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), and a scheduled break (25 minutes). 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. Your licensing board may have additional requirements. Click on the drop-down list on the right and select your board for more information.

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 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
Exam Volume Pass Rate
FE Chemical 853 77%
FE Civil 4,874 70%
FE Electrical and Computer 1,217 75%
FE Environmental 657 75%
FE Industrial 248 64%
FE Mechanical 3,547 82%
FE Other Disciplines 1,439 81%


Other Disciplines exam breakdown by examinee degree*

Program Volume Pass Rate
Aeronautical/Aerospace 61 92%
Agricultural 32 94%
Architectural 114 78%
Biological (not Bio-Medical) 129 88%
Civil 33 76%
Electrical 26 50%
Engineering Physics/Engineering Science 64 83%
General Engineering 164 85%
Geological & Geophysical 34 65%
Materials 26 73%
Mechanical 140 81%
Mining/Mineral 77 77%
Naval Architecture & Marine 55 96%
Nuclear 60 80%
Ocean 51 82%
Petroleum 211 72%
Structural 27 78%
Systems 51 88%

*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.