FE exam

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is typically the first step in the process leading to the P.E. license. It is designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree. The FE is a computer-based exam that is administered year-round in testing windows at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers.

The FE contains 110 multiple-choice questions. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long, which includes a nondisclosure agreement, tutorial (8 minutes), the exam (5 hours and 20 minutes), a scheduled break (25 minutes), and a brief survey. Learn more at our YouTube channel.

To register for an FE exam, log in to your MyNCEES account, select the REGISTER button, and follow the onscreen instructions. Learn more about the exam and the exam environment by reading the rules and policies in your NCEES Examinee Guide.

FE exam specifications

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

FE Chemical
FE Civil
FE Electrical and Computer
FE Environmental
FE Industrial
FE Mechanical
FE Other Disciplines

Exam fees and requirements

An exam fee of $225 is payable directly to NCEES during the registration process. Some licensing boards may require examinees to file a separate application and pay an application fee as part of their approval process in order to be qualified for seating for an NCEES exam. You will be notified during the registration process if the licensing board you selected has additional requirements.

Reference Materials

The NCEES FE Reference Handbook is the only reference material that can be used during the exam. It is provided onscreen electronically during the exam. It is also available for purchase as a hard copy and for free download electronically on the NCEES website.

Practice exams

NCEES offers computer-based practice exams that contain questions and solutions from past exams. They also simulate the real format, style, and level of difficulty. Learn more about NCEES computer-based practice exams.

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.

FE pass rates

The pass rates below represent January/February and April/May 2014 FE examinees who

  • Took the FE exam for the first time
  • Attended EAC/ABET-accredited engineering programs
  • Took the FE exam within nine months of graduation
Exam Module First-time takers (%)
Chemical 82
Civil 74
Electrical and Computer 82
Environmental 79
Industrial 70
Mechanical 84
Other Disciplines 86

Other Disciplines module breakdown by examinee degree*

Program First-time takers (%)
Aeronautical/Aerospace 96
Architectural 65
Biological (not Biomedical) 86
Engineering Physics/Engineering Science 94
General Engineering 84
Mechanical 89
Naval Architecture and Marine 93
Petroleum 83

*Only EAC/ABET degrees with more than 50 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.