Updated for the new July 2020 FE Exam Topics

FE Exam Categories and Handbook to Change, Starting July 2020



Intro

NCEES, the entity in charge of handling licensure for engineers in the US, has recently announced that it is updating the FE exam specifications, changing each exam's categories and the reference handbook for FE Exam test takers starting July 2020.

In other words, the questions seen by July 2020 and after test takers will be different than the questions seen by June 30, 2020 and prior test takers.


This blog post focuses on changes for the Civil, Mechanical, Other Disciplines, Environmental, and Electrical and Computer FE exams. The July 2020 and after FE exam adds and removes a lot of content asked by the prior exam, so it’s to your advantage to not waste time studying for topics that aren't applicable to you. Because these changes were just announced, you will find that a lot of the textbook FE prep material includes topics that might not be in the new exams as some of the textbooks are now outdated. Log in into your NCEES account to download the free pdf version of the latest FE Reference Handbook. You will be using this pdf during the actual FE exam.


While specific topics may have been removed from listing in the most recent FE Exam Specifications, they may still be topics that are covered in other, broader categories. In particular, if a topic is still present in the FE Reference Handbook, be ready for it to show up on the FE exam. Be sure to keep this mind while reviewing these changes from July, 2020.

Skip to Civil changes

Skip to Mechanical changes

Skip to Other Disciplines changes

Skip to Environmental changes

Skip to Electrical and Computer changes

To those of you using PrepFE to prepare for your FE exam: we've updated our site and iOS apps so that you may prepare for the appropriate version of the exam you are taking. You can change this at any time in your Settings.

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Civil Engineering FE - Changes Starting July 2020

Computational Tools

  • Removed topics about computational tools. Entire section removed.

Geotechnical Engineering

  • Removed topics about drainage systems, flow nets, and geology

Construction Engineering

  • Added topics about interpretation of engineering drawings
  • Removed topics about construction safety

Surveying

  • Removed topics about closure

Dynamics

  • Removed topics about impulse momentum

Math

  • Removed topics about root of equations
  • Combined math and statistics into one section

Statistics

  • Section combined with the math section
  • Statistics content remains unchanged

Mechanics of materials

  • Removed topics about composite sections
  • Topics about column analysis were moved to the structural engineering section

Environmental Engineering

  • Section is now part of the water resources and environmental engineering section

Hydraulics and Hydrologic Systems

  • Section is now part of the water resources and environmental engineering section
  • Content remains unchanged

Structural Analysis

  • Section is now part of the structural engineering section
  • Content remains unchanged

Structural Design

  • Section is now part of the structural engineering section
  • Content remains unchanged

Ethics

  • Content remains unchanged

Engineering Economics

  • Content remains unchanged

Statics

  • Content remains unchanged

Materials

  • Content remains unchanged

Fluid Mechanics

  • Content remains unchanged

Transportation Engineering

  • Content remains unchanged


You can find all the question types for all the FE Civil Engineering categories in much more detail here.


Mechanical Engineering FE - Changes Starting July 2020

Math

  • Math content remains unchanged
  • Math section combined with the computational tools section
  • Added topics about pseudocode
  • Removed topics about spreadsheets

Probability and Statistics

  • Added topics about mean, mode, standard deviation, and confidence intervals
  • Added topics about weighted average in decision making

Ethics and Professional Practice

  • Removed topics about agreements and contracts
  • Added topics about intellectual property

Mechanics of Materials

  • Added topics about stress and strain caused by temperature changes
  • Added topics about statically indeterminate systems

Material Properties and Processing

  • Removed topics about surface conditions
  • Added topics about creep failure

Thermodynamics

  • Removed topics about thermal efficiency and enhancements
  • Removed topics about coefficients of performance

Heat Transfer

  • Removed topics about thermal resistance
  • Removed topics about boiling and condensation

Measurements, Instrumentation, and Controls

  • Added topics about transducers

Mechanical Design and Analysis

  • Added topics about engineering drawing interpretations and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T)

Engineering Economics

  • Content remains unchanged

Electricity and Magnetism

  • Content remains unchanged

Statics

  • Content remains unchanged

Dynamics, Kinematics, and Vibrations

  • Content remains unchanged

Fluid Mechanics

  • Content remains unchanged


You can find all the question types for all the FE Mechanical Engineering categories in much more detail here.


