What You Need to Know About the FE Exam in 2023: FAQs

We’ve compiled all the most common FE Exam questions in one place to make your FE Exam journey easier! This information comes from official sources like the NCEES website and are updated for 2023! If you have any additional questions regarding your FE Exam Prep, please send us an email at: hello@genieprep.com

What is the FE Exam?

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is the first of two exams you need to pass in order to become a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the U.S. It’s designed to test your knowledge of fundamental engineering principles.

What is the purpose of the FE Exam?

The FE Exam is designed to measure the academic knowledge and understanding of a candidate who is about to or has recently graduated from an accredited engineering program. Passing the FE Exam is the first step towards becoming a licensed professional engineer.

Who is eligible to take the FE Exam?

Eligibility to take the FE Exam depends on the regulations of the state where you plan to become licensed. In general, you are required to have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, although some states allow for work experience or a combination of education and experience.

How much does the FE Exam cost to take?

As of 2023, the FE exam fee is $175.

What is the format of the FE Exam?

The FE Exam is a computer-based test with 110 multiple choice questions. The questions are divided into two sections with an optional 25-minute break in between. 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)

How is the FE Exam scored?

Results are based on the total number of correct answers. There are NO deductions for wrong answers, so make sure to answer everything, even if you need to guess. Since exam questions may vary, scores are scaled for difficulty, accordingly. The NCEES does not publish a passing score and claims that no predetermined percentage of examinees pass or fail.

What are the pass rates for the FE Exam?

As of July 2023, the pass rates for first time FE Exam test takers who graduated from a EAC / ABET institution within the last 12 months are:

  • FE Chemical: 71%
  • FE Civil: 66%
  • FE Electrical and Computer: 73%
  • FE Environmental: 76%
  • FE Mechanical: 71%
  • FE Other Disciplines: 60%

This pass rate does not represent students who graduated more than a year ago or who have previously failed the exam.

What materials are allowed in the testing center?

The FE Exam is a closed book exam but you are allowed to use a NCEES supplied reference handbook that is available digitally during the exam. You are also allowed to bring and use an approved calculator.

Is taking an FE exam prep course mandatory to pass my FE exam?

Taking an FE exam prep course is not mandatory to pass your FE exam, but it’s highly recommended, especially if you’ve been out of school for many years. A prep course can provide updated material and a structured study plan.

Genie Prep provides FE Exam prep courses that will help you pass your FE Exam in only 4 months no matter how long you’ve been out of school or if you graduated outside the U.S, our courses offer unlimited Lifetime Access, 100% On demand videos, +700 FE Exam problems with step-by-step solution, weekly student meet ups, Discord community, Personalized follow-up and more! Check out all our FE Exam Prep Courses here!

Which topics do I need to study for the FE exam?

For the FE Exam, the topics you need to study depend on the specific engineering discipline you’re pursuing. Each FE discipline has its own set of exam specifications available on the NCEES website. These specifications detail the subjects covered. Also, make sure to review the NCEES FE Reference Handbook, which provides all formulas and references you’ll use during the exam. As an example for civil engineers preparing for the Civil FE Exam, the topics you need to study are:

FE Civil Exam Topics

  1. Mathematics and Statistics
  2. Ethics and Professional Practice
  3. Engineering Economics
  4. Statics
  5. Dynamics
  6. Mechanics of Materials
  7. Materials
  8. Fluid Mechanics
  9. Surveying
  10. Water Resources and Environmental Engineering
  11. Structural Engineering (e.g., Analysis, Design)
  12. Geotechnical Engineering
  13. Transportation Engineering
  14. Construction

How do I prepare for the FE Exam?

Preparation for the FE Exam involves a combination of study and practice. This includes reviewing the topics covered in the exam, using the FE reference handbook, and solving as many practice problems as possible. Taking a FE Exam prep course can also be beneficial.

Can I reschedule my FE Exam?

Yes, you can reschedule your FE Exam within the same testing year up to 48 hours before your scheduled exam time. However, there may be a rescheduling fee. It’s best to check the policies of the testing center and NCEES.

When will I get my result?

Exam results for computer-based exams 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.

What happens if I do not pass the FE Exam?

If you did not pass the exam, you will receive a diagnostic report indicating subject areas of relative strength and weakness. The diagnostic report can assist you if you decide to retake the exam.

If I pass the FE exam in one state and move to a different state, do I need to retake the exam in the new state?

Your Engineer-in-Training (EIT) or an Engineer Intern (EI) designation is valid in any state, but it’s prudent to check with the appropriate state licensing board when moving to make sure there are no issues in the transition.

What calculators are approved for the FE Exam?

The following calculator models are the only ones acceptable for use during the 2023 exams:

  • Casio: All fx-115 and fx-991 models
  • Hewlett Packard: The HP 33s and HP 35s models
  • Texas Instruments: All TI-30X and TI-36X models
At Genie Prep, we recommend using the TI-36x Pro model, you can find more tips about how to use your calculator in this video on my Youtube channel!

Can you help me analyze my diagnostic report?

While no one can be sure the exact method NCEES uses to score and create diagnostic reports, we’ve helped many students get a better understanding of theirs. Feel free to email us your diagnostic report and we can help you identify your weaknesses and help you craft an effective study plan.

If you’d like to learn more about the most common questions I get from students about the FE Exam make sure to check this video on my youtube channel! @Genieprep.

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