New Civil PE Exam Standards

Mark Ingram, PE, PTOE

New Civil PE Exam Standards

Authors: Mark Ingram, PE, PTOE

January 2024

In April 2024, significant changes will occur in the NCEES PE Civil exams. These changes will impact all five civil engineering disciplines: Construction, Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, and Water Resources / Environmental. The revisions are designed to more closely reflect current professional practices and the specific knowledge and skills required in each discipline.

The exams will no longer include general civil engineering topics previously common across all specialties, which NCEES used to identify as Civil Engineering Breadth. The new format focuses on “depth” content, meaning each exam (Construction, Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, and Water Resources / Environmental) will require a much deeper understanding of the subject matter for their specific practice area. This is a significant change in approach for administering the exam and shows a desire to shift the emphasis to a more specialized approach within one of the five disciplines.

What remains unchanged is:

  • Each exam will continue to consist of 80 questions.
  • The duration of the exam appointment remains at 9 hours.
  • The exams will still be conducted in a computer-based format.

As a person who has spent over twenty years preparing civil engineers for the topics of transportation engineering and engineering economics, I find these changes welcomed as most Civil Engineers find themselves gravitating to one of the five depth areas often before they even graduate. This change will allow those preparing for the exam to be more focused, resulting in a deeper understanding and ability to demonstrate expertise in a subject area.

On a personal note, this change will also allow me to help those in Transportation Engineering prepare for the detailed complexities of the exam. My lectures can now center on a more targeted review without having to start with the fundamentals. I am developing a brand-new Transportation-focused review course through a company I am starting called Ingram Transportation Review. Lectures for Transportation professionals will begin in the early Summer of 2024. The course (once complete) will be a month-long endeavor that will be a comprehensive, in-depth review of Transportation Engineering, which will include instruction time, additional problems for practice, and exam strategies that are proven to maximize your potential for passing the PE exam.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Ingram

About the author: Mark Ingram, PE, PTOE, is a Project Director with HNTB in Houston, Texas. He has over 30 years of experience in transportation planning and traffic engineering, addressing safety and mobility needs for toll roads, ports, transit, highways, and municipal projects throughout Texas and Louisiana. Mark has over 20 years of experience teaching Traffic and Transportation Engineering review, helping individuals prepare for the Fundamentals Engineering (EIT) and the Principles and Practices (PE) Exams administered by NCEES.