Basics of the PE Exam
Since each state is responsible for administering its records and applicants for licensure, test fees, forms, and requirements vary. You'll be required to request an application from the state in which you want to be registered. All the relevant details can be found online through a search.
Registration occurs at least two months prior to the scheduled test dates. Tests are given twice a year, typically in mid April and late October. There are exceptions for certain disciplines.
The PE test is designed for engineers who have gained at least four years post-college work experience in their chosen engineering discipline. It has the following attributes:
- Examinations are paper based. Students are provided a test booklet which has the questions and is a scratch pad to perform calculations. Answers are written down an answer sheet that is scored electronically.
- FE exams are discipline specific. Twenty five different tests are available. If you are taking the PE Civil or PE Mechanical exam, you must select a module ahead of time when registering with NCEES.
- It is open book. While you can bring old textbooks you may have from college, the breadth of the exams means you'll being thumbing through a crate-full of books. This is not practical during a timed test, so you should buy a reference manual that specifically covers material in your discipline-specific PE test that condenses your resources to one or two books to be used during the test.
- 8 hours is given to complete the exam, which consists of 80 multiple choice questions. This is split in a 4 hour morning session and a 4 hour afternoon session with a one hour lunch break. This time includes a tutorial, break, and a brief exit survey. On average, you will have 6 minutes per question.
- The exam uses both SI (International System of Units) and USCS (US Customary System) unit systems.
- Calculators are restricted to the models specified by NCEES. Check out this calculator review.
- The exam fee is $225.
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- civil: geotechnical (pdf)
- civil: structural (pdf)
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