When you’re taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, or FE for short, you’ll get access to a free, searchable, PDF document that you can reference throughout the exam. This nearly 500-page book is known as the FE Reference Handbook. Although the FE Exam isn’t open-book, the reference handbook has everything you need to pass the FE exam.
Here are the steps to get your free PDF copy of the FE Reference Handbook directly through NCEES:
- Create a MyNCEES account or log in if you already have one.
- Click on “View reference handbooks” under the “Useful Documents” section of the “Common Tasks” area on your MyNCEES Dashboard after logging in.
- Click on the first link, which should be “FE Reference Handbook 10.1” and the download will begin.
Let’s take a deeper look into how this works and answer a few other common questions about this handbook!
How to Download a PDF of the FE Reference Handbook for Free
The easiest way to get a free PDF copy of the FE Reference Handbook is to go to this link and hit the download button, usually in the upper right corner.
This method may not always be reliable, though, as it’s just been uploaded by Mississippi State University, so it may go out of date or be taken down.
There’s a better way, though, that ensures that you always have the most updated copy. And it gives you access to all of the NCEES handbooks, including those for the PE as well!
Let’s look at these steps in detail:
- Click on this link to go to the MyNCEES homepage where you can create an account or log in to your existing account. If you’re creating an account for the first time, use a personal email, not a work one.
- Once you’re signed into your MyNCEES account head to “View reference handbooks” under the “Useful Documents” section of the “Common Tasks” area.
- Click on the first link, which should be “FE Reference Handbook 10.1” to download your free copy.
You’ll also notice the other reference handbooks that you can download and reference as well. This will be really handy once you’re ready to take the PE Exam.
Is The FE Reference Handbook Searchable?
The FE Reference Handbook is searchable, and you are allowed to search it while you are taking the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. It makes finding what you need to solve a problem much easier than having a physical book that you have to search through, which was the case when the FE was open-book!
As you can see in the screenshot below, I found information on beam deflection super fast by searching for it.
The actual FE Reference Handbook will look differently on screen when you’re taking the actual FE Exam, but the contents are exactly the same and it’s still searchable.
How I Used the FE Reference Handbook to Pass the FE On My First Try
I didn’t study for the FE at all other than looking through the reference handbook the night before the exam. And I passed on my first time!
The reason just looking through it helped was that I was able to see where the equations were before having to search for them during the exam.
When I was in the actual test, then, I didn’t have to waste time familiarizing myself with the reference handbook to get questions right. I just searched for what I needed, found the right reference, used the equation or information, and answered the question.
It was also important to do this because it gave me a good feel for the reference handbook as a whole. I knew generally what each chapter was, what it was about, and where I could expect to find certain things.
The trick to searching in a PDF is knowing what to search for, and the only way to get an idea of what to search for is to use the reference handbook before the FE exam.
Another important thing to realize about the FE exam is that it’s got questions from all engineering disciplines on it, but the handbook makes it so you can still answer them.
If you’re a Civil Engineer, you’ll see mechanical engineering questions, and vice-versa. You’ll also see questions about fluid mechanics, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and more.
Here’s what the contents page looks like to give you an idea of everything that’s on the FE Exam:
By looking through the handbook before, you make it likely that you can get questions right from other disciplines than the one you studied in college. I know this is how it worked for me and I definitely got some problems right only because I knew what I was looking for in the handbook!
Because I was so familiar with the handbook, the FE exam was a breeze, and passing on my first try didn’t seem that difficult at all!
Let’s Wrap This Up
The FE Reference Handbook is your ticket to passing the FE Exam. You can search it during the exam to find the references you need, which makes it a lot easier to pass than other exams of its kind!
Be sure to download your free copy of the FE Reference Handbook by following the instructions above. Use it as you study so that you can know what you’re looking for, find those things quickly during the exam, and pass the FE much more easily!