Abstract A series of nonlinear FE analyses was conducted in this paper to model the punching shear failure of RC flat slabs. The analyses were carried out in the software DIANA using three-dimensional continuum elements. These analyses involve the test of different modeling choices in order to evaluate their influences on punching shear failure modeling. The parameters examined are the size of the FE mesh, the convergence methods and the concrete material input parameters. These parameters were investigated by comparing the results of load carrying capacity, load-deflection response and crack patterns from the FE analyses with a reliable experimental test. From the results obtained, it could be concluded that the numerical model was able to reproduce accurately the behavior of the tested slab and capture the punching shear failure.