top of page

Tips for Passing the Certified Energy Manager Exam

The CEM exam is very broad.

It covers everything an energy manager might need to know … lighting, HVAC systems, motors, boilers, energy savings calculations, energy purchasing, government policy, simple economics,etc. The textbook-style reference from AEE covers most of the content you will need well. The five-day review course offered by AEE that I took was very helpful. It is totally geared toward helping you pass the CEM exam, which is offered on the last day of the class. Bring lots of stickers so you can tab your book. It is important to tab your book as you are viewing the seminar because you are not going to have a lot of time to do it later.

Above is a picture of how I tabbed my book. A bit excessive but just do what works for you. For those taking the 5 day seminar, this book you will receive on Monday is all you need to pass the test.

These tips might help:

BEP Math Supplement You will not have time to set up the equations in multiple steps so this is critical in passing this exam since you will have about 2 mins per question. You will not have enough time to solve the problems the conventional way.

Get a financial calculator and learn how to use it.

The instructor will advise you to use the tables. My best advice is. Ignore the tables. You will not have time to use them. Learn how to use an HP10BII to calculate interest, term of loan, PV, FV, and NPV. This financial calculator will save you lots of time on the required financial section of the exam. This video might help you set up your calculator. I was getting wrong answers until the instructor set up mine. Once your calculator is set watch the instructional video on finance and Net present Value for engineers and learn to solve the financial problems at once on the calculator. You should learn how to input all the variables and solve for the answer you are looking for quickly. Click here for an example.

Make a copy of the tables you need and have them separately.

It will be faster than looking for them in the big binder.

Befriend the smartest engineers in class so he/she can help you in areas you need help with. Make a small study group where your individual areas of expertise can complement each other. Stay after class every day solving the sample questions as a group so that you can help each other when you get stuck and can get to the answers faster. The exam questions will not be as hard but practicing the sample questions will help you understand the concepts and get ready for the exam. I stayed after class until about 11:00pm every day. It was an intense week for me specially because I was 5 months pregnant but it was worthwhile working very hard that week.

Try to disconnect from work for a week so that you can focus on getting ready for the exam. The material can be short memory so your best bet is give all you can that week and do your best on the test day. (Friday)

During the exam skip any very time consuming calculations. All the questions have the same weighting so you are better off solving everything you know and can answer quickly and go back to the other more time consuming questions after.

Stay at the hotel the night before the exam if you have a long commute so that you can get a good night of sleep.

Click on the links below to see:

Best of luck with the exam! It is a tough one but Energy Management knowledge is so important these days! If you find this helpful and have any additional tips I should add please send an e-mail to

Lets help each other make the world a better place!

Kind Regards,

Daniele Horton

Tags: certified energy manager AEE association for energy engineers tips fot passing the CEM exam

bottom of page