Best Civil PE Exam Study Materials

CIVIL PE EXAM Study Materials

** Updated 11/5/2012 **

The Civil Engineering Reference Manual by PPI now has a 13th edition, and the Practice Problems for the Civil Engineering PE Exam now also has a 13th edition.  You will obviously want to use the most updated version of both.

An Overview of What You Need:

The three things that will help you the most in your preparation for the PE Exam are as follows: A core reference manual, a Lot of problems, and a sample exam. For your depth review, you will also need to gather your design standards, when applicable.

The majority of your review should come from doing problems, and you will need the reference manual to help you through the problems. First skim the relevant chapters, and then work the problems for those types of problems. At some point in your review, you will want to take the sample exam to ascertain how you are doing, and determine what you need to focus on the most.

Reference Guide

Try to find a good reference guide that covers most of the material. Guides such as the Civil Engineering Reference Manual are a must. There are other publishers, but this is really the one that has been tried and true. Read a more complete review here.

Civil Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam (Hardcover)

By (author) Michael R. Lindeburg; ISBN10 = 1591263808 | ISBN 13: 978-1591263807 | Published by Professional Publications, Inc.

The Civil Engineering Reference Manual provides a comprehensive review of all five NCEES Civil PE exam content areas: construction, geotechnical, structural, transportation, and water resources and environmental engineering.

Over 500 example problems not only demonstrate how to apply important concepts and equations, they also include step-by-step solutions that show you the most efficient methods to use when solving exam problems.

With more than 100 appendices from references and exam-adopted design standards it’s possible to solve many exam problems using only the Civil EngineeringReference Manual.

Features of the Civil Engineering Reference Manual

  • More than 500 example problems
  • Over 400 defined engineering terms
  • References to over 3,300 equations, 760 figures, and 500 tables
  • Index includes cross-topic concepts
  • Example problems use both SI and U.S. Customary units
  • Consistent nomenclature in each chapter
  • Coverage of both theory and practical applications
  • Easy-to-read explanations
  • Easy-to-use index and full glossary

Exam Topics Covered (used in main product description in Magento, and also in the separate “Topics Covered” field)

  • Construction: Earthwork construction and layout; material quality control and production; quantity and cost estimation; temporary structures; scheduling
  • Geotechnical: Earth and earth-retaining structures; shallow foundations; soil mechanics analysis; soils and materials properties; subsurface exploration and sampling
  • Structural: Loadings; analysis; materials and their mechanics; member design
  • Transportation: Geometric design
  • Water Resources and Environmental: Closed conduit and open channel hydraulics; hydrology; water and wastewater treatment

What’s New in This Edition (used in main product description in Magento)

  • Updated to current exam-adopted codes and standards for:
    • AASHTO: AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, 5th ed., 2010
    • ACI 318: Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete, 2008
    • ACI 530: Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures, 2008
    • IBC: International Building Code, 2009
    Modified concrete and masonry chapters to be consistent with NCEES' revised structural specifications Removed all ACI 318 App. C theory, equations, and examples to be consistent with NCEES requirement of exclusive use of ACI 318 unified strength methods Provided new content, including
    • Added new chapter on highway bridge rating
    • 31 chapters with revisions to existing materials
    • 10 chapters with new material
    • 51 revised equations
    • 13 new equations
    • 15 revised tables
    • 2 new tables
    • 19 revised examples
    • 5 new examples
    • 3 revised appendices
    • 13 revised figures
    • 6 new figures
    • Added 130 new index entries to new and existing material
List Price: $320.00 USD
New From: $394.96 USD In Stock
Used from: $197.99 USD In Stock

Here is my Video Review of the Product:


Note: The 12th Edition of the Civil Engineering Reference Manual is no longer published, and has been superceded (Link)  

Civil Engineering PE License Review (Kaplan); ISBN10 = 1427761396

Civil Engineering PE License Review (Civil Engineering: License Review) (Paperback)

By (author): James Banks, Braja M Das, Bruce E Larock, Thomas Nelson, Alan Williams

Each chapter of Civil Engineering PE License Review, 17th Edition is written by an engineer specializing in the relevant subdisciplines of civil engineering. The book offers a focused review of terms, concepts, equations and analytical techniques in the six primary topic areas of the PE Civil Exam: structural engineering, water resources, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering and construction engineering.

This review book helps busy engineers identify and review key topics and analytical techniques relevant to the PE exam and provides the most current exam information possible.

List Price: $109.95 USD
New From: $69.89 USD In Stock
Used from: $25.00 USD In Stock

Civil Engineering All-In-One PE Exam Guide: Breadth and Depth 2/E [Hardcover]

Goswani; ISBN10 = 0071787720

"All-in-One is All You Need."

