How DTC Mechanical Courses Work


First, here’s a quick summary of how our courses Work.

The DTC Mechanical PE Exam Reviews are comprehensive, structured and flexible online courses that give you:

  • THE BEST CHANCE OF PASSING THE EXAM: Our reviews teach you the fundamentals and a selected method of solving problems that can be applied quickly across classes of problems. And you will practice Dr. Tom’s method of accessing information in the Reference Handbook and his problem-solving strategy for maximizing your ability to solve problems quickly during the exam.
  • STRUCTURE AND FOCUS: Our reviews feature weekly study plans with targeted day-by-day assignments to focus your review on the topics and problems needed to pass the exam and to help you avoid wasting time studying things you don’t really need.
  • A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW: Each review contains a complete review for the PE Exam with video lessons and numerous problems to work.
  • FLEXIBILITY: The courses are easy to access online anytime and can be done at your pace and on your schedule.
  • THE TIME YOU NEED FOR YOUR REVIEW: we offer each review for a full year, so you can review at a pace that works for you.

“The only reason I passed the Mechanical TFS PE exam was because of Dr. Toms Classroom. I struggled through college, barely passing despite giving it everything I had. This was a huge confidence boost. Thank you.”

 – Greg Deutscher, PE, Mechanical engineer,  VHV, Winooski, Vermont

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.

To learn more about how our CBT Mechanical PE Exam Reviews work, click on the topics below.


I based my original online 20-Week Mechanical Engineering PE Exam Review on my many years of experience preparing mechanical engineers for the PE Exam. With the help of my DTC team, I developed the tried and true structure and method that we offered online for many years. Now everything has changed. In 2020, the NCEES converted the exam to a CBT or Computer-Based-Testing Format. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of the CBT Exam, and I can give you my reasons why, but it’s here and it’s what you going to be dealing with. Such a different exam experience requires a completely new approach to your exam preparation. With the same care we put into developing our original courses, DTC spent two years developing our brand new CBT Mechanical Exam Reviews to specifically prepare you to be successful with the CBT exam experience.

I understand in the years you’re out of college, you’re going to lose your proficiency in the exam topics. We help you get back up to speed on the areas that you need to pass the exam. It requires a tremendous time commitment and effort on your part, but if you follow the plan that we have laid out for you, you will have everything you need to succeed. This is not about recovering everything you learned. This is about passing the exam. Just keep moving with Dr. Tom. You will get there.

Everyone at Dr. Tom’s Classroom works hard to make your learning experience the best it can be, and the DTC team and I will be with you every step of the way. Facing this exam can be a lot less scary if you’ve got a team supporting you all the way. Successfully passing the PE Exam is a defining moment in an engineer’s life. We want to share that moment and we will do our part to make your time with Dr. Tom’s Classroom an excellent experience.

Thank you for considering Dr. Tom’s Classroom review. I hope to see you in the course!

– Dr. Tom

To be successful on the exam, you need to be familiar with the right problems, learn how to recognize them, and have a method to quickly locate the information you need on exam day.

The Dr. Tom Method teaches the fundamentals of each topic 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 provides you with a system to become intimately familiar with NCEES Reference Handbook you will have available as your only resource during the exam. Where the Reference Handbook does not have the information you need, you will need to have that knowledge committed to memory, and our courses are designed to help cement these concepts in your mind for easy recall. They give you a problem-solving strategy that 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 the ability to quickly access the information you need in the NCEES Handbook. And 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. 

“I had taken the PE twice before, and my biggest concern was problem identification and time management. I knew that these two strategies are critical to passing. It was apparent early on in Dr. Tom’s 20-Week Review course that problem identification was one of the main focuses. With the way the course topics were divided, I was able to identify problem types significantly faster than before. I believe this was the main reason I passed.” 

– William Allred, PE, LEED AP BD+C, RS&H, Merritt Island, Florida

Knowing what to not to review can be just as important as knowing what to review, and our reviews give you a day by day, week by week plan that targets what you need to know to pass the exam. Weekly assignments include video lessons and problems, assigned NCEES problems, challenge problems, and assessment quizzes – all focused on preparing you for exam problems and exam problems only.

