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PPI2Pass Review (PE & FE)
Our full, detailed review of the PPI2Pass prep courses for the PE and FE exams
Given the difficulty and high-stakes nature of the FE and PE exams, numerous prep courses and study resources have come into existence over the years to help students prepare, with the PPI2Pass review courses generally being regarded among the best. But will PPI’s decades of experience in the prep field and highly respected materials be a good option for your exam prep process? And just as importantly, are they worth the high cost? We answer those questions and more in this comprehensive review of the PPI2Pass PE and FE review courses.
Given this is a lengthy, detailed review, we’ve included jump-to links above for quick navigation.
PPI2Pass Video Review
In the above video, John from the Test Prep Insight team provides a detailed breakdown of the PPI2Pass FE and PE prep courses. He covers how the on demand and live online course formats work, as well as whether we think they’re worth it. Please continue reading for more detail.
PPI2Pass offers two types of prep course bundles: Live Online and OnDemand. It really doesn’t get much more straightforward than that. The Live Online course is just that – a course with live classes taken online, including a variety of schedule options, such as weekend classes. It is taught live by an instructor with a webinar-type delivery.
The OnDemand course, on the other hand, is a self-driven, on-demand program that provides you flexibility to study around your own schedule.
My PE Civil Structural Live Online Bundle priced out around $2,850, which is about average among PPI’s other PE live course options. That said, pricing for the PPI2Pass PE and FE courses vary widely depending on your exam (FE vs PE), discipline, test date, and course format.
To be honest, PPI’s pricing system is much too detailed to cover in full here, so make sure to check out their website.
However, I will say that I found their pricing to be a bit on the high side as compared to similar courses (like School of PE and Civil Engineering Academy), which is one of the only complaints I had about this course (as discussed further below). But one final note—we did notice that they run discounts and promos frequently, so make sure to look for current deals.
Pricing and course options current as of date of publication.
Evaluation Of The PPI2Pass Study Materials
The study materials and coursework in the PPI2Pass courses are designed to be comprehensive and provide a step-by-step guided approach to your prep. They offer a mix of different teaching methods, including lectures, problem-solving exercises and strategy sessions.
Lectures, Demonstrations & Strategy Sessions
Whether you choose the Live Online or OnDemand version of the course, you’ll get the same lectures (one version is just live, and the other pre-recorded). For those who choose the Live Online option, you’ll be expected to log in at your scheduled times, just like showing up for any class.
You’ll get the lectures live as they happen, with the ability to directly interact with the instructor and class during the discussion.
The lessons are presented with a picture of the instructor in the corner of your screen as he or she walks you through content review and problem solving demonstrations, marking up the slides as they go. Occasionally I found the explanations to be a bit on the brief side, but overall, the instructor was quite thorough and provided effective clarifications when needed.
One thing that I struggled with at times was being able to read my instructor’s handwriting on the slides as he worked through the problems, but not to the point where it hindered my learning.
The instructor for my Live Online class was upbeat and energetic, with a great sense of humor. Occasionally he would slip in quick little jokes or motivational quotes, just enough to break up the monotony a bit. There were a few times when I felt that he rushed through the problems a little, but in general, I believe that he did a fairly good job as far as walking us through the material.
There is a chat box in the bottom corner where students can ask questions or make comments, which was both good and bad. Having the ability to post and review was helpful, especially when someone else had the same question I had. However, I had to be very careful and not let myself get distracted with that chat box, as often students would go off on tangents unrelated to the material being reviewed and before I knew it, we were moving on to another problem.
With the Live Online option, you have access to the recorded version of your class. For me, this was a lifesaver. Even the best laid plans get upended at times, and I wasn’t always able to attend my live class. It was nice to know that even if I had to miss my class, I could still watch the video at a time when I could fit it into my schedule.
Of course, if you choose the OnDemand course, all of your lessons will be a recorded version, viewable on your own time. While you won’t have the ability to interact with the faculty or other students in real time, you will still have access to faculty during office hours to ask any questions you might have.
Now, it should be noted that my course was PE Civil Structural, so I have no first-hand experience with any of the FE courses or other PE subjects. I can confirm, however, that the course format and style is the same across exams and disciplines. In addition, I would venture to bet that the FE and other PE courses, materials, and instructors are of the same quality caliber as the PE course that I took.
With both the Live Online and OnDemand bundles, you will have access to the PPI Learning Hub. Through this eLearning platform, you will get a study plan and be able keep tabs on your strengths and weaknesses with a performance tracker. The Learning Hub also has hundreds of problems similar to those on the exam (in my discipline there were over 900), which are designed to help you master the various concepts.
As you work your way through the Learning Hub, you will also see that you have the option to create customized quizzes through PPI’s quiz generator and a full practice exam. I took advantage of these features almost daily.
Personalized Study Plans
After logging into the PPI Learning Hub, you’ll be able to create your personalized study plan. Once you confirm which exam you will take and the scheduled date of the exam, this will be your center point from which you will build a step-by-step plan of study.
If you are like me, working crazy hours while trying to prep for an exam, you will probably love the structure provided with this feature. I found the customized schedule to be extremely valuable in regards to helping me pace myself, from the onset of my studies through exam day.
Prep Books & Notes
In addition to the web books accessible through the Learning Hub, both the Live Online and the OnDemand bundles come with a boatload of print books. Personally, I am one of those learners who thrives with a real book in my hands, so I loved this.
And in terms of quality, you won’t be disappointed in PPI’s print materials. In fact, I think they’re about the best in the game when it comes to FE and PE exam prep. You’ll receive reference manuals, books of practice problems, laminated reference tools, and a book full of 6-minute problems.
