Updated for the new July 2020 FE Exam Topics

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FE Mechanical

The latest NCEES specifications with category and topics.

Effective July 1st, 2020, these are the categories and subcategories specified by the NCEES that this discipline covers. It includes an estimate of the number of questions you will see on the official exam for each category. We've covered the specification changes in this blog post. PrepFE provides hundreds of questions in proportional amounts to the official exam.

For the prior categories and topics that were discontinued at the end of June, 2020, please see the categories here.

Mechanical FE exam categories

Questions on the FE Exam

Analytic geometry

Calculus (e.g., differential, integral, single-variable, multivariable)

Ordinary differential equations (e.g., homogeneous, nonhomogeneous, Laplace transforms)

Linear algebra (e.g., matrix operations, vector analysis)

Numerical methods (e.g., approximations, precision limits, error propagation, Taylor's series, Newton's method)

Algorithm and logic development (e.g., flowcharts, pseudocode)

Probability distributions (e.g., normal, binomial, empirical, discrete, continuous)

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

Expected value (weighted average) in decision making

Regression (linear, multiple), curve fitting, and goodness of fit (e.g., correlation coefficient, least squares)

Codes of ethics (e.g., NCEES Model Law, professional and technical societies, ethical and legal considerations)

Public health, safety, and welfare

Intellectual property (e.g., copyright, trade secrets, patents, trademarks)

Societal considerations (e.g., economic, sustainability, life-cycle analysis, environmental)

Time value of money (e.g., equivalence, present worth, equivalent annual worth, future worth, rate of return, annuities)

Cost types and breakdowns (e.g., fixed, variable, incremental, average, sunk)

Economic analyses (e.g., cost-benefit, break-even, minimum cost, overhead, life cycle)

Electrical fundamentals (e.g., charge, current, voltage, resistance, power, energy, magnetic flux)

DC circuit analysis (e.g., Kirchhoff's laws, Ohm's law, series, parallel)

AC circuit analysis (e.g., resistors, capacitors, inductors)

Motors and generators

Resultants of force systems

Concurrent force systems

Equilibrium of rigid bodies

Frames and trusses

Centroids and moments of inertia

Static friction

Kinematics of particles

Kinetic friction

Newton’s second law for particles

Work-energy of particles

Impulse-momentum of particles

Kinematics of rigid bodies

Newton’s second law for rigid bodies

Work-energy of rigid bodies

Impulse-momentum of rigid bodies

Free and forced vibrations

Shear and moment diagrams

Stress transformations and Mohr's circle

Stress and strain caused by axial loads

Stress and strain caused by bending loads

Stress and strain caused by torsional loads

Stress and strain caused by shear

Stress and strain caused by temperature changes

Combined loading


Column buckling

Statically indeterminate systems

Properties (e.g., chemical, electrical, mechanical, physical, thermal)

Stress-strain diagrams

Ferrous metals

Nonferrous metals

Engineered materials (e.g., composites, polymers)

Manufacturing processes

Phase diagrams, phase transformation, and heat treating

Materials selection

Corrosion mechanisms and control

Failure mechanisms (e.g., thermal failure, fatigue, fracture, creep)

Fluid properties

Fluid statics

Energy, impulse, and momentum

Internal flow

External flow

Compressible flow (e.g., Mach number, isentropic flow relationships, normal shock)

Power and efficiency

Performance curves

Scaling laws for fans, pumps, and compressors

Properties of ideal gases and pure substances

Energy transfers

Laws of thermodynamics


Performance of components

Power cycles

Refrigeration and heat pump cycles

Nonreacting mixtures of gases


Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) processes

Combustion and combustion products




Transient processes

Heat exchangers

Sensors and transducers

Control systems (e.g., feedback, block diagrams)

Dynamic system response

Measurement uncertainty (e.g., error propagation, accuracy, precision, significant figures)

Stress analysis of machine elements

Failure theories and analysis

Deformation and stiffness


Pressure vessels and piping


Power screws

Power transmission

Joining methods (e.g., welding, adhesives, mechanical fasteners)

Manufacturability (e.g., limits, fits)

Quality and reliability

Components (e.g., hydraulic, pneumatic, electromechanical)

Engineering drawing interpretations and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T)