Which Is the Easiest PE Exam?
So you have earned an engineering degree, cleared the FE exam, acquired the title of EIT, garnered four years of work experience, and are finally looking forward to taking the PE exam.
But this must be the very first thought that would have struck your mind:
Which PE exam should I take?
The answer is pretty simple.
Everyone would like to take the PE exam that they can pass on their first attempt to become professional engineers without wasting their time retaking the exam.
But which is the easiest PE exam to take?
Well, it heavily depends on your fascination with a specific subject, whether you will crush the exam in your first take or not. So, you will obviously have a firm grasp on your topic of interest, making it significantly easier to ace.
Plus, your work experience is also a key player here. For instance, if you have earned experience working as an electrical engineer, you will definitely have more knowledge about electrical systems than civil engineers. In that case, the PE power exam will be the easiest for you to pass.
We must also not neglect an exam’s difficulty levels. There is no doubt that some PE exams are somewhat more challenging than the rest.
To find this out, we have to look at the passing percentages for different PE disciplines to determine which one is relatively easier to pass than the others.
So, here’s a table highlighting the PE exam pass rates for all of the disciplines:
|Examination Discipline||Volume||First time Pass rates||Exam Format||Last updated|
|PE Agricultural and Biological Engineering||33||82%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Architectural Engineering||64||56%||P&P||June 2021|
|PE Chemical||148||63%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Civil: Construction||786||49%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Civil: Geotechnical||388||49%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Civil: Structural||1233||54%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Civil Transportation||1462||65%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Civil: Water Resources and Environmental||1380||64%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Control Systems||175||67%||P&P||Dec 2021|
|PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering||45||49%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Electronics, Controls, and Communications||208||69%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Electrical and Computer: Power||942||59%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Environmental||306||71%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Fire Protection||236||82%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Industrial and Systems||104||66%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration||643||71%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials||352||70%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Mechanical: Thermal and Fluid Systems||391||68%||CBT||June 2022|
|PE Metallurgical and Materials||56||82%||P&P||Dec 2021|
|PE Mining and Mineral Processing||65||51%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering||26||62%||P&P||June 2021|
|PE Nuclear||17||53%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Petroleum||86||56%||CBT||Dec 2021|
|PE Structutual: Lateral Forces Bridges||39||38%||P&P||June 2022|
|PE Structutual: Lateral Forces Buildings||237||28%||P&P||June 2022|
|PE Structutual: Vertical Forces Bridges||45||27%||P&P||June 2022|
|PE Structutual: Vertical Forces Buildings||286||36%||P&P||June 2022|
From the statistics in the table above, we can see that 82% of candidates passed the PE Agricultural and Biological Engineering, PE Fire Protection, and the PE Metallurgical and Materials exams on their first attempt. So as these three PE exam disciplines have the highest pass rates, we can evaluate that these are the easiest PE exam to take and pass.
Although it differs from person to person, you should dedicate between 200-300 hours on average to prepare for the PE examination if you commence studying three to four months before the exam.
For example, let’s say you start studying three months before the PE test and spend two hours each day, plus six hours on Saturdays and Sundays. In that case, you will need to devote 264 hours to studying for the PE exam.
Remember that these figures are just based on students’ personal experiences and are not always true.
As per the NCEES® PE exam passing rates in the table outlined above, we can assess that the PE Structural exam discipline has the lowest average pass rate of 32.25%, resulting in it being the most difficult PE exam to take.
The reason might be:
This examination demands you to be knowledgeable about a significant quantity of content material and a vast amount of additional criteria you must be acquainted with.
After the PE Structural exam, we can see that the exams with the lowest pass rates are PE Civil: Construction and Geotechnical and PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering. Only 49% of the candidates managed to clear them in their first attempts, making them the second hardest PE exams to take and pass.
It is good to consider statistics, but your interests should be your priority. Practically speaking, you should take the PE exam in a discipline you already practice regularly because you will be more conversant with the fundamental principles and won’t have to study much.
As the PE exam is entirely different each time, it is a matter of chance which examination might include simpler problems and which one might contain tough ones. Having said that, every PE examination is challenging and demands unwavering dedication and hard work.
We hope this article provided you with enough insight into the easiest PE exam to take so you can make an informed decision. If you are still on the fence about which PE exam you should take, we recommend you check out this detailed blog on Which PE Exam Should I Take for further insight.