FAQs

ABOUT DTC COURSES:

A: 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 dedicated 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 participants’ success.

Always Improving: DTC has developed out online PE Exam courses over the past six years, and with each session, the DTC team makes improvements to make sure that our reviews are the best preparation we can provide.

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. DTC also provides you with a structure for organizing your resources for quick reference during the exam with personalized resource notebooks (PRN) that you will create throughout the course. We also provides an Exam Day Companion to help you quickly identify the equation you need to solve each problem during the exam.

Review Focus: The course material is targeted specifically to material 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.

Dr. Tom’s 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 Dr. Tom’s 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 which will be very familiar to you and easy for you to access in your PRN.

A: You can sign up for the 20-Week Review anytime between 6 months and 3 months before the exam, but the ideal schedule for the 20-Week Review begins at least 23 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, 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, taking more time if you start early or catching up if you get behind.

A: You can sign up for the Extended Review anytime between 12 months and 6 months before the exam, with a suggested schedule for the Extended Review beginning at 10 months before the exam date. This suggested schedule allows you two weeks to review each week of course material, plus 3 weeks of final review before 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, taking more time if you start early or catching up if you start later.

A: You can sign up for the Fast Track Review anytime between 3 months and 1 months before the exam, but the ideal schedule for the Fast Track Review begins at least 13 weeks before the exam date. This suggested schedule allows you one week to review two weeks of course material, plus 3 weeks of final review before 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, taking more time if you start early or catching up if you start later.

A: The course is self-paced, and you have access to all the materials from the day you sign up. So you can get started right away.

A: After you create an account and go to the catalog, you will only see the courses that are currently available. Most likely, if you cannot see a course, it’s because it is not currently available. 12 to 6 months before the exam, you can purchase the Extended Review, 6 to 3 months before the exam, you can purchase the 20-Week Review, and 3-1 month before the exam, you can purchase the Fast Track Review. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know at info at drtomsclassroom.com, and we’ll be happy to help you find what you need.

A: DTC’s 20-Week Review requires about 15-20 hours per week. 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.

A: 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 have access to all the course material from the minute you sign up until the day of the exam. You can work through the review in any order, at your pace and on your schedule. You will need a reliable, broadband internet connection to access the course and play video lessons.

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. 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.

A: There are two types of video presentations for each week. First are the Lessons, which are subject lectures that include problem-type examples. Then we have Challenge Problem presentations, which go over the solutions to multipart problems that you work before viewing the video to help you understand the context of potential exam problems.

A: DTC’s video Lessons are relatively short, averaging 20 minutes. The Challenge Problem 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 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.

A: You have access to all the course materials from the time you sign up until the day of the exam. You can go back a 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.

A: As part of the course, you will receive a lot of material that you will need to download and print, including: Dr. Tom’s Civil Exam Day Companion, study plans, lesson handouts, and problem handouts. Each course also has required texts that you will need to purchase separately.

A: You will have direct access to all the course instructors via a Participant Forum 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.

A: We do not offer a live class 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. And those who did not attend did just as well on the exam. We do offer direct access to all the course instructors via a Participant Forum 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.

A: 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 a Retake Discount of 40% to participants who are unable to finish the course or take the exam for any reason. See Terms and Conditions for full details.

A: We do not offer free retakes or refunds to participants who do not pass the exam. We do offer a Failed Test Retake Discount of 70% to participants who take the exam and do not pass. See Terms and Conditions for full details.

A: 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.

ABOUT CIVIL COURSES:

A: 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.

A:  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.

A: 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.

ABOUT MECHANICAL COURSES:

ABOUT MECHANICAL COURSES:

ABOUT MECHANICAL COURSES:

A: For the both the Machine Design & Materials (MDM) Review and Thermal & Fluids Systems (TFS) Review, you will need to purchase the MERM, the NCEES Practice Exam for your exam (MDM or TFS), and the Six Minute Solutions book for your exam (MDM or TFS).

A: 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.

A: 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 addresses exam choices 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:

A: 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 your permission to take the PE Exam. These requirements can include providing 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 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.

A: The best place to get information about PE Exam and where you can take it internationally is from NCEES at their website: http://ncees.org/audience-landing-pages/international/.

ABOUT ENGINEERING:

A: Unfortunately, due to demands on the DTC instructors’ time, they can only answer questions pertaining to the DTC PE Exam Review courses.