The Easiest Order To Write Your Power Engineering Exams Picture

The Easiest Order To Write Your Power Engineering Exams

Often times when having conversations with other Power Engineers studying for their Power Engineering exams I get asked.

“What is the easiest order to write your Power Engineering exams?”

I’ve also seen this question asked on Power Engineer’s Annonymous and Power Engineer Central Forum throughout the years.

Usually, you don’t have much choice on which order you write your exams when you’re enrolled in school. Other times when you self-study you’ll have complete control. I had to start somewhere. So the one assumption I made is you start with 4A and then continue from 4th to 1st Class.

I should clear one thing up before we get into the path I would take to tackle my exams. And that is, you’ll notice the path I took is much different than the path I’m recommending. This is because on December 1, 2013, the rules of the game changed.

Before December 1, 2013, you had to complete your steam time and have it approved before you were able to write your Part B examinations.

After December 1, 2013, you can now write Part A or Part B examinations regardless of whether your steam time has been completed.

This has now led to many options for you to choose from to complete your exams. Hopefully, this summary will be a valuable aid when deciding what is the easiest order to write your power engineering exams.

Results From My Power Engineering Exams

The Easiest Order To Write Your Power Engineering Exams Diagram

What is your charitable donation total to your boiler branch?

Which order have you taken to write your examinations to date?

Easiest Order To Write Your Power Engineering Exams

The Easiest Order To Write Your Power Engineering Exams Results

These Power Engineering statistics are referenced from the ABSA website.

You can find theses examinations stats and many more here: Power Engineering Statistics For Alberta

Easiest & Hardest 4th Class Power Engineering Exams

Which 4th Class Exam Was The Hardest?

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Easiest & Hardest 3rd Class Power Engineering Exams

Which 3rd Class Exam Was The Hardest?

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Which 3rd Class Exam Was The Easiest?

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Easiest & Hardest 2nd Class Power Engineering Exams

Which 2nd Class Exam Was The Hardest?

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Which 2nd Class Exam Was The Easiest?

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Easiest & Hardest 1st Class Power Engineering Exams

Which 1st Class Exam Was The Hardest?

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Which 1st Class Exam Was The Easiest?

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3rd Class Power Engineering Study Material

2nd Class Power Engineering Study Material

1st Class Power Engineering Study Material

Which Power Engineering Exam Did You Find The Easiest?

Do you agree or disagree with this order? If you disagree, what changes would you make and why? I’ll have no problem making changes if it’ll make it easier for everyone.

Note: After writing this post I realized. The path could be quite different depending on which level of Power Engineering certification you desire to obtain. For now, though, I will leave it from 4th to 1st. 

In January 3B1 is targeted to become a multiple choice exam. This could impact what the easiest order to write your power engineering exams.

Preparing for your power engineering exams? Check out the following posts & practice exams:

Good luck!

Power Engineering 101

32 thoughts on “The Easiest Order To Write Your Power Engineering Exams”

  1. Good Job getting 4th to 1st in just 31/2 years. Here in Mb they only started changing the rules for firing time requirements before being able to write the B papers of each ticket this year.

    I’ve got an off topic question. There is a question from from 2b3 (elect) that is directly taken out of a material used by Mike Maiden and the way he answered it is wrong. The question was, there is a conductor loop of a certain length and width placed in a magnetic field of a constant strength in wb/m^2 and is rotated from 0, 30, 60, 90 degrees. The question was asking for the amount of magfield through the loop for each angle. Mike Maiden’s answer is Flux=B(magfield strength)*area loop* sine of angle. I say it’s cosine and not sine. What is your thought?

    1. Power Engineering 101

      Thanks Ed. I found the rule change definitely made it easier while working on my 1st. I was able to keep the momentum going instead of finishing part A then waiting over a year to pick up the books again and work on the part B papers.

      As for your question, AC power or flux follows the sine wave, and that is why Mike would have used sine instead of cosine.


      1. Not sure if you still look at this site but here goes I am down to my last exam on my first and unfortunately I see it has an abysmal pass rate yep Thermodynamics. I can see why as the Pan Global text is mostly theory and how to derive formulas. Was that the case in your exam or was it mostly straight up good old Reids book calculations?

