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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 Chemical1,09575%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
FE Civil6,53168%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
FE Electrical and Computer1,47769%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
FE Environmental87180%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
FE Industrial and Systems36759%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
FE Mechanical4,43077%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
FE Other Disciplines1,27078%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019

Other Disciplines exam breakdown by examinee degree*

ProgramVolumePass rateFormatAvailabilityLast updated
Agricultural6689%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Architectural13473%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Biological (not Bio-Medical)20882%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Civil2580%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Engineering Physics/Engineering Science4783%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
General Engineering14882%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Geological and Geophysical3861%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Materials3874%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Mechanical7682%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Mining/Mineral6548%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Naval Architecture and Marine4892%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Nuclear6090%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019
Petroleum13267%CBTYear-roundJuly 2019

*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.