PE Software exam
The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam tests for a minimum level of competency in a particular engineering discipline. It is designed for engineers who have gained a minimum of four years’ post-college work experience in their chosen engineering discipline.
The PE Software exam is an 8-hour exam with 80 questions. It is administered in pencil-and-paper format once per year in April. See the exam schedule for a specific date.
Prepare for your exam by
- Reviewing the PE exam specifications
- Reading the reference materials and examinee guide
- Understanding scoring and reporting
- Viewing the most up-to-date PE exam pass rates
Familiarize yourself with your state licensing board’s unique registration procedures before registering for a PE exam. Special accommodations are available for examinees who meet certain eligibility criteria and sufficiently document their request.
For more information on the format of the exam and the topics covered, download the PE Software exam specifications (PDF).
PE exam specifications are posted 6 months before the exam administration. Updates for the April exams are posted in November, and updates for the October exams are posted in May.
The cost to take the PE exam varies from state to state (or foreign location). Depending on where you register, fees may be paid directly to NCEES, a state licensing board, or a designee of the board. Visit the engineering licensure section, and select your exam location for more information about your registration fees and payees. You may be prompted to contact your state licensing board (or foreign entity) directly.
Reference materials and exam prep
This pencil-and-paper exam is an open-book exam. You are allowed to bring bound reference materials, but they must remain bound during the exam. Loose paper may be bound with
- ring binders,
- plastic snap binders,
- spiral-bound notebooks,
- or screw posts.
No staples will be permitted. Sticky notes and flags are permitted only when attached to bound materials. More information is available in the NCEES Examinee Guide.
NCEES does not publish exam preparation materials for this PE discipline. Contact the sponsoring professional society directly regarding any study materials they can provide.
The NCEES Examinee Guide is the official guide to policies and procedures for all NCEES exams. Download your free copy to find out more about registering for exams and what to expect on exam day.
Scoring and reporting
Results for this exam are generally released to the licensing boards 8–10 weeks after the exam administration. Depending on your state, you will be notified of your exam results online through your MyNCEES account or via postal mail from your state licensing board.
Learn more about the exam scoring process.