Skip to main content

FE exam

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is generally your first step in the process to becoming a professional licensed engineer (P.E.). It is designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree from an EAC/ABET accredited program. The FE exam is a computer-based exam administered year-round in testing windows at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers.

The FE exam is a 110 multiple-choice test. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long and includes

  • A nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
  • Tutorial (8 minutes)
  • The exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
  • A scheduled break (25 minutes)

Learn more at the NCEES YouTube channel.

You can register for an FE exam by logging in to your MyNCEES account and following the onscreen instructions. Be prepared for the FE exam by

  • Reviewing the FE exam specifications, fees, and requirements
  • Reading the reference materials
  • Understanding scoring and reporting
  • Viewing the most up-to-date FE exam pass rates

A $225 exam fee is payable directly to NCEES. Some licensing boards may require you to file a separate application and pay an application fee as part of the approval process to qualify you for a seat for an NCEES exam. Your licensing board may have additional requirements. Special accommodations are available for examinees who meet certain eligibility criteria and sufficiently document their request.

Exam specifications

The FE is offered in seven disciplines. Specifications for the exams are as follows:

Reference materials and exam prep

FE Reference HandbookThe NCEES FE Reference Handbook is the only reference material that can be used during the exam. You will be provided with an electronic reference handbook during the exam. For access prior to your exam, you may either purchase a hard copy or download a free electronic copy.

Register or log in to MyNCEES to download your free copy of the FE Reference Handbook.

NCEES offers computer-based practice exams. These practice exams contain questions that have been used on past exams and questions written just for study materials to give you extra practice.

Learn more about NCEES exam prep materials.

Scoring and reporting

FE exam results are typically available 7–10 days after you take the exam. You will receive an email notification from NCEES with instructions to view your results in your MyNCEES account. Results include information specific to your licensing board regarding how you should proceed based on your performance.

Learn more about the engineering exam scoring process.

Pass rates

The pass rates below represent July/August and October/November 2015 FE examinees who

  • Took the FE exam for the first time
  • Attended EAC/ABET-accredited engineering programs
  • Took the FE exam within 12 months of graduation
ExamVolumePass rate
FE Chemical52475%
FE Civil299967%
FE Electrical and Computer77475%
FE Environmental36672%
FE Industrial10563%
FE Mechanical227880%
FE Other Disciplines68279%

Other Disciplines exam breakdown by examinee degree*

ProgramVolumePass rate
Agricultural3786%
Architectural2774%
Biological (not Bio-Medical)9088%
Civil3871%
General Engineering3889%
Mechanical8680%
Mining/Mineral4274%
Naval Architecture & Marine2789%
Petroleum10071%
Structural3288%

*Only EAC/ABET degrees with more than 25 first-time examinees are reported.

Outcomes assessment

NCEES offers free institutions reports that break down the performance of students and graduates from their programs, comparing results on specific content areas to national averages. Many engineering departments use these reports to assess program outcomes.

Learn more about using the FE exam as an Outcomes Assessment Tool.