video. Even if you think you know which one you are taking, it may not be the best choice for you. Some exams are easier to prepare for than others and require familiarity with fewer references. And it doesn’t really matter which exam you take, once you pass, you’re a Mechanical PE.

Regarding the correlation between what we teach and the specifications, Dr. Tom has designed our Mechanical Reviews to teach topics in a logical instructional order, not in the way they are presented in the specifications. He’s helping you build a base of understanding that will help you solve problems quickly, so it may look like it’s not lining up with the specs, but it is. When the new specifications and exam format came out in 2017, we completely reworked our reviews and Dr. Tom has added new material to make sure he covers everything you need to pass the exam. If any specification isn’t taught, it is because he has made the determination that any problems based on that topic are too complex to be solved quickly during the exam, and you’re better off just guessing on those and devoting your time to problems that you can work quickly. Our approach is very strategic. We want to give you the greatest change of succeeding. So, the simple answer is yes, our courses are very carefully aligned to address the exam specifications.

We have a lot of folks who are a little wary of going that direction, but unless you have lots of experience and are actively working in Machine Design, TFS really is the easier exam to prepare for. It has fewer topics to learn and those topics are related to each other, so there is a lot of crossover. The Machine Design & Materials Exam has lots of small, completely unrelated topics, so unless you already have some familiarity with them, it’s a lot more to learn. And Dr. Tom does a great job of teaching Thermal Fluids. If anyone can get you up to speed on TFS for the exam, it’s him.

We do not currently offer an HVAC/Refrigeration-specific Exam Review, but we may still be able to help you with your review. Dr. Tom generally recommends the Thermal/Fluids PM exam for most folks. In his Mechanical PE Exam Strategy – Part I Video, Dr. Tom he addresses exam choice for the PE Exam. He believes the HVAC/Refrigeration exam is only a good choice for someone who is in the ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook daily, and has 3 copies, one each for office, home, and car. If that’s you, then that’s the right exam for you. If not, then Thermal/Fluids is easier to prepare for. 

If HVAC is the right exam for you, we do have a number of folks who take our Thermal/Fluids Review who are taking the HVAC Exam. It covers the Thermal/Fluids fundamentals, which also appear on the HVAC Exam, and the HVAC topics that are also in the Thermal/Fluids specifications. You can also benefit from Dr. Tom’s method of organizing materials and approaching the exam. You would need to review more advanced HVAC material on your own, but your familiarity with the ASHRAE Manual should help you with those topics.

ABOUT THE PE EXAM:

About the PE Exam

Registering for the PE exam is a 2-step process that you need to start as soon as possible.

Step 1: State Board Approval and Registration – Every state has different criteria for giving you permission to take the PE Exam. These requirements can include provided references and documentation that may take considerable time to gather. You should contact your state board to make sure you are getting them everything they need. You can find out how to contact each state board at the NCEES website.

Step 2: NCEES Registration and Exam Choice – You must also register your exam choice with NCEES. For the paper-and-pencil exam, that must be complete by their deadline for each exam date, which is generally a few months before the exam. So you need to make sure your are registered before the deadline.

Paper-and-Pencil Exams are offered on two dates each year in April and October.

CBT Exams are offered year-round.

For the most up-to-date schedule information, consult our NCEES Information Page.

The best place to get the latest information about what you are allowed take into the exam is the NCEES Examinee Guide, which is free to download from NCEES

The new Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format is going to present you with an exam experience that is very different from the traditional pencil-and-paper format and will require a completely different approach to your preparation. 

The most significant difference with the CBT exam format is that no personal reference materials will be allowed into the exam facility. The only reference that will be available to you during the exam is a searchable PDF of the NCEES Reference Handbook, sharing half the 24-inch computer screen with the PE Exam itself. The PE Mechanical Reference Handbook is over 500 pages, with 200 pages needed for Machine Design & Materials topics, 260 pages for Thermal & Fluids Systems, and 385 pages for HVAC & Refrigeration. Let that sink in. Think about how that limits your ability to prepare for this exam and what it means to have only one, generic, on-screen reference to help you solve problems during the exam. 

Dr. Tom and his team have been planning for this conversion for some time, zeroing in on the best approach for preparing for these specific exam conditions. We have been working hard to make sure our courses are designed to give you the best chance to pass the PE Exam in the new CBT Format. 

The Mechanical PE Exams convert to year-round CBT format starting in April 2020. Read Dr. Tom’s Change Is Here article to learn more about how the Mechanical Exam experience and preparation will be different from CBT.

The Civil PE Exams are scheduled to convert to the year-round CBT format in 2023. We recommend that civil engineers take the pencil-and-paper exam before that conversion takes place. To learn more about the consequences of the conversion to CBT, read Dr. Tom’s Change Is Coming article.

The NCEES International Resources Page is the best place to get information for engineers who were educated or who practice outside the United States and who are seeking to become licensed in the United States.

About Computer-Based-Testing

The new Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format is going to present you with an exam experience that is very different from the traditional pencil-and-paper format and will require a completely different approach to your preparation. 

The most significant difference with the CBT exam format is that no personal reference materials will be allowed into the exam facility. The only reference that will be available to you during the exam is a searchable PDF of the NCEES Reference Handbook, sharing half the 24-inch computer screen with the PE Exam itself. The PE Mechanical Reference Handbook is over 500 pages, with 200 pages needed for Machine Design & Materials topics, 260 pages for Thermal & Fluids Systems, and 385 pages for HVAC & Refrigeration. Let that sink in. Think about how that limits your ability to prepare for this exam and what it means to have only one, generic, on-screen reference to help you solve problems during the exam. 

Dr. Tom and his team have been planning for this conversion for some time, zeroing in on the best approach for preparing for these specific exam conditions. We have been working hard to make sure our courses are designed to give you the best chance to pass the PE Exam in the new CBT Format. 

The Mechanical PE Exams convert to year-round CBT format starting in April 2020. Read Dr. Tom’s Change Is Here article to learn more about how the Mechanical Exam experience and preparation will be different from CBT.

The Civil PE Exams are scheduled to convert to the year-round CBT format in 2023. We recommend that civil engineers take the pencil-and-paper exam before that conversion takes place. To learn more about the consequences of the conversion to CBT, read Dr. Tom’s Change Is Coming article.

The three Mechanical PE Exams convert to the year-round Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format in April of 2020. The new CBT format presents you with an exam experience that is very different from the traditional pencil-and-paper format, and it will require a completely different approach to your preparation.

Read Dr. Tom’s Change Is Here article to learn more about how the Mechanical Exam experience and preparation will be different from CBT.

DTC is developing a brand, new courses specifically for the CBT version of Mechanical PE Exam. Check out the Mechanical PE Catalog to find out when those courses will be available. 

The five Civil PE Exams are scheduled to convert to the year-round Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format starting in 2023. The new CBT format is going to present you with an exam experience that is more daunting and one for which carefully preparing and choosing your exam references will no longer give you an advantage. Our advice, take the Pencil-and-Paper exam before the conversion to CBT.

To learn more about the consequences of the conversion to CBT, read our Change Is Coming article.

About Engineering

Unfortunately, due to demands on the DTC instructors’ time, they are not able to answer questions for individuals not enrolled in the DTC CE PE Exam Review courses.

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