Civil Professional Engineer Study Guides
Great Tools for Your
Civil PE Exam
Morning Breadth
80 Civil Breadth Practice Questions
Reference Guide Covering All Morning Topics
Detailed Breakdown of Each Practice Question
Water Resources & Environmental Dept.
80 Civil Breadth Questions
Detailed Answers to Each!
Detailed Answers to Each!
40 Water Resources Practice Questions
Review of Water Resource & Breadth Topics
Questions Overlap in Both Guides
Transportation Department
Review of Water Resource & Breadth Topics
40 Water Resources Practice Questions
Detailed Answers to Each!
Detailed Answers to Each!
80 Civil Breadth Questions
Structural Series
If you’re preparing for the upcoming Civil PE Exam, the best thing you can do is practice, practice, practice!
However, if that’s your strategy, you’re probably frustrated with the lack of quality preparation material for the Depth portion of the exam!
I understand the frustration personally (I took the test in 2014, which lead me to create the series). We're proud to offer the most engaging Civil PE Practice Exams out there. Bova Books also provides free example problems, and reference guides to ensure you earn your professional license.
Don't sift through tons of guides that provide minimal help. Pick up a copy from Bova Book and be as prepared as you can be.
Morning Breadth
80 Civil Breadth Practice Questions
Reference Guide Covering All Morning Topics
Detailed Breakdown of Each Practice Question
Water Resources & Environmental Dept.
80 Civil Breadth Questions
Detailed Answers to Each!
Detailed Answers to Each!
40 Water Resources Practice Questions
Review of Water Resource & Breadth Topics
Questions Overlap in Both Guides
Transportation Department
Review of Water Resource & Breadth Topics
40 Water Resources Practice Questions
Detailed Answers to Each!
Detailed Answers to Each!
80 Civil Breadth Questions
Structural Series
If you’re preparing for the upcoming Civil PE Exam, the best thing you can do is practice, practice, practice!
However, if that’s your strategy, you’re probably frustrated with the lack of quality preparation material for the Depth portion of the exam!
I understand the frustration personally (I took the test in 2014, which lead me to create the series). We're proud to offer the most engaging Civil PE Practice Exams out there. Bova Books also provides free example problems, and reference guides to ensure you earn your professional license.
Don't sift through tons of guides that provide minimal help. Pick up a copy from Bova Book and be as prepared as you can be.
Morning Breadth
Water Resources & Environmental Dept.
Review of Water Resource & Breadth Topics
Questions Overlap in Both Guides
Transportation Department
Review of Water Resource & Breadth Topics
40 Water Resources Practice Questions
Detailed Answers to Each!
Detailed Answers to Each!
80 Civil Breadth Questions
Morning Breadth
Choose a Category:
Select from the Categories Above for More Information
Traffic Engineering
Uninterrupted Flow
Interrupted Flow
Intersection Capacity
Traffic Analysis
Trip Generation
Accident Analysis
Nonmotorized Facilities
The analysis of pedestrians is important to the flow of vehicle traffic, to ensure the area can handle the number of pedestrians, and to ensure safety. Just as with vehicles we can calculate the pedestrian flow rate at a given location:
Traffic Forecast
Highway Safety
Horizontal Design
Basic Curve Elements
Sight Distance Considerations
Superelevation
Special Horizontal Curves
Vertical Design
Vertical Curve Geometry
Stopping and Passing Sight Distance
Vertical Clearence
Intersection Geometry
Intersection Sight Disctance
When a vehicle is approaching or is stopped at an intersection, they must have an adequate line of sight along the perpendicular roadway to be able to safely stop or maneuver if necessary. This sight distance can be approximated by sight triangles where the hypotenuse is the required sight distance and the base is the required stopping distance. The diagram below exhibits this where X is the stopping distance of the vehicle on the major road and H is the sight distance:
Interchanges
At Grade Intersection Layout
Intersections must be detailed to minimize disruption of traffic and to ensure a safe driving condition. To achieve this, the layout must facilitate both proper sight distances and maneuverability. Acute angles at intersections provide difficulties for both of these aspects and should be avoided as much as possible. The AASHTO Policy on the Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (GDHS) provides a wide range of tables and figures. Chapter 2 focuses on vehicle dimensions and the ability to make turns. Chapter 9 provides guidance on the geometry of the traveled way and intersections to account for minimum turning requirements.
Roadside and Cross Section Design
Forgiving Roadside Concepts
Barrier Design
Cross Section Elements
While a roadway often has to fit the area and purpose of its proposed location, the geometric features must meet certain minimum and maximum values. The Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets provides a large number of requirements for the design of a roadway or walkway cross section. For the PE exam it is best to become familiar with the location of these requirements and most importantly be able to find them quickly since it is unreasonable to be expected to memorize all values.
ADA Design Considerations
The American Disabilities Act of 1990 outlines the requirements for structures to ensure proper treatment of individuals with disabilities. The guidelines outline many topics including parking, ramps, egress and others and the requirements which must be met to ensure the proper accessibility and safety. For the PE exam you will likely be asked a question or two requiring you to lookup certain aspects of the code. You should not spend excessive amounts of time reading the code but be familiar with the sections and be able to navigate and find information quickly.
Signal Design
Signal Timing
Signal Warrents

