What to Expect on FE Exam Day

The NCEES® FE exam is the starting step for all engineers; it is a licensing exam which, once cleared, you are going to be allowed to use your engineering skills in practice legally. The importance of FE exam often puts a lot of burden on its takers, which results in reduced performance, stress, and anxiety. On FE exam day, these are not factors that help in excelling at things. This is why it is of utmost importance to be prepared for what may come your way. 

While the stress of ambiguity is dangerous, it is also not to be feared; this article will inform you precisely about what you can expect on the FE exam day. Another thing that most candidates are unclear about is what to bring on FE exam day? This problem will also be dealt with by keeping the NCEES® regulations in check.

NCEES® has strict rules and regulations; violation of any laws results in disqualification from the FE exam. It is imperative to understand them and abide by them. In this article, candidates can find the details of the exam. These details include the duration, exam pattern, policies, and tools allowed. Along with the details, tips for managing the time for the exam and the approach for it are also present. The NCEES® has criteria for the tools allowed in the exam, which have also been mentioned.

Things To Know About the FE Exam Day:

What is the structure of the NCEES® FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) Exam?

The FE exam is a computer-based test, and it has two sessions placed consecutively with a hundred and ten multiple-choice questions. Both sections have approximately fifty-five multiple-choice questions. The questions are grouped according to the area of knowledge they belong to, such as subjects and topics.

Subjects are not labeled; the beginning and end of the subjects are also not noted. This creates an increase in the difficulty of the exam, an easy way to circumvent this is to focus on the question and not get caught on by the subject. None of the subjects continue over the two consecutive sessions.

If a subject is present in the first session, it will not be present in the second session. The time used for answering the questions will not be wasted on repeated questions. On the screen, only one question is being displayed with its possible answers, and each question has four options in the form of A, B, C, and D.

How long is the Duration of the FE exam?

1. Total Time

Knowing the duration of the test before the FE exam day is crucial. This helps in planning on how to approach it and helps to prepare for the time constraints. The exam is six hours long; at the start of the exam, an eight-minute tutorial is given. The tutorial will teach about the patterns, rules, and regulations of the FE exam. A break of twenty-five minutes is also provided; after the completion of the exam, a brief survey is conducted.

2. The Actual Time

The actual time that a candidate gets to complete the exam is five hours and twenty minutes. Approximately it is three minutes per question. You can answer a question and go back to correct your mistake or change the answer as well. Once the section is submitted, the answer cannot be changed. The time allotment depends entirely on the candidate. The break cannot be utilized in the exam time, and it is a break, that is all.

3. Rule of the Clock

Once the clock starts, it will not stop until the duration of the section is completed. Candidates can leave for personal reasons; however, the clock will not stop for said candidate. On FE exam day, make sure you know the duration of the exam and the allotment for each section you want to go for.

These FE exam day tips will help you in planning for the exam. If you are worried about food and what to bring to the FE exam, then no need to worry; you can get snacks that are not going to go bad quickly. Do not expect the clock to stop for you even if you have an emergency and conduct the exam with multiple candidates. This is mentioned in the NCEES® guidebook for the FE exam day.

What are the FE exam policies?

  1. Do not bring your writing materials; all of the things, including pencils and scratchpads, will be provided by NCEES® on FE exam day.
  2. The calculator should fit the criteria provided by the NCEES®.
  3. Arrive at the exam early. If you are late, you will not be allowed on the FE exam day.
  4. There is usually a 1-hour break between morning and afternoon sessions.
  5. Any devices that may transmit signals, whether Bluetooth devices or smart-watches, are not allowed.
  6. Any of these criteria, if not met, will result in disqualification from the FE exam.
  7. Candidates must sign an agreement form to all the conditions mentioned in the NCEES® policies.

Why are the FE exams Unique?

NCEES® has made the FE exam in a manner where each candidate’s paper will be different from the next. They do this through section formats as well as the changes in questions. The entire examination environment is highly secure with all sorts of equipment to ensure no doctoring of the exam is being conducted.

The FE is a highly credible exam for many reasons, one of which is its persistence in keeping itself free from cheating or misuse. All the criteria for tools were made to apply this as well. The NCEES® provides candidates with all the reference materials they need. These reference materials are found on the NCEES® website, and candidates can get them from there and practice before enrolling in the exam.

What to bring on the NCEES® FE exam day?

The NCEES® has provided all the guidance on what to bring on the FE exam day. Be sure to bring the identity card through which you applied as well as the appointment letter of the NCEES®. There is no need to get your stationery as all the material will be provided. The reference book will also be provided along with the scratch pads.

The calculator criteria have been mentioned; whichever calculator falls into the standards is allowed. Bring a clear or transparent bag and box. This is for carrying materials that are allowed in the FE exam. These FE exam day tips are essential for a smooth process and execution of the exam.


The FE exam has many rules and regulations to follow, and the NCEES® provides all of the policies beforehand. With the extra guidance that these tips offer, candidates can focus on bringing their best to the exam with little or no stress. All of the materials and regulations are available on the NCEES® website for the ease of candidates. Always make sure to reach the venue on time with the proper documentation and tools for the FE exam.

Wasim Asghar – P.E, P.ENG, M.ENG

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.

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