by Mike Grosssman, P. Eng.
Most end up purchasing Marston's text, Law For Professional Engineers, from Amazon. It is required reading to pass the Professional Practice Exam in Ontario through the Professional Engineers of Ontario. More commonly called the PEO PPE. Be sure to double check that you are purchasing the latest edition which at the time of this writing is the fourth. Also note these textbooks can be rented for half the price of purchasing in the form of an online textbook at CourseSmart.
_Teachers like to say that exams are only difficult for those who don’t study enough, but there are plenty of students who would beg to differ. The key is to study smart not hard and that’s why students are on a constant search for pragmatic textbooks rather than comprehensive tomes.
_ In 1996, Donald Marston wrote the first edition of the “Law for Professional Engineers” with the intention of helping Canadian engineering professionals. The author aimed even higher, as he aspired to provide students with the definitive guide for the PEO PPE exam. Marston succeeded, as his title is now recommended literature for the Professional Practice Examination in Ontario.
One argument in favor of Donald Marston’s book is that it is still in demand after almost two decades and it is kept up to date with the latest legislative changes. The 4th edition is not only an improved version but also a more complete book that includes all the court and legislation decisions.
REVIEWS OF LAW FOR PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER
_ Most books are sold online and prospective buyers would be right to check out what others have to say. It comes as no surprise that a technical book that serves as support for exams received mixed reviews.
There are always sour people who may have failed and who prefer to blame others for their failures. However, there are also unbiased customers who express their honest opinion.
On the plus side, clients who bought the book say that it is a comprehensive guide for anyone preparing for the Professional Practice Exam of the Professional Engineers of Ontario.
All important topics can be found within its covers, ranging from tort and contract law to negligence and ethics. The happy customers praise the numerous case studies that make it easier to understand the industry and illustrate principles.
Detractors are just as vocal and some claim that despite its comprehensive nature, it fails to address in a punctual manner the most important facts. Readers risk getting lost in a 400-page book and miss out on what truly matters, which eventually hurts their exam results.
Another fairly common criticism is that the author dives into sensitive topics and elaborated concepts without explaining the basic terms or laying the groundwork. The fact that it is of little use outside universities is also something that Marston’s book has been accused of, but as long as it serves its purpose as support for the exam, this argument doesn’t stand to scrutiny.
LAW FOR PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS VERSUS THE PEO PPE SYLLABUS
_ The syllabus for the Professional Practice Exam of the Professional Engineers of Ontario is broken down into 2 parts: the Professional Practice and Ethics and the Engineering Law and Professional Liability.
The names are self-explanatory to a point, with the first dealing with general concepts such as the definition of professional engineering, the object of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and the four licenses.
Those preparing for the exam are also supposed to get familiar with concepts such as liability insurance, conflict of interest, complaints and disciplinary sanctions and so on. Specific regulations, sections and codes are mentioned in this first part and they are all supposed to be studied before the exam.
Part B goes by the name of “Engineering Law and Professional Liability“ and discusses matters such as the structure of the Canadian legal system, basic legal concepts and business organizations.
The sensitive issues have to do with application of tort law principles in cases of negligence or situations when contracts are impeached. Students should also prepare for questions regarding industrial property protection, human rights and employment laws.
The good news regarding Marston’s book is that all the aforementioned issues are tacked in one of the 36 chapters and numerous subtitles. What is less fortunate is that the syllabus focuses on a specific notion, while the “Law for Professional Engineers” overwhelms the reader with an avalanche of information.
This doesn’t mean that a patient student can’t find the relevant information within the abundant data, it’s just that his task is unnecessarily difficult.
On the bright side, the author did a fine job at giving intuitive names to subtitles, so those who know exactly what they are looking for, can find it with relative ease.
Reading the entire book from cover to cover is not necessary to be completely prepared for the PEO PPE. Students who feel that time is of the essence or prefer a targeted approach should study according to the PEO exam syllabus and focus on the most useful parts of Marston’s book.
Below you can also purchase a study guide based on Marston's text and sign up for a newsletter full of help preparing for the PPE.