NCEES® PE Exam Passing Rates

It is better to weigh your challenge before actually facing it as it can potentially increase your chances of success. The same is the case with making a successful attempt in your PE exam to unlock a bright future as a professional engineer in the US.

The NCEES® PE exam pass rates are made public after each exam cycle. These pass rates can help you acknowledge the overall performance of the preceding batch of PE aspirants. You being a new entrant can weigh the intensity of effort you need to invest in passing your PE exam and what is the likelihood of your success as per the performance stats. You can further assess why some students successfully crack this important exam and some end up otherwise.

Passing the PE exam is the last and most crucial step to becoming a professional engineer in the US. Once you get your PE license after a successful attempt, you can leverage the perks of being a licensed professional engineer in your state.

This article will help you find the PE exam pass rates for all the engineering disciplines and get a clear picture of the overall complexity linked with each subject domain.

Let’s get started.

NCEES® Exam Pass Rates for Different Disciplines

Pass Rates for Different Disciplines

NCEES® offers two types of patterns to test the candidates’ abilities in their respective areas of study.

  • Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format
  • Paper-and-Pencil (P&P) Format

NCEES® is going through some changes as it continues to covert its “then” P&P format exams into CBT formats. For instance, the PE civil exam is most recently converted into CBT format in 2022. As of today, only PE Structural exam is offered in P&P format. NCEES® declares passing rates for each engineering subject separately.

Some exams are measured all year long. These tests are created by NCEES® using a linear-on-the-fly (LOFT) method. This implies that while all examinees for a certain test must answer the same amount of questions in the same areas, no two examinees will receive the same set of questions. The algorithm will create a one-of-a-kind test within the same specification framework (i.e., the same number of questions per topic area) and relative level of difficulty. Other tests with a smaller examinee population are only given once a year. The identical questions are given to all examinees sitting these tests.

PE Exam Passing Rate for First Timers

A large number of PE exam candidates become successful in passing their exam on the first attempt. If someone abstains from passing the exam on the first attempt, they have the liberty to try their luck next time. But each candidate is eligible to sit in the PE exam twice a year or they have to wait for a few months for the next year’s slot.

The pass rates for first-timers are mentioned below:

Exam disciplinesVolumePass ratesFormatAvailability
PE Civil: Transportation157763%P&PTwice per year
PE Civil: Water Resources and Environmental173067%P&PTwice per year
PE Control Systems17567%P&POnce per year
PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering4549%CBTOnce per year
PE Electronics, Controls, and Communications20869%CBTOnce per year
PE Electrical and Computer: Power154859%CBTYear-round
PE Environmental41072%CBTYear-round
PE Fire Protection23682%CBTOnce per year
PE Industrial and Systems10466%CBTOnce per year
PE Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration66370%CBTYear-round
PE Mechanical: Thermal and Fluid Systems49067%CBTYear-round
PE Metallurgical and Materials5682%P&POnce per year
PE Mining and Mineral Processing6551%CBTOnce per year
PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering2662%P&POnce per year
PE Petroleum8656%CBTOnce per year
PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials39169%CBTYear-round
PE Nuclear1753%CBTOnce per year

PE Exam Passing Rate for Repeaters

If a student doesn’t pass the first time, they can always take the exam again. Students can take the test as many times as they want.

The pass rates for repeaters are mentioned below:

Exam disciplinesVolumePass RateFormatAvailability
PE Agricultural and Biological Engineering0N/ACBTOnce per year
PE Architectural Engineering2138%P&POnce per year
PE Chemical7543%CBTYear-round
PE Civil: Construction71937%P&PTwice per year
PE Civil: Geotechnical36630%P&PTwice per year
PE Civil: Structural90842%P&PTwice per year
PE Civil: Transportation104541%P&PTwice per year
PE Civil: Water Resources and Environmental98844%P&PTwice per year
PE Control Systems4943%P&POnce per year
PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering0N/ACBTOnce per year
PE Electronics, Controls, and Communications0N/ACBTOnce per year
PE Electrical and Computer: Power21350%CBTYear-round
PE Environmental8841%CBTYear-round
PE Fire Protection2259%CBTOnce per year
PE Industrial and Systems2335%CBTOnce per year
PE Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration8856%CBTYear-round
PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials6159%CBTYear-round
PE Mechanical: Thermal and Fluid Systems8060%CBTYear-round
PE Metallurgical and Materials1225%P&POnce per year
PE Mining and Mineral Processing0N/ACBTOnce per year
PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering1233%P&POnce per year
PE Nuclear250%CBTOnce per year
PE Petroleum3027%CBTOnce per year

