PE exam

The PE exam tests your ability to practice competently in a particular engineering discipline. It is designed for engineers who have gained at least four years’ post-college work experience in their chosen engineering discipline.

Each PE exam lasts 8 hours and is split into a morning and an afternoon session.

Scheduled exam administrations

PE exam specifications and design standards

Exam specifications and design standards are posted 6 months before the exam administration. Updates for April exams are posted in November, and updates for October exams are posted in May.

Agricultural and Biological Engineering (new specifications for the April 2015 exam)
Architectural
Chemical
Civil: Construction (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Geotechnical (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Structural (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Transportation (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental (new specifications for the 2015 exams)
Control Systems
Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering
Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics
Electrical and Computer: Power
Environmental
Fire Protection
Industrial
Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration
Mechanical: Mechanical Systems and Materials
Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids Systems
Metallurgical and Materials (new specifications for the 2015 exam)
Mining and Mineral Processing
Naval Architecture and Marine
Nuclear
Petroleum
Software
Structural (with design standards for the 2015 exams)

Afternoon modules

If you are taking either the PE Civil or PE Mechanical exam, you will be asked to select an afternoon module during registration. Your answer sheet will be scored based on the module you selected when registering.

Reference materials

The PE exam is an open-book exam. You are allowed to bring reference materials to the exam, provided they are bound and remain bound during the exam. Loose paper may be bound with ring binders, brads, plastic snap binders, spiral-bound notebooks, and screw posts—but not with staples. Sticky notes and flags are permitted only when they remain attached to book pages.

Scoring and reporting

Exam results are typically released to the licensing boards 8–10 weeks after the exam. Depending on your state, you will be notified of your exam result online through your My NCEES account or via postal mail from your state licensing board.

Click here to learn more about how NCEES exams are scored.

PE pass rates

Pass rates are from the April 2014 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.

ExamFirst-time takers (%)Repeat takers (%)
Agricultural (October 2013)6950
Architectural7217
Chemical7425
Civil7039
Control Systems (October 2013)7653
Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering710
Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics7336
Electrical and Computer: Power6843
Environmental5128
Fire Protection (October 2013)6937
Industrial6915
Mechanical7240
Metallurgical and Materials (October 2013)620
Mining and Mineral Processing (October 2013)7137
Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering8167
Nuclear (October 2013)5444
Petroleum (October 2013)7553
Software6450