The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam is an 8-hour, multiple-choice, knowledge based exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
The test is given in two 4-hour sessions — one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Examinees are required to participate in both sessions on the same day. The exams are closed book, but reference materials (equations, charts, etc.) are supplied.
The FE Exam covers subject matter taught in a typical baccalaureate engineering program accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.abet.org). It appropriately covers a comprehensive range of subjects in engineering. Professional licensing requires, as the first step, that a student successfully pass the FE exam, which requires a scaled score of 70 or higher.
After passing the FE exam, students must obtain at least 4 years of experience deemed acceptable to their licensing board and successfully pass a Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. The PE exams go beyond testing academic knowledge and require knowledge gained in engineering practice.
While students graduating in all ABET-accredited majors are invited to take the FE exam prior to graduation, five of the college’s major programs (architectural, civil, chemical, environmental and mechanical) encourage their students to take the exam. The college summarizes student performance by major in a series of charts and graphs, which not only show overall pass rates, but analyze student performance at the level of specific topic areas (e.g., mathematics, engineering mechanics, strength of materials, thermodynamics, etc.). These analyses compare the performance of CU students taking the exam to nationwide performance. Programs use these data to assess the extent to which students are being adequately prepared in the topic areas deemed to be most essential.
In 2008, the CU-Boulder pass rates exceeded the national pass rates on three of the five combinations of student major and test area with 20 or more CU-Boulder takers.
Keep up with the latest news about the college by reading the 2013 issue of CUEngineering magazine online.