How to Easily Pass a Civil Engineering FE Exam in 2021


How to Easily Pass a Civil Engineering FE Exam in 2021

Civil Engineering Fundamentals of Engineering Exam is a basic requirement to become a Professional Engineer. However, passing the FE exam is not a piece of cake. For some students, it seems like mission impossible but for you, this article explains in detail how you can easily pass the Civil Engineering FE exam in 2021.

Generally, there is no fast track to sitting for an passing an exam except due preparation. The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is not left out. To sit for this exam once and pass, you would have to prepare rightly for it.

You may have heard or seen countless articles that explain how hard it is to pass the Fundamentals of engineering exams. While there may be an atom of truth, it is definitely not the whole truth. This article explains in details how you can easily sit for your FE exam and pass.

Actually, the first step lies in your thorough understanding of the nature of exam you are about to write. So, this article will explain in details what FE is and how you can easily pass it even at a sitting.

A glance at the table of contents below will reveal all the subtopics discussed in this piece.

What Is Fundamentals of Engineering Exam?

The minimum requirement to become a civil engineer is a bachelor of science in civil engineering. Upon graduation fro a civil engineering undergraduate program, students sit for and pass the FE exam to become Professional Engineers.

It is usually referred to as the Engineer in Training exam or Engineering Intern exam. This is the first of two examinations that engineers must pass in order to be licensed as a Professional Engineer.

Who Organizes the Civil Engineering FE Exams?

The FE exams for Civil engineering graduates is organized by NCEES. NCEES is an acronym that stands for National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

It is a national nonprofit organization that houses U.S engineering and surveying licensing boards in all 50 states, U.S territories, and the District of Columbia.

It organizes the exams used for engineering and surveying licensure in the United States. Also, this nonprofit organization promotes professional mobility through its services for licensees and its member boards.

What is the Nature of Fundamentals of Engineering Exam?

Like earlier conversed in this article, understanding the nature of FE exams will aid you prepare properly for one.

Firstly, the exam sole eligibility criteria is graduation from an accredited engineering program.

Upon registration, students have the liberty to choose one of the 7 freestanding disciplines of engineering.

This simply means Civil Engineering students can choose to sit for Civil Engineering FE while Industrial engineering students can sit for Industrial Engineering FE.

Other discipline specific of the FE exam include:

  • Chemical
  • Electrical and Computer
  • Environmental
  • Mechanical and others

Secondly, irrespective of the discipline, the FE exams contains 110 multiple-choice questions. It is a computer-based test written by students in only Pearson VUE test centers.

This simply means students are not allowed to write this engineer training exam from their personal computers except they are of course Pearson VUE approved. Remember you can only write this exam if you are:

A recent graduate from an Engineering Program or about completing your undergraduate engineering degree. How Long Do I Have to Answer FE Exams?

Generally, NCEES organized FE exams is sectioned into a tutorial, the exam proper, a break, and a survey. And, students are given a 6-hour appointment to commence and complete this engineering training exam. The sections are broken into:

  • Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
  • Tutorial (8 minutes)
  • Exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
  • Scheduled break (25 minutes)

However, you just 5 hours and 20 minutes to answer all questions in the FE engineering exam. You should bear the notice below in mind.

You can only take the FE test at an approved Pearson VUE test center. What Can I Take into The Exam Room?

Unarguably, you should arrive your exam center in time. To gain uninterrupted access into the test center, you should come along with the following items:

  • Your identification card
  • NCEES- approved calculator
  • Keys to your test center locker
  • The reusable booklet provided by Pearson VUE.
  • Eyeglasses
  • light sweater or Jacket
  • All items included in the Pearson VUE Comfort aid List
  • An electronic version of the FE Reference Handbook

Not yet a Civil engineer? See how to Become a Civil in Engineer in 2021

Who can take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam?

Depending on your state, licensure requirements for Civil Engineers may vary. However, FE exams are Professional Engineers preparation exam writing by recent graduates of civil engineering undergraduate program.

In a bid to become a PE, Fundamental of Engineering exam is one of the two exams written to get licensure.

Only students who have completed a four-year degree program from an ABET or EAC accredited engineering college can sit for the exam.

How Do I register for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam?

