How to pass the PE Civil Engineering Exam?

What is a professional engineering (PE)?

A professional engineer is a registered or licensed engineer who has the authority to sign or stamp engineering documents in a particular state or territory. More specifically, a Civil PE is a licensed engineer that specifically addresses the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructures (bridges, roads, canals, dams, buildings).

How to become a professional engineer?

Pass the PE Exam to become a professional Engineer!

What is the PE Civil exam?

The PE Civil exam consists of a session of 4 hours in the morning and a session in the afternoon of 4 hours. The morning session is the same for all examinees. The afternoon session is divided into 5 sections: construction, geotechnical, structural, transport, water resources. What section to take later will depend on what is recorded when applied?

When are they applied?

Applications are typically 6 months before the test. Exams are held twice a year in April and October. So if you want to take the October exam you need to start the application process in March, so that you can have April. Be sure to check with the State Board to determine exactly when the applications expire.

When to start studying?

This is different for everyone. Most people will recommend 2-4 months of study 5-7 hours a week. You need to realize that it was the school that you will find difficult to keep disciplined studying for several years. I recommend studying smaller increments over a long period of time, than trying to cram a lot of information in the last 2 weeks before the exam.

What does it refer to buy?

Before buying any reference you should read a review of PE Civil exam study materials. The more references you have the better. However, if one does not study with references you will be useless for the day of the exam. You have 6 minutes to each problem in the exam, which means you need to know in advance what each of your references contain. Personally I brought each reference I had to the test, just in case. But he probably only uses different reference 4-5 books, mainly the Civil Engineering Reference Manual (CERMI).

How to study?

Take a practice exam before you start studying to determine your weaknesses. Once you have taken the exam prioritize your study based on the types of problems you were given the most trouble. You have to do a lot of problems. The problems of practice more than doing the exposition plus you get to types of problems that you will find in the exam. Also, doing more problems forces you to use and become familiar with the different references. You will probably get missing specific references that could help you pass. As a basic study program I recommend spending 1 hour a day for 2 weeks for each area of ​​the exam. This will be equivalent to 14 hours of study or 5 thematic areas, which is equivalent to 70 hours. In my opinion, this is the minimum. This study method will take 10 weeks to complete, so if you start studying 12 weeks before the exam there will be 2 weeks left to focus on the areas that are still giving you problems. By emphasizing something that I have already mentioned, make sure you are familiar with the references on how to study. Just do not open the practice problem book, review the solutions and I think it will be fine. You need to familiarize yourself with your references and feel confident in using them in the exam.


Only 68% of those registered first successfully pass the Civil PE exam. I do not say this to discourage because it is my opinion that 32% of the people who are not the ones who do not take the time to prepare. I have never heard anyone say, “Studied for more than 100 months of hours in advance and it still does not happen”. Getting your professional engineering license can be the greatest milestone of an engineer’s career. Therefore, take your time to be well prepared for the PE Civil exam.