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What To Bring To The PE Exam
By Griffin Quick Updated on March 21, 2024
Nadine Crow, PE Nadine Crow, PE

What To Bring To The PE Exam

Our detailed guide answers what you should and should not bring to the NCEES PE exam

Taking the PE exam can be extremely stressful. Not only do you need to prepare for the test itself, but you also need to know what you can and can not bring with you in order to avoid any potential issues at the testing center. The guide below will help you better understand what is and what is not allowed. By knowing the rules, you can (somewhat) relax on test day, which in turn should lead to better performance.

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What Should You Bring To The PE Exam?

First and foremost, you will need to present a physical ID when you arrive at the test center. This includes IDs issued by a government entity in the country where you are testing, an international travel passport in Roman characters from your country of citizenship, or a U.S. military ID.

You should also have your appointment confirmation letter, NCEES-approved calculator, and any approved comfort items you might need. This includes eye drops, cough drops and the like. To see the full list of allowable comfort items, see the list here.

pe exam calculator
Example of NCEES approved calculator

For quick reference, other items allowed in the testing room include a key to your test center locker, eyeglasses without the case, a light jacket or sweater, and a reusable booklet and marker supplied by Pearson VUE.

👉 Also Worth Reading: PPI2Pass Review

What Should You NOT Bring To The PE Exam?

While you can bring a lot of things with you to the exam, a lot of people make the mistake of bringing too much with them. Items that are not allowed include your eyeglasses case, cell phones, electronic devices (including fitness trackers), and watches.

You are not allowed to bring a wallet, purse, hat, or other head coverings unless they qualify as religious apparel. Do not bring coats (with minor exceptions), bags, notes, books, pens, pencils, erasers, food, or beverages. All of those items need to be stored outside of the testing room.

pe exam testing center
PE exam testing center

Also, as the NCEES moves away from paper and pencil examinations, you will no longer be able to bring bound or unbound reference materials, such as notes. You are not allowed to have writing tablets, legal pads, or stapled paper. This includes any cheat sheets from PE exam prep courses, such as Civil Engineering Academy.

The NCEES Reference Handbook for your specific engineering discipline will be supplied onscreen as a PDF.

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Tips To Make Test Day A Success

You want your test day to be as stress-free as possible. Below is some advice that will help.

First, you need to make sure that you get a good night’s rest before the day of the test. Get to sleep early and don’t spend the night before studying and worrying.

Also, make sure you prepare all the materials you need to bring the night before, so you aren’t running around in the morning looking for things.

Set your alarm to wake up early, and make sure you get to the testing facility well ahead of time. You don’t want to feel as though you are being rushed. Wear comfortable clothing on the day of the exam and choose something that makes you feel good. Eat a good, healthy breakfast and stay hydrated.

However, perhaps the best way to make test day a success is to properly prepare. Most people would agree that the best way to prepare is with a PE exam prep course.

Courses offer study materials such as video lessons, practice tests, and live classes. Moreover, prep courses often include other PE exam study resources such as flashcards and prep books.

What should You Bring To The PE Exam

That being said, it’s not just study materials alone. PE exam prep companies provide clear study plans, as well as expert support throughout the entire test prep process.

Our team here at Test Prep Insight has reviewed several PE exam prep courses and we recommend the courses from School of PE and PPI if you are serious about passing the PE exam on your first attempt. Luckily, you can often find the courses from PPI2Pass and School of PE on sale if you are working with a limited budget.

The last thing you want to do is not take the test seriously the first time and fail. That will just waste time and lead to a lot of frustration. Good luck!


What reference materials should I bring to the PE exam?

You are not allowed to bring any personal reference materials into the testing center. Instead, you will be provided with an electronic copy of the NCEES Reference Handbook for your engineering discipline on-screen.

What books can I bring to the PE exam?

You are not allowed to bring any books to the PE exam. It is not an open book exam. You will be provided with a PDF version of the PE Reference Handbook for your specific engineering discipline on-screen.