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School of PE vs PPI2Pass
We break down the key strengths and weaknesses of each prep package in this comparison of PPI2Pass vs School of PE
No two names are more synonymous with FE prep and PE prep than PPI2Pass and School of PE. Both companies have been around for decades and are by far and away the most trusted resources for study materials. But the question is always the same given their significant similarities: how do you decide between the two? In this detailed guide, we explain the subtle differences between these study packages so you can figure out which course is right for you.
Since this is a lengthy, detailed review, we’ve added helpful jump-to links above for your convenience.
Video Guide: PPI vs School of PE
In the above video, team member John breaks down the subtle differences between School of PE and PPI2Pass, as well as offering thoughts on which prep course we think is better. For more detail, please continue reading.
Before we dive straight in, I just wanted to make clear that I took and reviewed the FE Civil course from both PPI and School of PE, not courses for the other FE disciplines or the PE exam. However, with that said, the materials, tools and structure for the PE exam prep course and other FE disciplines are the exact same.
Essentially, for each company, everything is identical between exams, except for the difference in underlying substantive content, of course. Thus, while I only took the FE Civil course, this analysis today still applies to the other FE disciplines, as well as the PE courses. Just wanted to note that before we dive in.
Program Overview: How Each Course Works
To set the stage for my thoughts, let’s kick this comparison off by doing a quick overview of each company’s prep course and looking at how they stack up in terms of features. And I’ll start with this: School of PE and PPI are very similar prep courses. In fact, it’s beyond similar. They are nearly mirror images of each other.
Each program works around the same core set of components, and if you didn’t know better, you might think one company copied the other when designing their study package.
Here is how both work. Each course revolves around a digital student portal that houses all of your study materials. For PPI, their student portal is called their Learning Hub, while for School of PE, it’s called their Study Hub. From either hub, you’ll be able to access all your materials, including your personal study plan, practice problem sets, performance metrics, and recorded video lectures.
So let’s break down each of these features. For each company, you have your choice of two course formats: On Demand or Live Online. However, no matter which package go with (for either company), the course is essentially the same.
It’s really just a matter of whether you need the accountability and structure that comes with live classes, as well as the ability to ask questions in real time, or whether you’re good with driving your own studies. And that’s because the the video lectures that make up the backbone of your learning in the On Demand packages are just recorded live classes (for both companies).
It’s not just the structure of the packages from both companies that are similar though – even the layout of their online lectures is the same. I’ll paste pictures of both video lectures below so you can see what I mean.
School of PE:
They both have a static picture of your instructor in the upper corner, and as they speak, they mark up the onscreen slides with notes and problem breakdowns. Each company even has the same chat box for students in the live class version to ask questions. In short, the two class formats are eerily similar.
In addition to the live classes and video lectures, most other aspects of both of these courses are the same as well. You’ll get the following from PPI and School of PE:
quiz generators that allow you to build custom problem sets based on whatever parameters you set;
full-length practice exams to test yourself under exam-like conditions;
personalized study schedules that are created to fit your availability and exam timeline; and
of course, study books.
On the point of books, with School of PE, that would be their FE Civil Exam Review Guide, and with PPI, it would be their FE Civil Review Manual (at least for the FE Civil courses). These manuals are basically study bibles, and once again, not shockingly, are really similar.
Each is packed with content review, equations, sample problems, and figures and tables. They’re loaded with material and probably the most comprehensive study books in FE and PE prep. However, there is one major difference between the two.
School of PE does employs a cool framework where they incorporate QR codes into their books. When you come across a practice problem in the book, you can scan the corresponding QR code next to it in your mobile app, and get a detailed solution.
Essentially, School of PE tries try to integrate their review guide with the digital materials in their Study Hub. In my opinion, it’s actually a pretty cool framework and the biggest differentiator between texts. Anyway though, that’s how the programs from each company work in a nutshell.
Next, let’s briefly cover pricing, as this is one area where these courses do differ a bit. With School of PE, you’re looking at around $1,400 for their FE Live Online package and $1,500 for their PE Live Online package.
On the other hand, with PPI, you’re looking at around $1,800 for the FE Live Online package and $2,900 for their PE Live Online bundle.
In addition, the price points are largely proportionally the same for all of the On Demand packages, tough usually a couple hundred dollars cheaper than their Live Online counterparts.
