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.
Let’s take a look at the CBT Schedule:
The easiest way to see when your exam will be going to CBT is to visit ncees.org/exams/cbt/ There you will see the complete conversion schedule of when each FE and PE exam will be converted to CBT. At the time of this article being published, they have converted all the way up to the PE Electrical and Computer Power exams.
In October 2021 the PE Agricultural and Biological Engineering, PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering, PE Electrical and Computer: Electronics, Controls, and Communications and the PE Mining and Mineral Processing will all be converted and available one day per year.
All of the PE Civil exams will be converted to CBT and will be available year round beginning in January of 2022.
The PE Architectural Engineering and PE Naval Architecture and Marine will be converted to CBT in 2022 and will be available one day per year on October 17th.
Finally, there are three exams that are tentatively scheduled for conversion to CBT in 2022 and 2024. They are the PE Control Systems, PE Metallurgical and Materials, and the Structural exam (SE).
I hope you found this article helpful. In upcoming articles, I will solve some more PE exam practice problems and answer other questions from our subscribers. Pass the PE Exam videos will publish weekly, so be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss something that could make a substantial difference in your exam result.
Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of this video, or on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So, if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week… on Pass the PE Exam
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success