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PE Sample Exams

Updated on December 15, 2017

The Best PE Sample Exams?

There are several PE sample exam publishers and authors. For the last month, I have been reading reviews and researching the best sample exams. Here are my results.

Not all publishers are equal. You can expect a superior product from certain publishers. They have a long history of quality products, and, their titles and authors have a trend of increasing performance.

Authors, likewise, are not all the same. Most work hard to produce a quality product, one effective in preparing examinees to pass the PE. Others use sites like to artificially increase their reviews. Believe the bogus reviews, and you will lose $45 and a week or two only to learn the reviews are dishonest. (See below for more on this.)

Top Criteria

Which do you feel is the most important when purchasing a PE sample exam?

See results

Compiled Amazon Offerings

These are criteria for not listing some PE exam review books:

Products not on the list:

  • based on the UBC or other outdated building code
  • not updated in more than 6 years
  • rated extremely low
  • obviously fraudulent reviews
  • many reviewers note that there are significant errors in the solutions provided.

If you have ever bought something and realized it was a dud when you got it home, or if you have ever worked a problem for hours, only to later learn you derived a correct answer the first time- but the book had it wrong, then you know the value of weeding out the garbage. At the other end of the link above, are the best sample PE exam books.

Mike's Civil PE Exam Guide: Morning Session
Mike's Civil PE Exam Guide: Morning Session

Reviewers rave about the closeness of the sample questions to those they found on their exam.


Mike's Civil PE Exam Guide

The author (Mike) says he took the PE in 2010. Reviewers say they took their exams not too long after that. And, they add, many problems on their PE tests were similar to questions in Mike's Guide.

Reviewers differ in the exact number of problems they identified. The greatest claim is 12.

However, if the book is as helpful as claimed by the reviewers, then this sample problem book is well worth the money. It is also a great supplement to PE sample exams which are afternoon only versions.

*Note: Some recent reviewers are saying this exam is not updated for the October 2015 exam code book change. Of course, engineering principles do not change. And, the difficulty level should be reasonably consistent from exam to exam. On this, some reviewers say "a tad more difficult" and other say it is more easy. So, your mileage may vary.

Civil PE Sample Examination

This is a product of author Michael R. Lindeburg, PE. This name, in engineering exam preparatory books means quality. The average rating on Amazon is 3.4/5. This is good rating, though it is not as high as his best known works.

In my review process, I found Lindeburg is one of a select group who have steadily increased in average ratings over the years. To me, this signifies they are reading the reviews, honoring feedback, and improving their product.

Avoid: Four Sample Exams for the Civil PE Exam

While writing Pass the PE like a Pro, I researched the historical reviews of both publishers and authors. The auther of this PE review book, Ruwan Rajapaks, lit up my radar because of his unusually high reviews.

However, something struck me as unusual. Typically, the reviewers prone to misspellings and bad grammar leave very poor ratings. However, in some of Mr. Rajapaks' reviews, poor spellers gave his books 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Then, I noticed these reviewers typically gave just one review- to Rajapaks. Add in that many of these reviewers also used very short monikers, like PE, CCE, CCV, and others, it looked suspicious. In a sloppy performance, some of these Amazon accounts are listed both as co-authors and also used to write 5-star reviews.

Of the honest reviews, none are favorable. I include this offering on my list because of the overall very high (inflated) rating. I don't want you to go looking beyond the collection provided below and buy a dud.

AVOID this title! Update: February, 2014- Someone purchased this book using the link in this hub. People, please. I really mean it: avoid this one.

Update October, 2104: A new edition has been published at the end of June this year. If you get a copy, please let us know with a review. Comment here, and post a review on Amazon. Thank you!

PE Sample Exam Value Matrix

Cost ($)
# of Exams
Amazon Rating
Civil PE Sample Exam, 3rd Edition
Mike's Civil PE Exam Guide
Civil Engineering PE Practice Exams
Civil PE Sample Exam (2012)
NCEES PE Civil: Structural
NCEES PE Civil: Water & Environmental
NCEES PE Civil: Transportation
Construction Depth Practice Exams
2 (depth only)
Mechanical PE Exam (2009)
Mechanical PE Exam (2013)
4 (1 breadth, 3 depth)
Columns are Clickable for Sorting "1" Exam = 1 breadth + 1 depth, unless otherwise noted

Highly Recommended

I have read two testimonies advising examinees to purchase this book. Their reasoning is the same: it is not as comprehensive as the CERM, but provides similar great instruction.

The CERM's depth of coverage on topics is a benefit, not a burden. For someone starting their study with fewer than 12 weeks, this

Be sure to get the second printing (2012, January 17). The first edition had typos and errors- the cause of points deducted in previous ratings. Amazon does not restart ratings for new editions. So, the 2nd edition is likely a much better product. Analyzing ratings after January 2012 may not be representative; third party sellers continue selling 1st edition prints.

Overall, this book looks like a real value at 352 pages for under forty bucks. Still, the CERM must still be the number one recommended reference book for the PE exam for a reason. So, this should be a back-up book. Or, if you require a cheap resource to get started. This is the way to go.

Civil PE Sample Exam

This is a PPI publication authored by Michael R. Lindeburg. So, you know, at a minimum, you will receive a very good product.