        1. Power Engineering 101

          Congratulations on the success to date and writing the last exam on your first! No small feat. My exam was heavily weighted towards the Reid book calculations (I’d say 6 out of 7 questions) compared to theory and deriving formulas. Good luck!

  2. Tucker Chornomud

    Where did you get the credit to get the full steam time from 4th-1st within 3.75 years? Curious to know if there are any courses out there to reduce steam time for 2nd/1st. Thank you.

    1. Power Engineering 101


      4th Class I already had my steam time from earlier operating experience. I did however still take the NAIT distance learning course to reduce to firing time from 12 months to 6 months. (6 month reduction)

      3rd Class NAIT distance learning course to reduce steam time from 12 months to 6 months (6 month reduction)

      2nd Class first half with NAIT, second half with SAIT distance learning courses to reduce steam time from 24 months to 15 months (9 month reduction)

      1st Class with SAIT distance learning to reduce steam time from 30 months to 18 months (12 month reduction)

      BCIT offers a distance learning course as well, I believe. If you completed a 2 year tech program you only need 12 months experience for your 2nd Class steam time. Taking the course linked above will not reduce your required steam time any further.

      Hopefully that helps,


        1. Power Engineering 101

          I found 1st Class to be a similar jump in material as 4th to 3rd Class. 1st Class slightly building on the 2nd Class material. It’s nowhere near as hard as the jump from 3rd to 2nd Class material and exams.

          Good luck on your 1st Class.

    1. Power Engineering 101


      I found the NAIT & SAIT distance learning courses helpful through 4th to 2nd Class. The extra practice questions and tests definitely helped prepare for the exam and realize which material I was weak on from the test results. I’ll mention if you expect to take these distance learning courses and have an easy time passing the provincial exam, I never found that the case, they definitely help but it was still a struggle. I always took the courses for the steam time reduction. The distance learning instructors at times were helpful depending who you got.

      I did not find the SAIT 1st Class distance learning course helpful. Writing twelve 30-45 page essays explaining the material covered in the pan global text book did very little to help me prepare for the exam. You might be different but writing an essay did not help me retain the material covered. I do better highlighting and making my own notes. Right when I finished the course they were changing the course structure for each book having an individual final exam instead of combining the four Part A books into a Part A final and the four Part B books into a Part B final. Which I think is a smart move.

      I’d recommend the NAIT and SAIT courses for 4th-2nd Class. If I was to do 1st Class over again I’d look for a different option only because I don’t enjoy writing essays.

  3. Hi! I really like with what you have done with the site and I hope you keep it going! It is a really good resource.

    I am currently a student in a fourths program in Ontario getting steam time reduction which ends in early August. I have already completed my 4A & 4B, and my Steam time and I have just this last semester to go before I can submit to the TSSA and receive my paper.

    I was thinking about challenging one or two of my third class exams before August. But I don’t know if they will allow me to write my Thirds before I officially get my Fourths paper in hand, or if they do and they won’t count the attempt.

    I was wondering if anyone or if Power Eng 101 has any input on this or if they know if I can write!


    1. Power Engineering 101

      Hello Wes,

      I’m not sure about the regulations in Ontario “TSSA” but if you were in the same situation in Alberta “ABSA” you would not be allowed to write your 3rd Class exams until you’ve received your 4th Class certification. I’d suspect that will be the case with TSSA, you’ll have to wait until their records are updated with your 4th Class certification before you can challenge your 3rd Class exams.

      Congratulations on completing your 4th Class and good luck on your 3rd!

      I’m glad to hear you’re finding the site as a great resource. It should be even more helpful when you’re able start working on your 3rd Class exams.


      1. Thanks Robbie!

        There is a few of us that were wondering about this and are eager to progress as fast as we can.

        I was taking a look at those practice questions for 3B1 & 3B2 and will have to definitely give those a try! I really appreciated your articles on which exam order to take and distance education articles that you made. I shared those among my peers.

        Thanks for creating this site!

