If there’s one thing that people email asking about more than almost anything else, it’s if they should take a PE exam prep course. And my answer is always the same… it depends.
Seldom does one give another person enough information to truly answer a question. Especially if the person asking has a reason to want one answer over another. Everything usually isn’t as black and white as the yes or no responses that we try to garner from others.
Here’s an example of some other poor questions:
- Will you give me a raise?
- Can I go home early?
- Will you go out with me?
All of these have a perceived outcome that we’re looking to get validated by the other person. But if we haven’t done our homework first, if we haven’t already put in the hard work, then why the hell would that person decide to spend Saturday night alone with you.
Why are you asking the question?
When it comes to the original question, chances are that the person asking has already made up their mind that they need to take a PE exam prep course. But why do they feel like they need to ask me, some stranger who sitting in his underwear somewhere, about my thoughts on them needing to take a course?
I don’t know you.
To find out why, let’s look at one of our other examples.
Say you’re at a bar one night with some of your friends. Across the room, you see a beautiful woman talking and laughing with her friends and your eyes briefly meet. You crack a smile, and briefly she returns it, before turning back to her friends.
In that moment of terror, you’re presented with a dilemma. Do I go say hello? Your mind starts swirling with excitement, and then terror…
What if she rejects me? She’s with all of her friends, I don’t want to interrupt.
But still, you nudge your friend. You motion towards the girl, “hey, you see the blond over there?”
“Yeah, she’s cute.”
“We just made eye contact,” you say sheepishly. “Do you think I should go say something to her?” You want him to tell you no, because if he tells you no then it’s not your decision to not talk to her and there’s no second guessing the decision.
But your friend doesn’t play along. “Absolutely dude, she looks like your type. And she’s looking over here again.”
Now you’ve got to go over there. There’s no chance you can back down now because your friend knew what you wanted him to say, but he said the opposite because it’s what you needed to hear.
Back to our original question though.
How can I possibly give you an answer to your question without a few deep conversations about your desires and fears?
Consider this our deep discussion.
What do you really want?
Maybe if you’re single, you really want a girlfriend. In that case, what you want is to meet a nice person that you can spend some quality time with. Chances are, your friend knows this.
He’s heard you complain for hours upon end that there’s just no way to meet people anymore.
You have tried the online dating thing, but it’s too hard to get someone to commit to a date. You’ve expressed to him that if you just had a chance to meet someone in real life then there’s no way they wouldn’t like you.
So this is your chance, and your friend knows it. Only 50 feet separate you from her, and she really won’t stop looking over at you.
If you’re taking the PE exam for the first time, then you probably are nervous because it’s been a long time since you’ve been in school. Every time you log into Facebook you’ve got 3 more ads starring at you from School of PE and PPI.
Their ads point to the fact that taking a class increases people’s chances at passing the exam.
Now you’re even more nervous. What if you fail? How the hell will you tell your boss, and not just your boss, but your friends at work? They’ll laugh at you forever.
The marketing is working.
Oh wait, I remember this random online guy talking about how you don’t have to study 300 hours to pass the exam. I know, I should ask him.
Hi. I still don’t know you.
But I can help.
So, what’s the right questions?
If you’re still wondering if you should go talk to her, chances are you’ve made it creepy. You can only stand across a room starring at someone for so long before she tells the bartender that you’ve won’t stop molesting her with your eyes. And then you’ve got a couple bouncers walking over to “gently” escort you to the door.
But let’s say you didn’t.
Let’s say you got up the courage to walk over and say something. Do you think the first thing you should blurt out at her is “hey, do you want to go out with me?”
Chances are, this will end in an abrupt no. Some outright laughing from her and her friends, and you sauntering back to your friends with your head held low in shame. So it’s obvious, this isn’t the right question, at least not for right now.
So let’s get back to the basics. “Hi, my name’s Seth, what’s yours?”
When it comes to the question of should you take the PE exam, you again need to go back to the basics. Here’s a few questions to get you started. Let’s take them one at a time.
What do you really want?
I’m guessing, it’s just to pass the PE exam on the first (or maybe second) try. You want to avoid any embarrassment by not passing the exam, and the people who sell the courses make it sound like it’s a great solution.
Maybe it is.
Maybe it isn’t.
Why do you think that taking a PE exam prep course would help?
This answer is likely the same as the one above. Which to me points to a problem.
The people who made the prep courses have got you so brainwashed that you’re starting to see their solution as the only one. But wait, I’ve presented ways to pass without a class before. Maybe they’re an option too.
Do you learn well from lecture style courses?
I didn’t do well in school. I was easily bored, and didn’t learn very well from people standing at the front of the room lecturing to me. God, I almost nodded off just thinking back to Dr. Chatterjee’s class on electromagnetics.
To me, I work much better with hands on problems. Give me an example to work, and the theory behind the solution will be better implanted in my mind.
But maybe that’s just me.
As I wrote about in the Ultimate Guide to Passing the PE Exam, lecture style classes are proven to be one of the worst ways to learn:
Fact is some recent studies have shown that it’s actually one of the least effective ways for students to learn. There’s a bunch of different metrics that they use, but it shows above and beyond that there are two ways that are way more effective for most students.
Is time a factor?
Chances are you’ve got work 40-50 hours a week, then you’ve got to sleep at least 6 hours a night, if you subtract driving time and getting ready for work also… there’s over 100 hours a week dedicated to things you can’t really change.
That gives you about 60+ hours for everything else.
Spending time with that nice girl from the bar, attending happy hour with your friends, and seeing the new M Nyght Shamalan movie before everyone ruins the twist at the end.
Where are you going to get the time to take a PE exam prep course… and then take some practice exams?
Guess having a girlfriend is out of the question.
So what’s my other options?
I’ve spelled out before that the main thing that separates those who pass and fail are their beliefs. And lucky for you, I’ll be opening a course soon designed to give you the mindset needed to pass. This won’t just be helpful for the PE exam, but also for the rest of your career.
If you’ve ever doubted yourself professionally, then I plan to get rid of those fears.
This class will give you a framework to take and pass the PE exam. It’ll cover mindset, resources, how to study, and how much to study.
And all of this is designed to take 10 hours or less a week.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing more about the course, some people it’s helped, and other general tips for passing the PE exam.
Sign-up here to be the first to know when I open the doors for the April class.