Frequently asked questions.

Let us help answer the most common questions about the NCEES FE exam.

How much does the exam cost?

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam costs $175.

How long is the exam?

You are given 6 hours total.

  • Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
  • Tutorial (8 minutes)
  • Exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
  • Scheduled break (25 minutes)

How many questions are on the FE exam?

There are 110 questions on the exam

  • 50 questions for the first half
  • Optional 25 minute break
  • 60 questions for second half

What types of questions should I expect?

Before July 1st, 2017, only multiple-choice questions will be on the computer based exams (CBT). Now, alternative item types (AIT) have been introduced (here is a video on AITs provided by NCEES), and all exams will have all of, but not excluded to, the following:

  • Multiple-choice (1 answer, standard)
  • Multiple correct options
  • Point and click - clicking on part of a graphic
  • Drag and drop - click and drag to match, sort, rank, or label items
  • Fill in the blank

When do I get my exam results?

FE exam results are typically available 7–10 days after you take the exam. You will receive an email notification from NCEES with instructions to view your results in your MyNCEES account. Results include information specific to your licensing board regarding how you should proceed based on your performance.

How is the exam scored?

Results are based on total number of correct answers. There are NO deductions for wrong answers, so make sure to answer everything. Since exam questions may vary, scores are scaled for difficutly, accordingly. The NCEES does not publish a passing score and claims that no predetermined percentage of examinees pass or fail.

How are exam results reported?

Exam results are reported pass/fail. If you did not pass the exam, you will receive a diagnostic report indicating subject areas of relative strength and weakness. The diagnostic report can assist you if you decide to retake the exam. Download a sample diagnostic report (PDF).

What is the FE Exam like?

It is a computer based exam, administered by the NCEES and taken at Pearson VUE test centers. As of 2014, the FE exams are discipline-specific, but there are still general engineering topics in addition to discipline-specific ones on each exam.

How do I find FE exam test dates?

Unfortunately, you will have to register with the NCEES and pay a $175 exam fee in order to see and select a date.

How many times can I take the FE exam?

You can take exam up to three times a year. See the NCEES site for details.

Can you go back to first half of exam?

No, you can revisit problems during the first half of the exam, but once you move onto the second half, you cannot go back to the first half.

Are the questions grouped by section and are there headers like Thermodynamics, Statics, Ethics, etc.?

The FE exam questions are grouped by section, but there are no headers. Once you are in the final set of questions (like the last 10), they may not be grouped and may be a randomized group of "trial" questions for future exam takers. While these are common on standardized tests and generally don't count against you, it would be wise to treat all questions as if they count.

Can you "CTRL-F" or "CMD-F" in FE Reference Handbook during the exam to search?

You cannot CTRL-F like a typical PDF, but the user interface has its own search bar you will have to use. Search results include page numbers, so familiarizing yourself with the handbook ahead of the test is vital.

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

The most time-effective thing you can do is WORK PRACTICE PROBLEMS over and over. Those who have passed the FE exam, academia, and the best test prep providers all suggest this should be your primary focus.

Are the Lindeburg problems harder than the actual exam?

Yes, the consensus is that the problems are more difficult, complex, and time consuming than the typical problems found on the exam.

What percentage of the FE exam are the "new" alternative item type (AIT) questions?

We believe it's around 10%.

Is there a best time of the year to take the FE exam? Does the difficulty vary?

The exam difficulty doesn't vary during the year, and the NCEES makes sure that qualified examinees pass without applying a "curve". The best advice is to schedule it such that you have the most amount of time to prepare thoroughly.