This is a recent edition, published in April, 2012. As of March, 2015, it has 6 reviews. It has just one review elsewhere on the Internet, "All good," from reviewer Chris. Half these are a 4 or 5. The other half are one each of 3, 2, and 1. So, the reviews are very mixed. But, overall this has a 3.2, which is acceptable for a PE Sample Exam (engineers are tough reviewers, it seems.)

Important note: If you already own a previous version from Lindeburg, this version is substantially the same. According to reviewer Abby Ahlers, "it was the exact same problems and format as the earlier edition."

NCEES PE Civil: Structural Sample Questions and Solutions

The NCEES provides a sample book for each of the exam types. The structural sample exam has 5 reviews, the average is 4.75 stars. (I excluded the only 1-star review. That person's complaint is that the code references are out of date. This is not a problem. The examples in this book are from old exams. The codes will eventually be out of date. It is the scale of difficulty you want to experience.) It just makes sense to purchase a book provided by the same institution actually producing the exam.

The Civil: Structural exam encompasses the largest amount of material of all the exams. So, be sure to supplement your studies with other review books and all the code books referenced. Few people bring the AASHTO book. If you can borrow one, and know well how to use it, bring it.

Sample Exam for Water Resources and Environmental

Having searched high and low, I recommend this resource be in your top three choices for study references. The other two are the CERM and the Water Resources and Environmental Depth Reference Manual.

Buy from Amazon. You'll get the $25 free shipping bonus, and it is the cheapest source for this title. Other sites inflate the cost with shipping and handling. NCEES, for example, charges $20 to ship just one book.

Transportation PE Sample Exam

Okay, 5.0 stars for a Transportation reference? That is amazing in the overall field. But, it is incredible for transportation. I don't know why, but most transportation materials have much poorer ratings than other afternoon subjects.

But, a perhaps more impressive reason to buy this one is this review (assuming it is accurate, and not exaggerated):

I used this book to study for the PE and passed the exam on the first try. I would recommend everyone to first take a look at it before studying, because the sample questions on this book are the most realistic questions compared to the actual exam. - Roozbeh on

Construction Depth Practice Exams

This is actually two 40-problem depth exams. This is for those who are focused on the Construction module. The publication date is April, 2012. This is because the construction afternoon module is the newest PE exam subject.

Because of it's newness, the construction topic has fewer resources available. If you buy this to facilitate your study, consider adding Mike's PE Exam Guide. That title focuses on the morning exam. So, the two books complement each other.

Depth exam questions are more difficult than the morning breadth variety. It is important to work a lot of depth questions. The depth questions tend to have two or three concepts involved in the solution procedure. This forces you to familiarize yourself with the reference books you will carry into the exam and use in professional practice. And, you will become familiar with how it feels to work a problem in the time allotted.

However, you must still work the morning problems. Becoming expert at the more complex afternoon questions will not directly carry over into the morning questions. Morning questions are more likely to require one concept.

Mechanical PE Sample Examination

This PE sample exam for the mechanical professional engineering exam earned an average 3.4 stars of 5 possible on Amazon. Many of the commenters mentioned this sample exam is more difficult than the actual test.

So, if you buy this one by Lindeburg, remember that the actual test will be a little easier. Or, is there maybe some non-scientific evaluating happening here? Is this book so effective it's owners walk into the exam like Alexander the Great and conquer the PE? You'll only know if you buy it.

However, I think most practice exam writers provide problems a little tougher than the actual exam. Publishers only have a problem if they sell a practice exam which is wimpier than reality. Imagine the reviews then!

If you're over-prepared, you pass. What if under prepared? Better to go with the too-tough sample exam than the powder puff version.

2013 Mechanical PE Sample Exam

Published in 2013, this new sample exam for the professional engineering exam has four tests. There is one morning breadth practice exam, and three afternoon practice exams. The afternoon mechanical exams are one each of the three specialties.

The specialties are:

  • HVAC and Refrigeration
  • Mechanical Systems and Materials
  • Thermal and Fluids Systems

There are not yet any reviews on this new version. However, Lindeburg has shown steady improvement over the years, and we can expect an eventual rating above 3.4 stars on Amazon.

Update: As expected, reviews are superior for this title. 4.3 stars out of five is like being crowned with a halo when it comes to reviews for engineering books. Engineers are very critical, it seems. It is part of the mindset. We must examine everything critically. So, when you look at reviews on engineering books, anything rated above a 3 average is worth considering.

The price is sometimes lower on this one. Check for current price.
The price is sometimes lower on this one. Check for current price. | Source

The Best PE Practice Exams

I have reviewed all the available options. On this page of Amazon, I compiled all the best. I provide my explanations for choosing each, and explain how I ranked them (when that is worth knowing.)

Suffice to say: I eliminated the old stuff using old codes. I also included the most current editions.

© 2013 Steel Engineer


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    • Steel Engineer profile image

      Steel Engineer 4 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

      Yes, the mechanical exam has a lot of similarities, but is a very different exam. The book, "Pass the PE like a Pro" (ebook on Amazon) will help. You can get great Mechanical materials from Use the discount code here:

      ...and receive a 5% discount on preparation products. The mechanical exam is one of the more difficult specialties. I'm sure he'll appreciate your support.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      My son is a mechanical engineer and is preparing for his first PE exam. The civil exam is for a different expertise, right?