Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam FAQs


The NCEES Examinee Review Guide provides detailed information about the FE examination. The NCEES FAQ section also provides useful information.

Additional details about the FE and PE (Principles and Practice of Engineering) examinations, and links to all State Licensing Boards can be found on the NCEES website. You can also find out about the specific topics covered in the examinations and purchase exam materials, including practice exams. The information shown below has been excerpted from this site for you. In addition, you can purchase FE (and PE) review manuals online. There are many good ones available, and they become great handbooks to keep in your library for future reference.

What Type of Examination is the FE Exam?

The FE is a national examination given year-round across the United States that can be taken in any state.  Beginning January 2014, the FE exam will be given as a computer-based test (CBT). The FE exam is the first step toward being eligible to take the PE (professional engineer) licensing exam.

When is the FE Exam Given?

The FE exam is given nationwide each year in four testing windows during the following months: January, February; April, May; July, August; and October, November.

Why Take the FE Exam?

To pursue a professional engineering license (PE), you must first pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination. Check the State Licensing Board where you will take the exam for specific eligibility requirements.

When Should You Take the FE Exam?

You can take the FE exam at any time during or after your senior year. However, since the FE exam covers material that is fresh in your mind while you are still a student, it is recommended that you take the FE exam during your senior year, or shortly thereafter.

What Material is Covered in the FE Exam?

The FE exam covers subject matter taught in a typical EAC/ABET, Inc. accredited B.S. engineering degree program. It appropriately covers a comprehensive range of subjects in engineering. (See the NCEES website for details.)  Note:  Be sure to register for the discipline-specific version (chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, or other discipline) of the FE exam for your engineering major.

What is the Format of the FE Exam?

Examinees have 6 hours to complete the exam, which contains 110 multiple-choice questions. The 6-hour time also includes a tutorial, a break, and a brief survey at the conclusion. The actual exam time is 5 hours 20 minutes. You can learn more about the examination experience by visiting the NCEES YouTube Channel 

What Reference Materials Are Allowed?

The most current version of the appropriate NCEES-supplied reference handbook will be supplied onscreen as a searchable PDF. All NCEES examinees will use a 24-inch monitor while testing to allow sufficient space to display both the exam questions and the reference handbook. The current version of the handbook can be downloaded from NCEES at no cost.

Only specifically approved calculators are allowed.

After Passing the FE Exam, What’s Next?

Passing the FE exam is the first step toward engineering licensure (PE). To continue the licensure process: a) Obtain at least four years of experience deemed acceptable to your State Licensing Board; and b) Take the discipline-specific Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Check the State Licensing Board where you will take the exam for specific eligibility requirements.

How Do the FE and PE Exams Differ (both are required for professional engineering licensure)?

The FE exam covers subject matter in a typical EAC/ABET, Inc. accredited B.S. engineering curriculum. The PE exam goes beyond testing academic knowledge and includes required knowledge gained in engineering practice.

Registering for the FE Exam

Registration for the FE exam is done on line through the NCEES web site. To register for an FE exam, log in to your MyNCEES account, select the REGISTER button, and follow the onscreen instructions.  An exam fee of $225 is payable directly to NCEES during the registration process.  The Rhode Island engineering board does not require examinees to submit an application or an additional fee prior to registering with NCEES and scheduling an exam. 

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