Warrant 1, EightHour Vehicular Volume 
Warrant 2, FourHour Vehicular Volume 
Warrant 3, Peak Hour 
Warrant 4, Pedestrian Volume 
Warrant 5, School Crossing 
Warrant 6, Coordinated Signal System 
Warrant 7, Crash Experience 
Warrant 8, Roadway Network 
Warrant 9, Intersection Near a Grade Crossing
Traffic Control Design
Signs and Pavement Markings
Temporary Traffic Control
Geotechnical and Pavement
Sampling and Testing
Soil Stabilization Techniques
Design Traffic Analysis and Pavement Design Procedures
Pavement Evaluation and Maintenance Measures
Drainage
Hydrology
Hydraulics
Engineering Economics
Economic Analysis
The PE exam will potentially provide examples of engineering economics which are geared towards assets in Transportation. For these questions refer to the morning session equations for engineering economics.
Structural Depth
ASCE
Live Load
Snow Loads
Snow Drift
Site Classification and Occupancy

From Table 20.31 the site classification can be determined

Table 1.52 for the risk category
Site Coefficients and Spectural Response Factors
Effective Seismic Weight
Seismic Base Shear and Force Distribution
Choose a Category:
Select from the Categories Above for More Information
AASHTO
Introduction to Bridges

Foundation – Structural members used to transfer load to the supporting soil.

Substructure – Structural parts that support the horizontal span

Superstructure – Structural parts which provide the horizontal span
Limit States and Load Factors
Load factors and load combinations are handled differently in AASHTO. Different loading conditions are represented by Limit States. Some examples are Strength I, Strength III, and Service I. The load factors vary in magnitude depending on which limit state is applied. The load factors are then multiplied by the various types of loads. The Load Factors are found in Tables 3.4.11 and 3.4.12.
Live Load Distribution
ACI
Flexure
Shear
TwoWay Shear
Axial
Reinforcing Development and Details
AISC
Compression
Flexure
Tension
Fatigue
Fatigue is covered in the specifications Appendix 3 of the AISC. The stress range is determined by the following equation:
Bolt Strength
Block Shear
Welds
NDS
Sawn Lumber
Wood Design consists of finding the allowable design stress for each mode of failure by multiplying the reference stress by the appropriate adjustment factors to find the design allowable stress. The breakdown for sawn lumber and structurally glued members is in Tables 4.3.1 and 5.3.1 respectively.
Structural Glued Laminated
Connections
ACI 530 Masonry
Bending
Compression
PCI
Prestressing Stresses

Compression stress due to the strands P/A 
Bending due to the eccentricity of the strands Pe(c)/I
Prestressing Flexure
Shipping and Handling

