What are my chances of passing the Civil PE Exam?

This article was last updated on June 1, 2021.

Gauging your preparedness for the NCEES Civil PE Exam can be difficult and stressful. The exam is a milestone in the career of Civil Engineers and the last many will take in their life. While taking measures to prepare is essential to build confidence in the examination, it is also important to understand how others have done on the exam in the past in order to set expectations for study time and results.

What are the past rates for each depth section of the Civil PE Exam?

Source: NCEES Squared: A Year In Numbers 2014 - 2020

The figure shown above tracks exam pass rates based on yearly data released by NCEES and provide a number of important takeaways:

How many people take the PE Civil Exam?

NCEES Civil PE Exam Test Volume

Source: NCEES Squared: A Year In Numbers 2014 - 2020

The figure shown provides insight into the number of exam takers over the past six years and also provides a number of key takeaways. 

How long do I have to study for the Civil PE Exam?

The number of hours required to study for the exam obviously varies from person to person. A recent Reddit poll on the r/PE_Exam subreddit gauged the amount of time studied based on several hundred individuals with the following results:

Study time required for Civil PE Exam.

Source: Reddit 


The figure reflects no set target one should aim for in terms of studying for the PE Exam, rather, it reflects a broad range of backgrounds, academic, and work experiences attempting the exam. Examinees should avoid feeling discouraged if it appears they are spending more or less time preparing for the exam than their peers.  


The Takeaway

Results and effort hours required vary among individuals, but a few things are clear: