Everything You Need To Know About The PE Exam

Are you looking to take the next step in your engineering career? The PE exam may be just what you need! Gain an insider’s knowledge of this important assessment and discover why it could open up a world of new opportunities.

Are you an engineer who aspires to be the best in your field? Do you want to become a professional? Are you seeking rewarding work prospects in the United States or other wealthy countries? If you answered “yes” to all these questions, you’ve come to the correct spot.

We are here to answer any questions you may have concerning the PE exam. This page is a comprehensive guide if you have cleared the FE exam and are considering taking the professional licensure exam (PE). “All about the PE test,” “How to prepare for it,” and “Why is it important?” will be covered in this guide. Let’s delve into the nuts and bolts of the PE exam.

What Is a PE Exam?

What Is a PE Exam

Passing the PE exam is our aim, but before we drive towards that, we must develop an understanding of the PE exam.

The PE Exam, also known as the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam, is the last exam that engineers must pass to obtain their Professional Engineer (PE) license. The PE Exam lasts 8 to 8.5 hours and consists of 80 to 85 questions. It is a computer-based, closed-book test that costs $375 to register.

To put it another way, if you wanted to become a certified Professional Engineer, you’d have to take the PE Exam as part of the licensing procedure. After completing the other qualifications, which typically include a 4-year undergrad degree in engineering, passing the FE Exam, and gaining 4 years of engineering experience, you can attempt the PE Exam.

Now that you know the PE exam, we shall look at some of the most asked questions and inquiries regarding this challenging exam.

What Are the Different Disciplines of the PE Exam?

Depending on whatever variation of the PE Exam you take, you will need to answer 80 or 85 questions. If your version contains 80 questions, you’ll have 8 hours to do it, with a 50-minute lunch break between the two 4-hour sessions. If your variation has 85 questions, you’ll have 8.5 hours, including a lunch break.

 The following are the different disciplines in which you can attempt the PE Exam:

Why Should You Take the PE Exam?

Why Should You Take the PE Exam

One of the critical questions and areas of interest we see when students graduate is why they should take the PE exam. Simply put, it is all about the benefits and opportunities you get after clearing the exam. Not only that, but the true essence of your engineering degree also only comes into play after you become a PE-licensed engineer.

Let’s look at these advantages in detail in the following paragraphs.

A PE license indicates your dedication to the highest engineering standards. It also demonstrates your capacity to provide engineering services directly to the public, something only a certified PE can do. The letters ‘PE’ following your name is a benefit that will open opportunities for the rest of your life.

A PE license is a legal prerequisite for practicing engineering in each state. While many engineers work under a commercial or government exemption, some occupations need a PE. For example, if you want to consult or start your firm, you may require a PE license to provide engineering services to your clients. Therefore, the time to obtain your PE is when you need it rather than when you are focused on launching a new firm.

Another bright side is that according to polls, engineers with a PE license earn a greater average pay than those without.

It would be best if you also visited our blog to know why you should give the PE exam and the PE license is worth the effort.

Registration for the PE Exam

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, or NCEES® as commonly abbreviated, is the institution that creates, conducts and marks the tests. Therefore, it is where you must register for the PE Exam.

The first step in registering is establishing an account by clicking on this link. If you’re attempting this for the first time, you haven’t taken the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam, which you must pass before taking the PE Exam.

Log in to your NCEES® account or make one if you don’t already have one to register for the FE Exam or PE Exam. Don’t use a school or employment email to register. This account will be yours forever, but you will delete those emails.

When you log into your account, you’ll see a section labeled “Common Tasks” on the right side. The first choice is “Register for a test,” which you should select. After that, you’ll choose your test type, complete the procedures, pay the cost, and you’ll be enrolled for your exam!

Read More: How to Register For the PE Exam

PE Exam Scoring Process and Pass Rate

PE Exam Passing Score changes yearly and is not constant. They’re updated every year for every discipline and are further divided for first-time attempters and exam repeaters. They are listed below.

