Mechanical PE exam format

Before beginning your preparations for the exam, it is very important to understand the Mechanical PE exam format.  I try to give all the information about the Mechanical PE exam format here, but I highly recommend you go to the NCEES page and download the exam specifications for the exam you plan to take.  You want to follow that information to make sure you know what to expect on the exam.

Overall Mechanical PE Exam Format

The Mechanical PE exam is an 8 hour exam, which is split into two 4 hour sessions.  Each session contains 40 multiple choice questions for a total of 80 questions.  The morning session is called the Breadth exam and the afternoon session is called the Depth exam.  All test-takers for the Mechanical Engineering PE exam will take the same morning Breadth exam.  Each test-taker will select from one of three possible afternoon depth exams.

Morning (AM) Breadth Exam

The Mechanical PE exam AM session (the Breadth exam) covers basic engineering practice, mechanical systems and materials, hydraulics and fluids, energy / power systems, and HVAC / refrigeration.

Afternoon (PE) Depth Exam

For the Mechanical PE exam afternoon session you will pick between HVAC and refrigeration, mechanical systems and materials, or thermal and fluid systems.

HVAC and Refrigeration

PE exam format


The afternoon session on HVAC and Refrigeration covers principles and applications.  The principles section covers thermodynamic cycles and properties, Psychrometrics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, compressible flow, and energy balances.  The applications section covers equipment and components, systems, and supportive knowledge.




Mechanical Systems and Materials

PE exam format


The afternoon session on Mechanical Systems and Materials covers both principles and applications.  The principles section covers topics on statics, kinematics, dynamics, material properties, and strength of materials.  The applications section covers mechanical components, joints and fasteners, vibration analysis, material selection, and manufacturing processes.




Thermal and Fluid Systems

PE exam format

The Mechanical PE exam afternoon session on Thermal and Fluid Systems covers both principles and applications.  The principles section covers material properties, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass balance, thermodynamics, and related principles.  The applications section covers equipment, systems, and codes / standards.