The National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) is now offering the Principles & Practice of Engineering (PE) Chemical exam exclusively via computer-based testing. The first appointments to take the CBT Chemical exam will begin Jan. 2, 2018.

CBT provides greater convenience for examinees, uniform testing conditions, and enhanced security.

Because CBT is offered year-round at Pearson VUE centers, applicants will be able to schedule an exam date that fits their schedule. Another reported advantage to CBT is that all of the requisite references and resources are provided, eliminating the need for applicants to bring any materials to the exam site.

The total appointment time for the exam is nine hours. The actual exam lasts eight hours; the other hour allows time for administrative tasks, including a tutorial and an optional 50-minute break.

The computer-based PE Chemical exam contains 80 questions. It is a supplied-reference exam. A searchable electronic PE Chemical Reference Handbook will be displayed on the monitor during the exam. No other material will be allowed in the exam room.

It includes alternative item types (AITs). AITs are items other than traditional multiple-choice questions with one correct answer. They could include the following:

  • Multiple select (requires examinees to select multiple answers)
  • Point and click (requirse examinees to click on part of a graphic to answer)
  • Drag and drop (requires examinees to click on and drag items to match, sort, rank, or label)
  • Fill in the blank (provides a space for examinees to enter a response to a question).

According to a schedule announced earlier this year, NCEES will follow up the Chemical exam with the Nuclear exam’s transition in October 2018. The transition schedule also includes:

  • 2019 – Environmental, Software, and Petroleum
  • 2020 – Mechanical (three exams), Fire Protection, and Industrial and Systems
  • 2021 – Electrical (three exams), Agricultural & Biological Engineering, and Mining and Mineral Processing
  • 2022 – Architectural Engineering, Control Systems, Naval Architecture and Marine, and Metallurgical and Materials
  • 2023 – Civil (five exams)
  • 2024 – Structural (two exams).

Update: Unlike the CBT exams transitioned to date where examinees may schedule their exam on any available day, the Nuclear exam will be a single-day testing event similar to what is currently done with paper-based exams. The test date is Oct. 19, 2018. Registration with NCEES for this exam will begin Feb. 1, 2018. Examinees may reserve their seat at a Pearson VUE test center once they are registered with NCEES and approved by FBPE.

NCEES develops and administers engineering and surveying licensure exams within the United States. For more information on NCEES’ computer-based testing, please visit its website at

Updated: Dec. 5, 2017