The best advice I got for the PE exam was to work as many practice problems as possible. And I’m glad I took that advice, too, because that really proved to be one of the most important factors in me passing. The only trouble was that I had a really hard time narrowing down which practice exams and problems were worth my time and which weren’t.
The best place to get practice problems for the PE exam is School of PE. Of the 900+ problems I worked, they had the most problems that were like the actual PE exam. You get hundreds of problems if you purchase their full review course, or you can buy 6 months of their Practice Portal Pro for $390.
For the best full practice exams for the PE, here are the top 3:
- The NCEES practice exams, which are actual official old PE exam questions
- Civil Engineering Academy’s breadth + depth exams
- Civil Engineering PE Practice Exams: 2 Full Breadth Exams
Because your study time is so limited, it’s crucial that you pinpoint the most effective practice problems to work on. I used these resources myself and they made the PE exam much easier and are what ultimately helped me pass!
There are some other resources that might help but probably won’t be the best for most people. I’ll mention these too in case you want to give them a try or if you work all your other practice problems.
But you’ll get plenty of problems with School of PE and the practice exams I’ve mentioned. I used these resources to work over 900 problems and ended up passing no problem!
Best PE Exam Practice Problems – School of PE
School of PE was extremely helpful and the main reason why I finally passed the PE exam on my second attempt. I was highly impressed with how thorough they were.
When it came time for the actual test, I was amazed at how much better prepared I was. It was especially awesome to see how many of their practice problems were nearly identical to the type of problems I saw on the PE exam!
Because of School of PE I rocked the PE exam on my second attempt. I would even go so far as to say that it was even easier than I had anticipated!
If you want to use School of PE for practice problems, you have two options:
- Purchase their full course, either on-demand, live online, or in person. I wrote a review of School of PE that you can check out if you want more details about these.
- Buy a 6-month access pass to their Practice Portal Pro and practice as much as you want for $390.
I bought the entire course which included the Practice Portal Pro, so I had a TON of practice problems from School of PE. I think in total it got me 300 or 400 problems.
The way their course is set up is you have learning modules that go through the topics on the PE exam then you have a whole bunch of practice problems that the instructors go through with you. But even as you’re doing the learning modules there are a ton of practice problems and going through them with the instructor is super helpful.
I compare this to the first time I studied for the PE when I only had myself to think through problems and solutions. Sometimes I wasn’t sure why I got a problem wrong or how to do it correctly. It was hard to see what I was missing and what I would need to pass the actual PE.
But after practicing problems on my own and then having an instructor to walk me through the solutions, my confidence shot through the roof.
I learned how to solve problems I didn’t understand on my first attempt when I was studying on my own. And when it came to the actual PE exam I know I got a whole lot more right than I had the first time because not a single problem on the morning portion surprised me and only a few did on the afternoon portion.
If you want to learn more about School of PE, you can check out my review of it that I mentioned earlier right here. You can also click right here to check out the School of PE website where you can see what they have and even get a trial version and sample some of their videos.
I did the trial version myself on my first attempt at the PE and it honestly didn’t do the full course justice. So just know that if you do decide to try the trial, the full course is way better!
Other Options for PE Practice Problems
The most popular alternative to School of PE is ppi2pass. The main thing to know about ppi2pass is that they go into much greater detail on their practice problems than anyone else.
This can be good for helping you thoroughly understand problems, but it’s not my personal favorite because of how much harder the problems are than the actual PE. Most of their practice materials just left me feeling discouraged at how little I was understanding. But I believe that’s most likely only because I didn’t take their full review course.
There are a few of options with ppi2pass:
- Purchase their full course, which I haven’t done but would still recommend as an option. Prices are similar to School of PE but tend to run a little higher.
- Get access to their Learning Hub, which I have done but didn’t love. I actually canceled it after a few days because the problems were just too difficult for me. This probably wouldn’t have been the case had I taken their review course though. They do have a 3-day free trial during which you can cancel and get a refund, so that’s nice!
- Buy one of their practice problem books, which I have also done but also didn’t love. It was pretty much the same experience as the Learning Hub. I might have liked it had I gone through their full course though.
