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of the textbook FE prep material includes topics that might not be in the new exams as some of the textbooks are now outdated.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.

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.

PrepFE Dashboard. The Answer to this question decides what kind of questions you see.

View of the PrepFE dashboard. Your answer to this question determines which types of questions are shown to you.


Civil Engineering FE - Changes Starting July 2020

Computational Tools

  • Removed all questions about computational tools. Entire section removed.

Geotechnical Engineering

  • Removed questions about erosion control, drainage systems, seepage/flow nets, and geology

Construction Engineering

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

Surveying

  • Removed questions about closure

Dynamics

  • Removed questions about impulse momentum

Math

  • Removed questions 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 questions about composite sections
  • Questions about column analysis were moved to the structural engineering section

Environmental Engineering

  • Section is now part of the water resources and environmental engineering section
  • Removed questions about environmental regulations

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 questions about pseudocode
  • Removed questions about spreadsheets

Probability and Statistics

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

Ethics and Professional Practice

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

Mechanics of Materials

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

Material Properties and Processing

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

Thermodynamics

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

Heat Transfer

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

Measurements, Instrumentation, and Controls

  • Added questions about transducers

Mechanical Design and Analysis

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

Chemistry

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

Engineering Ethics and Societal Impacts

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

Safety, Health, and Environment

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

Statics

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

Strength of Materials

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

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

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

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

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

Materials

  • Added questions 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 questions about ordinary differential equations

Probability and Statistics

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

Engineering Ethics and Professional Practice

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

Properties of Electrical Materials

  • Removed questions about mechanical (e.g., piezoelectric, strength) and chemical (e.g., corrosion, ions, diffusion)
  • Added questions 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 questions about 2-port theory

Signal Processing

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

Electronics

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

Electromagnetics

  • Removed questions about electromagnetic compatibility

Control Systems

  • Removed questions about root locus and state variables

Computer Networds

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

Digital Systems

  • Removed questions about data path/controller design

Computer Systems

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

Software Development

  • Removed questions 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 questions about trigonometry and algebraic equations
  • Removed questions about root of equations

Probability and Statistics

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

Engineering Ethics and Professional Practice

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

Fundamental Principles

  • Brand new section
  • Added questions about reactors

Environmental Chemistry

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

Health Hazards and Risk Assessment

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

Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics

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

Thermodynamics

  • Removed questions 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 questions about water conservation and reuse

Air Quality and Control

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

Solid and Hazardous Waste

  • Added questions about energy balances
  • Added questions 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 questions about energy sources concepts (e.g., conventional and alternative)
  • Added questions 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.