How to Increase My Chances of Passing the PE Exam?

Increase Chances of Passing the PE Exam

Below are some proven tips and techniques that can help you pass your PE exam without any trouble.

  • Try mock exams to pass the pe exam
  • Take your time while opting for the PE power exam
  • Evaluate yourself after regular intervals
  • Be mindful throughout your preparation journey
  • Make a timetable with strict but achievable deadlines
  • Revise and practice as much as you can
  • Prepare ahead of time to avoid any unseen trouble
  • Keep your stress levels under control to improve efficiency

How to Pass the PE Exam for the First Time?

It is easier to start Preparation for the PE exam a couple of weeks before than to cram all the material just a few days before the exam. The latter exhaust you and leave you with incomplete preparation and more stress, and ultimately impact your performance in the exam. Therefore you should start studying a little ahead of time so that you can prepare better. It is necessary that you brainstorm effectively and figure out what areas you need to work on more and assign more time for those subjects. You can also take help from seniors and teachers or study for FE online. Moreover, you should practice free PE practice problems in abundance and complete as many of them as possible.

Students should also stay away from social media sites and utilize most of their time preparation. At the same time, they should take breaks to rest and relax. Studying can be tough and stressful. To help you stay focused and energetic, you need to take short breaks so that you can put 100% effort into the preparation. For additional help, you can also take PE License courses. They can help you with the practice of questions and guide you around the exam pattern, tips to pass, and guidance from professionals. These tips ensure that you pass the PE exam on the first try.

The NCEES® Scoring Process for CBT Exams

Your PE result is based on the total number of correct answers without any negative marking for wrong answers. Your overall PE exam score is converted into an NCEES® scale that reflects the candidate’s performance compared to the minimum benchmark required to pass the exam. The entire process is based on psychometric statistical methods to evaluate candidates’ performance, subject knowledge, and overall ability. All PE exams are scored via the same scoring process without any discrimination between the fresh candidates or repeaters.

PE Exam Prerequisites

The prerequisites for all PE exams are:

  1. A 4-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program.
  2. Passing the fundamental engineering exam (FE Exam).
  3. Completing four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE.

If a student has completed all the above steps, they are eligible to sit for the PE Exam and become a professional engineer.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1 - Which PE exam is the hardest?

As per the available data, PE Electrical and Computer Exam is the hardest among all with the least passing ratio of 49 percent.

2 - Is PE more difficult than FE?

No, the FE exam is much more complex than the PE exam because of a more comprehensive course outline and diversity of subjects. Therefore, it is recommended to attempt your FE exam soon after your graduation with fresh knowledge and a maximum grip on your graduate course. We have covered a separate blog detailing the best time to take the FE exam. Perhaps you’d love to check that out.

3 - How many questions at most does the PE exam have?

The PE Exam comprises two formats. 8 hours Format with 80 questions for Civil, Chemical, Power, Mechanical, & environmental PE exams. And another 8 hours 30 minutes format with 85 questions for the rest of the PE exams.

Conclusion

The NCEES® PE exam pass rate can help you determine how to plan and execute your preparation strategy with more focus on weak points. There are plenty of aspects that you must consider while looking at the PE exam pass rates, such as the disciplines, format, availability, etc.

Start by knowing the passing rates and passing scores of the PE exam to develop a clear understanding of how NCEES® scores the PE exam candidates. This piece of writing was intended to give you complete information in a single place. Now it’s time to plan your study and start working on your PE exam preparation with dedication.

wasim-smal
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.