Civil Engineering Reference Manual (CERM) Review
The Civil Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam by Michael Lindeburg (CERM) is the most often recommended review book for the PE exam. Nearly everyone that passes has a copy.
The content of the CERM is unsurpassed. It contains content for both the breadth and depth options of all of the topics covered on the PE exam, and then some. There are some example problems mingled in the sections but this is primarily a reference, not a source of solved examples.
In addition to covering the topics themselves there is a glossary of general engineering terms near the end which helped me on a few of the “gimme” problems.
The CERM Extremely usable. It is easy to find what you are looking for through a combination of the contents in the front, the index in the back, and the shaded regions on the side of the book that separate each major section.
The only downside to the CERM is its size and content. I passed the exam, using the CERM, and probably read/used 10% of its content (I did have several other resources also). You must only study the sections that are pertinent to your exam choice!
As a friend put it to me bluntly when I was asking his advice on the test: “Buy the CERM”. It WILL be of help to you both while studying and during the test. My recommendation is you read the majority of your depth sections and skim the breadth sections to become familiar with them. Be wary of over-reading this reference!
It is somewhat expensive however this is entirely offset by it’s usefulness. And it is even more offset by the fact that after passing you can resell it for close to what you paid or keep it as a great reference at the office.
In short: Purchase the CERM