Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

The process of earning a Professional Engineering (P.E.) license consists of two steps:

Step 1: The FE exam and Certification

Step 2: The PE exam and Certification 

Both exams are managed by The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) located in Seneca, South Carolina.

The FE exam and Certification

1) You can register for the exam at any time during the year. In the State of Indiana, the maximum number of allowed attempts to take the FE exam is three times per 12-month period (see important notes below for more information on this issue). However, you can’t take the exam more than one time in each of the following 4 periods.

a. January–February,
b. April–May,
c. July–August, and
d. October–November

2) In order to register for the exam, you will need to create an account at MyNCESS account, complete the application form, select a date and testing center and pay the fees. The FE Exams can be taken at any approved Pearson VUE testing center.

3) The current exam fee is $225 paid at the time of registration.

a. If you cancel the exam 48 hours before the scheduled exam time you will get a refund of $175. However, canceling the exam after that 48 hour window is not allowed and you will not get any refund.
b. Rescheduling the exam is allowed for a fee. Usually the fees are higher if the rescheduling happens within the 48 hours before the scheduled exam time

4) All students attending ABET-accredited engineering programs in the states of Indiana and Ohio are allowed to take the exam during the last semester of their bachelor's degree. It is recommended to take the exam in early April or at the end of November during the last semester of study and before graduation from IPFW.

5) The exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions in several knowledge areas (i.e., 18 topics for Civil, 18 topics for Computer and Electrical, and 15 topics for Mechanical Engineering).

a. The exam is computer-based and consists of two sessions. The number of questions for each session is around 55 questions.
b. The total time allowed for taking the exam is 5 hours and 20 minutes (i.e., an average of 2.9 minutes per question) with an optional 25-minute break after the first session.
c. The sessions are not timed. This means that you can spend the whole exam time on one session. Therefore, it is critical that you time yourself and make sure to finish the first session after or around 2:40 hours after the start of the exam. It is highly recommended that you take the 25-minute break between the two sessions. Bring your lunch with you in order to save time.
d. You can go back and solve questions skipped or check on solved questions during each session. However, once you submit your answers for grading during any session, you cannot go back to it.
e. You may leave the exam during any session, however, the time will not stop and your will lose this time from the exam.
f. Make sure to answer all questions before the time of the exam is up. There is no penalty for a wrong answer. 

6) You will receive an email notification of your FE exam results within 7–10 days after taking the exam. The results can be viewed in your MyNCEES account. The results of the exam are reported as pass or fail.

a. Passing the Exam: your results will have additional information on how to proceed to get your certification.
b. Failing the exam: your results will provide a diagnostic report with your performance on each topic of the exam. This report will give you information on the areas you did well and the areas where you need to improve.

7) If you pass, then an official copy of your final transcript is required before the board issues a certificate of Engineering-in-Training. Other requirements may be needed based on the board that you register with. In Indiana, for example, a list of requirements can be found in the Engineer Intern Application Checklist for certification as an Engineer Intern. For more information, you can visit the Indiana State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers.

8) Once you receive your certificate, you may add EI after your name in your resume, email signatures, business cards, etc. This indicate that you are certified Engineering Intern in the State of Indiana. Other states may provide other titles such as Engineer-In-Training (EIT) or Intern Engineer (IE). Check with the board for the exact designation and if you are allowed to add it to your name.

Important Notes

1) Indiana State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers requires the following:

a. The maximum number of allowed attempts to take the FE exam is three times per 12-months period. You will need to contact the Indiana board for approval in order to take the exam beyond three times.
b. A candidate may be required to take additional education in the event that he/she failed the exam 3 times or fails the exam and did not take it again in the next two offerings.

2) Ohio State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors requires the following:

a. There are no limit on the number of attempts allowed to take the exam.
b. A candidate may be required to take additional education in the event that he/she failed the exam.

3) The computer screen will give you the following options during the exam:

a. Select an answer to a question.
b. Flag a question to review later.
c. A timer.
d. A scientific calculator; however it is highly recommended to bring your own NCEES approved calculator.
e. An on screen copy of the NCEES FE Reference Handbook.
f. The computer will only allow for you to advance sequentially through the questions until you go over all question in the session. Then you will be allowed to jump to any question that you like to review.


FE Exam Resources

  1. NCESS Explore the FE exam videos- seven short videos about the exams.
  2. The NCEES examinee Guide for more details on the FE exam.
  3. NCEES FE Reference Handbook: it is highly recommended that you download a free copy of the handbook and use it during your study for the exam. You need to enter your email address and you will get a link by email to download a full copy of the handbook.
  4. Department Secretary: Check with the department secretary if she has an FE manual that you can check out.
  5. IPFW library Resources.
  6. Allen County Library Resources.
  7. You can take the NCESS online practice test. It will cost you around $50.
  8. Buy your manuals or take exams on line. You can access material for Civil Engineering exam, Computer/Electrical Engineering exam, or Mechanical Engineering exam by clicking on a topic of interest.


The PE exam and Certification

You need to have a minimum of four years of experience and pass the FE exam as a minimum requirement to take the PE exam in the State of Indiana. You may access the Professional Engineer Licensure Checklist for all requirements. For more details please about the PE exam and Certification visit the Indiana State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers.


Rules for Applicants with Degrees other than Engineering (i.e., Technology, Science, etc.)

The Indiana State Board of Registration for Professional Engineer list the following rules of education requirements on page 48 of the Statutes & Administrative Rules:

  1.  At least twelve (12) semester credit hours in college level mathematics, excluding college algebra and trigonometry, which must include a minimum of nine (9) semester credit hours of calculus and a minimum of three (3) semester credit hours of advanced calculus based mathematics, such as differential equations, linear algebra, or numerical analysis.
  2. At least eight (8) semester credit hours in college level courses in the physical sciences, which must include a minimum of three (3) semester credit hours of calculus based physics and a minimum of three (3) semester credit hours of chemistry.
  3. At least twelve (12) semester credit hours of engineering sciences that require calculus as a prerequisite or corequisite.
  4. At least twelve (12) semester credit hours in engineering design.