What Is the FE Exam?

If you are an electrical engineering student passionate about designing and building cutting-edge electrical systems, you must have recognized the depth of the electrical engineering subject. You can’t wait to start your career in your favorite area of expertise.

But before you can become a licensed professional electrical engineer, there are some steps you need to take. One of the most critical steps is passing the NCEES® Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

The FE exam is a comprehensive test that covers a wide range of topics in electrical engineering, including circuit analysis, electronics, electromagnetics, power systems, and control systems. It’s designed to test your knowledge of the foundational principles of electrical engineering and your ability to apply that knowledge to real-world problems.

You might wonder, “Why must I take this exam? I already know all of this stuff!” But the truth is, even if you’re a top-notch electrical engineering student, the FE exam is still a challenge. It requires you to have a deep understanding of the fundamental concepts in the field, as well as strong problem-solving skills and test-taking strategies.

But don’t worry; passing the FE exam is achievable with proper preparation and study habits. And once you pass the exam, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a licensed professional electrical engineer, with all the benefits and opportunities that come with that title.

This blog post will help you explore what is the FE exam with all the ins and outs of the Fundamentals of Engineering Electrical exam (FE Electrical) from all aspects. Let’s dive deep into the details.

Overview of the FE Exam

The FE Exam is a comprehensive test that engineers in the United States must pass to become licensed professional engineers. Below is the breakdown of what you need to know about the Fundamentals of Engineering Electrical & Computer exam.

Topics Covered on the FE Exam

The Fundamentals of Engineering NCEES® or FE exam thoroughly assesses your knowledge and skills, whether you’re interested in mechanical, civil, structural, electrical, or any other engineering domain. And while the test may sound daunting, it’s important to remember that it’s designed to test what you already know and allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the fundamental and key areas of your subject.

For the FE electrical exam, the breakdown of topics and questions is as under:

Main TopicsSubtopicsQuestions
MathematicsAlgebra and trigonometry11-17
Complex numbers
Discrete mathematics
Analytic geometry
Calculus (e.g., differential, integral, single-variable, multivariable)
Ordinary differential equations
Linear algebra
Probability and StatisticsMeasures of central tendencies and dispersions (e.g., mean, mode, standard deviation)4-6
Probability distributions (e.g., discrete, continuous, normal, binomial, conditional probability)
Ethics and Professional PracticeCodes of ethics (e.g., professional and technical societies, NCEES® Model Law and Model Rules)4-6
Intellectual property (e.g., copyright, trade secrets, patents, trademarks)
Engineering EconomicsTime value of money (e.g., present value, future value, annuities)5-8
Cost estimation
Risk identification
Properties of Electrical MaterialsSemiconductor materials (e.g., tunneling, diffusion/drift current, energy bands, doping bands, p-n theory)4-6
Electrical (e.g., conductivity, resistivity, permittivity, magnetic permeability, noise)
Circuit Analysis (DC and AC)KCL, KVL11-17
Series/parallel equivalent circuits
Thevenin and Norton theorems
Node and loop analysis
Waveform analysis (e.g., RMS, average, frequency, phase, wavelength)
Linear SystemsFrequency/transient response5-8
Laplace transforms
Signal ProcessingSampling (e.g., aliasing, Nyquist theorem)5-8
Analog filters
ElectronicsModels, biasing, and performance of discrete devices (e.g., diodes, transistors, thyristors)7-11
Amplifiers (e.g., single-stage/common emitter, differential, biasing)
Operational amplifiers (e.g., ideal, nonideal)
Instrumentation (e.g., measurements, data acquisition, transducers)
Power SystemsPower theory (e.g., power factor, single8–12
Transmission and Distribution
Electromagnetics               Electrostatics/Magnetostatics4-6
Control SystemsBlock Diagrams6-9
Bode Plots
Closed-Loop Response
Open-Loop Response, and Stability
CommunicationsBasic Modulation/Demodulation Concepts5-8
Fourier Transforms/Fourier Series
Computer NetworksRouting and Switching4-6
Network Topologies
Network Types
Network Models
Network Intrusion Detection and Prevention
Computer Systems               Number Systems5-8
Boolean Logic
Logic Gates and Circuits
Logic Minimization
Flip-flops and Counters
Programmable Logic Devices and Gate Arrays
Digital SystemsMicroprocessors8-12
Memory Technology and Systems
Software Engineering      Algorithms4-6
Data Structures

Types of Questions Asked on the FE Exam

Evaluating the types of questions asked in the FE exam is the most important aspect to uncover if you want to understand what is the FE exam. The NCEES® FE (EIT) exam is an intense, 6-hour comprehensive test that engineering students and graduates in the US must crack to become licensed professional engineers by getting a PE license afterward. It consists of 110 multiple-choice questions, covering most of the courses taught in an engineering undergraduate curriculum.

You can only use an NCEES®-approved calculator during the exam, so you must know its functions beforehand. Additionally, you’ll be provided with a PDF of equations and tables to use during the test, so you’ll need to practice quickly referencing them. It’s worth noting that no “cheat sheets” or personal notes are allowed during the exam, so you’ll need to rely solely on your knowledge and problem-solving skills. However, the exam is designed to test your understanding of the fundamental engineering principles and theories. If you’ve paid attention in class and put in the study time, you should be well-prepared to tackle the questions.

Structure of the FE Exam

The FE exam is a computer-based examination offered yearly at Pearson VUE test centers that NCEES® has approved.

