This week’s PE exam article (and video above) is in response to many questions we have received from engineers about when their specific FE or PE exam will be going to the computer-based testing (or CBT) format.
What are the Benefits of CBT Exams?
The CBT format offers many benefits, such as enhanced security for exam content and more uniformity in testing conditions. For most exams, it also provides greater scheduling flexibility. All CBT exams are offered at approved Pearson VUE test centers and reasonable accommodations are available for examinees who meet certain eligibility criteria and sufficiently document their request.
Some CBT exams are administered year-round. NCEES constructs these exams using a linear-on-the-fly (also known as LOFT) algorithm. This means that all examinees for a particular exam are required to answer the same number of questions in the same topics; however, no examinees will have the same set of questions. The algorithm will assemble a unique exam within the same specification framework (for example, the same number of questions per topic area) and the same relative level of difficulty.
Other CBT exams that have a smaller examinee population use a different high-stakes testing model and are administered on a single day each year. All examinees taking these exams receive the same questions. The question formats used on both types of exams are the same, independent of the statistical model employed.