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Get ready for an all-new P.E. exam format; here’s what you need to know

Written by: Ben Walpole
Published on: Mar 14, 2024

The P.E. exam format is changing April 1 to focus its content more specifically on the discipline area the test-taker is pursuing.

Will this make the exam easier? More difficult? How will it change the way civil engineers prepare for the exam?

Longtime instructor for ASCE’s P.E. review courses, J.P. Mohsen, recently talked with Civil Engineering Source to answer those questions and more.

Civil Engineering Source: Because I know we’re going to talk about what’s changing with the P.E. exam this spring, let’s start with just a quick outline of the current format.

J.P. Mohsen: The current format of the Principles and Practice of Engineering – or  P.E. – exam has what they call the breadth segment and a depth segment. The P.E. Civil Engineering exam has five focus areas that we normally refer to as the depth areas, and these are subdisciplines within civil engineering – construction, transportation, structural, water resources and environmental, and geotechnical.

So the candidate used to take the breadth segment of the exam – common knowledge from all five of those areas – in the morning, and then in the afternoon pick one of those subdisciplines for the depth segment.

From my experience, the breadth segment had questions related to what a curriculum would have in the second year and third year of a civil engineering undergraduate program. The depth part, however, was more what a student would take in their senior year and graduate courses as well as on the job experience post-graduation. It was designed to address what a civil engineer graduate would experience during the first four or five years of his or her career.

Alright, so that is the current format. But soon, I’ll call it the old format because it’s changing in just a few weeks – April 1.

Read the full article.