Blog - Mechanical PE Exam

Type of Material to Study for the
Mechanical P.E. Exam

What do I study? What is important material and what isn't?

Before you start, Choose your afternoon depth session.

The Mechanical P.E. license exam has (3) different afternoon depth sessions. It is important to choose which session you will be taking, before you start studying in order to provide a more focused approach to studying. The Mechanical P.E. license does not differentiate at all between the (3) depth sessions. If you obtain your Mechanical P.E. license, it will simply say that you are licensed to practice Mechanical Engineering. With that being said, you should pick the depth session that you are the most confident.

  • Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration
  • Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids
  • Mechanical: Mechanical Systems and Materials

Review NCEES Exam Specifications

Once you choose your afternoon depth session, then navigate to the NCEES P.E Exam website. Download the NCEES Exam Specifications for your afternoon depth session. This document will serve as the blueprint for your studying. This document shows the broad topics that can be tested on the exam. Although NCEES indicates that the list is not exclusive or exhaustive categories, it does provide a starting point to direct your studying.


Gather your references

The next step is to gather your references that are applicable to the broad topics given by NCEES. The recommended references for the HVAC and Refrigeration afternoon section are listed below and are analyze in greater detail throughout other articles on this website.


  • Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual
  • Engineering Unit Conversions
  • ASHRAE Handbooks
  • ASHRAE Codes
  • NFPA Codes
  • NCEES Sample Exam

Identify Key Skills and Concepts

Finally, review your references and identify the key skills and concepts necessary for the P.E. exam. How do you do this? In the P.E. exam guides on this website, the key skills and concepts from each of the NCEES topics are extracted and placed in an easy to use guide. The key skills and concepts are identified based on the following criteria


  • Must be part of an NCEES Exam Topic, not outside of the realm of the Depth Sessions
  • Must be testable within 6 minutes, not deeply involved
  • Must be commonly used in the field of practice, not rare and obscure
  • Must be the application of a theory, not the theory itself.


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