To register for the FE exams, it is important you earn a degree in engineering from an accredited college of engineering. Usually, registration opens 3–4 months ahead and closes 4–6 weeks before the exam date. Usually , registration costs about $175.

Then log on to the NCEES official website to register an account or simply log in to your account if you are an old time user. Click on the register button to create an account.

You will need a username or email address alongside the password to login to the registration page. Also, during registration, you should select your discipline which is obviously Civil Engineering.

Upon completion of registration, you will receive an email notification that authorizes you to register.

Simply log in to MYNCEES and select the schedule button. Follow the instructions below to choose the exam venue and date.

How Do I Prepare for My Civil Engineering FE Exam?

The best time to write the Civil Engineering FE exam is right before or after you graduate. While you can sit for the exam twice or thrice a year, it will be interesting to sit for it once.

To achieve the later you must prepare rightly and begin preparation in time. The best way to prepare for the FE exam for civil engineers include:

  • Purchase NCEE FE computer based practice exam
  • Practice with the past questions available
  • Apply the Tips on how to easily pass FE
  • Cover all sub topics before exam date.

How to Easily Pass FE exam for Civil engineering students

To pass the Civil Engineering FE exam, you must follow the tips below strictly:

  • Register for the FE exam in time
  • Get a copy of NCEES handbook early enough to know what topics to cover
  • Get the specific practice exam for Civil engineering
  • Begin studying months in advance
  • Prepare with books and digital tools
  • Cover all topics for your discipline.
  • Take a prep course and tons of practice exams
  • Review simple maths
  • memorize formulas that are not provided in NCEES handbook
  • Take two days or one day break from taking practice exams
  • Get a good night sleep a night before your date
  • Eat a good meal to avoid any form of discomfort
  • On exam day, red problems and instructions carefully before ticking the answer boxes.

Topics you must cover for Civil Engineering FE exams

If you get a copy of the NCEE hand book very early, then you will have ample time to cover all suggested sub topics for FE Exams.

For Civil Engineering Students, the FE exam questions are drawn randomly from 18 knowledge areas. Below is list of topics you should expect questions from.

Areas of Concentration for Civil engineering FE exam.


Students should expect 7-11 questions from the following subject areas:

  • Analytic geometry
  • Calculus
  • Roots of equations
  • Vector analysis

Probability and Statistics

4-6 questions will be drawn from the following subject areas

  • Measures of central tendencies and dispersions
  • Estimation for a single mean
  • Regression and curve fitting
  • Expected value (weighted average) in decision making

Computational Tools

4–6 questions will be drawn from the following subject areas.

  • Spreadsheet computations
  • Structured programming

Ethics and Professional Practice

4–6 questions will be drawn from the following subject areas.

  • Codes of ethics
  • Professional liability
  • Licensure
  • Sustainability and sustainable design
  • Professional skills
  • Contracts and contract law

Engineering Economics 4–6

4–6 questions will be drawn from the following subject areas.

  • Discounted cash flow
  • Cost
  • Analyses
  • Uncertainty

Statics 7–11

7-11 questions will be drawn from the following subject areas.

  • Resultants of force systems
  • Equivalents of force systems
  • Equilibrium of rigid bodies
  • Frames and trusses
  • Centroid of area
  • Area moments of inertia
  • Static friction

Dynamics 4–6

  • Kinematics (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)
  • Mass moments of inertia
  • Force acceleration (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)
  • Impulse momentum (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)
  • Work, energy, and power (e.g., particles and rigid bodies)

Mechanics of Materials 7–11

  • Shear and moment diagrams
  • Stresses and strains (e.g., axial, torsion, bending, shear, thermal)
  • Deformations (e.g., axial, torsion, bending, thermal)
  • Combined stresses
  • Principal stresses
  • Mohr’s circle
  • Column analysis (e.g., buckling, boundary conditions) Composite sections
  • Elastic and plastic deformations
  • Stress-strain diagrams

Materials 4–6

  • Mix design (e.g., concrete and asphalt)
  • Test methods and specifications (e.g., steel, concrete, aggregates, asphalt, wood)
  • Physical and mechanical properties of concrete, ferrous and nonferrous metals, masonry, wood, engineered materials (e.g., FRP, laminated lumber, wood/plastic composites), and asphalt

