Friday, February 12, 2016

Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

ME Students:

I am writing to encourage you to consider registering to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam.  Completing the FE Exam is the first step in preparing to become a licensed practicing engineer.  As such this is a valuable credential to have in a competitive job market.

FE Exam Background
All FE Exams are now only computer-based. This enables the FE Exam to be offered year round in the following months: January-February (March is Off), April-May (June is Off), July-August (September is Off), and October-November (December is Off).  Students are able to take the exam in any semester, not just their final senior semester.  Once your paid registration is complete, a student will have up to 1 year to take the exam.  Students will be able to take the exam in any state as long as the test-site is an approved site.  Purdue WL (Testing Center, SCHL B-42) is an NCEES-approved Pearson VUE Testing Center.  Students can complete the entire registration process on-line.  The cost if sitting for the FE Exam is $225.  Results of the FE Exam will typically be available to you 7-10 days after you take the exam.  However, you cannot request your actual FE Certificate until you have received your diploma and forward NCEES a copy.

The FE Registration Process
The current process for registering for the FE Exam is completely on-line and is as follows:

·      Create an NCEES Account – 1) Go to the NCEES website: , 2) Click the “Exams” Tab at the top of the page, 3) On the right side bar select “Indiana Engineering” in the pull down menu that says “select a State or Country”, 4) Click the “Register/Login” Button on the right sidebar, 5) Click the “Create and Account” button and follow the instructions to provide the information requested.  If this is done properly, you should receive an email confirmation that your account has been set up within a minute or so.

·       Register and Pay for the FE Exam -  Click the web address given in your email confirmation and login to your MyNCEES Account with the email and password you provided.  This will take you to your MyNCEES Dashboard.  In the “MyExams horizontal bar there will be a “Register Now” button that you click.  Under the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) option, select the “Mechanical Engineering” Exam Type.  Once you “Agree” with the rules given, you will be asked about special accommodations and then asked if you want to purchase any FE Exam Practice Materials (these materials are optional and do not have to be purchased).  You can then proceed to the checkout, pay your $225, and complete your registration.

·      Sign-Up for a Date, Time and Location for the FE Exam – After you have successfully registered for the FE Exam, you will receive an email in 1-2 days that will take you to a Pearson VUE Testing website.  Here you will select your testing site (of which Purdue West Lafayette is one), your Date and your Time.  I have not done this part personally myself but I expect it will be fairly intuitive.  However, I have spoken with the staff at the  Purdue Testing Center (494-1146, SCHL B-42).  They tell me that once registered, you will have one year to take the FE Exam.  I would recommend sooner and not wait.  Past data has shown that students’ performance on the FE Exam degrades rather quickly after they get out of college.  You will never be sharper to take this exam than as a senior.  The Testing Center tells me that the available number of computers at any one time is 15 computers (not very many).  Remember this is a 6 hour exam, so no more than one examinee can complete the exam on each computer on any given date. The available times (subject to change) at the SCHL Testing Center include:

Mon 9:00am-4:30pm
W-Th Noon - 8:30pm
Sat 8:30am-4:30pm (2nd and 4th Saturdays only)

The times shown above are available at the Purdue Testing Center (SCHL B-42) for the months of Jan/Feb, (March is off), April/May, (June is off), July/August, (Sept is off), Oct/Nov (Dec is off).  If you were to register now you would technically have one calendar year to take the FE Exam, but again taking it sooner rather than later is strongly advised.  Also, outside of the Purdue WL site, the next closest Pearson VUE Testing sites include North Indianapolis (50 miles), West Indianapolis (about 54 miles), Terre Haute (about 71 miles) and Merrillville,(about 75 miles).  The total seats available from all of these Indiana sites is about 60.  It is in your best interest to register and schedule your FE Exam ASAP, so you can get your preferred date, time, and location.

Available Resources
Additional details of the Computer-Based Exams (Section II) can be found in the attached NCEES Examinee Guide.   The file has each section bookmarked so it is easy to navigate to the exact topic you are interested in.  The section on Computer-Based Exams (Section II)  is what is most relevant.  It covers topics like Registration, Day of your Exam (What to Bring), Check-In Process (Exam Rules and Calculator Policy) , Exam Appointment, Exam Results, and Exam Content.  The Paper-Pencil Section (Section III) you can ignore. 

Below I have included two helpful links.  First, I strongly encourage you to watch the Exam-Day Experience Video (less than 5 minutes).  It will give you a great insight on what to expect on the day of the exam.  The security procedures used for the exam are significant.  It will be helpful to you to understand how it works in advance.

Pearson VUE Exam-Day Experience

Second, I have listed below a link to enable you to download (or purchase a hardcopy) of the FE Reference Manual.  This is your one reference document that you will have available during the exam.  It includes all of the basic equations and conversions needed for the various topic areas covered on the FE Exam. 

Link to Download the NCEES Reference Handbook

Third, during the exam you will not receive a hardcopy of the reference handbook, but rather an electronic version that has all of the major sections bookmarked.  To better prepare, I encourage you to review the short video (32 seconds) listed below to see how the on-Line Reference Handbook works.  It appears fairly intuitive but seeing in action will help you know what to expect.  Following this video, several other short 20-30 second videos will follow on other related feature of the FE Reference Manual.  Once you have registered for the FE Exam, you can download the FE Reference Manual for free.

Video of How to use the On-Line Reference Handbook (It is a Searchable PDF)

Review Materials and Review Sessions
Finally, there are a number of different materials that you can purchase to help you better prepare for the FE Exam if you are interested.  These items are not required, but may be beneficial to you. 

FE Review Manual - Below the most popular FE Review Manual.  I highly recommend it.  If you choose to purchase one, you might want to go in with 203 others so as to keep costs down and share the manual (just a thought).  A link to manual is below (this is the latest 3rd Edition, first published in 2011).   If you look around, you may find it cheaper elsewhere.  “FE Review Manual” by Michael R. Lindeburg, PE -

Purdue FE Review Sessions - In addition to this resource, Chi Epsilon, the National CE Honorary Society, typically organizes several  free FE Review Sessions with faculty.  Not all of these FE Review Sessions have been scheduled as yet, but most have and the schedule is available at the link below.  I am told that these sessions will be taped and posted on Boilercast.

FE U-TUBE Video Review Sessions – U-TUBE Videos of FE Review Sessions are readily available by just googling the topic of interest.  I would recommend googling something like “FE Math Video Review Sessions” or “FE Statics Video Review Sessions”, etc.  You can sample the review sessions until you find the style that you thin will work best for you.  The great thing about these U-Tube Videos is that they are available 24-7-365 (all the time) so you can watch at your convenience.

Final Comments
Best wishes for a smooth and successful FE Exam.  If you learn anything new that I have not included in the description above, I would greatly appreciate knowing so I can alert your peers.  Also, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about taking the FE Exam.


Prof. Jones
James D. Jones
Associate Professor and Associate Head
585 Purdue Mall
School of Mechanical Engineering (Rm 2200)
West Lafayette, IN   47907-2088
Ph:  (765)494-5691
Fax:  (765)494-0539