This is not about your job, your proficiency in solving real-world engineering challenges or even your complete knowledge of your engineering field. This is about passing the PE Exam and nothing else. There are lots of ways to solve just about any engineering problem. We teach you a way that will help you most efficiently solve problems on the exam. With our reviews, you can confidently focus your energy on learning a proven method, and not on trying to decide what to study. 

“The PE exam is not a measure of your academic or professional intuitiveness. It’s simply a test where a bunch of engineers decide to sit and make up tests based solely on their own experiences. So there’s no distinct way to prep or study for it. I thank Dr. Tom a lot because somehow he’s been able to decode this myth. My advice is to pay very close attention to every word of his – regardless of what you’ve been taught in college or at work. The goal isn’t to help you with your profession. The goal is to pass the PE test.”  

– Eche, PE, Richmond, VA

Our online reviews are based on a 20-week schedule. Each week you have a five-day study plan that gives you detailed daily assignments and a schedule to follow. Weekly assignments include video lessons, lots of assigned problems with solutions videos, and weekly assessment quizzes with exam-type problems. Handout downloads are provided for all lessons and quizzes. All this structure allows you to keep your review focused on material and not on having to decide what and when you should study. We also provide a Reference Handbook Companion to help you familiarize yourself with the NCEES Handbook so you can quickly identify the equations you need to solve problems during the exam.

Machine Design & Materials Exam Review – After a course introduction, you have 6 weeks covering basic mechanical engineering topics (Statics, Dynamics and Solid Mechanics), then you will have 1 week on Material Properties, 8 weeks on Machine Design and 5 weeks on Machine Dynamics. All topics are taught by Dr. Tom himself.

Thermal & Fluids Systems Exam Review – After a course introduction, you have 4 weeks covering Fluid Mechanics, 9 Weeks on Thermodynamics, 1 week on Refrigeration, 3 weeks on HVAC, and 3 weeks on Heat Transfer. All topics are taught by Dr. Tom himself.

“If you work the program, watch the lectures, do the problems, and use the participant forum… will pass the exam.  This structure, organization, and commitment are why this program is so successful.” 

– Neil Martin, PE (LTC (Retired – US Army)), Veolia Water Technologies, Naperville, Illinois

Dr. Tom developed his 20-Week Reviews to provide you with the maximum exposure to the material needed to pass the exam in the most advantageous time frame to promote comprehension as you review and retention of the material on exam day. But at DTC, we understand that the timeframe doesn’t work for everyone. So for each exam date, we offer our reviews from up to a year in advance to two months before the exam.

You have access to all the course materials you have purchased for one full year from the day you begin your review. You can start your review immediately and work at your own pace to complete your review and take the exam on your schedule. Keep in mind that you will lose access to the course when your purchase period expires, so make sure to pace your review to be completed before the course expires. 

If you want to work through your review in the recommended 20-Week schedule, the ideal time to begin your review is 24 weeks, or roughly 6 months, before you plan to take the exam.

“The best part about the 20-Week Review is that you develop a weekly schedule of what you need to work on. Material is not crammed into a 3 or 4-week review like some other PE courses. With the 20-Week Review, you gradually rebuild and strengthen what you learned in college so you can take on the PE exam with confidence.” 

– Michael Noll, PE, Delmar Systems in Houston, TX

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.

You have access to the course materials for a full year from the time you sign up. If you start immediately, you could work slightly fewer hours each week and still get through everything before you take the exam. If you start later or get behind, however, you will need to work more hours per week to finish the review before you lose access to the course.

For example:

  • If you start 12 months before the exam, you need to spend an average of 7-10 hours per week.
  • If you start 6 months before the exam, you need to spend an average of 15-20 hours per week. (RECOMMENDED!)
  • If you start 3 months before the exam, you need to spend an average of 30-40 hours per week.