There are 110 questions in the FE exam. The 6-hour appointment for the examination involves the following:

  • Confidentiality Agreement (2 minutes)
  • Tutorial (8 minutes) 
  • Exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
  • Planned break (25 minutes)

Eligibility Requirements of the FE Exam

You must meet specific eligibility criteria to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (F.E.) exam. These criteria vary depending on your educational background and work experience.

Eligibility Criteria

To understand the eligibility criteria for the FE EIT exam, consult the table below.

Educational BackgroundWork or Education
Bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited institutionNot applicable
Enrolled in an EAC/ABET engineering programFinal year of college or university
Program not accredited by ABETNot applicable, request a review to check eligibility
Not enrolled in an ABET-accredited B.E. programSix years of experience for F.E. exam, 12 years for P.E. exam under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer

Condition 1

To determine eligibility for the FE exam, your collegiate education must be evaluated by comparing it to the NCEES® Engineering Education Standard, which specifies 96 semester hours. This includes 32 higher mathematics/basic sciences, 16 general education, and 48 engineering science/design.

Condition 2

If you are declared ineligible, or your degree is not accepted, you must complete a 4-year degree in an ABET-accredited engineering program to be eligible to take the F.E. exam

What Are the Different Types of FE Exams?

The FE is offered in seven disciplines. Specifications for each domain are as follows:

Try the FE Other (General) test if you need help deciding which FE Exam to take. This exam is suited for individuals who are uncertain of the specialty they want to pursue,

The FE Other (General) test integrates themes from the other disciplines, although the other six examinations significantly have topic-specific exam standards. The FE Other (General) exam requirements are available here.

Taking the FE Exam – Why Should You Do it?

Taking and passing the FE exam has various advantages. The most evident benefit is the possibility of obtaining a high-paying position in your field of interest. As a result, many engineering recruiters make it very apparent in their job advertisements that passing the FE exam is crucial. 

Acing the “Engineer in Training: exam can give you an edge over other applicants, even if your prospective hiring manager does not mandate it.

As discussed earlier, passing the FE exam is the first step to becoming a professional engineer. Professional engineers have the authority to sign and seal official engineering papers. They also have a higher probability of securing supervisory roles than their counterparts without licenses.

Professional engineers are regarded by their local engineering board as having met the minimal competency standards considered essential for the community’s safety. They serve in various industries, such as production, utilities, automotive, and aerospace engineering.

Registration Process of the FE Exam

Through the NCEES® website, candidates can register for the FE test online. Log onto your MyNCEES®account, click the REGISTER button, and then adhere to the on-screen instructions to register for the FE test. During the registration procedure, a $175 exam fee is paid directly to NCEES®.

Follow our guide to learn about the registration process in detail and the step-by-step approach.

We recommend you check out our guide to learn more about the registration process for the FE Exam.

Will I Get a Raise in Salary if I Pass the FE Exam?

Will your salary increase by clearing the engineering FE exam

Will your salary increase by clearing the engineering FE exam? It depends.

Given that you still need to be an EIT, your manager may delay awarding you a raise. On the other hand, passing the FE test will increase your income as a civil engineer because you won’t be barred from receiving a promotion if you don’t.

It depends on how much your manager regards clearing the FE if you are a chemical, mechanical, or electrical engineer. In contrast to civil engineering, other engineering disciplines are not required to have aced the FE exam before their debut day on the job. However, passing the FE exam will make a good impression on your supervisor and speed up the process of getting promoted, which will result in you earning a higher salary.

When Is the Right Time to Take the FE Exam?

Right Time to Take the FE Exam

Any student who has earned an engineering degree can sit for the FE exam, which they can do at any time during or following their final year.

However, most instructors advise taking the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam right after graduation. Numerous individuals might not think it’s the most sensible option, but the reason is apparent. A fresh graduate is knowledgeable in several areas and has just finished taking tests.

Waiting some years before taking this examination increases the likelihood of forgetting some information and makes studying harder than it would be for someone who just graduated.

The best time to take the FE exam would be shortly after graduation or around the end of your final year.

Cleared the FE Exam – Now What?

After clearing the FE exam, you can apply for your state’s engineer-in-training (EIT) certification. You can then move on to the last step, taking and acing the PE exam.

Typically, an EIT must earn four years of work experience to be able to sit for the PE exam. However, you may be able to take the PE exam before you’ve had four years of engineering experience in certain states, including Kentucky. Still, your official license will only take effect once those four years have elapsed. Therefore, taking the PE exam immediately following the FE exam might be beneficial because the content is still fresh in your mind.

We have a separate blog on what to do after passing the FE exam. So, you can head over to that for further information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1 - Who can take the FE exam?

FE exam can be taken by recent graduates and students close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree from an EAC/ABET-accredited program.

2 - What are the FE exam dates?

You can appear in the FE exam whenever you want on any day of the year except Sundays and public holidays in the US. Please visit our separate guide for FE Exam Dates.

3 - What’s on the FE exam?

The FE Exam is comprehensive and covers most topics you would see in an undergraduate engineering curriculum.


Now that you know what is the FE exam and its modalities, it is time to start preparing for the same.

We recommend that you follow the tips and guidelines we have provided in this blog and take the online course to not only ensure a smooth preparation for the exam but guarantee your success in the same as well.

The preparation course by Wasim Asghar is a comprehensive program that covers each and every aspect of the FE exam and enables you to clear the exam on the first attempt.

We wish you the best of luck with this important milestone in your engineering career!


Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.