How to know if you are Eligible for PE Exam Special Accommodations

If you’re hoping to become a New Jersey professional engineer, the biggest obstacle in your way is the PE exam. When you register to sit for the exam, you will see a section regarding special exam accommodations. This is for people who have a special circumstance that requires a different test date, different test location, specific item typically not allowed in the test environment, and other unique accommodations. There are three situations where you may request special accommodations for the PE exam when you provide the proper documentation:

These special accommodations must be requested ahead of the scheduled exam date. Once you request the accommodations, you will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed. If you are unsure if you qualify for receiving special accommodations, email the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying at Don’t let anything stop you from becoming a New Jersey professional engineer!

7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Improve Your Studying

From standardized tests in grade school to pulling all nighters for final exams, as an engineer, you’re no stranger to studying. Just when you thought you’d broken the shackles of long-form studying, along comes the PE exam. The PE exam is a whole different ball of wax, consisting of 80 questions over an eight-hour period. For specific exam information on each engineering discipline, click here. By taking and passing the PE exam, you can take your career to new heights and explore your options for New Jersey engineering memberships. Follow these study tips to ensure you ace the test!

Seven ways to improve your study sessions:

  1. Get your cardio on. Exercise is always good for your body, but when it comes to studying, exercise is extremely beneficial for memory, attention, information processing, and problem solving. Exercise increases the levels of an important brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which aids in the growth of brain cells, mood, and learning. It also releases hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Getting your heart rate up for just 20 minutes a day can be beneficial.
  2. Try some classical music. University of Dayton researchers found that fast-tempo background music increased cognitive performance. In the study, participants listened to clips of Mozart pieces. Results determined that the background music increased speed of spatial processing and the accuracy of linguistic processing. This study only experimented with instrumental music, so try something without lyrics!
  3. Write down/print your study material. Research suggests traditional print materials have the upper hand when it comes to studying. A psychology lecturer found that students required more repetition to learn new material if they were reading on a computer screen versus reading printed material. Plus, as you’re writing a study guide or flashcards, you’re processing the information better!
  4. Take breaks to destress. Stress is never good, especially when it comes to learning. UC Irvine researchers found that stress lasting even just a few hours can engage hormones that disrupt the process of creating and storing memories. Study breaks are always beneficial, and during these breaks, it’s a good idea to exercise or take a few deep breaths to lower your stress level. Study breaks are recommended after every hour of learning for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Review before bed. Studying while you’re tired can actually help your brain retain higher concentrations of new skills. The term for it is sleep-learning. The memory-consolidation process does its best work during slow-wave sleep, so reviewing study materials before bed can help your brain learn while you’re sleeping!
  6. Practice teaching the material. Research has shown that students have better memory and recall abilities when they learn new information with the expectation of having to teach it to someone else. Learning material with the intent to teach ensures the material is actively understood and stored away in memory. Plus, the act of reviewing your studying materials out loud, as if you’re teaching someone, aids in understanding by working out problems in real time.
  7. Prevent the “curve of forgetting” with interval studying. The “curve of forgetting” is essentially this: the first time you hear a lecture or study something new, you retain up to 80 percent of it – if you review the material within 24 hours. After a week, you may retain 100 percent of the same information after only five minutes of review. Scientists agree this type of interval studying (as opposed to cramming) is best. Rather than waiting a week before the PE exam to review that new topic you learned three weeks ago, try reviewing it closer to when you learned it.

The next PE exam date is October 26, so try out these tips for creating a study schedule to help you stay on track, and get the most out of your exam materials to ace the test.

A PE license opens many doors to new opportunities, and when these opportunities start popping up, having a New Jersey engineering membership at NJSPE can help. By following these study tips, you’ll have the upperhand and will crush the PE exam. Happy studying!

What you can Bring with you to the PE Exam

The pencil-and-paper professional engineering exam is usually the first time engineers have sat for an exam in more than four years. If you’re having flashbacks to cumulative final exams in college or the SATs, we can understand if the thought of taking the PE exam gives you heart palpitations. However, you can breathe a little easier knowing it’s multiple choice AND it’s open book. But before you collect all the engineering notes and books you can think of instead of studying for the exam, there are some guidelines you must adhere to when choosing reference materials and other items into the exam.

