Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

The Fundamentals of Engineering examination is the first step in the professional engineering license process. To pursue a professional engineering license (PE), you must first pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination.

The FE exam is given year-round across the United States. 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.

*Civil Engineering BS candidates at URI must attempt the exam and deliver proof of such before they can be eligible for BS degree conferral.


Additional details about the FE and PE 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. 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.

Registration for the FE exam is done online 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. The exam fee is payable directly to NCEES during the registration process. 

Exam content

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.

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

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

Continuing the licensure process

After passing the FE exam: 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. The PE exam goes beyond testing academic knowledge and includes required knowledge gained in engineering practice. Check the State Licensing Board where you will take the exam for specific eligibility requirements.