How to pass FE and PE exam in Civil Engineering(Getting ready)
There are probably nearly as many strategies to passing the FE as there are people that have passed it. But here are some tips to help you along the way.
Way before you take the test
1) Pay attention in class
Most of the problems on the exam are similar to what you saw in your classes. The only difference is that they are broken down to only one segment of a larger problem. For example, instead of being asked to calculate all of the forces in a truss, you will be given some information and asked to calculate the force in only one member.
2) Get a copy of the NCEES FE Exam formula book.
You can get a copy of the formula book straight from the NCEES website. Click on Study Materials and find the FE Supplied-Reference Handbook. It has virtually every formula that you will need as a CE student. Get used to how it’s laid out so that when you get to the FE Exam you don’t have to search for the formulas that you need. It makes a great reference while doing home work. I also found that many professors will let you use it in place of formula sheets for tests and quizzes. Plus, I still use mine even after I graduated.
3) Actually read some of your text books
Some of the questions on the FE Exam check whether or not you understand a concept not if you can calculate a formula. So make sure you understand the science and reasoning behind the concepts and formulas that you learn in class.
4) Get a calculator that you can use on the test
NCEES has a very specific list of calculators that you can use on the test. Get one and learn how to use it. Sometimes knowing the special functions can save you valuable time when you’re in the exam.
The semester before
1) Pick up some study guides.
There are a lot of good study guides out there. One that I used and found helpful was the FE Review Manual written by Michael Lindeburg. You can buy it directly from PPI at the website ppi2pass.com. You can also get it from a lot of other book stores. They put out other books including subject specific books and sample exams.
2) Take a review course
I didn’t take a review course, but several of my friends did. They can be helpful because they review the material and give you a lot of practice questions.
3) Make sure you have the latest copy of the FE Supplied-Reference Handbook
They update it from time to time. Make sure you are studying from the one you will be using on the actual exam.
4) Do practice problems.
Do lots and lots of practice problems. Then do some more. This is the best possible way to get ready for the exam. I used eitexam.com. They are inexpensive and have a ton of practice problems. What I found most helpful were their ten minute quizzes. I never felt like I had the time to sit down and study a lot for the exam, but I did have time to do a ten minute quiz a few times a day. Plus the site will show you how to work each problem and tell you why the right answer is right and the other answers are wrong. You can also get FE Exam question books. Make sure they are up to date, though.
5) Make sure you register on time
I know several people that didn’t take the exam when they wanted to because they didn’t register on time. They waited until the last minute and then found out the last minute was really the day before. So register early when you know you are going to take it.
The days before
1) Do more practice problems
Continue to do more practice problems. Again, they are the best way to prepare. They help you review the material, and get your mind thinking the way the exam works.
2) Get your stuff ready
Get your calculator and other things ready to take to the exam. They will give you a list of what you can and can’t bring. Put together all of your stuff. Make sure you aren’t going to be scrambling for anything that morning.
3) Get a good night’s sleep
Just relax the day before. If you do study stop early and give your brain a chance to rest. Then get a full night’s sleep so that you are well rested and ready in the morning.
Those are just some quick tips on preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. I’m sure a lot of people have other tips. Feel free to share them or ask any questions that you might have. I’ll talk more about test day strategies in a later post.
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