Why is taking the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam important?

The FE Exam is the first step in becoming a licensed Professional Engineer. If you are debating on whether to take the exam, please see Why Should I Become a Professional Engineer?

What’s the difference between FE and EIT?

You may hear FE and EIT used interchangeably. In general, FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) is the actual exam you take. EIT (Engineer-In-Training) is the title you can carry after you have passed the FE exam and registered appropriately.

Who can take the exam?

You can take the exam if you:

1.  Have a degree in an engineering or related field from an accredited institution.

2.  Are a current undergraduate engineering student and are within two semesters of graduating.

When is the best time to take the exam?

The ideal time to take the FE Exam is when you are finishing up your undergraduate engineering education. To see the reasons why taking the exam while you’re still in school is the smart thing to do, see our article Take the FE Exam When You Are Still in School.

If I passed the FE exam in another state, do I have to take it again in my new state?

Generally, no. However you should check with the state board to ensure it is recognized and to determine what requirements you may have to meet to proceed with the licensure process. You can find links to the different state boards on our About the FE Exam page.

What if I have a degree from a foreign college?

You should contact the Professional Engineering Board of your state for details and instructions. Foreign degrees may have to be evaluated by the board and you may have to provide supporting documentation such as transcripts.

How do I register to take the test?

Go to the NCEES website to register. You will have to create an account and schedule a time at an approved testing center.

What are my state’s exam and registration requirements?

You can find your individual state’s FE exam requirements on their website. Find the link for your state on our FE Exam Requirements section on our About page.



What’s with this computer based testing?

The organization that develops and administers the exams used for engineering licensure in the United States is the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). In 2010, the state licensing boards that compose the NCEES voted to convert the FE exams to computer-based testing, a process that was to be implemented starting in 2014. The FE exam given on October 2013 was the last paper-and-pencil test. As of January 2014,the FE exam is now administered completely electronically at professional centers and select locations.

When can I take the FE Exam?

Now that the FE Exam is a computer-based exam, the test is administered year-round during designated testing windows at approved test centers. Previously, the exam was a conventional paper and pencil exam administered only twice a year in October and April.

What time does the FE exam start?

You will have a scheduled appointment time at the test location.

How many questions are there on the FE exam?

The exam has 110 multiple-choice questions total.

What calculators can I use?

No calculators are allowed except for those specifically approved by the NCEES. Approved models have no programming or communications capabilities which could allow people to cheat. See our post on calculators here.

Can I bring notes or reference material?

The only reference material that may be used is the Fundamentals of Engineering Handbook, which is provided on screen to examinees via a searchable PDF. Examinees can obtain a copy of the handbook prior to the exam by purchasing a hard copy HERE. You can also download it on the NCEES website. It is important you are familiar with the reference ahead of taking the exam. Note that you cannot take a copy with you to the test center.

What is the best way to study for the FE exam?

While obvious, there is no “best” way to prepare for the exam. That depends on your skill/knowledge level and what way you learn best. Regardless, here are a few tips:

1. Make sure you know every detail, rule, etc of the exam. This will help you develop the strategy on how to approach the exam since you need to focus on solving problems on test day, and only that.

2. Do practice problems and get as many reps as possible. Realize that you won’t be able to review every single topic in undergraduate engineering so you might as well try as many problems as you can.

3. Get a study guide to get practice problems, test strategy, and more. We highly recommend the FE Exam Review Manual by Michael Lindeburg, which is the standard among FE prep material out there. The NCEES sells many prep materials and we also sell a FE Exam Review Study Guide.


How is the exam graded?

You are scored for a correct or incorrect answer on the 110 questions. There is no partial credit. Most importantly, there is NO penalty for an incorrect answer.

When will I find out my score and if I passed?

You will receive a notification by e-mail that your results are ready on the MyNCEES website. The NCEES says that it generally takes about 7-10 days after the test date.

What score do I need to pass?

Your test gets scored based on difficulty, ability level, etc. This statistical analysis of the questions is used to scale the test and yields a pass/fail grade. Think of it like the grading curve in your engineering classes. All tests are scored the same way and the NCEES does not score based on predetermined percentages.

Can I take the exam again if I fail?

You can take the the exam as many times as necessary to pass (you still have to pay the registration fee every time though). However there may be additional requirements that are asked of you by the state engineering board (additional experience or education) if you fail the test too many times.

How long is my score good for?

When you pass the test and register as an Engineer-In-Training (EIT), generally your score will not expire for several years in order to give you plenty of time to get the prerequisite experience to apply for your professional engineer license. If you have questions on if your passing score is still valid, contact your state’s engineering board to get confirmation.

Does my required experience have to be AFTER I have passed FE exam?

No. The key is that your experience is AFTER you have received your engineering degree.Thus if you have been working in industry for several years, you do not have to wait to take the PE exam and apply for licensure. You could theoretically take the FE and PE exams respectively in the same calendar year. Check with your state’s engineering board to get details.

Where can I find information on the Professional Engineer Examination (PE Exam)?

The NCEES administers the PE exam as well so you can start with their website. You can also check with your state’s engineering board for specific requirements related to the exam.

Our sister site PE Exam Review goes over items related to proceeding in your quest for licensure .

FE Exam Review Study Guide

Is the FE Exam Review Study Guide Right for me?

  • Who Should Buy This: Anyone looking for a fast rundown of what they need to know to pass the exam, Anyone looking for test strategy, Anyone looking for the key ideas to passing the exam, and Anyone who needs last minute guidance…i.e. those of you who didn’t study ;).
  • Who Should Not Buy This: Anyone looking for a review of undergraduate engineering, Anyone looking for endless practice problems, and Anyone who feels they will breeze through the exam easily.

What software do I need to view the eBook?

You will need a PDF reader. There are numerous FREE options available online (just Google PDF reader). The most common program is Adobe Reader which you can download here. The eBook is also compatible with Adobe Acrobat 6.0 (PDF 1.5) or higher.

I purchased the Study Guide, where is my file download?

If you completed the buying process and reached the Thank You page, we have sent an email to the email address you entered in the shopping cart, with instructions on how to easily download the guide onto your computer. If you don’t receive an email within the next 15 minutes, please check your junk or spam folder, as some filters may catch it.

If for any reason you did not receive an email, please contact us using the Contact Form and we will be more than happy to get everything straightened out for you.