By far and away the most useful book you’ll get is the PE Civil Reference Manual (previously the Civil Engineering Reference Manual). It is huge (it weighs over 7 pounds), and worth its weight in gold – at least in my opinion.
Not only did I find it useful when studying for and during the actual exam (though note you can’t use it during the exam going forward because the test is now computer-based), but I’m pretty certain it will continue to be a valuable reference as I continue my career.
Prep books and notes are also available via download through the PPI Learning Portal. You just click on a link and it will guide you to a list of all the e-books to which you are subscribed. Easy “Change Book” options allow you to jump back and forth between books as needed.
Practice exams are another feature available through the PPI Learning Portal. One of the links in the portal will send you to a page that gives you a list of practice exams. From there, you can view and take any exams to which you’ve subscribed, as well as review your progress, reports and results for any exams you’ve already taken.
Each exam offers a tutorial before you get started so you can get familiar with the features and how the exams work before you begin, though you’ll likely only use this feature once.
Upon your completion of the practice exam, you’ll get a set of statistics to show how you performed, as well as how much time you spent in each area. I especially liked this timing aspect, as it provided insight for me in regards to how to better pace myself on test day. Each question has links to solutions, so you can see why you got an answer wrong.
It is probably worthy of mention that, in my opinion anyway, many questions on the practice tests were a little more challenging than those on the real exam. Don’t get me wrong, the exam was not what I would call easy.
I just felt that the practice tests were a tad bit more difficult than the real deal, and as a result, I believe I was more than prepared on test day (though it was frustrating studying at the time).
The Quiz Generator tool is like a mini practice exam that you can take on the fly. Accessible through the Learning Hub, this generator allows you to customize your quizzes by selecting knowledge areas you’d like to concentrate on. I was able to choose whether I wanted to do a timed quiz or open-ended “practice mode” quiz, which was great, because sometimes I just didn’t want to practice with the pressure of being timed.
You can take these quizzes as often you’d like to supplement your practice exams, and they provide you the opportunity to work on your test-taking skills in a quick and easy format.
One other nice thing about the quiz generator is that it offers the ability to quiz yourself on alternative item types (AITs) in addition to the standard multiple-choice.
All of reference and homework materials you need are included with your course. PPI also offers additional hard copy and eTextbooks as optional add-ons to their bundled pricing.
And of particular note for those in California (or at least who do work in California like me), you’ll be happy to know that California Civil Surveying and Seismic courses are available as add-ons to your PPI2Pass bundles.
For reference, PPI provides course bundles covering the following specific disciplines:
FE Electrical & Computer
FE Other Disciplines
PE Control Systems
PE Fire Protection
PE Metallurgical & Materials
California Civil Seismic
California Civil Surveying
Content Access Period
Your content access correlates directly with the prep option you purchase. Live Online and OnDemand bundles give you access to all content through the period the course is active, which is your test date.
Pay-as-you-go subscriptions for OnDemand courses have corresponding access periods. For example, if you purchase a 3-month OnDemand course, your access will cease at the end of 3 months (I know, duh, but just wanted to make clear).
Refund & Risk-Free Enrollment Policies
In the unlikely event that you need to cancel your Live Online or OnDemand course, you can cancel with PPI and receive a full refund (minus shipping and administrative fees) if your request is made within three days of purchase. You can still cancel after three days, but your refund amount will change.
As with the content access period, the refund policies of PPI2Pass are specific to the prep course and materials that you purchase. Each product and course have determined guidelines to qualify, and your return must be preapproved with an authorization number. PPI2Pass has a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines for returns and associated fees, so it might be wise to check out the specifics of the refund policies before making your purchase.
PPI2Pass Passing Guarantee
The PPI2Pass Guarantee applies to all Live Online PE and FE courses. If you take a Live Online course and still fail an exam, you may come back and take the OnDemand course at no additional cost, with the PPI Learning Hub included as part of this guarantee. Of course, there are criteria that must be met for the pass guarantee to be valid, but nothing out of the ordinary.
I find it unfortunate that this pass guarantee is not included with OnDemand prep option. Still, it is a generous guarantee and if you purchase the Live Online option, it should give you a little reassurance if you are worried about passing the first time.
Verdict: PPI2Pass PE & FE Review Courses
All in all, I found my PPI2Pass review course to be a top-notch prep option, offering a well-rounded curriculum and solid body of practice work. I was extremely impressed with the comprehensiveness of my Live Online classes and all of the accompanying materials, especially the practice questions and print materials. I had a great instructor and personally found the live classes to be incredibly insightful. And as most of you likely know, PPI’s PE Civil Reference Manual and other print materials are about the best around.
That said, I did find the price to be a little high as compared to other prep courses and wasn’t thrilled with some of the problem solutions. Still, I believe that the PPI2Pass prep courses are some of the most effective options for FE and PE exam prep, and likely give you the best shot at passing on the first try.
PPI’s course prices vary widely, depending on the format of your course, your chosen discipline, and your test date. PE Live Online classes average around $2,800, while FE Live Online courses range from around $1,500 to $2,000.
Does PPI2Pass offer a pass guarantee?
Yes. With the Live Online bundle, if you fail to pass your exam, PPI will let you enroll in an OnDemand course free of charge as you prepare to retake the exam.
Do the PPI2Pass FE and PE exam courses come with hard copy prep books?
Yes, all of the hard copy practice books and reference materials you need to prepare for the exam are included in the PPI bundles.