How Many Times You Can Retake the FE Exam in a Year?

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe

This saying defines the approach and mindset one should have towards any challenges life throws our way. The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is an important step in your professional journey. Naturally, it’s important that you pass your FE exam as soon as possible.

We can bet you’re probably here on our blog because you’ve just given your exam and you fear that you’ve failed the FE exam.

It’s quite normal.

Firstly, take a deep breath. You’ve tried your best, and hopefully, the outcome will reflect that. And even if the outcome is less than ideal, you don’t have to worry. After all, you can retake the FE exam.

How many times per year, exactly? 

NCEES® policy states that you can attempt the test once per every testing window, up to three times in 12-months. These windows are January to March, April to June, July to September, and October to December. This means in a year, you do get plenty of chances to try your luck, however, you will still need to reach out to your state board to confirm the number of times they will approve you to sit for the FE exam retake.

How Frequently Does the NCEES® Conduct the FE Exam?

Previously, the FE exam was only offered a set number of times in a 2-month period. Luckily, since it switched to Computer-Based testing, the FE exam is offered nationwide in four testing windows during the following months each year:

  1. January to March 
  2. April to June
  3. July to September and 
  4. October to December

Points to Consider Before Retaking the FE Exam 

Even though you know you have more than one chance to retake the exam as per the FE exam retake policy, you shouldn’t take it lightly. Before retaking the FE exam, you should consider the following aspects.

  1. Figure Out What You Did Wrong & Change Your Study Efforts
  2. Improve Your Test-Taking Strategy
  3. Consider Getting a Study Guide for Fundamentals of Engineering

1. Figure Out What You Did Wrong & Change Your Study Plan

According to Einstein “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. It wouldn’t make sense to continue in the same direction when it has been proven wrong in the past. Therefore, it is important that you figure out why you failed the FE exam and change the way you study entirely.

Perhaps you studied in a distracting environment before. Maybe you attempted practice tests, but not timed practice tests. Perhaps you need to focus on different study areas – maybe you considered statistics as your forte, but performed inadequately in it.

There can be a number of reasons why you failed the FE exam.

Determine which areas of expertise you are strong in and which you are poor in. The good thing is that the exam score report in the NCEES® result can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. All you need to do is give greater time to practice the weak areas while maintaining your focus on your strong areas.

A word of advice, don’t strive to convert all your weaknesses into strengths. This approach will consume a lot of your precious time and effort. It can significantly increase the time you spend on strengthening your weaker concepts which may lead you not to be able to go through the entire course content. 

2. Improve Your Test-Taking Strategy

The FE exam is a computer-based test and it is timed. To effectively and efficiently take the FE exam you need to understand the moving pieces. Therefore, before retaking the test, you should consider refining your test-taking strategy.

The best way to approach this would be to speak to fellow test-takers who have passed the exam and question them about their methods of perpetration. This can help you gain insight as to how you can improve your preparation strategy.

Do not rush into retaking the FE exam again. Make a weekly study plan for the weeks leading up to the FE Electrical exam. This should include a clear breakdown of the topics you need to learn as well as a target amount of hours you should spend on them. Don’t wander from your FE exam preparation schedule after you’ve created one –  instead, let it guide you during this time, as writing everything down will help you stay on track.

Then, based on your study schedule, attempt practice exams. This is perhaps the number one tip to pass the FE exam. Taking practice exams will assist you to figure out which sections you’ve mastered and which ones you need to go over again.

While solving practice questions on a daily basis, keep note of your progress. Time yourself to get a sense of how long it takes you to solve a particular problem. If you find yourself constantly spending longer than three minutes to solve a problem, set a goal for yourself to improve your timing and solve them in under three minutes.

3. Use an effective Study Guide for Fundamentals of Engineering (FE)

It’s true that you can retake the NCEES® FE exam thrice a year – but should you really take it that easy? 

The cost of an FE exam retake isn’t just monetary, but it’s also a waste of time as well. You need to progress in your career as fast as possible. However, if you fail the FE exam, you need to keep in mind that you can only attempt to retake the test once every three months.

Perhaps for this reason alone, you should consider getting a study guide for Fundamentals of Engineering (FE). Hundreds of practice questions with complete solutions are included in study guides to help you become more familiar with the NCEES® FE Test Reference Handbook, which is the only reference item you are allowed to bring to the FE exam.

You tried to make it on your own without any help but you failed. For the next attempt, why not take the help of a study guide that can help you target your focus areas, practice, and help prepare you to take that FE exam and pass it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What score do I need to pass FE?

There is no set score that you need to achieve to pass the FE test. This is because once you are notified that you passed the FE exam, you’re only told whether you passed or failed, without any specific passing score.

Moreover, the CBT scoring system counts the correct number of answers, and then converts it into a scaled score based on the difficulty level of the exam – this means they don’t publish a set score. However, our research indicates that 60-70% is a safe criterion to assume as a required passing score.

How do I know if I passed the FE?

You’ll be notified of your result within 7-10 days of taking the FE test. An email notification will be received from NCEES® along with instructions to view the results in your MyNCEES® account.

If you pass, you’ll find “Pass” on your result – without any specific scoring. You’ll also find results specific to your licensing board regarding how you should proceed based on your performance.

Can you take the FE exam back to back?

Yes, you can retake the FE exam back to back. However, keep in mind that you can only attempt to retake the test once every three months during the 12 months period.

Conclusion

An FE exam retake doesn’t have to be daunting. You shouldn’t consider it as your failure. In fact, it’s an opportunity to up your game, redefine your strategies, and come back stronger. After all, you’re offered the retake opportunity three times a year.  If you’re planning to retake the exam, definitely check out our FE exam preparation tips.