Precast/prestressed members need to transported. This introduces stresses which may be different from the inplace design conditions. 
PCI provides provisions for the handling of precast members to limit cracking. 
The modulus of rupture of the section must be greater than applied stress due handling. 
Modulus of Rupture, fr = 7.5sqrt(f'c) 
PCI provides equations for the moments during lifting of typical pick point configurations. This can be found in Figure 8.3.1. 
The situation in which lifting or transportation occurs requires an additional multiplier as outlined in Table 8.3.1.
OSHA
General Requirements

Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cavein. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements. 1926 Subpart P – Excavations

Fall protection: Dropoffs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines. 1910 Subpart D – Walking Working Surfaces and 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection

Power Line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV. 1926 Subpart V – Electric Power Transmission and Distribution

Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level. Subpart AA – Confined Spaces

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. Examples are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes. 1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment
IBC
Loads and Load Combinations

1.4(D +F) (Equation 161) 
1.2(D + F) + 1.6(L + H) + 0.5(Lr or S or R) (Equation 162) 
1.2(D + F) + 1.6(Lr or S or R) + 1.6H + (f1L or 0.5W) (Equation 163) 
1.2(D + F) + 1.0W + f1L + 1.6H + 0.5(Lr or S or R) (Equation 164) 
1.2(D + F) + 1.0E + f1L + 1.6H + f2S (Equation 165) 
0.9D+ 1.0W+ 1.6H (Equation 166) 
0.9(D + F) + 1.0E+ 1.6H (Equation 167)

f1 = 1 for places of public assembly live loads in excess of 100 pounds per square foot (4.79 kN/m2), and parking garages; and 0.5 for other live loads. 
f2 = 0.7 for roof configurations (such as saw tooth) that do not shed snow off the structure, and 0.2 for other roof configurations.

Where other factored load combinations are specifically required by other provisions of this code, such combinations shall take precedence. 
Where the effect of H resists the primary variable load effect, a load factor of 0.9 shall be included with H where H is permanent and H shall be set to zero for all other conditions.
Special Inspections

Special Inspections – Inspections of construction materials and components by qualified professionals for compliance with codes and construction documents 
Can be continuous (Full time) or periodic (Part time or intermittent)
AWS
Weld Symbols and Types
Advanced Statics
3D Statics

First determine location of origin (0, 0, 0)

Determine X, Y, and Z component of all forces

Determine moment from each component about each axis

Moment about an axis is the perpendicular distance from a force component to that axis

Forces parallel to an axis has zero moment about that axis

Forces that run through an axis have zero moment about the axis
Moving Loads

Moving Loads are most often from Live Load due to traffic 
Need to analyze position of load to cause the greatest stress 
Shear in general is greatest when loads are at the support 
Positive moment in general is greatest with the loads at midspan 
Negative Moment is greatest with the load cloase to the support
Hinges
Cables

Cables carry load only in tension 
Acts as axial two force tension members 
Can be analyzed similarly to trusses use the method of joints
Misc. Structural Topics
Eccentrically Loaded Bolts
Elongation and Contraction due to Axial Loading
Elongation Due to Thermal Loading
Composite Beams
Torsional Shear
Surcharge Load
Deflections

Not all deflections are covered under beam chart equations

Moment Area Method can be used for the determination of angle and deflection

First draw the moment diagram

Determine the M/EI diagram by dividing points on the moment diagram by EI

The angle between tangents of two points is the area of the M/EI diagram between points

