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Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam Takers Still Trying to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels

By Michael Behnke, P.E.

The number of Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam takers for the Electrical & Computer module still have not returned to the highs reached before the pandemic. In 2023, there were 5,793 FE exam takers, still below the almost 6,500 exam takers a year before the pandemic. Pass rates for first-time exam takers dropped slightly in 2023, but they are still above 60%.

Exam Volumes and Pass Rates

The table below shows annualized exam volumes for the Electrical & Computer module for the past five years, according to data provided by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

YearTotal Exam VolumeFirst Time Taker Pass RateRepeat Taker Pass Rate


The specification for all seven FE exam modules is due to be updated via the Professional Activities and Knowledge Study (PAKS) process beginning next year. The survey creation meeting is scheduled for 3-4 October 2025. The FE PAKS survey will close in January of 2026. This will be followed by a specification finalization meeting and various associated tasks, such as updating the practice exam and supplied reference handbook, and conducting a cut score workshop. Exams under the updated specification are projected to go live in July 2027.

Although this process is more than a year away, the IEEE-USA Licensure & Registration Committee will be calling upon members to participate in the upcoming FE PAKS survey. Keep an eye out for updates regarding this survey.

Michael Behnke, P.E., is a member of the IEEE-USA Licensure & Registration Committee.


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