Let us help answer the most common questions about the NCEES FE exam.
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
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.
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.
How much does the FE exam cost?
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam costs $175.
When do I get my FE exam results back?
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 FE 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.
What is a passing grade on the FE exam?
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).
Is the FE exam hard?
The FE has a 30% failure rate and a 70% pass rate for first time takers. Adequate prepping will ensure smooth passing.
Will the FE exam topics change after June 2020?
Yes, starting July 2020 many FE exam topics are to be added or removed. We encourage you to use study prep material that is up to date. Many of the prep textbooks out there are now outdated and include topics that are no longer relevant for the FE exam. Click here to see a detailed list of the exam topic updates.
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.
Is the FE exam open book or open notes?
During the exam, you are provided a reference handbook that has all the equations you might need. However, the reference handbook DOES NOT show worked-out example problems. You are not allowed to bring anything into the exam aside from an approved calculator
How long is the FE exam?
You are given 6 hours total.
Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
Tutorial (8 minutes)
Exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
Scheduled break (25 minutes)
What kind of questions are on the FE exam?
The specific exam topics vary depending on which FE exam you take. In general, the exam is comprehensive and covers the great majority of the classes taken in an engineering undergraduate program. You can find a detailed list of exam topics here
Why take the FE exam?
The FE exam is a prerequisite exam in order to take the PE exam later on. Passing the PE exam allows you to become a licensed engineer in the US.