The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

The FE exam is a computer-based exam designed and administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

The College of Engineering offers E 490, a formal review course 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 at NC State is typically better than 85%. Those who take it later have a passing rate 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 NCEES information for engineers. Get help from your adviser.
  2. Take the FE preparation course E 490.
  3. Take one or more trial examinations from PPI or NCEES.
  4. Download a free copy of the Fundamentals of Engineering Supplied-Reference Handbook at Become familiar with it. This Reference Handbook is supplied to FE exam takers at the exam. Most questions on the exam concern topics covered in this handbook. The E 490 course teaches you how to use this handbook.
  5. Study one of the many preparation manuals available from NCEES or PPI.

FE Preparation for Practicing Engineers

We recommend the following advice 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) on the NC State campus. This in-depth course prepares you for the civil engineering exam.
  2. Study one of the many preparation manuals available from NCEES or PPI.
  3. For further information, contact the E 490 instructor.