What is the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam?

  • The first step in the process to becoming a professional licensed engineer (P.E.)
  • Designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree from an EAC/ABET accredited program
  • A broad knowledge type of exam that covers many of the topics required for an engineering degree
  • Approximately 50,000 examinees annually, 70% students
  • Offered in seven disciplines; most often selected by nuclear engineers:
    • FE Mechanical
    • FE Other Disciplines
  • A computer-based exam administered year-round in testing windows at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers
    • Six hours
    • Closed book (onscreen reference book provided with the exam)
    • 110 multiple-choice questions

Who develops and administers the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam?

  • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying – NCEES
  • Coalition of member licensing boards
    • 50 states
    • 5 US jurisdictions: District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Marianas Islands
  • Located in Clemson, South Carolina
  • Developed “Model Law” based on best practices
  • Promotes uniform requirements for licensure
  • Develops and administers FE and PE examinations

FE Exam Pass Rates

  • Among examinees who:
    • Took the FE exam for the first time
    • Attended AEC.ABET-accredited engineering programs
    • Took the FE exam within 12 months of graduation
  • Pass rates ranged from 68% to 80% depending upon exam discipline
  • Among those in a nuclear program, 90% passed the “other disciplines” exam
  • Pass rates decrease with time since being enrolled in college:
    • Still enrolled: 75%
    • Graduated within 2 years: 52%
    • Graduated last 3-5 years: 40%

For more information: ncees.org/engineering/fe/

  • Printed exam reference book available from NCEES for $14, download PDF for free
  • Specifications for FE exams available as PDFs
  • Registration process
  • Fees

Tips to Prepare for the FE Exam

  • Review specifications for the version of the exam you are taking.
  • Focus review on areas where you believe you can answer the most questions correctly.
  • Familiarize yourself with the exam reference book before taking the exam.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat healthily leading up to exam day.
  • Bring required personal identification required for exam entry.

Last modified April 15, 2020, 1:16am CDT