How to Pass the FE Exam

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Check out this article if you'd like to learn how to prepare for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exams. Explore what each of the exams cover and focus on study options that can help you pass.

Work on Practice Exams

The best way to prepare for an FE exam is to complete as many practice questions as you can. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) offers practice exams through their website. These exams will allow you to go over questions from past exams so that you can get used to answering questions similar to the ones that will appear on your exam. Start studying several months in advance and keep in mind the time it takes you to answer questions. With time constraints on the exam, efficiency is important, and questions should be practiced so that you are averaging solving them in about two minutes.

Familiarize Yourself with the NCEES FE Reference Handbook

The NCEES will provide you with a digital copy of the reference book during the exam itself, but reviewing it before test day will greatly improve your ability to use the resource, and quickly. Use the reference book as you answer practice questions, and make sure you're familiar with the sections of the handbook, including the index. This way you're comfortable and efficient in looking up specific information on test day.

The FE Reference Handbook includes formulas, tables and charts that you will use to answer test questions. Each FE Exam will include questions on mathematics like probability and statistics, as well as ethics, professional practice and engineering economics. Thoroughly studying the handbook before the test can also help you prepare for each of the individual FE exams and their subjects listed below.

FE Chemical Exam

  • Engineering, material sciences and computational tools
  • Chemistry, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics
  • Balances, heat transfer, mass transfer and separation
  • Chemical reaction engineering
  • Process design and control
  • Safety, health, environment

FE Civil Exam

  • Statics and dynamics
  • Computational tools
  • Materials and mechanics of materials
  • Fluid mechanics, hydraulics and hydrologic systems
  • Structural analysis and design
  • Geotechnical, transportation and environmental engineering
  • Construction and surveying

FE Electrical and Computer Exam

  • Electrical material properties and computational tools
  • Engineering sciences and circuit analysis
  • Linear systems, signal processing and electronics
  • Power, electromagnetics and control systems
  • Communications, computer networks, computer systems, software development and digital systems

FE Environmental Exam

  • Materials science, environmental science and chemistry
  • Risk assessment, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics
  • Water resources, wastewater, air quality, groundwater and soils
  • Computational tools
  • Solid and hazardous waste

FE Industrial Exam

  • Computational tools
  • Probability, statistics, modeling and computations
  • Industrial management, manufacturing, production and service systems
  • Facilities, logistics, human factors, ergonomics and safety
  • Work design, quality and systems engineering

FE Mechanical Exam

  • Electricity, magnetism, statics, dynamics, kinematics and vibrations
  • Mechanics of materials, material properties, processing and computational tools
  • Fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and heat transfer
  • Measurements, instrumentation, controls, mechanical design and analysis

FE Other Disciplines Exam

  • Chemistry
  • Data acquisition and instrumentation
  • Health and the environment
  • Dynamics, statics, and strength of materials
  • Fluid mechanics and dynamics of liquids and gases
  • Electrical fundamentals, power and magnetism
  • Energy transfer, heat and mass

Understand Math Fundamentals

Make sure that you're comfortable with math concepts that you'll encounter on the FE exams. Not only will you have to answer traditional math problems, but having a firm grasp of the concepts will help you on other engineering questions of the exam. The FE Reference Book will supply you with formulas, and in addition, you can use resources to brush up on the following math topics:

Each course provides in-depth lessons, interactive quizzes and comprehensive exams to make sure you've got a strong grasp of the math concepts, and are well prepared for the FE Exams.

Review Material Online

You can also check out other courses that will help you review engineering concepts you need to understand in order to pass these tests. You can view video lessons whenever you'd like, gauge your skills with self-assessment quizzes and reach out to experts with any questions that you have. Use these courses to go over:

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.