The deflection of a point from the tangent of another is area of the M/EI times the distance from the centroid of this area to the desired point of deflection
Horizontal Shear Stress
Transportation Depth
Choose a Category:
Select from the Categories Above for More Information
Traffic Engineering
Uninterrupted Flow
Interrupted Flow
Intersection Capacity
Traffic Analysis
Trip Generation
Accident Analysis
Nonmotorized Facilities
The analysis of pedestrians is important to the flow of vehicle traffic, to ensure the area can handle the number of pedestrians, and to ensure safety. Just as with vehicles we can calculate the pedestrian flow rate at a given location:
Traffic Forecast
Highway Safety
Horizontal Design
Basic Curve Elements
Sight Distance Considerations
Superelevation
Special Horizontal Curves
Vertical Design
Vertical Curve Geometry
Stopping and Passing Sight Distance
Vertical Clearence
Intersection Geometry
Intersection Sight Disctance
When a vehicle is approaching or is stopped at an intersection, they must have an adequate line of sight along the perpendicular roadway to be able to safely stop or maneuver if necessary. This sight distance can be approximated by sight triangles where the hypotenuse is the required sight distance and the base is the required stopping distance. The diagram below exhibits this where X is the stopping distance of the vehicle on the major road and H is the sight distance:
Interchanges
At Grade Intersection Layout
Intersections must be detailed to minimize disruption of traffic and to ensure a safe driving condition. To achieve this, the layout must facilitate both proper sight distances and maneuverability. Acute angles at intersections provide difficulties for both of these aspects and should be avoided as much as possible. The AASHTO Policy on the Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (GDHS) provides a wide range of tables and figures. Chapter 2 focuses on vehicle dimensions and the ability to make turns. Chapter 9 provides guidance on the geometry of the traveled way and intersections to account for minimum turning requirements.
Roadside and Cross Section Design
Forgiving Roadside Concepts
Barrier Design
Cross Section Elements
While a roadway often has to fit the area and purpose of its proposed location, the geometric features must meet certain minimum and maximum values. The Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets provides a large number of requirements for the design of a roadway or walkway cross section. For the PE exam it is best to become familiar with the location of these requirements and most importantly be able to find them quickly since it is unreasonable to be expected to memorize all values.
ADA Design Considerations
The American Disabilities Act of 1990 outlines the requirements for structures to ensure proper treatment of individuals with disabilities. The guidelines outline many topics including parking, ramps, egress and others and the requirements which must be met to ensure the proper accessibility and safety. For the PE exam you will likely be asked a question or two requiring you to lookup certain aspects of the code. You should not spend excessive amounts of time reading the code but be familiar with the sections and be able to navigate and find information quickly.
Signal Design
Signal Timing
Signal Warrents

Warrant 1, EightHour Vehicular Volume 
Warrant 2, FourHour Vehicular Volume 
Warrant 3, Peak Hour 
Warrant 4, Pedestrian Volume 
Warrant 5, School Crossing 
Warrant 6, Coordinated Signal System 
Warrant 7, Crash Experience 
Warrant 8, Roadway Network 
Warrant 9, Intersection Near a Grade Crossing
Traffic Control Design
Signs and Pavement Markings
Temporary Traffic Control
Geotechnical and Pavement
Sampling and Testing
Soil Stabilization Techniques
Design Traffic Analysis and Pavement Design Procedures
Pavement Evaluation and Maintenance Measures
Drainage
Hydrology
Hydraulics
Engineering Economics
Economic Analysis
The PE exam will potentially provide examples of engineering economics which are geared towards assets in Transportation. For these questions refer to the morning session equations for engineering economics.
Water Resources Depth
Choose a Category:
Select from the Categories Above for More Information
Analysis and Design
Mass Balance
Hydraulic Loading
Solids Loading
Solids loading similarly to hydraulic loading is the amount of suspended solids in a substance as it flows to the treatment facility. Solids loading is expressed as the following:
Hydraulic Flow Measurement
HydraulicsClosed Conduit
Bernoulli Continuity Equation
The Bernoulli equation for the conservation of energy states that the total energy is equal to the sum of the pressure + kinetic energy + potential energy of a system and is conserved at any point in the system. Therefore:
Pressure Conduit
Pump Application and Analysis
Pipe Network Analysis

The head loss in parallel pipes is equal 
The head loss between the inlet and outlet is equal to that of each pipe individually 
The flow rate at the outlet is equal to the sum of the flow rates from the parallel pipes

