The following references are recommended to be reviewed prior to the exam and should be used during the exam. When reviewing these references, make sure you first understand the content. These references do not go into depth on explaining the equations or concepts but are simply references. If you require more background information on any of the information in these references, then you may need to research the information on the internet. Secondly, you should be very familiar with the indices of these references and should be able to navigate the references to find information quickly. This may require you to insert tabs into the references. Once you have completed these two tasks then you should be ready to use these references during the exam. (Tip: It is helpful to have the indices of your references printed separately to allow you to have both the index and the reference material open at the same time, making for quicker searches.)
The first reference that you should obtain is free. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying or NCEES develops, administers and scores the P.E. exam. The NCEES also publishes an exam specification with the various topics that can be on the exam. It is important to use this document to help direct your studying.
The second must have reference is the NCEES Thermal and Fluids Sample Questions and Solutions. This reference is important because it allows you to get familiar with the test format, test material and level of difficulty. I would suggest going through this reference earlier in your studying to provide further direction and focus in your studying.
Learn the level of difficulty of the actual PE exam.
Learn about the test material
Get familiar with the exam format and the timing of the exam.
The Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual or MERM is the most popular and most comprehensive manual designed for the Mechanical Professional Engineer. It is recommended that the engineer be familiar with the contents of this book and to bring this book to the exam. This book has a lot of information on a wide range of mechanical engineering topics, so it is important to use the NCEES exam specifications and the previously discussed criteria to determine what is important and what isn't important.
This book covers the Energy/Power Systems section. Although it is not as concise as the previous two references, it does provide a little explanation and background information on the following concepts:
First and Second Law of Thermodynamics
Gas Power Cycles - Carnot, Otto, Brayton, etc.
Vapor Power Cycles - Rankine and its variations.
Turbines, Cooling Towers, Boilers, Condensers and Heat Exchangers
This book covers the Hydraulics and Fluids section. This reference is similar to the previous reference. It provides the key equations and concepts but also provides a little background information on the following concepts.
Pipes in parallel, equivalent length, friction loss.
Compressible fluids, nozzles.
Fans/Pumps and cavitation.
Recommended References from Past Examinees
After each exam I conduct a survey to gather information on examinees experiences during the exam. One of the questions on the survey is, "What references would you recommend to future examinees?" The results of these surveys are shown below.
Personal Cheat Sheets: Nearly 65% of the examinees used their own personal cheat sheets created from references and online research into the PE topics.
NCEES Thermal Sample Exams: 88% of the examinees used this resource.