  4. DROY84

    Hey guys I am just starting my BCIT distance learning 4th class. I haven’t received my books yet, however I do have SAIT books from someone I work with. Should I continue reading these SAIT books or is it just a waste of time? Has anyone else done the BCIT 4th class? Are the hints on your page useless to me? I live in Fort St John and figured BCIT was just the norm that everyone took. Might have made that mistake.

  5. Are there any courses or practice questions available somewhere for the first class thermo and mechanics? I still have my 2nd class course material from school, is that enough information to pass 1st class thermo and mechanics?

  6. Is there any other reviewer for 3A1 exams, I started reading the pan global but still wondering if there’s more resource material available?

  7. Emad Dammak


    I’m preparing the 3B2 Test.
    I did 2 times the practice Exam and in both attempts I got surprises as I noticed:
    A – Some questions remain without feedback (correct answers= blank) so we don’t know the correct answer to the question.
    B – Some of the provided feedback (correct answers) are wrong as a sample of question
    “The fuel pump installed in a diesel engine is driven by the ……….”
    Provided correct answer = Governor
    It should be the camshaft as the governor controls the engine speed and do not drive the pump…!

    Please, remedy to these multiple discrepancies as people pay money to get accurate tests and not approximate ones.

    With thanks,

    1. Power Engineering 101

      Hi Emad,

      Thank you for the heads up! I’ve updated the correct answer for “The fuel pump installed in a diesel engine…” it is now camshaft instead of governor.

      I’ll keep an eye out for any questions that do not have a correct answer selected, sometimes while entering 1000 plus practice questions I make a mistake. If you notice any questions like this I’d appreciate a comment on here or an email to and I’ll update them.

      All the best,


  8. Hi Robbie,

    I am tackling my 1st Class and have the codes paper currently. I am wondering if you have any reference material/question banks for the 1st Class math papers? I know Mike Maiden does courses with Power Prep and the Reed’s books are great as well. Just looking to get my hands on a bunch of material to prep for exams.

  9. Nelson Nwajie

    hello robbie,
    I am challenging the 4th class part A and B provincial exam. Please kindly comment on the suitability of the pan global materials and SAIT distance learning course for 4th class to prepare for the provincial exam. I did quite well in the distance learning course and exam, how different is the provincial exam?. Am just worried i might meet totally different questions, i don’t want to be caught unawares.

    kindly help

    1. Power Engineering 101

      I do not have specific experience with the SAIT 4th Class program (I took NAIT). Speaking from my experience using the NAIT & PG materials I was able to pass both my 4th Class exams. That being said if you’re worried about your upcoming exam(s) the free practice material on and are great resources. If you’re looking for a timed practice exam with feedback on how you did on each question and exam category our practice exams have helped a lot of power engineers pass their exams. You can check them out under practice exams.

  10. Saw this awesome post.
    Just a question though. I’m a 3rd class power engineer right now and is currently looking into jumping to 2nd class power engineer. But I’m not really sure how to study for 2nd. Can you please tell me how you studied for 2nd class long essay questions?
    Right now, my current thoughts on how to study for 2nd is just do the back of the chapter questions without having to read the books.

    I’m asking specially for 2a3 and 2a1.

    Thank you

    1. Power Engineering 101

      Hi Davski,

      Honestly, I’m skeptical I read the Pan Global books, Reed’s. Walkers, and a variety of other resources to pass my 2nd Class exams. With strong industry-related experience you may be able to pass your 2A3 exam using that method. Given the pass rate for 2A1 & 2A2 are 48% & 52% respectively I’m doubtful you’ll get the result your after for those exams.

  11. Hey there,

    I just wrote 2A3 using a PanGlobal 2013 edition. There were 3 separate questions on that test out of 7 that are not in the 2013 edition of the PG textbook at all. I was just wondering if you have any insight into if the 2018 updated PG textbooks had more / different course material or if I should be investing in different study material.

    Needless to say, I will most likely be rewriting 2A3

  12. Just starting on my 2nd class now, but I was curious if maybe you could make a detailed article or even a quick explanation here of which books from reed’s to use for which exams? Like 2A3 read 2A3 PG + volume X of reed’s to supplement etc. I could try to match it myself I guess by reading the chapter titles of reed’s but wondering what approach you took! Thanks.

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