PE Exam Scoring Process and Pass Rate

You can explore this further by visiting the NCEES® website.

Cost of PE Exam

One central question we receive is about the PE exam cost when registering. To register for the PE Exam, you must pay $375 to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES®); however, there are additional charges involved, including:

  • Investing in study resources: You must procure resources such as PE exam materials, practice problems, books, and even courses. To pass, we recommend the PE Exam Preparation Course by Wasim Asghar.
  • Purchasing a Calculator: Another cost involved is a calculator, which you will need to carry to the exam. The TI-36X Pro is our top suggestion for NCEES-approved calculators for the test.
  • Other testing expenses: Some additional costs might be involved, such as those required as part of the application process to take the PE Exam or fees to the testing center. Most states do not have these fees.

What’s on the PE Exam?

As discussed above, the PE exam consists of 80 to 85 questions, depending on your specialization. These questions are of different types of attempting nature, such as filling in the blanks, dragging and dropping, and even multiple correct options.

For the PE power, the computer-based exam has 80 questions. The exam appointment time is 9 hours, and a further breakdown is as follows.

  • Non-disclosure agreement (2 minutes)
  • Tutorial (8 minutes) Exam (8 hours)
  • Exam (8 hours)
  • Scheduled break (50 minutes)

The subject matter covers various concepts, information, equations, and other relevant things that you would have covered in your undergraduate engineering degree and the 4 years of practical field experience you would have had as a requisite for attempting this exam.

Download the test requirements for the PE Electrical and Computer: Power exam for more information on the exam structure, subjects covered, and necessary standards.

The PE Electrical and Computer: Power test covers multiple-choice and alternative item formats (AITs).

How To Get Prepared for The PE Exam?

How To Get Prepared for The PE Exam

Now that you understand what will be covered in the PE exam, you need a professional engineering exam study guide to start preparing for it. We recommend that you take the PE power examination course to kickstart your exam preparation and get your hands on exclusive exam tips from Waseem Asghar to get a head start.

On top of that, we have researched and combined detailed information and lists of the best preparation material you can find for the PE exam.

Additionally, during the test, you will be given an electronic NCEES® PE Electrical and Computer: Power Reference Handbook. The only reference material you can utilize during the test is this handbook and the standards mentioned in the exam requirements. Personal copies of any material will not be permitted in the test room.

NCEES® provides a PE Electrical and Computer: Power practice test to help you become acquainted with the exam style, content, and different item types (AITs). The practice exam comprises questions from previous examinations and questions explicitly designed for study materials to offer you more practice.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1 - Is the PE exam difficult?

Yes, the PE exam is difficult. But it is not impossible to clear it in the first attempt. It requires a lot of practice, dedication, and hard work to get through this licensing test. You should have control of your nerves and deep analyzing skills to attempt all the questions correctly.

2 - What does the PE exam consist of?

The professional engineering exam consists of two sections, i.e., breadth and depth. Both contain 40 questions each. The topics covered in the exam include construction, geotechnical, water, structure, and transportation.

3 - Do the PE exams differ from state to state?

Professional engineers test is conducted by the NCEES® examination authority. Therefore, they are the same throughout all the U.S. states. However, you may be required to pass an additional licensing exam to practice in another country.


The PE exam is an examination that not only reassures and licenses your skills and understanding as a professional engineer but also opens numerous career opportunities for you in the present and future.

This write-up gives an overview of the PE exam and other things you might need to know about it. We have also highlighted and linked several study and resource guides to not only help you study and prepare for the exam but also attempt it in a way that will help you yield the maximum result, and that is passing with flying colors.

We recommend you visit us regularly to learn more about the PE exam and keep yourself updated with the latest study guides, courses, and tips.

So, what are you waiting for? A  future with endless opportunities is waiting for you, so register now and start preparing for your PE exam!

Wasim Asghar – P.E, P.ENG, M.ENG

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.