I’ve linked to each of those options and if you click on them you get 15% off your purchase on anything other than review courses. If you do purchase I also get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I will say that although ppi2pass isn’t my first choice for practice problems, it shouldn’t be overlooked for a few reasons:
- If you take their full course maybe the practice problems won’t be so bad. I haven’t taken it though so I can’t guarantee this will be the case.
- It can be a good resource if you run out of practice problems from other sources.
- Their Engineering Reference Manuals are probably the #1 preparation book that you need for the PE exam but only if you don’t take a prep course. I used the Civil Engineering Reference Manual a lot on my first attempt, but after taking School of PE I found almost everything I needed from their references.
If you do want to get the Civil Engineering Reference Manual you can click here to get 15% off. And if you need another version of ppi2pass’s reference manual the 15% off will still apply if you go to another page after clicking on that link. And here’s a link to it on Amazon, where it might be cheaper.
Best PE Exam Practice Exams
Next to the advice to work a lot of practice problems, the best tip I got for the PE exam was to do a full practice run-through of the test with a practice exam. Because of this, I highly recommend you save one practice exam to use for this practice run of the PE exam.
The idea is to mimic the actual test conditions as much as possible so you can see how prepared you are and so test day won’t be your first time taking an 8-hour exam.
I set aside a Saturday and did this myself and it was one of the best things I did to prepare for the PE. I packed my lunch, set a timer, got all my reference materials, and went to a quiet place at my former university.
It was long and difficult, but was also a critical part of my preparation for the PE exam.
#1 – NCEES Practice Exams
The NCEES practice exams are actual problems from past versions of the PE exam. You can’t get any closer to mimicking the actual test than this.
Which is why I also highly recommend that you use the NCEES practice exam for your practice run. This is what I did and it was a really good decision because of how well it prepared me for actual test conditions.
When you’re studying for the PE and working problems, most practice resources won’t be worded the same way or of the same difficulty level of the PE. So when you go to take the actual PE, you might be caught off guard.
But by saving the NCEES practice exam until last, you mimic those conditions under which you may be surprised and you can see how you’ll react and practice performing under pressure.
Plus, going through the NCEES practice exam will then make it less likely that you’ll run into something unfamiliar!
#2 – Civil Engineering Academy Breadth & Depth Exams
Civil Engineering Academy is a great resource if you want to prepare for the PE exam without breaking the bank. Like School of PE and ppi2pass, they have a lot of options.
You can purchase their full course, which includes over 150 practice problems, 2 breadth exams, and 5 depth exams to choose from, all for as low as $397 for one-month access.
The other option is to just get the digital version of the practice exams and print them to use for practice, like I did. I’m really glad I found these because they were really good. The problems were also very similar to the actual PE, although not as much as School of PE’s were.
#3 – Civil Engineering PE Practice Exams: 2 Full Breadth Exams
The only reason I put this as #3 instead of higher is because there weren’t any depth exams with them. But the breadth questions were amazing and were almost exactly in the same style as the NCEES practice exam.
Even though this didn’t have a depth exam, the major benefit was how much better it prepared me for the breadth portion of the PE. That sounds obvious, but let me explain why that’s a big deal.
Passing the PE exam requires a high enough overall score. So if you do poorly on one portion, say the depth, then you can “make up” for it by doing really well on the other portion. If you really nail the breadth section you can afford to miss a few more points on the depth. Which is super important because the depth is way harder, so you need that wiggle room.
I have a hunch this is what got me to pass on my second try, but there’s no way to tell for sure. The morning section was incredibly easy on my second attempt because of School of PE, and I think I got over 90% on it. I still did really well on the afternoon session, but wasn’t quite so confident on it.
Practicing problems is by far the best way to prepare for the PE exam. The best option for problems that are like the actual PE is School of PE. Another option is ppi2pass, but their questions tend to be too much harder than the actual PE to be worth it.
For full practice exams, your best bet is the NCEES practice exams, followed by Civil Engineering Academy and the Civil Engineering PE Practice Exams.
Whatever you do, it’s important to focus on the best practice resources first and exhaust those before going to others. You want to be as prepared as possible, so the more questions that you work that are close to the actual PE exam questions, the better!