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.
The FE is offered in seven disciplines. Specifications for the exams effective through June 30, 2020, are as follows:
- FE Chemical (effective through June 30, 2020)
- FE Civil (effective through June 30, 2020)
- FE Electrical and Computer (effective through June 30, 2020)
- FE Environmental (effective through June 30, 2020)
- FE Industrial and Systems (effective through June 30, 2020)
- FE Mechanical (effective through June 30, 2020)
- FE Other Disciplines (effective through June 30, 2020)
Specifications for the exams effective beginning July 1, 2020, are as follows:
- FE Chemical (effective beginning July 1, 2020)
- FE Civil (effective beginning July 1, 2020)
- FE Electrical and Computer (effective beginning July 1, 2020)
- FE Environmental (effective beginning July 1, 2020)
- FE Industrial and Systems (effective beginning July 1, 2020)
- FE Mechanical (effective beginning July 1, 2020)
- FE Other Disciplines (effective beginning July 1, 2020)
The computer-based FE contains alternative item types (AITs). AITs are questions other than traditional multiple-choice questions. Learn more about AITs.
Reference materials and exam prep
The 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.
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
|Exam||Volume||Pass rate||Format||Availability||Last updated|
|FE Chemical||582||73%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|FE Civil||3770||65%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|FE Electrical and Computer||1000||67%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|FE Environmental||426||72%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|FE Industrial and Systems||127||53%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|FE Mechanical||2818||76%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|FE Other Disciplines||607||75%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
Other Disciplines exam breakdown by examinee degree*
|Program||Volume||Pass rate||Format||Availability||Last updated|
|Agricultural||38||84%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|Architectural||58||71%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|Biological (not Bio-Medical)||101||80%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|General Engineering||49||76%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|Mechanical||66||89%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|Naval Architecture and Marine||46||80%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
|Petroleum||56||52%||CBT||Year round||Jan 2020|
*Only EAC/ABET degrees with more than 25 first-time examinees are reported.
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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