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PE Exam Study Tips
Amy Kaleita, PhD, PE
Associate Professor, Land & Water Resources
Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering
Iowa State University
Thanks to …
Dr. Kelly Thorp, PE
Tony Mensing, PE
Dr. Kendall DeJonge, PE
Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural Engineer
In case you need more
• Remember that the exam is a test of minimum
engineering competency
• You can answer most of the questions
• Some because you know the material
• Some because you have good quantitative skills
• Some because you have good judgment
Reasons you might get
this question right:
You know pond design.
You read the question and
understand most of the
You look up “sediment
delivery ratio” and then it
How on earth do I start studying?
• Review the list of topic areas
• Ask colleagues and former instructors about themes you’re
not sure of.
• If your expertise were a house, consider the topics
• Minor touch up or cosmetic work is needed
• Significant renovation is needed
• A whole new addition or gut job is needed
• Buy the calculator
• Gather your references
• What you already have
• Things you can borrow
• What you should buy
References: Two main schools of
1. There is no limit to the references allowed, so
bring any and all possible references, just in case.
2. More references may just overwhelm you, so
only bring the ones you are familiar with & that
you used during studying
References we used
Amy (2013)
2008 ASABE Standards
Soil & Water
Principles of Process
Fundamentals of
Electricity for Ag
Shigley’s Mech Engr
CE PE Reference Manual
Engineering Principles
of Ag Machines
Light Ag & Industrial
Fluid Mechanics
National Engr.
Handbook Ch.4 Soils
Ag Waste Management
Handbook (excerpts)
Tony (2012)
Transport Processes
MWPS-30 Sprinker
Irrigation Systems
Grain handling textbook
MWPS-28 Farm
Buildings Wiring
2004 ASAE Standards
Design Hydrology &
Sedimentology for Small
MWPS-1 Structures &
Environment Handbook
Soil & Water
Engineering Field
Handbook Ch. 2
Kelly (2010)
Engineering Principles of Agricultural Machines
Pocket Ref (for units conversions)
Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
2009 ASABE standards
NRCS Soil and Water Engrg Field Handbook
Civil Engineering PE Exam Ref. Manual
Principles of Process Engineering - Henderson
Applied Hydrology – Chow
Mechanics of Materials – Hibbeler
NRCS Ag Waste Management Field Handbook
Fundamentals of Electricity in Agriculture
Irrigation System Design – Cuenca
Engineering Economic Analysis - Newnan
Mechanical Measurements – Beckwith
Min. Design Loads for Bldgs …
Shigley's Mech Engr Design
Hydrology and Hydraulic Systems - Gupta
Mathematical Statistics – Miller
Engine and Tractor Power - Goering
NDS Design Values for Wood Construction
Handbook of Hydraulics - Brater
Introduction to Soil Physics - Hillel
Fluid Power Circuits – Cundiff
MWPS-Structures and Environment Handbook
Design of Wood Structures - Breyer
Agricultural Wiring Handbook
Environment Control for Animals and Plants
Transport Processes– Geankopolis
FAO-56 crop evapotranspiration - Allen
Kendall (2009)
2005 ASAE Standards
Civil Engineering PE
Reference Manual
Engineering Principles
of Ag Machines
Soil and Water
Engineering (Schwab)
Hydrology & Hydraulics
Principles of Process
Fundamentals of Elec.
For Ag (Gustafson)
Min Design Loads for
Bldgs (Hoffman)
Design & Op of Farm
Irrigation Systems
Ag Waste Mgmt Field
Reference Highlights
• PocketRef
• ASABE Standards
Advice on references
• Bring them to the test in a wheeled suitcase
• References with a good index are WAY better than
those with a poor index
• Be prepared to work in both unit systems
The purpose of studying
• Get your mind back to a place where some of those
topics are familiar.
• Get to know your references.
• Remind yourself that you know and can do many
• Review core material.
• Learn some new things.
• Make a good set of notes.
Where to get study resources
• ASABE Webinars
• YouTube
• ASABE PEI Sample exam
Tips for test day
• Read all the test day material beforehand – site
instructions, etc.
• Dress in layers
• Relax or don’t relax
• Don’t spend too much time on one problem
• Don’t write off problems – try to at least eliminate
crazy answers
• Be awesome

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