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.

Civil: Construction (with design standards for the 2014 exams)
Civil: Geotechnical
Civil: Structural (with design standards for the 2014 exams)
Civil: Transportation (with design standards for the 2014 exams)
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental
Control Systems
Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering
Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics
Electrical and Computer: Power
Fire Protection
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
Petroleum (new specifications for the October 2014 exam)
Structural (with design standards for the 2014 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 October 2013 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.

ExamFirst-time takers (%)Repeat takers (%)
Architectural (April 2013)7443
Control Systems7653
Electrical and Computer6328
Fire Protection6937
Industrial (April 2013)7250
Metallurgical and Materials620
Mining and Mineral Processing7137
Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (April 2013)5846
Software (April 2013)50N/A