The flow entering the system is equal to the flow leaving the system (conservation of flow) 
The sum of head losses in any closed loop is equal to zero
HydraulicsOpen Channel
Open Channel Flow
Hydraulic Energy Dissipation
Stormwater Collection and Drainage
Sub and Supercritical Flow
Hydrology
Storm Characteristics
A design storm must be specified when performing any calculations. The design storm is defined by its recurrence interval which is the given amount of time it is likely to see a storm of a certain intensity. Design storms are often 10, 20, 50, or 100year storms meaning a storm of a certain intensity would only occur once within the given duration.
Runoff Analysis
Hydrographs
Rainfall
Time of Concetration
Stream Gauging
Depletions
Stormwater Management
Groundwater and Wells
Aquifers
Groundwater Flow
Well Analysis
Wastewater Collection and Treatment
Wastewater Collection Systems
Wastewater Treatment Process
Wastewater treatment processes are the procedures for treating wastewater so that it may be used again. This process will remove sediments, sludge, taste, odors, and any other undesirable characteristics of the water. The process can be divided into preliminary, primary, and secondary treatment which will be discussed further below.
Wastewater Flow Rates
Preliminary Treatment
Preliminary treatment is the first step in the wastewater treatment process. This portion of the process is mostly the mechanical removal of debris and other large objects which may be caught in the flow. Heavy chemicals and large amounts of oil are also removed during this process. In general, anything that can be identified with the naked eye and easily screened will be removed during the preliminary treatment process. This process is often performed with large mechanical screens or filters. These large obstructions must also be removed so that they do not damage or impede the subsequent processes.
Primary Treatment
Nitrification and Dentrification
Phosphorous Removal
Solids Treatment
Mixed Liquor Suspended Solids (MLSS) is the concentration of bacteria, solids, and any other undesirable material in sludge. To remove sludge, the MLSS is considered food for the activated microorganisms in the aeration process. It is often important to determine the food to microorganism ratio from the equation below:
Digestion
Disinfection
Advanced Treatment
Secondary Treatment
The most intensive of the levels of wastewater treatment is the secondary treatment. This may involve biological treatment in tickling filters and sludge treatment. The most amount of BOD will be removed in this stage.
Water Quality
Stream Degradation
Oxygen Dynamics
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
Biological Contaminants
Biological contaminants refers to the amount of organisms in the water. These organisms are also sometimes referred to as microbes. The microbes, because they are living, will reproduce if there is a sufficient supply of food. The food is called the substrate and may or may not be limited to facilitate the biological growth. The Monod equation is used to determine the rate at which substrate is converted into biomass which is simply the total mass of microorganisms in a given volume of water. The equation is as follows:
Chemical Contaminants
Chemical contaminants are a severe concern in water as they may impose health risks to the public. Water should be tested regularly for the presence of such chemicals and action taken immediately. Since chemicals pose a risk to human life, acceptable levels of risk need to be identified and associated with the concentrations of the chemical. The following equation can be used:
Drinking Water Distribution and Treatment
Drinking Water Distribution Systems
As the name suggests, systems are developed so that drinking water can be safely and efficiently distributed to the populations. These systems may consist of many components such as pipes, reservoirs, pumps, storage tanks and many others. These components carry water from a centralized distribution plant which maintains regulated levels of safe drinking water.
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Demands
Storage
Water supplies need to be stored for a variety of uses and as well as to ensure adequate supply in times of growth or emergency. Water can be distributed from storage either through gravity or pumping. Gravity is available when there is a sufficiently high point in elevation relative to the population. Otherwise pumping is necessary. Water is most often stored in surface or elevated tanks. Within these tanks the elevation of the surface water is monitored to determine the appropriate distribution pressure. These are often monitored by altitude valves.
Sedimentation
Taste and Odor Control
Rapid Mixing
Filtration
Disinfection
Hardness and Softening

If Total Hardness = Alkalinity, all hardness is carbonate and there are no sulfates, chlorides, or nitrates present

If Total Hardness > Alkalinity, noncarbonate hardness is present

If Total Hardness < Alkalinity, all hardness is carbonate and the remainder of the bicarbonate is from additional sources
Engineering Economics
Economic Analysis
The PE exam will potentially provide examples of engineering economics which are geared towards assets in water resources. For these questions refer to the morning session equations for engineering economics.