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.
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.