Whether you failed your first attempt on the PE, or you're simply curious, our guide covers everything you need to know about retaking the PE exam
There’s likely some basic facts you already know about the PE exam, like the fact that the test is comprised of 80 questions taken over eight hours. However, something most test takers don’t know is whether you can sit for the exam multiple times. So whether you’re a nervous nelly just wondering about the prospects of a retake, or you just found out you failed your first attempt, we deliver everything you need to know about retaking the PE exam below.
The short answer is yes—the pass/fail PE exam can be taken multiple times if needed. Not shockingly, many engineers find the test to be very difficult and have trouble getting a passing mark their first time. Thus, retakes are common.
Most importantly, those who fail and want to retake need to determine when they can test again, as well as identify their areas of weakness to improve their chances of passing.
How Many Times Can You Fail The PE Exam?
There is no limit to the number of times a person can fail the PE exam. Or put another way, you can take the test as many times as necessary.
That being said, most people will pass on their second or third attempt, as long as they have put in proper study time. Continuing to fail likely means you should take a prep course to improve your skills in certain areas.
How Often Can You Take The PE Exam?
Although you can generally take the PE exam as many times as is necessary, it is important to note that there is a limit to the number of times the test can be taken each year.
The NCEES allows you to take the PE exam just once within each of their 3-month time windows, with three being the maximum number of attempts each year.
The windows are January to March, April to June, July to September, and October to December.
Additionally, you will need to reach out to your state board to ask them how many times they will allow you to sit for the exam. Some state boards place limits on the number of times you can attempt the PE exam (though this is less common).
How To Register To Retake The PE Exam
You can apply to retake the PE exam the same way you applied the first time—through your NCEES account. Note that you will also have to pay the $375 exam fee again.
Some state exam boards may require a separate application as part of the process, so check with your board to see if there are additional fees, but it’s not common. Once you are approved, you can then schedule the date of your test and choose a testing location.
Study Tips To Help You Pass The PE Exam
Passing the PE exam is difficult, even for those who have studied, due to the stress. Although it’s an important exam, and this is much easier said than done, try to relax when studying and leading up to the test.
Focus on any weak areas where you struggled the first time around and commit to a weekly study plan.
Moreover, taking prep courses and practice exams can help. I’m a big believer in proper prep. The more problems you complete in practice, the more confident you will be on the day of the exam.
Plus, studies show a strong correlation between number of practice problems answered and score results. So don’t skimp on the prep. Good luck!
Can you take the PE exam multiple times?
Yes, you can sit for the PE exam multiple times. Retakes are allowed. That being said, this is not a test you want to take more than once if you can avoid it.
How many times can you take the PE exam?
In general, you can take the PE exam as many times as necessary. However, some state boards do limit the overall number of times a candidate can take the test.
How often can you take the PE exam?
You are only allowed to take the PE exam once per testing window (quarterly), and only a total of three times in a given calendar year.