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. The PE exam is typically the last step in the process of becoming a licensed P.E.
Each PE exam lasts 8 hours and is split into a morning and an afternoon session.
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.
Civil: Construction (with updated design standards for October 2013)
Civil: Transportation (with updated design standards for October 2013)
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental
Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering
Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics
Electrical and Computer: Power
Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration
Mechanical: Mechanical Systems and Materials
Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids Systems
Metallurgical and Materials
Mining and Mineral Processing
Naval Architecture and Marine
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.
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.
PE pass rates
Pass rates are from the October 2012 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.
|Exam||First-time takers (%)||Repeat takers (%)|
|Agricultural (October 2012)||83||33|
|Control Systems (October 2012)||80||42|
|Electrical and Computer||64||35|
|Fire Protection (October 2012)||60||29|
|Metallurgical and Materials (October 2012)||56||22|
|Mining and Mineral Processing (October 2012)||75||54|
|Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering||58||46|
|Nuclear (October 2012)||56||0|
|Petroleum (October 2012)||79||35|