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
Civil: Construction (with design standards for 2016 exams)
Civil: Geotechnical (with design standards)
Civil: Structural (with design standards)
Civil: Transportation (with design standards)(afternoon specifications updated for October 2016)
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental
Control Systems
Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering
Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics
Electrical and Computer: Power
Fire Protection
Industrial and Systems
Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration
Mechanical: Mechanical Systems and Materials
Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids Systems
Metallurgical and Materials
Mining and Mineral Processing (new specifications for the 2016 exam)
Naval Architecture and Marine (new specifications for the 2016 exam)
Structural (with design standards)

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 October 2015 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.

Exam First-time takers Repeat takers
Volume Pass Rate Volume Pass Rate
PE Agricultural and Biological (April 2015) 24 79% 7 43%
PE Architectural (April 2015) 88 83% 12 42%
PE Chemical 247 78% 76 36%
PE Civil Construction 686 58% 663 27%
PE Civil Geotechnical 424 66% 296 25%
PE Civil Structural 1168 67% 458 31%
PE Civil Transportation 1056 67% 890 37%
PE Civil Water Resources and Environmental 1069 68% 540 38%
PE Control Systems 222 73% 46 35%
PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering 34 79% 11 64%
PE Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics 110 72% 47 13%
PE Electrical and Computer: Power 814 60% 510 35%
PE Environmental 238 66% 107 33%
PE Fire Protection 150 61% 67 27%
PE Industrial (April 2015) 72 72% 17 47%
PE Mechanical HVAC and Refrigeration 431 82% 163 44%
PE Mechanical Mechanical Systems and Materials 453 74% 120 44%
PE Mechanical Thermal and Fluids Systems 547 75% 217 36%
PE Metallurgical and Materials 46 83% 20 55%
PE Mining and Mineral Processing 56 75% 15 40%
PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (April 2015) 41 71% 6 67%
PE Nuclear 24 58% 9 0%
PE Petroleum 132 61% 47 32%
PE Software (April 2015) 16 63% 2 100%