It’s a lot of material and a lot of work, but if you put in the time and follow the plan, you will be prepared for the exam.

“Dr. Tom guided us with a cookbook method of organizing the info. He defined for us the number of hours needed for prep. I felt that Dr. Tom saw everything from the test taker’s point of view. It was very helpful, but Dr. Tom can’t do it all. If a student wants to pass on the first try, they need to put in the hours of quality prep time that Dr. Tom recommends.”

– Patrick P. PE, 25 yrs out of college

We offer Mechanical PE Exam Reviews for the following Mechanical areas:

Those taking the HVAC & Refrigeration Exam can benefit from taking our Thermal & Fluids Review and studying more advanced HVAC topics on their own.

We strongly recommend that you watch Dr. Tom’s Mechanical Exam Strategy Videos before choosing which exam you are going to take, especially if you are considering the Machine Design & Materials Exam or HVAC & Refrigeration Exam.

“I wasn’t sure which exam to take, and Dr. Tom covers that well.”

Adam Jones, PE

You need to make a strategic decision in choosing which exam to take, you need to prepare strategically, and you need to have a strategic approach to solving problems on the exam itself. The keyword here is “strategy.” Dr. Tom shares his thoughts on each of these important strategies in his Exam Strategy videos.

We strongly recommend that you watch Dr. Tom’s Mechanical Exam Strategy Videos before choosing which exam you are going to take, especially if you are considering the Machine Design & Materials Exam or HVAC & Refrigeration Exam.

In these videos, Dr. Tom outlines the steps he has found can lead to success on the exam and shares several key pieces of information that everyone needs to know to be successful in the Mechanical PE Exam.

“The exam strategies provided by Dr. Tom coupled with the Exam Day Companion kept me focused during the exam, allowing me to scoop up as much “low hanging fruit” as I could on my way to passing.”

 Chris, PE, Toms River, New Jersey

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
  • 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.

“Dr. Tom’s 20-Week review was immensely helpful towards my success on the PE exam. The online lessons were the especially helpful because they explained concepts that can be confusing in other resources or difficult to review on your own. The lessons are easy to follow, and instructors’ teaching style gets right to the point.”

– Angela McNeely, PE, Overland Park, KS

Dr. Tom Brown, PE, or Dr. Tom as he is affectionately known, teaches all of our Mechanical PE Exam Reviews. He received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1970. He earned a Masters Degree in Engineering Mechanics from North Carolina State University in 1973. Dr. Tom holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, also earned at NC State. Today, Dr. Tom is the founder and driving force behind Dr. Tom’s Classroom where he pursues his passion of teaching engineers how to prepare for and pass the PE exam.

“I truly enjoyed Dr. Tom’s online presence and encouragement.  His approach built my confidence steadily from beginning to end.  He is a gifted and enthusiastic teacher who comes alongside you with empathy and humor.“

– Andrew Miller, PE

You will have access to the DTC Mechanical Engineering Participant Forum. This forum is where you will ask Dr. Tom questions about the course materials. You can also search through questions from previous participants to see if your question has already been asked and answered.

Dr. Tom wants to have an active and productive interaction with participants in the Forum. He is dedicated to answering your questions as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

“I found the Participant Forum to be a useful tool to post questions and see other students’ questions and concerns throughout the 20 weeks. All of the questions I posted were answered within twenty four hours.”

– Chris F, PE – Westinghouse Electric Company – Irmo, SC

In addition to the online video lessons you will watch online, you will receive course materials that you will need to download and print. Here is a complete list of course materials:

  • Dr. Tom’s Reference Handbook Companion (RHC) – Quick reference that helps you become intimately familiar with NCEES Handbook you will have available as your only resource during the exam.
  • Study Plans – Give you detailed, daily assignments for all 20 study weeks.
  • Lesson Handouts – Each video lesson has a handout that contains the slides from the lesson and the lesson problem statements.
  • Lesson Videos – Each video lesson teaches you concepts and provides problem examples.
  • Lesson Problem Videos – Solutions for lesson problems.
  • Challenge Problem Handouts – Problem Statements.
  • Lesson Problem Videos – Solutions for challenge problems.
  • Assessment Quiz – problem statements for assessment problems.
  • Assessment Problem Handouts – Solutions for assessment problems.

