What to Expect on FE Exam Day

If you are all set to take the most significant exam of your life, which will pave the way for you to begin your career as a licensed professional engineer, then you are at the right place.

Because of how vital the NCEES® FE exam is, it frequently places a lot of pressure on those who take it, which reduces performance and increases stress and anxiety. These factors can affect your passing grades negatively and prevent you away from taking the FE exam.

We understand that the stress of uncertainty is immense, but it is also nothing to be afraid of if you are mentally prepared for everything that might happen.

This article will give you comprehensive information about what to expect on the FE exam day to help alleviate your stress levels and take you out of the black hole of worries. These details will include the FE exam’s structure, duration, and policies.

So without wasting a further second, let’s begin our discussion right away.

What is the structure of the NCEES® FE Exam?

The NCEES® FE Electrical exam is based on a computerized-based testing format and is offered year-round at Pearson VUE examination centers. There are a total of 110 questions broken down into two main FE exam sections: 

  1. The morning test section
  2. The afternoon test section

Each section encompasses 55 FE exam questions classified by knowledge areas. The topics are not precisely outlined, nor their starting or closing is indicated.


The two FE exam sections do not cover the same topics. It means if a subject is addressed in the morning exam section, it won’t be included in the afternoon test section.

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Talking about the exam portions and the distribution of the FE exam problems between the two, you might be wondering:

Is the FE exam multiple choice?

Well, yes, the FE exam is multiple choice, but it also contains alternative item types (AITs). AITs involve the following types of questions:

  • Multiple correct questions.
  • Point and click questions.
  • Drag and drop questions.
  • Fill in the blank questions.

It’s also important to remember that a handful of unknown FE exam questions will appear on your exam, but they won’t be graded and won’t affect your passing marks. These questions are referred to as pretest items, and their purpose is for NCEES® to verify the viability of the new FE exam problems for upcoming exams.

Duration of the FE Exam

Total Time

Before the NCEES® FE exam day, knowing how long the test will last is essential. This aids in FE exam preparation for the time constraints and strategizing how to tackle them.

So, the total duration of the FE exam is six hours. At the start of the FE exam, there will be a two-minute-long nondisclosure agreement. This includes pledging never to publish or divulge any FE exam questions or solutions, wholly or partially, on any web pages, online discussion groups, chat rooms, or in any other electronic transmissions.

After that, you will be given an eight-minute long tutorial in which you will be guided about the FE exam patterns, rules, and regulations.

Lastly, a break of twenty-five minutes is also provided, which you will have to take between the two FE exam sections.

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The Actual Time

The actual time that a candidate gets to complete the NCEES® FE exam is five hours and twenty minutes. It means you will get approximately three minutes to solve each FE exam problem.

Plus, you can answer the questions in any order within that session. You have the option to review your answers before submitting an FE exam section for scoring. However, you cannot go back and examine a section once it has been submitted.

Furthermore, it is up to you how you want to utilize your time between the two FE exam sections. It means you can devote 3 hours to the first portion if you want to, but you will have to complete the second portion in only 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Rule of the Clock

Once the clock starts, it will not stop until the duration of the FE exam section is completed. However, you are free to walk away after the commencement of each FE exam section if you must for personal matters, but the clock will keep on ticking while you are absent.

Moreover, you’re only allowed to take a 25-minute break between the two FE exam sections. You can take less time if you prefer, but you cannot complete your exam during the break, and you cannot extend either session’s time limit by including the break’s duration.

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Policies for the FE Exam

The rules and regulations for the NCEES® FE exam are as follows:

  1. You are not allowed to bring devices that transmit signals, whether Bluetooth devices or smart-watches; it will immediately cause disqualification and may even lead to being permanently banned.
  2. Do not bring any additional materials to the NCEES® FE exam for your assistance; you can get banned or disqualified due to cheating.
  3. Do not bring your writing materials; all of the things, including pencils and scratchpads, will be provided by NCEES® on FE exam day.
  4. You are only allowed to bring a calculator if it fits the criteria provided by the NCEES®.
  5. All items not allowed in the examination room must be kept in places designated outside the testing room.
  6. Reusable Pearson VUE booklets cannot be utilized until the examination has commenced, cannot be carried out of the testing facility while the exam is taking place, and must be handed back to the test administrator right away after the examination.
  7. Test takers are required to return from their break on time. The amount of time allotted for the second FE exam section will be deducted by the same amount of time an examinee is late.
  8. Candidates must raise their hands and wait for an administrator’s assistance before getting up from their seats.
  9. You are strictly forbidden to engage in any form of scam, deceit, dishonesty, inappropriate conduct, or other unusual behavior when taking the NCEES® FE exam.
  10. You are highly forbidden to impersonate someone else, possess impermissible materials, use a mobile phone to converse with other test takers or anyone outside the testing facility, disturb other examinees, or create security issues.

If you’re seeking a comprehensive resource for your FE Electrical exam preparation, check out our FE Electrical Exam Prep course.

Our proven, on-demand content and live training have successfully helped thousands of students pass their FE exam.

Strategies for FE Exam Success

Apprehension on the FE Exam day is normal. But with the right strategies, you can transform these anxieties into focused energy that propels you towards success. 

Managing Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a common experience for many exam takers. However, it can be effectively managed with the right approach. Techniques like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation are well-established techniques that can help reduce anxiety symptoms and promote clear thinking during the exam.

Deep breathing involves inhaling slowly through your nose for a set count, typically four seconds, holding your breath for another count (often seven seconds), and exhaling slowly through your mouth for a final count (eight seconds). 

Repeat this process several times until you feel calmer. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body, one at a time. Starting with your toes and working your way up, tense a muscle group for a few seconds, then release the tension completely. 

Time Management

The FE Exam has a set timeframe, so effective time management is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the exam format beforehand, including the number of sections and the allotted time for each. Develop a strategy to allocate sufficient time to each section, leaving a buffer for reviewing flagged or unanswered questions—practice using this strategy during practice exams under timed conditions to refine your approach.

Careful Review

Take your time with the exam. Carefully read and understand each question before selecting your answer. If you encounter an unclear question, mark it for review and move on. Once you’ve completed all the questions within a section, or if time allows, revisit the flagged questions at the end of the exam. Rereading the question and answer choices with a fresh perspective can sometimes lead you to the correct answer.

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Why Is FE Exam Unique?

The NCEES® FE exam is unique because no two examinees sitting right beside each other get the same test paper. Plus, the exam not only differs because of the sequential variance.

In fact:

The CBT system uses a linear-on-the-fly (LOFT) algorithm to randomly pick each testee’s FE exam questions from its database.


Each exam has a comparable degree of difficulty and contains the same number of questions.


The overall exam environment is quite guarded and equipped with several technologies to ensure no exam-doctoring is taking place.

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Although exam stress can be challenging to deal with, knowing what to expect on the FE exam day can give you a sense of relief and calm your nerves.

Once you get relaxed and mentally prepared, you can pass the FE exam by studying diligently and possessing a positive mindset. Remember that the secret to success is perseverance and constant hard work. So, rather than worrying, concentrate on your studies and prepare for the FE exam to the best of your ability.

We hope this article provided you with adequate information and solid insight into what to expect on the FE exam day.

If you are seeking sound advice to clear the examination, you can check out our blog on tips to pass the FE exam. We will also recommend you head over to our blog section for more informative engineering articles.


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.