FE Exam Pass Rates: The Latest Data and Where to Get It

FE Exam Pass Rates

Curious to know what the pass rate is for the FE exam before you take it? You’re in the right place. But a word of warning: don’t read into these numbers too much. Passing depends mostly on how well prepared you are for the exam, and I’ll go over some tips on how to do that after we look at these numbers.

For now, here is the latest data on FE Exam Pass rates:

FE Exam Pass Rates for All Test Takers in 2020

DisciplineFirst-Attempts Pass RateSecond-Attempts Pass Rate
Electrical and Computer65%35%
Industrial and Systems66%44%
Other Disciplines70%30%

This information comes from NCEES’s Squared publication in which it publishes information about the FE and PE Exams. You can access the Squared publication, along with NCEES annual reports, at this link.

Quick Tips for Passing the FE Exam

First things first, don’t look into these numbers too much. Focus mostly on doing the work that will help you pass. Here are my top three tips to help you pass the FE Exam.

1. Get Your Degree Before Taking the FE Exam

The first tip I have is actually based on additional FE Exam pass rate data in the NCEES Squared publication. Here is the table that shows the difference between pass rates of those who have their ABET-Accredited bachelor’s degree versus those who do not:

FE Exam Pass Rates of Those With a Degree Versus Those Without

DisciplineFirst Attempts Pass Rate (With Degree)Second Attempts Pass Rate (With Degree)First Attempts Pass Rate (Without Degree)Second Attempts Pass Rate (Without Degree)
Electrical and Computer69%37%56%30%
Industrial and Systems68%44%58%44%
Other Disciplines73%35%62%21%

Across the board, you’ll notice that those with a degree are more likely to pass than those without. This is because the FE exam will cover everything you’ve learned in school. If you’ve taken all the classes needed to graduate, you’ll have learned everything you need to know to be able to pass.

2. Use the FE Reference Handbook As You Study

The FE Exam is not open book, but you do get access to the reference handbook while taking it. The awesome thing about the handbook is that it’s searchable, so it’s really easy to find equations and everything else you need to solve problems.

I passed the FE Exam on my first attempt and all I did to study (other than already having my degree) was review the reference handbook the night before. When it was time to find equations, I had a pretty good idea of where to look, so it was a lot easier to solve problems. 

You can learn more about the FE Reference Handbook, including how to get a free PDF of it before the FE Exam, at this link.

3. Buy a Course

If you look at the pass rates you’ll see that you’re a lot more likely to pass on your first attempt than on your second. To take the best advantage of that, I’d pull out all the stops on your first try. Plus, you won’t want to have to go through the trouble and expense of taking the FE Exam twice!

The best course to take for the FE Exam is School of PE. Just take a look at their pass rates:

School of PE Pass Rates for the FE Exam

DisciplineSchool of PE Pass Rate
Electrical and Computer91%
Industrial and Systems86%
Other Disciplines87%

These are a good 20-30% higher than the average, and even more if you’re on your second attempt! 

I used School of PE for the PE Exam and I couldn’t be happier that I went with them. Their instructors are clear, the price is good, and the practice problems and curriculum were spot on for what I needed to pass the PE Exam. I’d even go so far as to say that the PE Exam was easy with School of PE (it was what ultimately got me to pass!), and I believe it would be the same way for the FE Exam.

If you want to learn more about School of PE, check out my in-depth review of it right here.

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