The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

The College offers the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam twice annually on the NC State campus. It also offers the E 490 formal review to help prepare graduating seniors for the FE exam.

There will never be a better time for taking the FE exam than the final semester of your senior year when the fundamentals of engineering are still fresh in your mind. The passing rate for seniors is close to 85%. Those who take it later have a passing rate considerably below 45% and normally spend many hours trying to relearn material they once knew. If you are a graduating senior, take it now. But prepare yourself by taking E 490, the FE exam preparation course. The FE exam may be the most difficult exam you have ever taken. You should not take this exam unless you have taken at least 75% of the courses in your major. Even with this background, you must prepare.

How should students prepare for Fundamentals of Engineering Exam?

  1. Select electives at NC State that support the exam. In most engineering programs, students can choose electives, many of which support the FE exam. Examine the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) information for engineers. Get help from your adviser.
  2. Take the FE preparation course E 490.
  3. Take one or more trial examinations. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) offers a free mini-exam. The most economical trial exam is at
  4. Get a copy of the Fundamentals of Engineering Supplied-Reference Handbook and become familiar with it. The Reference Handbook is supplied to FE exam takers at the exam. Many questions on the exam concern topics covered in this handbook. Ordinarily, the handbook is furnished to students in E 490. The handbook can be purchased at the NC State Bookstores or directly from NCEES or PPI. The E 490 course teaches you how to use this handbook.
  5. Study one of the many preparation manuals available from NCEES, PPI or Kaplan for the general and discipline-specific exams.

FE Preparation for Practicing Engineers

We recommend the following three choices for those who are not currently enrolled at NC State:

  1. If you have been out of college for more than a year and are a civil engineer, you should probably take the FE Civil Discipline-Specific Review Course offered by the Institute of Transportation Research and Education (ITRE). This in-depth course prepares you to take the general morning and civil afternoon exam.
  2. If you are a recent graduate, you may elect to take E 490, the FE preparation course offered by the College of Engineering. This course is intended for currently enrolled students at NC State. However, anyone may attend by enrolling as a PBS student. This course meets 12 to 14 times per semester in the evenings.
  3. You can study on your own by studying FE review manuals listed in item 5 above. Read the above section for other ideas.