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Sunday, October 3, 2010

How to success in FE tests

FE Exam

Today I’m going to talk about something important to engineering students. I’m going to go over what the FE exam is and why you should take it as soon as you can. Another time I’ll going over what to expect at the test, study strategies and tips to help you pass.

First of all the FE or Fundamentals of Engineering Exam is a comprehensive engineering exam that you generally take your last semester before getting your bachelors degree. It pretty much sums up all of your science and engineering courses. It is generally recommended to take it your last semester so that you have already completed most of your engineering course. That way you will have the best chance of passing the exam. The exam is multiple choice, but the questions are designed to make it hard to just guess.

The exam is broken into two main parts, the morning part and the afternoon part. In the morning everybody takes the same general engineering exam. It covers physics, chemistry, and all of your other general science and engineering subjects. In the afternoon you can choose a specific engineering subject or take a more in depth general exam. Most people majoring in civil engineering will pick the civil engineering specific exam in the afternoon. That’s what I recommend since that’s what will be the freshest in your mind.

The test is a national test. It is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). They grade your test then send your score to your states licensing board. They are very secretive about how they score the tests. All they will say is that they use a statistical method and a group of subject matter experts to determine how many questions must be correct to get a passing score. They say that they use this method to make sure that the tests are fair. That way a student wouldn’t be punished if the test is harder that time that usual. Once the scores are reported, though, you will need a 70 percent to pass. They have said for several years that they will stop telling students their score, but when I took it I was sent my score.

Passing the FE Exam and getting your degree is what earns you your Engineer in Training (EIT) title. The test is only offered twice per year, in April and October. So make sure you are ready when it comes.

Why you should take it soon

As I mentioned before, it is required to get your EIT. The test is commonly considered the first step to getting your license. That’s because it is required to get your EIT and because you will have to pass the FE Exam before your can take the Professional Engineering (PE) Exam.

The FE Exam covers the theory and general information that you learn in school. Taking it while you are still taking the classes will make it much easier to remember the information than if you wait until just before you take the PE.

Some other reasons to take it before you finish school
You’re still in test taking mode
One less thing to worry about when you graduate
It’s hard to find time to study when you’re working
It shows future employers that you know your stuff
Many employers pay more if you already have it done
Some employers require it

That is just some basic information about the test and a few bullet points as to why you should take it while in school. Next I’ll go into more about the exam and about strategies to study and strategies to use during the exam.

In the mean time you can find more information about it a NCEES’s website www.ncees.org.

Has anybody here already taken it? Or plan to take it soon? What are your thoughts or questions about it?

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