Fluid Mechanics 4–6

  • Flow measurement
  • Fluid properties
  • Energy, impulse, and momentum equation
  • Fluid statics

Hydraulics and Hydrologic Systems 8–12

  • Basic hydrology
  • Basic hydraulics
  • Pumping systems
  • Water distribution systems
  • Reservoirs (e.g., dams, routing, spillways)
  • Groundwater (e.g., flow, wells, drawdown)
  • Storm sewer collection systems

Structural Analysis 6–9

  • Analysis of forces in statically determinant beams, trusses, and frames
  • Deflection of statically determinant beams, trusses, and frames
  • Structural determinacy and stability analysis of beams, trusses, and frames
  • Loads and load paths
  • Elementary statically indeterminate structures

Structural Design

  • Design of steel components
  • Design of reinforced concrete components

Geotechnical Engineering 9–14

  • Geology
  • Index properties and soil classifications
  • Phase relations (air-water-solid)
  • Laboratory and field tests
  • Effective stress (buoyancy)
  • Stability of retaining walls (e.g., active pressure/passive pressure)
  • Shear strength
  • Bearing capacity (cohesive and noncohesive)
  • Foundation types
  • Consolidation and differential settlement
  • Seepage/flow nets
  • Slope stability (e.g., fills, embankments, cuts, dams)
  • Soil stabilization (e.g., chemical additives, geosynthetics)
  • Drainage systems
  • Erosion control


  • Angles, distances, and trigonometry
  • Area computations
  • Earthwork and volume computations
  • Closure
  • Coordinate systems (e.g., state plane, latitude/longitude)
  • Leveling (e.g., differential, elevations, percent grades)

Where Can I take Civil engineering FE Practice Exam

Several online schools compile questions from previous Fundamentals of Engineering exams to aid students to get an idea of questions asked in the FE exam.

Taking prep courses and practice exams are one of the best ways to prepare for the FE civil engineering exams. Interestingly, you can take free courses from any of these practice exam providers.

  • Coursera [Free Version] [FE Civil & FE Mech]
  • Marshall University [Free] [FE Civil]
  •  Daily FE Exam [Free]
  • Engineer In Training Exam [Free]

Paid FE Civil Engineering Practice Exam

  • School of PE [Paid] – $1,000 early bird, $1,300
  • PPI 2 Pass [Paid] – $1,260 – $2,200
  • TestMasters [Paid] – $550 student, $1,000 early bird, $1,100 regular.
  • Prepineer [Paid]- $250 per month.
  • Excel Test Prep – $1,000 live web classes and $1,000 self-paced classes

What score do you need to pass the FE exam?

There is no stipulated pass mark for the civil engineering FE exam as NCEE doesn’t publish the score civil engineering students need to pass.

Though students may not necessarily answer 70% of the questions correctly, a scaled score of 70% is required to pass the exam.

Basically, a portion of previous exam questions is given on subsequent exams. To get more information and to begin the application properly, visit the official website by clicking the button below.

Civil Engineering FE ExamIs the fundamentals of engineering exam hard?

If you practice with past questions or take practice FE exams and score 70-77%, then, it is a good start. To pass the main exam means you have scored over 55% in the FE exam. So, the fundamentals of engineering exam is not necessarily hard.

What is on the fundamentals of engineering exam?

The NCEES FE exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. It comes in two consecutive sessions. In each section, there are approximately 55 multiple-choice questions drawn from specific subjects or knowledge area.

How many times can you fail the FE exam?

Generally, NCEES allows examinees to take the exam once during each two-month period and up to three times per year. So, if you fail the FE exam twice in a year, you can resist it within the same year.

How long should I study for the FE exam?

The total Time Studying for FE Mechanical Exam is 44 to 116 hours.

How long does FE license last?

FE is an engineer intern certification that signifies you have passed the national Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination. It is valid indefinitely.


The secret to any exam success is preparation with the right materials. It is really not an easy task to pass FE Civil engineering exams though not totally impossible.

This article explains in detail how you can easily pass the Civil Engineering FE exams. It gives tips on how to prepare alongside the right material to study with.

If you read this article thoroughly, you must have done 30% of all the preparation you need to pass the FE civil engineering exam .


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