FE Exam Passing Score (2024 Update)

Mike Grossman
Professional Engineer
No items found.
Minute Read
December 29, 2023
FE Exam Passing Score (2024 Update)

The PPE Headquarters promise

We strive to help you make smarter exam preparation decisions. We adhere to an editorial integrity, so this article does not contain references to affiliate products or services.

​The FE exam is scored on a pass or fail system and the NCEES doesn't publish the score needed to pass. They make mentions of a "scaled score", "subject- matter experts" and "psychometric statistical methods".  Navigating this can be a bit confusing and the myths and tall tales are definitely out there.

Read on to understand how they determine such an important number.

(NOTE: if you're in preparation mode, then see our FE exam article, and be mindful of the FE exam dates)

🔑  Key Takeaways

The FE exam is a pass or fail exam, and the passing score is not published.

• A 5 hour and 20 minute exam with 110 multiple choice questions covering your engineering degree.

• If you pass you'll receive notice by email. If you don't pass, you'll receive an email notification and a diagnostic report.

• Psychometric testing methods are used to determine a pass and passing the exam shows that you exceed a minimally-accepted level of knowledge in the field.

• Psychometric techniques include: aptitude testing questions, numerical reasoning questions, mechanical and logical reasoning questions, and inductive reasoning questions.

• Periodically the NCEES conducts surveys to determine the fairness of the FE exam content.

NCEES scoring process for 2024 FE exam

​​NCEES publishes a short explanation of how the FE is scored and it looks like this:

You'll receive a CBT diagnostics report if you fail the exam:

Let's did a bit deeper and make some sense out of some of this information.

Related: The FE Exam Prep Resources, FE Practice Exams (some are free and some paid), and be sure to know your FE Exam Calculator.  

Making sense of the scoring process

You're likely used to a grading curve that is often used in Universities as a way of correlating the test difficulty with how the students did on that exam. Computer based testing offers methods that don't require rough estimates like a curve.

For example, the NCEES uses a grading scale since it is understood that some questions are more challenging than others. So it is easy for a Learning Management System to give the exam version you wrote a difficultiy score. The LMS can now determine a passing score for the particular exam you wrote. It can be more complex than that, but I think you get the point. Also I think you understand that the NCEES cannot simply publish one passing score ... there could only be one test if there is to be only one passing score.

Each test is different so the NCEES cannot publish one passing score ... But you can roughly assume that you'll need better than half the questions answered correctly (somewhere between 55-65 of the questions)

The FE is graded on a pass/fail system. Since each test is a bit different (eg. FE Civil, FE Mechanical, FE Electrical, etc.), the NCEES doesn't publish the score needed to pass. So the FE Exam is termed a pass or fail exam and there isn't a designated number of passing students for the exam. But you can roughly assume that you'll need better than half the questions ansnwered correctly.

Okay, so how do they determine what is a pass or fail for each of the different exams?

By passing the exam, it shows that you exceed a minimally-accepted level of knowledge in the field. They use psychometric testing methods to ensure you are competent in your field if you pass the FE Exam.

Psychometric techniques and elements will be evident in all the questions and include:

  • Aptitude testing questions with one correct answer, that all students should be comfortable answers, but there will be many on the exam to introduce a time crunch.
  • Numerical reasoning questions, that aren't only designed to test your mathematical ability, but your ability to use data as a tool to solve problems. Don't think tables of data ... but think word problems that give some useful data and some irrelevant data.
  • Mechanical & logical reasoning questions to test concepts like pattern recognition or logical rules that may be used in ethics as an example.
  • Inductive reasoning questions in which all the answers are correct, but the student must choose the most correct.

These elements will be present in the exam, but don't try to study the field of numerical reasoning or inductive reasoning. Just understand that the FE exam will have a unique way of asking questions and be familiar with them.

Related: take time for some fun: Funny Engineering Jokes, Memes and Humour.

How long does it take to get FE exam results?

You'll get results from your CBT FE Exam 5-10 days after testing. It will come in the form of an email and signing into your MYNCEES account to find out if you passed.  NCEES reuses its questions for other exams, so the results don't tell you which ones you got right. You don't get the final score, either. You will only be notified if you passed or failed the exam and how to proceed with your licensing board.

NCEES also provides universities with Outcome Assessment Tools from each FE Exam. This allows educators to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the school’s engineering programs. The tool compares current students and recent graduates with national averages. Educators can then determine if improvements need to be made within certain subject matters.

Every six to eight years, NCEES conducts a survey to determine the fairness of the exam’s content. The survey is based on a typical university graduate’s basic curriculum. These checks and balances ensure every student has the technical knowledge to succeed as an engineer.

A lot of different factors go into the final scoring of the FE Exam. NCEES has to balance out the variable difficulty to make it fair for everyone who takes the exam. They do this while maintaining the integrity of the exam. Engineering is a profession that requires a vast amount of technical knowledge. The FE Exam is one way to ensure that engineers have the knowledge and understanding required to succeed.  ​​

FE Exam: What It Is, Who Can Write It, How To Pass

FE Exam: What It Is, Who Can Write It, How To Pass

What is the FE exam? A computer-based exam lasting 5 hours and 20 minutes, 110 multiple choice questions, covering your degree.

EIT / FE Exam Dates For 2024

EIT / FE Exam Dates For 2024

Dates for the 2024 EIT / FE exam are available from January to December. Here's how to register: Step 1...

Choosing The Best FE Exam Calculator: 2024 Update

Choosing The Best FE Exam Calculator: 2024 Update

A list of the top calculators for 2024. We've reviewed the best calculators for FE exam ranked by features and costs.