Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam FAQS

What is the FE exam?

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is generally your first step in the process to becoming a professional licensed engineer. It is designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree from an EAC/ABET-accredited program.

The FE exam is a computer-based exam administered year-round at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers.

NCEES is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors. It develops, administers, and scores the examinations used for engineering and surveying licensure in the United States.

Why take the FE exam?

Being licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE) is important for some engineering career trajectories. The licensure process vary from state to state, but typically the first steps are graduating from an ABET-accredited engineering program (like the University of Utah) and passing the FE exam.

Passing the FE exam also looks great on a resume, and keeps the PE licensure an option if you decide to pursue it later in your career.

How much does it cost?

$175.00 per attempt

When should I take the exam?

We recommend taking the FE Exam during your final semester of your undergraduate program or within a year of graduating from your undergraduate program.

This exam is composed of fundamentals of engineering you will have learned throughout your coursework. To be prepared for the exam you will want to have completed the majority of your fundamental undergraduate coursework first.

Where can I take the exam?

The FE can be taken at any NCEES-approved location, including those across the country. The U does not currently have a testing center on campus, but there are available locations within a mile of the U.

You register and schedule your appointment through your MyNCEES account. During the registration process, you will select your exam location. Next, you will be presented with a list of available exam dates for your appointment. You can browse through the available dates at other NCEES-approved test centers for additional scheduling options.

Does my major require I take the FE exam?

Currently, none of our engineering majors require you complete the FE exam in order to graduate. You are encouraged to take the FE exam if you plan on obtaining a Professional Engineering (PE) license. Talk to your major advisor to learn more.

How do I study for the FE exam?

  • Login to your MyNCEES account and download the free Reference Handbook in PDF. This booklet contains many of the formulas students need to know for the exam, and is available during the exam.
    • It is strongly recommended that students download this handbook and familiarize themselves with it beforehand as each FE exam uses the same booklet (there may be many pages that don’t apply to you if you’re not a Chemical engineer for example).
    • Becoming familiar with the manual prior to the exam will ensure that students don’t waste precious exam time searching for formulas.
  • Download the exam specification for your discipline: It lists the various topics that will be on the exam and an approximate number of how many questions will be in each category.
  • Purchase a practice exam that will be mailed to you. These practice exams cost $30.
  • Search Amazon/EBay for an “FE Review Manual” for your specific discipline.

What material is covered in the FE Exam?

The FE Exam covers a comprehensive range of engineering subjects which are taught in a typical ABET-accredited engineering program. The exam is a computer-based and closed book test with an electronic reference. It consists of 110 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in six hours, which includes a tutorial, a break, and a brief survey at the end. Click here for exam specifications.

How many times can I take the exam?

  • One attempt is allowed per quarter with only three attempts allowed in one calendar year (from the first attempt) Quarters are as follows:
    • January-March
    • April-June
    • July-September
    • October-December.

What materials can I use during the exam?

Besides specific calculators (review the NCEES Calculator Policy), the only resource allowed in the exam is the FE Reference Handbook, which is provided in the form of a searchable PDF document from the NCEES during the exam.

It is highly recommended that you download the FE Reference Manual from the NCEES ahead of time, in an effort to become familiar with the material before you take your exam. To download this handbook, visit

NOTE: Students must register individually to receive their own copy of the reference handbook.


These resources provide additional information to help you familiarize yourself with the testing format, how to use the references and tools that are available to you and generally help you be prepared so that nothing is a surprise on exam day. Many of your questions will be answered by:

Before you take the assessment try the practice exam.

Review Materials

The NCEES publishes study materials that are available at