What is the PE Exam Passing Score?

NCEES® has not provided a PE exam passing score for its exams. This is because there is no definite passing score for every student rather the NCEES® uses a scoring method that results in a different passing and failing score for each student. It uses statistical methods to make sure the difficulty level and the administration of the test are taken into account while scoring the students. Such a method is known as equalizing. It makes sure that the students can get a score that is as fair as possible.

At the same time, the scoring of the test also depends upon the kind of exam which is being scored. There are different guidelines for scoring the computer-based exam and the paper and pencil exam. The PE exam passing score is also dependent on the discipline of the exam which is given whether it is power, civil, mechanical, or any other such.

PE Exam Passing Score

No particular passing score is given by NCEES®. But students after each result share their scores with each other which helps to give an idea of how the student should perform to pass successfully. On average at least a score of 70% is necessary for students to pass but such a score is not told by PE but rather by the experiences of the students.

NCEES® Computer-Based PE Exam

The NCEES® offers exams for some of the disciplines in a computer-based format. NCEES® started this process of transitioning to the computer-based procedure in 2011. Computer-based PE exam has many benefits such as better flexibility in scheduling and better testing conditions.

Scoring Process

All multiple-choice exam answer sheets are computer evaluated; a percentage of answer sheets are additionally manually reviewed to guarantee accuracy. Furthermore, teams of subject-matter experts grade the essays for the afternoon section of the PE test.

The total number of right answers you choose determines your exam score. There are no deductions for incorrect responses.

The result is then transformed into a scaled score, which accounts for any slight changes in difficulty across the various exam versions. This scaled score indicates an examiner’s ability level and is compared to the exam’s minimal ability level, which has been assessed by subject-matter specialists using psychometric statistical methods. This is comparable to how tests are graded in primary school; the passing grade is determined by how well everyone performed on the exam.

The passing score is not published by NCEES®. They assess each test with no fixed number of students that should pass or fail. Every exam is graded in the same manner. First-time test takers and repeat test takers are scored on the same scale.

When the Results are Out?

When the results are out you will only know if you passed or failed. If a student did not pass an exam they will also receive a diagnostic report which will help to analyze the subject areas in which the student is weak and where his strength lies. This diagnostic report helps the student to know where he has to do better if he decides to give the exam again.

How the Results are Reported?

The results for computer-based exams are determined much faster than the pencil and paper exams. It takes about 7-10 days after the exam for the release of the results. NCEES® will send students an email with details on how to access their results in their My NCEES® account. The results will contain information particular to the student’s licensing board about how to continue based on their result.

NCEES® Paper-Based PE Exam:

The Scoring Process

All multiple-choice exam answer sheets are computer evaluated; a percentage of answer sheets are additionally manually reviewed to guarantee accuracy. Furthermore, teams of subject-matter experts grade the essays for the afternoon section of the PE test.

Determining Passing Scores

When a new exam is established or its requirements change, a committee of subject-matter experts collaborates with experienced psychometricians (testing specialists with a statistical background) to define the level of performance that corresponds to a minimal competence in that area. This procedure determines the passing score. They use a lot of data analytics to figure out what they think is a reasonable passing score.

Because passing scores fluctuate with each administration, NCEES® does not publicize them. Again, for the pencil and paper test, NCEES® assesses each exam independently, with no predefined proportion of examinees passing or failing. Every exam is graded in the same manner. First-time test takers and repeat test takers are scored on the same scale.


Statistical equating is used for subsequent administrations of each test to guarantee that this level of performance is constant over several administrations of that exam. Essentially, this implies that, while the numerical passing score may vary from administration to administration, you are not disadvantaged if one administration of a given exam is more difficult than another. This procedure accounts for the 8- to 10 weeks between the administration of a test and the release of results to member licensing boards.

This technique ensures that regardless of when you take the test, your odds are the same as anybody else who has taken it in the past, even if the questions are somewhat different.

The number of items successfully answered throughout the whole exam determines your exam scores. There are no minimum requirements for certain sections or topics within an exam. You are not punished for wrong responses. You may request that your exam answer sheet be manually checked; however, there is a price for this service.

When the results are out?

Exam results are reported as pass or fail. If you fail the exam, you will receive a diagnostic report showing your performance for each of the major topics covered on the exam. The diagnostic report is provided to help identify the knowledge areas where improvement is needed before retaking the exam. The purpose of this report is to provide general performance information; it is not designed or intended to be used for any other purpose.

How the results are reported?

You will be notified when your results are available by the policies and procedures of the licensing board you selected during the registration process. The method of notification and length of time it takes to receive your results vary by licensing board. Most examinees will receive their notification via email from NCEES® within 8–10 weeks with instructions to view your results through your My NCEES® account.

Here’s why knowing the passing score won’t get you passed

The NCEES® doesn’t reveal the passing score but those students who failed the PE exam get a diagnostic report to analyze their performance. This diagnostic report can be used to determine the passing score too but that will not help the students. First of all, you will not be able to determine the exact passing score and even if you succeed in knowing the passing score it will be different the next time you take the exam. This is because the passing score depends upon the types of questions and administration and NCEES® changes its questions each time it takes the exam. There are different versions of the test that are administered and each version has a different passing score. So even if you know the passing score you are not sure that it will remain the same for you. Therefore you should use this time instead to practice more and focus on getting more answers right. Because that is what will help you to succeed.

How to Achieve a Good Score on PE Exam

The only way to get a good score is to do well on the exam. You should practice PE exam as much as you can beforehand. Review the questions in the previous exam, practice challenging questions, focus on difficult topics and sections and try to ace all the difficult parts. Set goals for your study time, make schedules and follow them to make sure that you use the most of your time.

You can even take guidance and help from previous test takers who have passed, from your professors and seniors. They will help you to solve the questions as well as give you tips to give a better exam.  Getting a good score on the PE Exam requires a lot of practice and determination and only when you have studied enough will you be able to get a good score.


More important than knowing the PE Exam passing score is preparing well for it. The average PE Exam passing score however does give you an idea of how well you have to perform to succeed but you can only succeed if you know how to solve the questions. Is different for each exam.

This ensures that students get a score that is suited to the type of exam they are given but also means that the passing score is different for each exam. Therefore the only way to succeed is to make sure you have the right preparation done beforehand and do have to rely on the soring procedures to pass.