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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 at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers.

The FE exam includes 110-questions. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long and includes

  • Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
  • Tutorial (8 minutes)
  • Exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
  • Scheduled break (25 minutes)

Learn more at the NCEES YouTube channel.

Register for an FE exam by logging in to your MyNCEES account and following the onscreen instructions. Prepare 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 $175 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:

In July 1, 2017, the computer-based FE introduced a new testing component: alternative item types (AITs). AITs are questions other than traditional multiple-choice questions. Learn more about AITs.

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 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.

The NCEES practice exams now come in paperback print copies. Online practice exams are no longer available. If you have already purchased an online practice exam, you will have access to the exam until the exam is completed or until your purchased time expires.

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 exam scoring process.

Pass rates

FE pass rates are shown for the January–June or July–December population (updated in July and January, respectively). The pass rates below represent 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 rateFormat
AvailabilityLast updated
FE Chemical107674%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
FE Civil606269%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
FE Electrical and Computer139971%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
FE Environmental80776%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
FE Industrial and Systems30061%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
FE Mechanical455977%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
FE Other Disciplines128974%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018

Other Disciplines exam breakdown by examinee degree*

ProgramVolumePass rateFormatAvailabilityLast updated
Agricultural7982%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Architectural12366%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Bio-Medical (not Biological)3985%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Biological (not Bio-Medical)19282%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Civil2568%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Engineering Physics/Engineering Science5176%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
General Engineering13477%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Geological & Geophysical3569%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Materials3476%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Mechanical6464%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Mining/Mineral10639%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Naval Architecture & Marine3190%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Nuclear6085%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Ocean3497%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Petroleum15764%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018
Structural26100%CBTYear-roundJuly 2018

*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.

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