School of PE Review [June 2022]: Is It Worth the Cost?


School of PE Review

In May of 2019, I got an email from NCEES notifying me that my PE Exam results were available. I excitedly logged in to find a red “Fail” message next to the exam. It felt devastating. I had to pass this test and like, immediately. How was I going to do it? After asking some friends, I found School of PE. Knowing how much I needed to pass this test, I dropped $1400 for the review course. About six months later I got the same email but this time when I logged into my NCEES account I found a beautiful green “Pass” notification when I logged into my NCEES account! Today, I am a licensed Professional Engineer because I took the School of PE review course.

School of PE is helpful, easy to use, and 100% worth the cost. It gave me way more confidence when studying for and taking the PE exam and was just what I needed to pass. Its high pass rates (around 90%), and the fact that you can retake it if you fail make it really low risk for the price.

School of PE is a review course that will help you make a plan to study, prepare for, and pass the PE exam no matter what version of it you are taking. There are dozens of options, but generally, it costs $1,390 for 4 months of access to the Ondemand video lecture course and $1,990 for the live online + 6 month Ondemand access. Other options are available for various prices in between. You can purchase just their Practice Portal Pro for $390.

It includes 96 hours of video lectures, hundreds of practice problems including practice exams, and printable notes that you can mark up and use as you work problems. Roughly 9 out of 10 engineers who take the School of PE course pass the PE exam on their first try. And if you don’t pass, they let you retake the course again for free!

Now I know with a price tag like that you have a lot of questions, I did too before I bought it. How good is the School of PE review course? Is it worth the cost? What does it feel like to drop that kind of money on the course? Will you pass the test if you buy the School of PE review course? 

My goal with this School of PE review is to answer all of the questions you may have about this course and give you my experience with it so you can feel confident whether or not it’s right for you.

Watch the video version of my review here:

And here’s a handy table of contents so you can get to anywhere in this review right away:

Quick Summary of My School of PE Review (FAQ)

Will I pass if I take School of PE? 

While it’s not guaranteed, your chances are significantly higher that you’ll pass with School of PE. On School of PE’s website you can see national average PE exam pass rates compared to the pass rates for those who take a School of PE review course by going to your specific PE exam and selecting “Pass Rates” on the left panel. For all PE disciplines, the combined average pass rate is about 67%. With School of PE, that average pass rate jumps to about 88%! Note that these pass rates are for those who complete the entire School of PE course.

How much does the School of PE review course cost? 

For the Civil PE that I took, the Ondemand recorded video lecture option usually costs $1,390. School of PE also offers a Live Online option, which is usually $1,990. You can also purchase just the practice portal alone for $390. There are a lot of bundling options as well, and prices vary depending on how you want to do that.

The fee for your specific exam may be slightly different but will be around the same as what I’ve shown here. Go to the School of PE homepage and pick your course on the orange menu to find the cost of your exam.

Can I pay over time?

Yes, you can! Financing options are available through Affirm. You can do 3, 6, or 12-month financing plans. Interest rates vary slightly but are around 15% from what I saw, although it may vary depending on your credit score. 

What’s really cool is that you can see the total interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan and it’s not that much! From what I saw it’s around $40 for the 3-month plan, $70 for the 6-month plan, and $125 for the 12-month plan, although this may be different for you.

Is there a discount? 

Yes! If you register early for the Live Online classes you can receive up to a $300 discount. There is a $200 discount for the first 15 students to register, and an additional $100 off if you register early enough.

Is the School of PE review course worth the money? 

Absolutely! I mean, think about it. Upping your chances of passing from as low as 63% to almost 90% is a huge deal. I’ve heard multiple engineers tell me that School of PE was their ticket to finally passing the PE exam after many attempts! It certainly was for me! And now I make twice as much as I did before, so it’s already paid itself off and then some.

One of the biggest differences I noticed after taking School of PE was how confident I was while taking the exam. That alone was worth the price of the course. Plus, even if I had failed, I had the assurance that I could re-take the course again!

Who is School of PE for? 

It’s for aspiring professional engineers who take the PE exam seriously and know the level of preparation they must put in to pass this difficult test. Those who are unsure if they can pass on their own preparation or knowledge will find the most benefit from it. And if you’re like me and failed the PE on your first attempt and absolutely have to pass right away, this is perfect for you.

What is the School of PE schedule?

The schedule for your School of PE review course will depend on what discipline you choose and whether you choose the online or in-person option. After selecting your discipline from the menu bar mentioned above, you can select “Online Schedule” to see details for your specific exam. The “Ondemand” is available anytime, but does expire after 4, 6, or 12 months depending on which option you purchased.

What are the pros and cons of buying a School of PE review course?

If you’re like me, you are probably nervous about the idea of dropping over $1,000 on a PE review course. That’s totally understandable! Let’s go over some of the pros of School of PE.

