You Failed Your Licensing PE Exam. Now What?

You Failed Your Licensing PE Exam. Now What? - The Nueva Latina

I have never been the best test taker. I am not sure when a piece of paper became my worst nightmare.

When I opened the results page and saw “FAIL” for the second time in a row, I was devastated.

I Googled “failed the PE Exam. Now what?” And I kept finding articles about how to study better the next time around or how to develop a better study strategy.

It didn’t help.

I studied my butt off the second time around. I was prepared more than the first time. I passed my practice exam just fine. But, when that piece of paper was put in front of me on test day…I legit panicked. I started breathing heavy. I completely blanked.

Studying isn’t my problem. My problem is that I need to realize and remember that it’s just a test.

Of course, my career is dependent on it to some extent. But, putting so much importance on it caused me to lose control of my mind the moment I needed it the most.

So, if you stumbled upon my post you are one of these people:

  1. One of my super supportive family and/or friends who are here reading to support my blog. #Blessed
  2. Nosey AF and want to read what I say about failing the PE Exam twice. #ISeeYouBoo
  3. Or you just recently failed your licensing exam and are wondering “Now what?”

You Failed Your Licensing PE Exam. Now What?

1. Cry. Scream. Cuss. Get it all out.

I tried the whole “being strong” bit and it just made it worse for me. I held it all in and ended up more depressed than anything else. When I finally cussed it out and cried the most I have in a long time was when I started to get over it.

2. Remember: You aren’t the first or the last person this has happened to.

I know so many people that didn’t pass their licensing exam or their bar exam the first time or the second time…or even the third time. The more I started to talk to people, the more I realized that I wasn’t the only person this has happened to. And some of these people are the most successful in their fields even though it took them a little longer to pass their exam.

3. Regardless of the test outcome, you know what you know so OWN it.

After failing the PE Exam for the second time, I was questioning everything. Am I even meant to be an engineer? Am I even good at my job? Before the exam, I felt on top of my game at work. After, I started to lose all motivation because I started doubting myself. But, straight up, I am a damn good engineer. And I forgot that for a couple of months because I felt like the test result defined me. When in reality, I know that the test didn’t really touch on anything I do in my real-life day to day.

4. Don’t be embarrassed. Like Forest Gump said, “Shit Happens.

I was soooooo embarrassed when I got my result the second time around. “What are people going to say?” “What are people going to think?” I started to step back from all of my professional organizations because I wasn’t honestly too embarrassed to face any other engineers. But, like I said, you aren’t the first person to fail. And, yes, it feels embarrassing. It might even feel like the end of the world. But, the sooner you get over being embarrassed, the sooner you can start to prepare to take the exam again.

5. Find out what works and doesn’t work for YOU.

Everything I have read so far basically says to STUDY. But, for me, it comes down to the simple fact that I need to calm the F down and take the exam. Studying more the second time around made me feel more confident in the exam. But, panicking and losing my train of focus is what did me in. Sit down and relay take a hard look at what YOU need to do to pass this exam. Take some time off from studying. Go on a vacation. Start doing yoga. Study more than before. Find out what YOU need to work on so that you can do better next time.

Which brings me to my last point…

6. Don’t give up.

Dust yourself off and try again. I know it’s hard to get over the feeling of failing the exam. Especially if all your friends around you passed it. But, giving up is the real failure. It might take you two times to pass the exam. Three. Maybe four. But, once you pass the exam, you will look back at this moment and it won’t matter because by then you will be licensed and ready to move on in your career.

Stay strong. Keep going. Don’t give up. We got this!

I plan on taking the PE Exam in Transportation for a third time in April 2018. Wish me luck!

If you have any questions, need a study buddy, or just want to talk PE Exam, feel free to email me at

What or who motivates you to get over the humps in life?

Tell me about a time that you went through something similar and how you got over it. 

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You Failed Your Licensing PE Exam. Now What? - The Nueva Latina