FE Exam Passing Score | Process, Pass Rate, Results and more

The NCEES FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam is a nerve-wracking experience. The NCEES has so many regulations rules that need to be followed that most people get stressed out. It is the first step towards becoming a licensed engineer, and this is also a factor that makes hearts stop with pressure.

The NCEES scoring method is entirely different from the methods students are used to. The scoring is done through a standard scale which removes all bias. The minimum ability score is the base level, and these numbers change per test intake. It is imperative to know what the test scores mean and not expect bad or good results.

This article will discuss the scoring process and the FE exam passing score. The results and the diagnostic report are also going to be addressed. Lastly, FE exam tips on applying this knowledge for conducive results are also present.

NCEES FE Exam Scoring Process

What does the NCEES measure?

The first thing to understand is that the FE exam measures the ability level. This means that the result generation is through psychometric analysis. The only answers marked are the correct ones; wrong answers or empty answers are not considered. There is no fixed percentile or score for passing the FE exam as well.

The NCEES FE exam also scores both new takers of the exam and repeaters the same way. This gives an advantage to both new and repeating applicants. The chance of bias is absent due to the rigorous standardization that the NCEES has built itself around. These standards are set by experts of all the specific engineering principles.

The minimum ability level of the test takers is what is measured in the NCEES FE exam. Each specific engineering discipline has its scoring and percentiles, as both have different requirements. The FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam scoring takes the test score as a raw number. The Raw Score is then converted into a scaled score through the standards procedures.

The Pass Rates

The NCEES pass rates are ever-changing. These changes occur periodically throughout the year. The periods for these changes range are January to June and July to December. This represents the people who first took the exam, and it is also within the 12 months of graduation from an ABET or a credited engineering school. Non-engineering graduates are not counted in these rates. The pass rates are different for each discipline, and these are updated for each year. This is why the passing score of the FE exam is constantly fluctuating each year.

The FE exam pass rates for the year 2021 are below

Exam Volume Pass Rate Format Availability Updated
FE Chemical 701 74% CBT Year-Round July 2021
FE Civil 6049 70% CBT Year-Round July 2021
FE Electrical and Computer 1189 72% CBT Year-Round July 2021
FE Environmental 780 79% CBT Year-Round July 2021
FE Industrial and Systems 254 67% CBT Year-Round July 2021
FE Mechanical 3632 75% CBT Year-Round July 2021
FE and Other Disciplines 910 63% CBT Year-Round July 2021

FE Environmental has the highest clearing rate of 79%, followed by mechanical, chemical, electrical and computer, civil, industrial and systems, and other disciplines. One thing to keep in mind is that the pass rate might be high for one discipline. But it doesn’t make that discipline easy to clear. Similarly, it doesn’t make the rest impossible to clear. If you have a specific discipline in your mind and want to approach it, go for it. These pass rates are all subjective to what the test was like. The quality of the test takers is also an essential factor.

The NCEES Fe exam results

It is imperative to understand the FE scoring methods to interpret the result. The result is either a pass or a fail, and there is no grey area. The NCEES does not disclose the score you achieved in the test. The details of the test are mentioned. The State in which you took the exam, the date of the conduction, and the result, pass or fail. There will also be a link to help you find jobs until the certification and licensing is done. That link will be there if you have passed the FE exam.

If you have failed to pass the FE exam, a diagnostic report will be attached to your email. These reports and results will be given to you through e-mail.

The Diagnostic Report

The diagnostic report can be your blueprint for the next time you prepare. The FE exam is challenging, and the preparation is more complicated. As a fresh taker of the exam, many misconceptions and general anxiety will permanently inhibit performance. Re-takers have the advantage of experience.

The diagnostic report lists all the subjects and the number of the item. The score that is given is the scaled score which is in the range of 0-15. There is also a bar graph that represents your performance in each subject.

You can also take the exam once per testing period, which means three times in 12 months. Do not get disheartened; use the diagnostic report as your guide. Practice more and more using the material stat the NCEES provides. The subject you are lacking the most, pay attention to it the most as well.

The FE passing Score

The passing score of the Fe exam on average is 70%. It is imperative to remember that these numbers can change very quickly. This is due to the board basing the score on the minimum ability score of the test takers. If the test takers are higher, scoring than the average may not reflect the difficulty of the test. The passing score’s fluctuation may not be an accurate representation of the difficulty of the tests. Make sure that the preparation is well enough to handle these factors.

So many numbers what to do?

By now, the overwhelming numbers and percentages will have you questioning your decisions. These numbers are not the direct representation of the test you may get. The main thing that will get you across all the passing scores is your practice. The preparation is vital; focus on that. If you are a first-timer or a re-taker, do not change your desired discipline for a better passing rate.

The FE exam test is challenging but not impossible to clear. If you are re-taking the exam, the interpretation of the diagnostic report will help. Identify your weakness and work on it. The more practice you will do, the more you will improve. Please use the manuals the NCEES provides. These are the same manuals you will be given on exam day; make sure that you are well-versed in using them.


The NCEES process of scoring the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam is quite different. It keeps bias at a bare minimum. This approach is why the test has such a high validity. The reliability of this testing method is also very high. The test intakes and average scores are all subjective to the ability of the tentmakers. Specifically, the examinees whose minimum ability scores are the base levels.

All interested partakers should focus on their preparation, which is most conducive to their advantage. With that in mind, it is essential to understand that as the nature of this exam is standardized, the results will always be scale scores.