PE civil/structural depth CBT exam

Professional Engineer & PE Exam Forum

Help Support Professional Engineer & PE Exam Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


New member
Dec 29, 2019
Reaction score
Has anybody taken the PE civil/structural depth exam in CBT format, how do you solve the afternoon session questions without a structural reference manual?
I know I will have codes only for the afternoon session and a 500-page NCEES reference manual for the morning session. are these materials sufficient?
I got passed an exam taken in Dec 2022. Not sure if you took the exam already or not.
The exam provided the design code like ACI318, AISC Steel manual, PCI handbook, AASHTO, ASCE 7, TMS, etc. They are listed in the specification of NCEES. Just search NCEES PE specification and you will find the pdf.
The 2022 exam is similar to the previous exam because the specification has not changed.
And note that you are not allowed to bring anything with you except the locker key, calculator without the case, and your ID.
For the morning part, you can use the reference handbook that is free to download from NCEES. This handbook is similar to the FE one but too simplified. Compare to the FE reference handbook, they remove more equations but put some graphic charts that may be useful.
For the depth part, you need to use the reference material they provide to solve the questions.
Instead of your own notes or even examples, you only have access to the codes. So when you review for the test, start using the code not examples.
But note that the PCI handbook has some examples that may be helpful. But definitely do not rely on textbooks. Follow the steps first but be familiar with how the code works and how you solve the problem. In the end, you need to know how to solve the question only using the code by yourself.
They are concept questions that you can not find in the code.
I really cannot say the CBT makes it harder or not. Because some people think it's easier because you can search the texts. But some people think it gets harder.
The advice is to use the code to review and solve all your practice problems. Doing more practice always helps.
Wish you good luck!
The PE Common/Underlying Profundity PC Based Testing (CBT) test is an extensive evaluation intended to assess your insight and abilities in the common and primary designing field.
I agree with the response above. With the cbt exam specifically for the structural portion, your best bet is to be familiar with the structural codes such as ACI-318 and AISC Steel manual and be efficient going through those codes on a single screen computer. This will mimic what you will encounter on the actual test. One half of your screen will show the question and the other half will have your references. With the recent update to the P.E. exam by taking out the breadth portion, your focus will rely more on structural problems. Know the structural codes really well and be able to navigate them on a computer really fast. You don’t have time to read the code during the test.

Latest posts