The most complete, up-to-date civil engineering PE exam guide

Ace the civil engineering PE exam on the first try! Fully revised for compliance with the new PE Civil syllabus, new specifications, and the latest design standards, Civil Engineering PE All-in- One Exam Guide, Second Edition, covers all the material included on the Principles and Practice of Civil Engineering (PE Civil) exam, given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Featuring more than 200 pages of new material, this edition includes a new chapter on highway pavement design.

This authoritative volume is presented in the Breadth and Depth format of the actual exam and contains equations, diagrams, exam preparation strategies, and more than 150 end-of-chapter practice questions with solutions. Designed to help you pass the exam with ease, this detailed, comprehensive resource also serves as an essential on-the-job reference.


  • Structural: loadings, analysis, mechanics of materials, materials, member design
  • Geotechnical: subsurface exploration and sampling, engineering properties of soils and materials, soil mechanics analysis, earth structures, foundations, retaining structures
  • Water resources and environmental: hydraulics, hydrology, water treatment, wastewater treatment
  • Transportation: traffic analysis, geometric design, transportation planning, traffic safety
  • Construction: earthwork construction and layout, estimating quantities and costs, scheduling, material quality control and production, temporary structures

List Price: $99.00 USD
New From: $64.67 USD In Stock
Used from: $58.06 USD In Stock

Design Standards Library
For the Civil PE Exam, the structural, construction, and transportation modules have design standards that will be necessary.
First, gather all of the references that NCEES has specified to be covered on the exam. If you are taking a depth module that cites specific references (such as Structural, Transportation, and the Construction depth modules), you certainly want to gather those materials for your depth module. Also, consider some of the materials for your breadth exam library as well. I have mentioned steel before, and underscore it is an important reference.

Practice Problems

One of the keys to passing the PE Exam is to work a ton of problems. You will need to obtain plenty of practice problems.

Practice Problems for the Civil Engineering PE Exam, 13th Edition:

A Companion to the Civil Engineering Reference Manual [Paperback] |  Michael R. Lindeburg PE (Author); 754 pages | Professional Publications, Inc.; Thirteenth Edition, New Edition edition (April 26, 2012) | ISBN-10: 1591263824 | ISBN-13: 978-1591263821

Practice Problems for the Civil Engineering PE Exam contains 755 problems designed to help you identify important civil engineering topics and apply your knowledge to a variety of problems. Short, six-minute, multiple-choice problems demonstrate the format of the NCEES Civil PE exam and help you concentrate on a single subject. More complex problems combine several concepts, illustrate efficient and accurate solving methods, and familiarize you with the codes, standards, and references you’ll need for the exam.

Solutions are clear, complete, and easy to follow. U.S. customary and SI units are equally supported, and units are meticulously identified and rigorously carried through all calculations. Where multiple methodologies (e.g., ASD and LRFD) are permitted by the exam, both solutions are presented in this book. Frequent references back to the Civil Engineering Reference Manual and the original codes and standards direct you to support material when you need it. 

Prepare for the Civil PE Exam by Solving Problems—The More Problems, the Better

  • Over 750 practice problems covering the topics, codes, and standards on the Civil PE exam
  • More than 350 exam-like, multiple-choice practice problems
  • Over 360 scenario-based and short answer problems
  • Complete step-by-step solutions
  • SI and U.S. Customary units used throughout
  • Chapters that correspond to those in the Civil Engineering Reference Manual
  • More than 130 tables and 530 figures

What’s New in the 13th Edition

  • Over 370 revised and/or updated practice problems including structural, transportation, and construction practice problems that reflect NCEES-adopted codes and standards
  • More than 65 new practice problems
  • Use of consistent nomenclature between chapters
  • Over 80 revised and/or new figures
  • More than 15 revised and/or new tables

Exam Topics Covered

  • Construction: Earthwork Construction & Layout, Estimating Quantities & Costs, Construction Operations & Methods, Scheduling, Material Quality Control & Production, Temporary Structures, Worker Health, Safety, & Environment
  • Geotechnical: Subsurface Exploration & Sampling, Engineering Properties of Soils & Materials, Soil Mechanics Analysis, Earth Structures, Shallow Foundations, Earth Retaining Structures, Deep Foundations
  • Structural: Loadings, Analysis, Mechanics of Materials, Materials, Member Design, Design Criteria
  • Transportation: Traffic Analysis, Geometric Design, Transportation Planning, Traffic Safety
  • Water Resources & Environmental: Closed Conduit Hydraulics, Open Channel Hydraulics, Hydrology, Groundwater & Well Fields, Wastewater Treatment, Water Quality, Water Treatment, Engineering Economics
List Price: $116.00 USD
New From: $72.53 USD In Stock
Used from: $49.11 USD In Stock

Sample Exam

To get a feel for the exam day experience, and also to help you ascertain where you are in your studies, you will need to take a sample exam about half-way to two-thirds of the way through your preparation.

