Aspiring professional engineers must often take the Fundamentals of Engineering, or FE exam, in order to receive an engineering license. This rigorous test lasts eight hours, broken into two main segments known as the morning and afternoon tests. There are many different types of FE exam questions that may appear in both test segments. In the morning segment, FE exam questions focus on general engineering principles, while afternoon FE exam questions are discipline-specific.
The morning portion of the test is focused on 120 multiple choice questions. Students have four hours to complete this portion of the test, and certain exam-approved calculators are permitted during this portion. Morning FE exam questions cover the same topics for all test-takers, and cover several basic areas of knowledge. Mathematics based FE-exam questions may cover geometry, calculus, matrices, and vector analysis, among other topics. Other areas of questioning may cover include chemistry, material properties such as chemical and electric makeup, engineering mechanics, and fluid mechanics. There are also sections devoted to computers and to business and ethical practices.
Altogether, there are twelve sections of FE exam questions in the morning portion of the test. Although the questions may be different for each test-taker, each section will be approximately the same length for every individual test. For example, recent versions of the test have devoted 15% of morning session FE exam questions to mathematical problems, and 7% to engineering economics. These percentages may change with each new version of the test, so it may be a good idea to inquire each year about the specific breakdown.
Afternoon FE exam questions will be different depending on the major or area of specialization of the test taker. There are seven different types of afternoon exam, including chemical, civil, and industrial engineering questions. While the afternoon test includes only 60 problems, each problem is worth two points, whereas morning FE exam questions are worth one point each. Four hours is allotted to complete the afternoon section, regardless of which type of test is taken. Like the morning segment, afternoon questions are all multiple choice problems.
Each afternoon exam contains questions geared toward a specific branch of engineering. A chemical engineer will be tested on different topics than an environmental engineer, though there may be some overlap between disciplines. Just as with the morning test, the afternoon exam is broken down into several weighted sections with a standard percentage of the test; on the environmental engineering version, for example, questions on water and wastewater make up 30% of the test. Afternoon questions are typically more complicated than morning questions, and may involved more advanced calculations and specific knowledge.