How do the uscg engineer exams compare to the deck examinations?

In a recent thread about cheating it was notes that deckies worry a lot more about exams than engineers. I always assumed that they were better prepared because their Academy curriculum is more difficult but one engineer suggested that the exam is not particularly rigorous.

Can anyone compare the level of difficulty (or just enumerate the differences) between the exams?

P.S. i’m not trying to get in a pissing contest, i’m just curious how they compare.

Take it from someone who has both deck and engine licenses…deck exams are harder. All engine exams are 70 percent passing for one thing (which is huge in my opinion)…second, with engine, you either know the theory or you don’t. There are not many subjects where you need to be strong in math, not much formula work…especially with the new question bank. Not much fumbling around in publications either. As long as you can find things in the CFRs you are good.


I also hold both deck and engine licenses (3rd A/E, DDE Unlim, Chief UFIV, Master UFIV oceans, etc.)

The 80-90% score requirements of some of the deck exams do require greater precision and the layout of the questions makes it more difficult to just memorize answers.

However, the amount of study material specifically tailored to passing the exam for deckies is astronomically higher than for engineering. A quick YouTube search will yield hundreds of step by step videos on passing the deck exams.

For engineering you just have to go get the textbooks and start studying, and you better not skip anything, or you’ll fail.

I think the amount of people that just memorize questions is higher in engineering as a result.


Not to derail the thread, but have you had any issues renewing? I’ve bounced back and forth between the two enough, that i’ve had enough mixed seatime to cover both…however the way things are going i may have exclusively engine time for my next renewal. If an open book test is the worse of it thats good…just worried more about losing my OICNW and such…

No issues on my last renewal but I had mixed time as well. I’d be interested to see how it goes for you on your OICNW as I’m on the fence about spending the 15k or so I would need at MPT to obtain that.

Right, and i got mine back when it wasn’t so expensive. I got till the end of 2023 so i’ll be on here ranting about it probably if i encounter any pitfalls. :smiley:

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