Civil PE Sample Examination, Fourth Edition (April 26, 2012) by Michael R. Lindeburg PE  

ISBN-10: 1591263875 | ISBN-13: 978-1591263876

The Civil PE Sample Examination provides the realistic, timed practice you need to succeed on exam day. Each 40-problem, multiple-choice session simulates the actual exam’s format, depth, and problem distribution. Begin by taking the morning session, and then choose one of the five afternoon session disciplines (construction, geotechnical, structural, transportation, or water resources and environmental). After completing the sample exam, use the answer key and the step-by-step solutions to assess your exam readiness.

Use the Civil PE Sample Examination to

  • practice solving problems under timed conditions
  • reveal topics that require extra review
  • determine the most efficient ways to solve problems
  • identify the references you may use during the exam

Exam Topics Covered

  • Construction
  • Geotechnical
  • Structural
  • Transportation
  • Water Resources & Environmental
List Price: $116.00 USD
New From: $69.74 USD In Stock
Used from: $30.00 USD In Stock

Mike’s Civil PE Exam Guide; ISBN10 = 1453716343

Designed to help you pass the Civil PE exam the first time! This morning session guide provides you with 40 realistic morning session exam problems with detailed solutions. Learn the study methods that have helped hundreds of EIT's pass the test the first time through. Visit for a free sample problem.
List Price: $39.95 USD
New From: $31.67 USD In Stock
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An Approved NCEES Calculator for the Civil PE Exam

You will need a calculator for the exam. NCEES has limitations on the calculator you can use, so be sure you follow those requirements.  Pick on one of the calculators below. I recommend buying it early and using the calculator at work as well as during studies. You can pick these up anywhere you buy electronics.

Casio: All Casio fx-115 models. Any Casio calculator must contain fx-115 in its model name. (This is Andy’s Personal Choice for calculator)

The Casio FX-115ES Advanced Scientific Calculator features over 279 functions and provides its user with everything they need for most mathematical calculations. The calculator's functions include complex number calculations, matrix and vector calculations, statistics, and 40 metric conversions. Its standout feature is its 2-line natural textbook display that displays fractions, formulas, square roots and other expressions as they would in textbook. It is extremely versatile, and can be used in courses ranging from basic pre-algebra to calculus, and also has applications in physics, engineering, biology and statistics.
List Price: $20.99 USD
New From: $20.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $13.49 USD In Stock

Hewlett Packard: The HP 33s and HP 35s models, but no others. Texas Instruments: All TI-30X and TI-36X models.

TI calculator must contain either TI-30X or TI-36X in its model name.

Civil ‘Depth’/ Afternoon Exam Materials

If you are taking the construction depth exam, I am told that this book is a great supplement for this portion of the exam.

Construction Depth Review Book (Ruwan)

Civil PE Professional Engineer exam Construction module,Third Edition (Paperback)

By (author): Fourth Edition Available at Amazon, Ruwan Rajapakse, PE

New third edition of the best selling book Civil PE Construction module is a vast improvement from the second edition. The book is designed to be used with the practice problem book. New third edition contains many more new examples with step by step worked solutions with illustrations. New chapters on shoring and reshoring of multistory buildings, construction equipment productivity, loading on formwork, welding (various welds and symbols), construction grade stake markings, horizontal curves and vertical curves in highway construction, surveying, and machine horse power computation has been added. Chapters on quantity takeoff, estimating, mass haul diagrams, dynamics and statics have been improved and new examples with step by step worked solutions have been added.
New From: $26.00 USD In Stock
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Civil PE Exam Review Courses

A PE Exam review course can be a helpful way to study for the PE Exam.

Civil PE Review Course – Online

This course by PPI is one that I would highly suggest. Well, I am a bit biased, because I am the instructor.  I have taught the class for two exams – The fall and the spring of 2012.  I believe it has gone very well.  We cover all 5 sub-disciplines of the Civil PE Exam.  (Note, use the code ANDYS54U and save another 5%!)

 Don’t buy into the idea that courses can help?  Check out this video expaining why a PE review course can help you prepare for the PE Exam:


Discounts on Review Materials & Courses

If you choose to purchase from the following publishers, then use the links below to save. I do benefit when you use the coupon codes, but at no cost to you (in fact at a discount).

Save 5% on any PPI Course or Materials with the code:   ANDYS54U.  Find the PPI Civil PE exam materials at Find the Course at

Getting a Course + Books from  PPI? Use the code FREEUNIT4 to get the Free Unit conversion book on top of the 15% package discount at

photo by: Redeo