FE Exam Dates

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is an important first step towards earning a Professional Engineer (PE) license. PE licensure is a requirement for any qualified engineer to gain essential work privileges, such as owning a firm or being able to work in an engineering management position. On top of that, it grants you the ability to stamp and seal drawings and generally leads to a higher overall salary throughout your career.

Because of how important the FE exam is for your professional development — let alone its relevance to the PE exam as well — it’s important to be as prepared as possible to take it.

Read on to learn the most important things to keep in mind for the 2020 FE exam!


Because of how important the FE exam is for your professional development — let alone its relevance to the PE exam as well — it’s important to be as prepared as possible to take it.


FE Exam Dates

The FE doesn’t have any set exam dates. Instead, it’s offered year-round on any day except Sundays. The reason why this test doesn’t need to follow a set schedule like the CPA exam is because it’s based on a computer based testing (CBT) format. This requires much less set up and grading time, so the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is able to offer constant testing. 

Tests are administered at Pearson VUE test centers; Visit this page on the NCEES website to find approved locations near you. Alternatively, if you live outside the United States and want to take the test, visit this page instead.

Registration

All registration for FE exams is done online. Consequently, the only thing you need is a MyNCEES account and money to pay for the exam.

Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to the FE exam registration process:

  1. Create or log in to your MyNCEES account
  2. Select the REGISTER button
  3. Pay the $175 dollar exam fee (some licensing boards may include extra charges)
  4. Receive authorization from NCEES to schedule your exam
  5. Use the MyNCEES portal to finalize your exam schedule
  6. Receive an exam confirmation from PearsonVUE

Once you’ve done all of the above, your registration will be complete. From then on, the only thing you will need to worry about is preparing for the exam itself.

Special Accommodations

According to the NCEES, special accommodations are available to anyone who can document their request and meet certain eligibility requests. These include people with a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act or people with scheduling conflicts due to religious or military appointments. These apply to all NCEES exams— not just FE.

However, bear in mind that any necessary accommodations must be indicated during registration for your exam. Visit the NCEES page on special accommodations to learn more about what’s being offered. Alternatively you can contact them at [email protected] for more specific questions.


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When to Start Preparing for the 2020 FE Exam

So when exactly should you start studying for the FE exam? 

Plan For FE Exam

Essentially, this depends on your personal education history. If you’re a recent graduate you won’t need to spend as much time preparing because the information will still be fresh on your mind. On the other hand, someone who’s been out of school for years may have a harder time with the test and need to prepare for much longer.

That being said, here’s our suggestion for FE examinees:

As a rule of thumb, if you’ve been out of school for under 10 years then you should devote a three to four month period for your studying. Alternatively, if you’ve been out of school longer than 10 years you may want to study for up to six months beforehand to refresh your knowledge.

How prepared you are will largely be up to your personal experience, but these are good baselines to start from!

When to Take the 2020 FE Exam

Essentially, this test will be available to you at any time during or after your senior year. Hence, you’ll want to take it as early as possible so your knowledge on the subjects will still be fresh. Try to shoot for taking the FE exam near the end of your senior year or shortly after you graduate. Waiting any longer will be a detriment to you; you’ll start to forget some of the knowledge that is required on the exam!

Although that is the best option, not everyone agrees with it. Here’s an alternative option:

You might think that gaining some experience in the field first might help with taking the test. That may be right, but while you learn more about your specialization, you’ll forget more general knowledge you learned in school. Again, this is largely up to the individual— but I strongly recommend taking the test early.


Try to shoot for taking the FE exam near the end of your senior year or shortly after you graduate. Waiting any longer will be a detriment to you; you’ll start to forget some of the knowledge that is required on the exam!


2020 FE Exam Study Tips

FE Exam Study Tips

There are many different options to prepare for the FE exam, each of which is effective in their own ways. Personally, I recommend picking up a few practice tests to work through. The tests that test prep companies sell tend to be harder than the actual exam. This means that if you can do well on them, you’ll have a much easier time when it comes to the real thing!

When taking each test, try and create an environment similar to the FE exam and give yourself the same time limit. Doing so will familiarize yourself with the format ahead of time and give you a huge advantage.

Additionally, you’ll want to get used to working with the FE reference manual. It will be provided during the FE exam as a reference, so you’ll want to be familiar with it ahead of time. The manual itself is huge and you don’t want to waste time looking for the pages you need during the exam. 

If you know ahead of time, you’ll save tons of time!

Wrap-up

If you keep in mind everything I’ve outlined here today you should be well prepared to take the FE exam in 2020. Make sure to sign up early and get everything ready for it well ahead of time. If you can do that, studying for and taking the test will be much easier.

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Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.