Updated for the new July 2020 FE Exam Topics


Below are the NCEES category specifications for exam coverage.

Effective UNTIL July 1st, 2020, these are the categories and subcategories specified by the NCEES that this discipline will cover. It includes an estimate of the number of questions you will see on the official exam for each category. PrepFE provides hundreds of questions in proportional amounts to the official exam.

For the upcoming categories that are effective as of July 1st, 2020, please see the categories here.

Civil FE exam categories

110 Total Questions

Analytic geometry


Roots of equations

Vector analysis

Measures of central tendencies and dispersions (e.g., mean, mode, standard deviation)

Estimation for a single mean (e.g., point, confidence intervals)

Regression and curve fitting

Expected value (weighted average) in decision making

Spreadsheet computations

Structured programming (e.g., if-then, loops, macros)

Codes of ethics (professional and technical societies)

Professional liability


Sustainability and sustainable design

Professional skills (e.g., public policy, management, and business)

Contracts and contract law

Discounted cash flow (e.g., equivalence, PW, equivalent annual worth, FW, rate of return)

Cost (e.g., incremental, average, sunk, estimating)

Analyses (e.g., breakeven, benefit-cost, life cycle)

Uncertainty (e.g., expected value and risk)

Resultants of force systems

Equivalent force systems

Equilibrium of rigid bodies

Frames and trusses

Centroid of area

Area moments of inertia

Static friction

Kinematics (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)

Mass moments of inertia

Force acceleration (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)

Impulse momentum (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)

Work, energy, and power (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)

Shear and moment diagrams

Stresses and strains (e.g., axial, torsion, bending, shear, thermal)

Deformations (e.g., axial, torsion, bending, thermal)

Combined stresses

Principal stresses

Mohr's circle

Column analysis (e.g., buckling, boundary conditions)

Composite sections

Elastic and plastic deformations

Stress-strain diagrams

Mix design (e.g., concrete and asphalt)

Test methods and specifications (e.g., steel, concrete, aggregates, asphalt, wood)

Physical and mechanical properties of concrete, ferrous and nonferrous metals, masonry, wood, engineered materials (e.g., FRP, laminated lumber, wood/plastic composites), and asphalt

Flow measurement

Fluid properties

Fluid statics

Energy, impulse, and momentum equations

Basic hydrology (e.g., infiltration, rainfall, runoff, detention, flood flows, watersheds)

Basic hydraulics (e.g., Manning equation, Bernoulli theorem, open-channel flow, pipe flow)

Pumping systems (water and wastewater)

Water distribution systems

Reservoirs (e.g., dams, routing, spillways)

Groundwater (e.g., flow, wells, drawdown)

Storm sewer collection systems

Analysis of forces in statically determinant beams, trusses, and frames

Deflection of statically determinant beams, trusses, and frames

Structural determinacy and stability analysis of beams, trusses, and frames

Loads and load paths (e.g., dead, live, lateral, influence lines and moving loads, tributary areas)

Elementary statically indeterminate structures

Design of steel components (e.g., codes and design philosophies, beams, columns, beam-columns, tension members, connections)

Design of reinforced concrete components (e.g., codes and design philosophies, beams, slabs, columns, walls, footings)


Index properties and soil classifications

Phase relations (air-water-solid)

Laboratory and field tests

Effective stress (buoyancy)

Stability of retaining walls (e.g., active pressure/passive pressure)

Shear strength

Bearing capacity (cohesive and noncohesive)

Foundation types (e.g., spread footings, deep foundations, wall footings, mats)

Consolidation and differential settlement

Seepage/flow nets

Slope stability (e.g., fills, embankments, cuts, dams)

Soil stabilization (e.g., chemical additives, geosynthetics)

Drainage systems

Erosion control

Geometric design of streets and highways

Geometric design of intersections

Pavement system design (e.g., thickness, subgrade, drainage, rehabilitation)

Traffic safety

Traffic capacity

Traffic flow theory

Traffic control devices

Transportation planning (e.g., travel forecast modeling)

Water quality (ground and surface)

Basic tests (e.g., water, wastewater, air)

Environmental regulations

Water supply and treatment

Wastewater collection and treatment

Construction documents

Procurement methods (e.g., competitive bid, qualifications-based)

Project delivery methods (e.g., design-bid-build, design build, construction management, multiple prime)

Construction operations and methods (e.g., lifting, rigging, dewatering and pumping, equipment production, productivity analysis and improvement, temporary erosion control)

Project scheduling (e.g., CPM, allocation of resources)

Project management (e.g., owner/contractor/client relations)

Construction safety

Construction estimating

Angles, distances, and trigonometry

Area computations

Earthwork and volume computations


Coordinate systems (e.g., state plane, latitude/longitude)

Leveling (e.g., differential, elevations, percent grades)