Thus, on average, School of PE is the more affordable option. Generally speaking, they come in a few hundred dollars cheaper than PPI, with the biggest disparity being around the PE Live Online courses.
However, it is worth mentioning that those are just the full retail prices, and both companies frequently run sales and special promotions. In fact, you can usually snag a discount on these courses, so be sure to check for coupon codes before buying.
Where School of PE Wins
Now that we’ve covered pricing and how the School of PE and PPI study programs work, let’s get into the good part – where I think each course wins over the other. And let’s start with School of PE.
The first area where I give School of PE the win over PPI is in the category of books. To put it simply, I just prefer School of PE’s Review Guide to PPI’s Reference Manual. And I know people are going tell me I’m crazy for that take because PPI’s Reference Manual has been the gold standard of PE prep for about a thousand years.
However, it just feels like School of PE has done a better job keeping up with the times. Their text just seems more streamlined and to-the-point, while the PPI Reference Manual can feel heavy-handed at times.
Additionally, when you combine this streamlined structure with School of PE’s new QR code system for integrating digital problem solutions with the print book, it’s simply awesome. As a result, I give School of PE the nod for print materials.
The second winning category for School of PE is refresher notes. Before every class (or with every on demand lecture), you get a set of refresher notes with School of PE, and they are really helpful.
These note sets are essentially instructor handouts, and summarize everything you need to know about the topic that you’re covering that day in 30 to 50 pages. And I don’t mean dense pages. In reality, they’re almost more like slides. They contain bullet-pointed key points, sample problems and test taking tips. In short, they are a massive value add.
School of PE Study Hub
My third pro for School of PE is their Study Hub. The bottom line is that both companies provide digital study hubs for students, and they’re both good; however, I just like School of PE’s hub a little better.
It just felt more organized and intuitive, and I never had to hunt for anything. Not a massive value add I suppose, but for OCD brains, I personally think it’s a better setup.
The last point in favor of School of PE is the price tag. And I know I just covered this above so I won’t harp on it, but on average, School of PE is a few hundred dollars cheaper than PPI.
If your firm is paying for your prep course, then great, it doesn’t matter. But, if you’re paying for yourself out of pocket, a $1,400 price tag versus an $1,800 price tag can make a difference.
Now that you understand the pros in favor of School of PE, let’s flip the script and talk about the pros in favor of PPI2Pass. And for this, I just have two of them, though they are both important.
My first major win for PPI is the live classes. After taking live classes from both companies, I personally prefer PPI’s classes to School of PE’s. The PPI lesson plans just felt a little more efficient and streamlined, and the instructors did a great job of keeping things moving while still managing to pick up student questions and provide clarification where needed.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a massive disparity in quality here, but all else being equal, I like PPI’s live classes a little better.
My other major victory for PPI is with respect to problem solutions. And this one’s pretty simple. While I love the practice work from both PPI and School of PE, finding each company’s practice problems to be highly realistic of real exam questions, the PPI problem solutions are more detailed and better explained.
On average, their explanations go into greater depth and are better articulated. Plus, for whatever reason, the PPI diagrams and figures that they use to help demonstrate points just resonated a little better with me.
That’s all I have for you in the way of detail in this comparison, so let’s get to the final verdict. Should you use School of PE or PPI for your prep? Well, I think this is a really close call, and honestly, I’m not sure there’s a black and white answer.
I’d probably say that if your firm is picking up the tab for your course (or you’re just not price sensitive), and live classes are important to you, then I’d go with PPI2Pass. You really can’t go wrong with the PPI package.
However, if you’re picking up the tab for your course yourself, and you prefer self-study with an On Demand course, I’d likely lean towards School of PE. On the whole, given the price disparity yet equal quality of their program, School of PE is likely who I’d go with.
Which FE/PE prep course is better, School of PE or PPI2Pass?
Trying to decide between PPI2Pass and School of PE is a very hard call. Both companies offer top-tier prep options that rate out very highly, but ultimately, we grade School of PE’s course as being slightly better.
What is the main difference between PPI2Pass and School of PE?
While the prep courses from PPI and School of PE are nearly identical in several respects, there are key differences. For us, we found PPI’s live classes to be more streamlined, while School of PE’s review guide is better integrated into the overall course.
Which course is cheaper, School of PE or PPI2Pass?
On average, School of PE offers more affordable study courses than PPI. No matter how you cut it, even when considering on demand vs live online and the differences in exams, School of PE is cheaper across the board.