Pros of purchasing School of PE:

1. You will significantly increase your chances of passing. As mentioned before, taking the School of PE review course will help you pass the PE. You’re upping your chances to almost 90% in most cases! That along with the promise that if you fail you can retake the course was enough reason for me to jump right into School of PE. 

2. You will feel 1000% more confident while taking the PE exam. The first time I took the PE I was nervous about how I did. And rightly so, I failed! It was a horrible feeling. But I distinctly remember meeting my wife for lunch on my second attempt (after taking School of PE) and telling her how easy the morning portion was! I seriously flew through every problem and felt like a champ. The afternoon was still hard, but I still felt way more confident than I had the first time! 

3. The cost of the course will motivate you to study. Are you really committed to becoming a PE? What does it mean to you to get licensed and have that stamp? Showing yourself that you’re actually determined to pass by investing in your own education inspires you. Plus that makes it easier when you get to the middle of studying and it’s hard to continue. This was definitely my experience after dropping over a thousand dollars on School of PE. I was nervous about spending that much, but I had to pass and once I invested in myself I knew that I really had to get my money’s worth out of it!

4. You don’t have to wonder what to study. With a PE review course, your study is targeted to what’s on the test. You don’t have to guess what you should or shouldn’t study, or make your own study plan. That’s a huge deal with as much material as this test covers. This made a huge difference when I was studying the second time, it was very clear what I needed to work on. And with the new Study Hub it’ll be even easier to target your weaknesses so nothing surprises you on test day!

5. It cuts the work you have to do to study in half. This goes along with the last point, that you don’t have to create a study plan. For me, I spent at least half of my time on my first attempt just trying to find out what to study. With School of PE, I had no problem sitting down to watch a video lecture and take notes on the review slides I printed.

Cons of purchasing School of PE:

1. The cost is high (but honestly, it’s worth it). This is probably the most significant con of a PE review course and really the only one that I think would keep anybody from taking one. But as I mentioned above, the high cost of investing in yourself will motivate you to study. The new financing options also make it very affordable. Getting your license will allow you to recoup the costs fairly quickly. I ran the numbers and for how things changed after I passed the PE and got my license, I recouped my costs within just a couple of months! Oh and don’t forget about that free repeat if you don’t pass on your first attempt after taking the course!

2. You have to sit through video lectures. For me, this wasn’t a problem as I was used to sitting in a classroom after so many years of school. But for some it’s hard to sit down and listen to someone talk for so long. It can get boring. But this is where the high price can actually be a benefit! Anytime you’re getting tired of studying, just remember how much you’re paying for the course. It’ll be just the motivation you need to stick with it! I remember this thought helped me keep going on the many times that I got exhausted when I was in the middle of a long day of studying.

3. Some of the instruction isn’t as efficient. There were some slides of the review course that I took that I was thinking “I already know this stuff,” or “I’m not getting this the way they’re explaining it.” I had to do a little digging to really understand the concept. That being said, they are committed to providing quality instruction, and you can always give feedback. I never felt that I wasn’t getting my money’s worth, though. I also didn’t ever feel like I wasn’t prepared enough in any section. It was only a little thing here and there but never anything that made me worried that I wouldn’t pass!

What’s it like to use the School of PE review course?

By now I’m sure you’re still wondering whether or not you want to drop this much money on the School of PE review course. Again, that’s completely normal and you don’t need to worry about jumping into anything just yet. Let me share with you a little of what you’ll see if you do decide to purchase to ease your mind a little. 

When you purchase the School of PE review course you get access to the following:

  • 96 hours of lecture and practice videos, based on NCEES exam specifications. It’s broken into two parts, including reviewing the material, and working practice problems.
  • Over 1,300 pages of reference material, including all video lecture slides. I have at least 6 binders completely full of notes and it made the test almost easy, at least the morning portion! While you can no longer take your own notes into the PE Exam, these are still the best notes and practice problems I ever came across while studying for the PE.
  • Discussion Forum access to talk with others taking the course. I didn’t use this much but it was nice to know that I wasn’t in this alone! And if I ever did have a question about something I knew I could get an answer quickly.
  • Hundreds of practice problems from both the study portal and the review material. I just checked my tracking sheet and I worked around 500 practice problems during my time with School of PE! It was no wonder I felt so confident when I was actually taking the test!
  • The new Study Hub, which you can use to create your own personalized study plan, make notes on lecture videos, quiz yourself, and download the app to study wherever you want!

It’s all super easy to access and use. I really liked that it let me track what reference materials I had printed. It sounds like they’ve made even more updates since I took the course (the Study Hub wasn’t around when I took it), so it’s probably even better now!

If you’re still wondering what it’s like, you can get a free Ondemand preview to try it out for yourself! Just click here to go to School of PE’s website, click on your type of test, and select “Ondemand Course” on the left panel. The very top option will let you register for the Ondemand Course Preview!