Approved reference materials

Thankfully, the professional engineering exam is open book. However, that doesn’t just mean you can pile up a bunch of books and notes and roll into the exam room. Instead, you must have your reference materials approved on the day of the exam by the test administrator. To ensure your materials are usable for the exam, follow these guidelines:

  • No loose papers or pages
  • Any notes taken on looseleaf paper must be bound in:
    • Three ring binder
    • Brads
    • Plastic snap binder
    • Screw posts
  • Notes in a composition notebook or spiral notebook are permitted
  • Pages must not be stapled together
  • Sticky notes or flags are accepted only if attached to bound materials
  • Any reference materials glued or stitched together, such as books, are permitted

As long as you don’t have any loose papers floating around, you will be OK. Keep in mind that during the exam, you may not rip out any pages or remove any sticky notes and doing so may result in immediate dismissal from the exam. If you have any questions, fill out on a contact form on the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers website.

Other accepted items

To keep the testing environment as fair and free from cheating as possible, there are very strict rules on what is allowed into the exam room. Unless you have a disability or pre-discussed special circumstance, there are no exceptions to the rules. The only approved items are:

  • Your ID
  • Exam authorization letter
  • One of the following calculators
    • Casio fx-115 and fx-991
    • HP 33s and HP 35s
    • TI-30X and TI-36X
  • Wristwatches
  • Small clocks
  • Reference materials
  • Eyeglasses (but not the case)
  • Earplugs
  • Two of the following straightedges
    • Ruler
    • Protractor
    • Triangle
    • Scale
  • Handheld magnifying glass
  • Snacks
  • Nonalcoholic drinks

We aren’t kidding when we say this list is strict. Not even pencils, pens, or notepads are allowed in the room. If you need something else and require special accommodations, please contact the New Jersey board prior to the exam.

Remember, the PE exam is a very important step in any engineer’s career, which is why the rules are so strict. However, as long as you adhere to the guidelines provided above, it’ll be smooth sailing, and you can focus on crushing the exam. Need anymore PE exam advice from your friends at the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers? Let us know! Contact us online or email us at

Everything you need to know about the PE Exam Results

Because there are so many different versions of the professional engineering exam, it can be difficult to know what information is relevant to you and what is relevant to other disciplines. Regardless of what discipline you are looking for a professional engineering license in, below is the information you need to know everything about what to expect from your results, including when you get them, how you get them, and how they are determined.

Pencil and paper exams

Most of the PE exams are pencil and paper, with the exception of the chemical engineering and nuclear engineering exams. If you fall into any other exam category, the below information is relevant to you:

  • Timeline: the results are released from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) between eight to 10 weeks after the exam date. However, this is when the results are received by the state’s licensing board. Test takers can expect the results in a week or two following when the board receives the results.
  • Results: when you receive your results, they will be given to you as pass or fail rather than a numeric grade. If you fail, a diagnostic report breaking down your strengths and weaknesses will be included to help you retake the exam. The diagnostic report looks like this.
  • Grading: the exam for your professional engineering license is multiple choice. Similar to high school, these answer sheets are machine-graded. However, a certain number of the sheet are manually checked to ensure accuracy. You only get points for correct answers, and there are no points deducted for incorrect answers.

Computer-based exams

Similar to the FE exam, the chemical and nuclear engineering PE exams are only offered as computer-based exams. There are some similarities and differences for these results compared to the pencil and paper exams, including:

  • Timeline: rather than the long wait associated with the pencil and paper exams, the computer-based test results will be ready for your viewing in seven to 10 days.
  • Results: you will receive an email from NCEES when your results are ready. They are presented as a pass or fail grade only. If you fail the exam, a diagnostic report will be included with your results to help you prepare to retake the exam. Here is an example of what that report looks like. Instructions will also be included on how to proceed to your licensing board.
  • Grading: the passing score is determined by subject matter experts and not shared publicly. You receive points for correct answers and don’t lose points for incorrect answers. The score is converted to a scaled score to ensure all levels of difficulty in the exam are scored evenly. The score is then compared to the predetermined passing score.

It is important to note that regardless of what version of the exam you take, every exam is scored evenly, even if it isn’t the first time someone is taking it. The scoring process and results are taken very seriously to ensure there are no mistakes in grading. If you are on your way to getting your professional engineering license and want to know more about the exam, check out this page for all the best information.

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