“I can say with absolute certainty that Dr. Tom’s review course was the key to my success. The organized approach allowed me to focus on learning the content for the exam instead of wasting time trying to figure those out on my own.

Focusing on solving examples, and shoring up trouble areas before progressing to new lessons was the only way I could effectively learn the material. Doing, not merely watching is the key for me.”

-Brent V., PE, Houston, Texas

The only reference that you will be allowed to use during the exam is the NCEES PE Mechanical Reference Handbook. You can download it free from the NCEES website in PDF format. You’ll need to create an NCEES account to access it.

Required Texts

  • NCEES PE Mechanical: Machine Design & Materials Practice Exam
  • NCEES PE Mechanical Reference Handbook
With each payment option, you receive the same comprehensive review; the only difference is when you pay and the overall cost. You can save $200 if you pay up front for the full course.  You have access to all the course materials you have paid for from the day you purchase them until the day of the exam, so you can start your review immediately and work at your own pace until the exam. Keep in mind that the sooner you start, the more time you will have to complete your review. The ideal time to begin your 20-Week Review is 24 weeks before the exam.
  • Pay Up Front – $750 (Save $200!)
  • Pay-As-You-Go – $950
    • Five Modules for $190 each
We do offer a Military Discount for active military personnel and veterans, and you should always check our Current Promotions page for any other promotions that might be available.  We can also provide Group Discounts to organizations, companies or government entities who would like to purchase courses or offer discounts to their employees or members. “With better than competitive prices, effective teaching ability, and proven results, Dr. Tom’s Classroom is undeniably the best value in PE exam preparation. Thanks Dr. Tom!”  – Andrew Lipetzky, PE, Duke Energy, New Hill, NC

Only for Your Use – When you purchase a DTC exam review course, it is licensed to only you. You agree that you will not share your login, password or use of the course with anyone else.

Time Limit – 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 you have purchased. Your access to the course cannot be extended 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.

Retakes – Dr. Tom’s Classroom offers no free retake of the course. Once you have purchased one of our reviews, however, we are committed supporting your effort to pass the exam as much as we can. So we do offer deeply discounted Retake Prices.

Please review the complete Terms and Conditions for purchasing a Dr. Tom’s Classroom review course.

Dr. Tom’s Classroom offers no free retake of the course. We are 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. 

Once you have purchased one of our reviews, however, we are committed supporting your effort to pass the exam as much as we can. So we do offer deeply discounted Retake Prices.

General Retake Prices (for participants who purchase a complete review and are unable to finish the course or take the exam for any reason):

  • $400 for full 20-Week Review  

Failed Test Retake Prices (for participants who purchase a complete review, take the exam and do not pass):

  • $200 for full 20-Week Review

Please read our Terms and Conditions for full details.

Dr. Tom’s Classroom is proud to support our military and former military civil engineers in their efforts to become Professional Engineers with a 15% Military Discount.

“I passed on my first try – 51 years old, military veteran, and 29 years since I passed the EIT exam. I was getting nowhere trying to prepare on my own. Dr. Tom helped me focus my efforts, cutting out things not likely to impact the test. His approach built my confidence steadily from beginning to end. Even if I hadn’t passed, I was sure that my chances would be good with more effort using Dr. Tom’s approach.”

– Andrew Miller, PE

Delivering courses that are easy to use and have the best quality audio, video, and graphics across multiple platforms and devices is our goal. However, sometimes you may not be sure exactly how something works or there may be a technical issue. Whatever the issue, our support staff will work diligently to identify the problem and work for a solution. Our goal is to keep you learning and on the path to passing the exam.

“I was very impressed with how open his staff were to any questions or problems I had throughout the courses.”

– Amy C., PE, Houston, Texas




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