I did that before I took the PE the first time and honestly, it just doesn’t do the School of PE justice. It does give you a good feel for what it’s like to take the course, I will give it that. But it’s nowhere near the level of what you’ll get by paying for and taking an actual School of PE review course. 

How much is the School of PE review course?

I chose to take the Civil PE preparation course so the following information is specific for Civil PE only. To find prices for your specific PE exam, click here to go to the School of PE website, select your exam, then select your discipline on the blue panel on the left, then select “About Fee.” Most disciplines are the same format and within a few hundred dollars of what I describe below, but check your specific exam to be sure.

You can see the breakdown of what every option includes on their website if you select an exam then click on “Compare Plans” on the left panel. 

There are three options for taking a School of PE review course: 

Ondemand 

This will cost you $1,390, $1,590, or $1,690 for 4, 6, or 12 months of access respectively. This allows you to watch the recorded lectures from previous live online sessions. You can start watching the lectures immediately once you purchase the course. With this you also get the following:

  • 96 Hours of lecture videos
  • Personalized Study Plan
  • Flash Cards
  • Questions to instructor
  • Discussion forum
  • Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device
  • Breadth Hardcover book (shipping fee)
  • Breadth eBook
  • Depth Preview Edition Paperback (shipping fee)
  • Depth Preview Edition eBook
  • Subject-Matter Experts
  • Study Hub
  • Practice Portal Pro- Breadth and Depth
  • Risk-Free Enrollment
  • Free Repeat Registration
  • Refresher Notes
  • Workshop Problems
  • Basic Engineering Math
  • Calculator Training

With the Ondemand version you don’t get instructor-led live videos, live instructor support, or early registration discounts.

Live OnSITE

This costs $1,690 for refresher classes and workshops, although the first 15 people who purchase it before a certain date get $300 off. For this option you go to a physical location to take the course, like you would for a college class. The following benefits come with the Live Onsite version:

  • 96 hours of lecture videos
  • 96 hours of live instructor-led lectures
  • Live Instructor Support
  • Flash Cards
  • Questions to the instructor
  • Discussion Forum
  • Early Registration Discounts
  • Depth Preview Edition eBook
  • Subject-Matter Experts
  • Study Hub
  • Practice Portal Pro- Breadth and Depth
  • Risk-Free Enrollment
  • Free Repeat Registration
  • Refresher Notes
  • Workshop Problems
  • Basic Engineering Math
  • Calculator Training

The Live Onsite version doesn’t give you a personalized study plan, the option to start at any time, Breadth hardcover, eBook, or the Preview Edition Paperback books.

Live OnLINE

$1,790 is the cost of the live online option but the first 15 who purchase before a certain date get $300 off of that. For this option, the classes meet virtually at specified times, but you get the same instruction as if you were doing the onsite option. Here are the benefits of this version:

  • 96 Hours of Lecture Videos, including instructor-Led Live Videos
  • Live Instructor Support
  • Personalized Study Plan
  • Flash Cards
  • Questions to instructor
  • Discussion forum
  • Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device
  • Breadth Hardcover book (shipping fee)
  • Breadth eBook
  • Depth Preview Edition Paperback (shipping fee)
  • Depth Preview Edition eBook
  • Subject-Matter Experts
  • Study Hub
  • Practice Portal Pro- Breadth and Depth
  • Risk-Free Enrollment
  • Free Repeat Registration
  • Refresher Notes
  • Workshop Problems
  • Basic Engineering Math
  • Calculator Training

The Live online version is the only option that gives you all of the benefits.

All three options give you 96 hours of lectures, over 1,300 pages of downloadable lecture slides and reference material, access to the discussion forum, and tons of practice problems. There are also options to bundle the live online and ondemand versions. You can see all of these for the Civil PE here.

So is the School of PE review course worth it?

From my personal experience, the School of PE is 100% worth the cost. The level of confidence you get from everything it gives you is worth it on its own. I loved having the ability to study anytime and anywhere and the path to studying for and passing the PE exam laid out right before me. There was no guessing what I should have been studying, it was just a matter of going to the next video lecture, working the problems, and organizing my study materials. 

If you’re on the fence and wondering if you should take the leap, I highly recommend you do it. And if you’re worried about the cost, just finance it and pay over time! Don’t forget that almost 9 out of 10 engineers who take School of PE pass the PE exam on their first try. And if you’re at all worried about it, remember you get the free repeat if you take the course and do fail!

The PE exam isn’t easy if you’re going it alone. It takes a lot of work. But if you take a review course like School of PE, it’s going to cut down that work a ton, and it will even make the test a lot more manageable for you! 

I passed the PE exam because I took School of PE, and I’m confident that you can pass much faster if you take it too. 

Don’t take my word for it though, click here to check out School of PE yourself and get started!

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links which means I get a commission if you purchase after clicking on the link. This is at no extra cost to you and is a nice way of thanking me for this review and supporting a fellow engineer.

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