The U.S.-based Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) licensing exam identifies individuals who can practice professional engineering in such a manner that will safeguard life, health, and property and promote the public welfare. TMS offers study guides and registration information for those wishing to take the exam, as well as the opportunity for existing PEs to help develop exam questions.
Next Met/Mat PE Exam
Date for Next Exam: October 2021
Registration Opens June 2021
For more information, visit the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) PE Exam website.
Exam Review Course
Each summer, TMS holds a review course focused specifically on the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering PE Licensing Exam. More details will be announced soon for the 2021 course on the Upcoming Professional Development Events website.
TMS offers a study guide containing sample problems and solutions relating to the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering PE exam. The guide is free for TMS members and costs $39.00 for non-members.
Learn how to access the study guide
About Professional Engineering Registration
The Metallurgical and Materials Professional Engineering exam is used to determine those candidates who are minimally competent for professional registration. The intent of licensure is to identify those individuals who possess the necessary qualifications to practice engineering. Licensure is essential to the protection of public health, safety, and welfare in matters pertaining to engineering. Due to the licensing process, the public can have confidence in the professional competency and conduct of engineers. TMS takes a lead role in developing the test employed by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) to register professional metallurgical and materials engineers in the United States.
Exam Overview and Prerequisites
The metallurgical and materials version of the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) licensing exam is the second part of the licensing examination's requirement toward becoming a registered professional engineer in metallurgy and materials. The first part is the Fundamentals Exam (FE), which should be taken by the aspiring professional engineer prior to sitting for the PE exam.
The PE exam is administered by state licensure boards, which are provided the test instrument by the NCEES. The NCEES is responsible for scoring the examinations. The exam itself is developed by volunteer members of the TMS Professional Registration Committee. TMS is the only materials society to have formal responsibility for providing leadership in the establishment and fulfillment of professional registration standards. Engineers who have already achieved the PE designation may contact the TMS Foundation & Public Affairs Manager
for information on how to become a writer/reviewer for future exams.
The Metallurgical and Materials PE exam format is known as “no-choice.” This open-book examination consists of 80 multiple-choice questions, 40 in the morning session and 40 in the afternoon session. Candidates are required to work all 80 questions. Each question has one correct answer (the key) and three incorrect answers (distracters)—a total of four possible responses per question. Each correct answer will be one point and each incorrect answer will be zero points.
This examination format was mandated by NCEES in order to provide a better statistical correlation of examination results (pass rates, etc.) from one year to the next and within a group of candidates in any one year.
Exam Knowledge Areas
The examination specifications were developed as the result of a three-year Professional Activities and Knowledge/Skill (PAKS) study, which was designed to obtain descriptive information about the professional activities performed on a job and the knowledge/skills needed to adequately perform those professional activities. More than 300 individuals participated in the PAKS study, including those who participated on Task Force and Test Specification committees, as well as survey respondents.
The Test Specification Committee members used the information gathered during the study to develop the exam specification knowledge areas
Additional Tips on How to Prepare
Many exam candidates rely on self-study, while others prefer to join study groups. For a self-study refresher, several steps are recommended. First, review the exam knowledge areas/specifications to identify the ones with which you are most familiar and concentrate on these (a back-up plan for alternative categories is also recommended).
Once you have selected your areas for review, examine the engineering techniques covered by these fields and locate references containing the required formulae and data. Pertinent material may be in either texts or handbooks. You will be allowed to bring and use appropriate references to assist you in answering questions. Although college texts are useful to review principles and related formulae, extensive consultation of them during the examination may consume valuable time. Alternatively, consider taking orderly notes of formulae and data as you review the materials. Bind the pages into a notebook which you can take into the exam. By preparing a notebook, you will reinforce what you have read, make your study time more effective, and reduce the number of books you will need in the exam room.
Review your reference books before the exam to assure that you are acquainted with the material and know where to find it quickly. Also review the recommended reference books
for additional resource information.
Calculators are permitted in the exam room, but must be models approved by NCEES. Visit the NCEES website for a list of approved calculator models
Taking the Exam
Specific contact information for each state licensure board, as well as upcoming test dates, can be found on the NCEES web site. Each state board generally provides a packet of information that outlines the steps to be taken by engineers to become a registered Professional Engineer. This includes the requirements that engineers must fulfill to qualify as a candidate to take the PE exam and rules to follow while taking the examination.
The NCEES strictly enforces materials that are allowed in examination rooms. Calculators with communication or text editing capabilities will be banned from all NCEES exam sites. For more information, visit the NCEES Principles and Practices Exam page
, which provides such exam-related detail as scoring methodology and national pass rates.