The FE grading system is a mystery to some examinees. The exam is based on a pass-fail score. However, the NCEES doesn't share with the public the required passing score. When you are about to take the exam, you won't know how much you need to score to pass. If you visit the scoring page on the NCEES website, you won't find a direct answer, either.
Getting around the FE exam's scaling system and process might be confusing and mysterious to most candidates.
If you are enrolled or have graduated from a college program, you are probably used to a more straightforward grading system with a fixated passing score. It is not the case with the FE exam. Since there are a lot of versions of the exam and each one is different from the other. The NCEES does not set a general passing score nor a designated number of candidates that can pass. All of that is taken into consideration by the grading system, which decides whether a candidate passes or fails. The score is determined by the number of questions that you answered correctly. Then, the score is converted to a scaled score, which alters for the difficulties across the different disciplines. Also, when you answer a question wrong, there will be no deductions. However, it's fair to assume that candidates need to answer more than half the questions correctly to pass.
That is to say, passing the FE exam simply means that you have an adequate level of knowledge in a specific field. The minimum requirements are determined by experts and are based on statistical methods that are psychometric. The licensing board has to know that you are competent and can use the knowledge you acquired throughout your college years efficiently.
If you fail, NCEES will send you a diagnostic report that shows your strengths and weaknesses. The report does not tell you which questions you missed specifically but will provide you with a scaled score in each category. You can use the information to prepare well if you retake the FE exam.
In conclusion, it's essential to know that several factors lead to the FE exam's final scoring. This complexion results from the NCEES's efforts to maintain the exam's integrity and make it equally fair to everyone.
Engineering is a challenging profession, and candidates have to prove that they have enough technical knowledge to start their careers.