Other Disciplines FE - Changes Starting July 2020

Probability and Statistics

  • Added topics about expected error in decision making
  • Removed topics about mean, mode, variance, and standard deviation
  • Removed topics about probability distributions (discrete, continuous, normal, binomial)

Chemistry

  • Removed topics about the periodic table (nomenclature, metals, nonmetals, atomic structure)
  • Removed topics about gas laws (Boyle's and Charles' Laws)

Engineering Ethics and Societal Impacts

  • Removed topics about NCEES Model Law and Model Rules
  • Added topics about societal impacts

Safety, Health, and Environment

  • Added topics about confined space entry and ventilation rates
  • Added topics about hazard communications

Statics

  • Added topics about free body diagrams
  • Added topics about weight and mass computations (lb, kg, slug, etc)

Strength of Materials

  • Added topics about loads and deformations (axial-extension, torque-angle of twist, moment-rotation)
  • Added topics about principal stresses (Mohr's circle, max normal stress, Tresca, von Mises)

Electricity, Power, and Magnetism (now called Basic Electrical Engineering)

  • Removed topics about three-phase power (motor efficiency, balanced loads, power equation)

Heat, Mass, and Energy Transfer (now called Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer)

  • Removed topics about mixtures of nonreactive gases
  • Removed topics about phase equilibrium and phase change

Materials

  • Added topics about material selection

Fluid Mechanics and Dynamic of Gases

  • Content remains unchanged
  • Section is now part of the fluid mechanics section

Fluid Mechanics and Dynamic of Liquids

  • Content remains unchanged
  • Section is now part of the fluid mechanics section

Engineering Economics

  • Content remains unchanged

Math

  • Content remains unchanged

Instrumentation and Controls

  • Content remains unchanged


You can find all the question types for all the FE Other Disciplines categories in much more detail here.


Electrical & Computer Engineering FE - Changes Starting July 2020

Mathematics

  • Added topics about ordinary differential equations

Probability and Statistics

  • Removed topics about estimation for a single mean (e.g., point, confidence intervals, conditional probability)

Engineering Ethics and Professional Practice

  • Added topics about safety (e.g., grounding, material safety data, PPE, radiation protection)

Properties of Electrical Materials

  • Removed topics about mechanical (e.g., piezoelectric, strength) and chemical (e.g., corrosion, ions, diffusion)
  • Added topics about semiconductor materials (e.g., tunneling, diffusion/drift current, energy bands, doping bands, p-n theory)

Engineering Sciences

  • Entire section and its topics were removed

Linear Systems

  • Removed topics about 2-port theory

Signal Processing

  • Removed topics about convolution (continuous and discrete), difference equations, and Z-transforms

Electronics

  • Removed topics about solid-state fundamentals (e.g., tunneling, diffusion/drift current, energy bands, doping bands, p-n theory)

Electromagnetics

  • Removed topics about electromagnetic compatibility

Control Systems

  • Removed topics about root locus and state variables

Computer Networds

  • Added topics about network intrusion detection and prevention (e.g., firewalls, endpoint detection, network detection)

Digital Systems

  • Removed topics about data path/controller design

Computer Systems

  • Removed topics about architecture (e.g., pipelining, cache memory)

Software Development

  • Removed topics about software design methods (structured, object-oriented) and software testing

Engineering Economics

  • Content remains unchanged

Circuit Analysis (DC and AC Steady State)

  • Content remains unchanged

Power Systems

  • Content remains unchanged

Communications

  • Content remains unchanged


You can find all the question types for all the FE Electrical & Computer Engineering categories in much more detail here.



Environmental Engineering FE - Changes Starting July 2020

Mathematics

  • Added topics about trigonometry and algebraic equations
  • Removed topics about root of equations

Probability and Statistics

  • Removed topics about expected value (weighted average) in decision making

Engineering Ethics and Professional Practice

  • Added topics about public health, safety, and welfare (e.g., public protection issues, licensing boards, professional liability)
  • Added topics about compliance with codes, standards, and regulations (e.g., CWA, CAA, RCRA, CERCLA, SDWA, NEPA, OSHA)
  • Removed topics about agreements and contracts

Fundamental Principles

  • Brand new section
  • Added topics about reactors

Environmental Chemistry

  • Removed topics about ecology (e.g., Streeter-Phelps, fluviology, limnology, eutrophication)

Health Hazards and Risk Assessment

  • Added topics about occupational health (e.g., PPE, noise pollution, safety screening)

Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics

  • Added topics about fluid dynamics
  • Added topics about steady and unsteady flow

Thermodynamics

  • Removed topics about hear transfer and mixture of non reacting gases

Water Resources

  • Section removed and its content was instead moved to other sections. Content remains unchanged.

Water and Waste Water

  • Added topics about water conservation and reuse

Air Quality and Control

  • Added topics about ambient and indoor air quality (e.g., criteria, toxic and hazardous air pollutants)
  • Added topics about indoor air quality modeling and controls (e.g., air exchanges, steady-and nonsteady-state reactor model)
  • Removed topics about chemical principles (e.g., ideal gas, mole fractions, stoichiometry, Henry’s law)

Solid and Hazardous Waste

  • Added topics about energy balances
  • Added topics about solid waste management (e.g., collection, transportation, storage, composting, recycling, waste to energy)

Groundwater and Soils

  • Content remains unchanged

Energy and the Environment

  • New section
  • Added topics about energy sources concepts (e.g., conventional and alternative)
  • Added topics about environmental impact of energy sources and production (e.g., greenhouse


You can find all the question types for all the FE Environmental Engineering categories in much more detail here.