Skip to main content

Fundamentals of Engineering Exam Prep


This page provides information and resources about taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Whether you plan to take it in the fall, spring, or after graduation, you'll need to prepare appropriately.

Consult the NCEES' COVID-19 page for the latest information about taking the test in 2021.

Contact the engineering librarian or your FE exam department representative with questions or comments. Good luck on the exam!

What is the FE exam?

  • A cumulative test covering basic principles of engineering
  • One-time passing requirement (it's good for life!)
  • Qualification on your military record / resume
  • Gateway to the PE (Professional Licensed Engineer) license

Check out this presentation for more information on what to expect and exam prep tips.

Why take it now?

  • You are never more prepared than in the spring semester of your final year of undergrad
  • Imagine reviewing statics, calculus, and thermodynamics 5 years from now...
  • If you pursue a PE license, your military career will count towards the engineering experience needed to qualify for the PE Exam (will not retroactively count)
  • Some services will later refund you the cost of taking the exam (keep those receipts!)

Which version of the FE exam should I take?

The exam is offered in seven disciplines. Ultimately, it doesn't matter which version you take; what matters is that you pass the exam. Below are suggestions on which test to take based on your major.

Major Suggested FE Exam subject
Aerospace Engineering Mechanical Engineering or Other Disciplines
Computer Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering
Electrical Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering
General Engineering Other Disciplines
Mechanical Engineering Mechanical Engineering or Other Disciplines
Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering Other Disciplines
Nuclear Engineering Mechanical Engineering or Other Disciplines
Ocean Engineering Other Disciplines
Weapons, Robotics, & Controls Engineering Other Disciplines

How do I take it?

*There may be additional approvals and regulations during COVID-19; contact your department representative before scheduling the exam.*

As of this writing, the closest test centers that offer this exam are in Columbia, MD, and Washington, DC and these centers have limited capacity so plan ahead with guidance from your department rep.

  1. Contact your FE Exam department representative and inform them that you plan to register for the exam.
  2. Register through NCEES.
  3. Sign up for an exam date.
    • The exam is offered almost every day depending on testing center capacity.
    • You will be authorized to miss class in order to take this exam if you are sat, have instructor permission, and do not schedule the exam during first/last days of class and Academic Reserve periods.
    • Registration fee: $175 ​​​​​​
  4. Have your department representative fill out an MO. 

FE Exam department contacts:

Aerospace Engineering LT John Gregory
Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering LT Benjamin Male

Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering and General Engineering

LT Spencer Ewing

Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering and Ocean Engineering

Prof. Anna Wargula

Robotics and Control Engineering LCDR Eli Sewell

What happens if I can't take my exam on the scheduled exam date due to a cancellation of my MO?

If you can no longer take the FE Exam on your scheduled date due to a cancellation of your MO, you may qualify for a no-fee rescheduling of your exam if you can explain that you missed owing to Military Duty. Cancellation of your MO is cancellation of your excusal to leave the Yard to take the exam, making it your military duty to miss the exam.

Follow these steps.

1. Reach out to your Department FE Rep as soon as possible and keep them informed every step of the way. Your department rep will not be able to speak to NCEES on your behalf, but they can guide you and provide necessary paperwork.

2. Reach out to or 1-800-250-3196 as soon as possible to tell them that you had to (or will have to) miss the exam due to military duty. Get guidance on whether you need to submit paperwork to reschedule without a fee.

3. The help desk will potentially ask you for "documentation from your commanding officer proving that military duty prevented you from attending the exam." Reach out to your Department FE Rep for paperwork on this (they will act as your commanding officer on this). Forward the signed documentation to with your case number in the subject line.

How do I prepare?

  • Sign up for EM380 (FE Exam review course) in the Spring Semester
  • Borrow an FE Exam Review Manual from the Nimitz Library.
    • Ask the Checkout Desk staff on the first floor for help locating this book.
  • Contact your department representative for additional review materials and access to the relevant Google Drive.
  • Check out the NCEES YouTube channel for a video series that introduces test takers to the exam-day experience for the computer-based exam.
  • Download the NCEES Examinee Guide featuring policies and procedures for all NCEES exams. All examinees are required to read this document before starting the exam registration process.

What comes after the exam?

If you pass the FE Exam, you will be given the option to apply for an Engineer In Training Certificate (EIT) through the state of Maryland (or in whatever state you take your exam). 

We recommend that you do so as soon as you can, since your "engineering experience clock" technically starts upon receipt of your EIT. You need 5 years of experience to sit the PE Exam and because some tours (e.g., power school, boat time...) count towards your "experience," it's important that you start the clock right away.

The cost is $15 in Maryland, and Maryland does not need proof of graduation or transcripts to award you a certificate. While each state may have different costs/rules for awarding EIT certificates, the state in which you get your certificate does not matter and you can go on to get a PE license in any state with your EIT.


Kelly Durkin Ruth's picture
Kelly Durkin Ruth
Engineering Librarian
Nimitz Library #211