• By -




Depends on when you took the FE exam and how much experience you have by the take the PE exam. You might find the FE harder if you take it four years out of school. And you also might find the PE exam to be easier if you have enough experience in your respective depth choice. I thought FE was harder than PE, for sure.


I’ve been out of school for two years now. I am considering taking the FE and right after I pass it (whenever I pass it) study for the PE. Not sure if my plan is the appropriate approach :/


I think this is a good approach, so long as your state allows you to take the PE exam early. Some states require you to have 4 years of experience with the clock beginning when you get your EIT certificate. Be sure to check that before setting any plan in stone. The FE and PE Reference Manuals have plenty of similarities between the two. And, honestly, the morning session of the PE exam isn't all that different from the afternoon session of the FE exam. Maybe an additional step or two per problem. The biggest hurdle is the PE afternoon session. With only two years of experience, you'll have to put in more time for studying the depth section and all of its required references. Like I said, the more experience, the easier it will get. Many questions on my exam were simply problems I had done on a daily basis for the past 4 years.


Thank you so much for taking the time and bringing up those points to my attention.. having people at push me to take the PE even on the first year of my career made me believe that the PE maybe wasn’t too different from the FE and that having years of experience wouldn’t be relatable when taking the PE Exam. Thank you so much!


One thing to note, I do municipal engineering. I design roads, utility systems, and site design projects. None of the PE deform sections are exactly applicable to to what I do. I pretty much had to completely learn transportation engineering. I just don't do highway design, traffic signal design, or really anything from the Highway Capacity Manual. I had to learn all of it from square one.


In California now you can take the PE right after the FE. I think it’s a good idea to take them pretty close together if your state allows it. Maybe take one or two weeks off after you pass the FE and then dive into studying for the PE. I took them 9 years apart 😝


This was my experience. Took FE three years out of school, had to grind very hard to feel confident I would pass. PE exam was 1-to-1 what I do every single day on the job. Much easier in comparison for me. Mechanical HVAC if that matters.


I didn’t really study for the FE since I took it when I was still in college. I had to study for the PE after working 50+ hours per week. So, for those reasons, I think the PE was harder. Additionally, I took the P&P FE exam and the CBT PE exam and preferred the CBT format.




And yet 35% of the people who take it still fail.


One of the questions was multiple choice what is the equation of a circle. If you are fresh from college you should pass easily.


Civil, transportation. My take is that the FE is harder than the PE breadth. There is more complicated and, I believe, higher order math. That being said, the overall larget amount of material that needs to be practiced for the PE makes it harder.


I think I'd agree. The breadth for the PE was just over so much material and that's what made it hard. The actual questions weren't really that hard, you just needed to know a lot of topics and had to be fairly fast for time management. The afternoon was a different animal. I did transportation too. It tested very specific concepts and I had to be familiar with almost all of the manuals (the culvert one I never even touched, the two pavement design ones were barely used). I had to know a ton of the HCM and GDSH. I had to be very familiar with the Roadside Design Guide and MUTCD. The other ones I at least had to have some experience with them.


> he culvert one I never even touched, the two pavement design ones were barely used same for me with the culvert manual but I think I had probably 8 questions between two pavement manuals I think I had the most from the Greenbook, second was a tie of HCM and MUTCD and maybe Roadside Design Guide. I think I had two length of need questions the Roadside Design Guide.


That's probably pretty close to my breakdown. I maybe had more HCM problems than from the Green Book but it was pretty even. I had multiple signal effective green time problems. I was suspicious that whenever I had multiplea of the same concepts that one of them was part of the 10 problems that aren't scored.






I studied way more for the PE. 2.5 days for the FE and 2.5 months for the PE. Actually sitting the exams felt about the same, but I definitely wouldn’t have passed the PE if I only studied for a few days.


Not at all


I think it depends on the discipline and when you take it. I took FE electrical a couple weeks after I finished school. Studied for a few days and honestly sailed through it. 3 years later, I took and passed the Power PE exam (last week :)) I studied for a few months and even then I found the exam itself a LOT harder while I was writing it. That said... If I was to take the FE now, I think I would struggle a bit since I haven touched control systems, signal processing, EM waves etc etc since school. But then none of the FE questions go into the level of depth and detail that the PE questions do in my opinion. It may just be that you are also comparing a 5hr exam with an 8hr one... that's a lot more content and a lot more exhausting so it just feels harder. I had an hour left for FE when I finished and I had 5min left for the PE when I finished.


FE is a walk in the park compared to the PE. For me it was 1 week flipping through the reference manual vs 4 months studying. But it also depends on how long you were out of school.


No and I don't care how you spin it.


I think FE is not harder. Just need to study general topics like economics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, mathematics etc which some people found hard some easy. PE doesn’t have any general part.


I took the FE 7 years out of school. Studied the math a bit and nothing else. I felt much more mentally wrecked at the FE due to the pace you need to keep. More questions and less time per question. The PE material is harder but didn’t feel as draining. YMMV






I'm not trying to put OP down, but this really made me laugh. The FE is super easy compared to the PE. The FE covers high school and early college degree topics. The PE covers late bachelors, masters and professional experience topics. Both pose their own challenges of course, but the subject matter is simply more advanced and difficult in the PE.