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7 mistakes you must avoid while taking the fundamentals of engineering exam

By | Alex Brown

Are you preparing to take a FE exam? It’s critical to understand optimal practices for taking an NCEES exam while doing FE exam preparation. As an exam review course provider, we have the opportunity to speak with many students who have previously taken the exam, many of whom have shared their biggest regrets when taking their selected FE exam. 

We’ve highlighted some of the most typical blunders here, whether you’re taking the FE exam first or the second time. Look them out to make sure you dodge them all when taking the PE exam, which will boost your chances of success. But first, let us have a review of the fundamentals of the engineering exam.

Fundamentals of engineering exam: FE

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test verifies engineering graduates’ technical knowledge. The National Council of Examiners administers the Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) exam in the United States.

There are 110 multiple-choice problems on the exam. You have 6 hours to finish the exam. The test is available in 7 different engineering areas. Select the discipline that provides you with the best chance of success. PEI Engineers will not select a discipline for applications.

  • Authorized reference materials 
  • Disability accommodations 
  • Exam specifications 
  • Study materials 
  • Test center locations are all listed on the NCEES website.

Exam outcomes are either a pass or a fail. It depends on the number of right answers, according to the NCEES scoring method. The penalty does not include incorrect responses.

Typically, exam results are available in seven to 10 days. Engineers PEI will send you a letter confirming your results. 

If you fail the FE exam, NCEES will issue you a report outlining the subject areas you performed poorly.

Seven mistakes to avoid while taking the fundamentals of engineering exam

1. Devoting an excessive amount of attention to a single question

Most first FE exam candidates may struggle with time management. An examinee is allotted 6 hours to complete 110 questions on a normal PE exam. As a result, each inquiry demands a specific amount of time. If you have difficulty answering a question, simply skip it and move on to the next question, returning to it later. Bringing a stopwatch (with the sound turned off) or wristwatch to the exam to keep time.

2. Inadequate sleeping

Understandably, many students desire to cram the night before a test. As appealing as it may sound, staying up too late will harm your exam results. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll most likely run out of stamina and won’t be able to think clearly as needed after a few hours of taking the exam. Make sure to sleep for 7 to 8 the night before the exam. Allow yourself an hour or two before going to bed to go through your notes and reference materials since this will aid with memory consolidation.

3. Getting caught up in your self-assurance

This guideline is crucial, and following it can mean the difference between passing and failing the FE exam. Even if you were a straight-A student in school and have a strong understanding of most engineering principles, spending the time to prepare for each item on the NCEES exam standards will help refresh things you may have forgotten. Believe us that you are mistaken if you believe you can pass the PE exam without studying. Taking an exam review that covers every topic is an excellent way to ensure that you are familiar with every potential topic that may come on the exam.

4. Bringing an excessive amount of reference materials

Yes, you are permitted to bring luggage full of reference materials for pencil and paper tests to NCEES. Should you go ahead with it? Perhaps not. It includes how well you organize your binders and books so that you don’t waste time looking for something in your reference materials during the exam. Print out organized, consolidated notes created by our FE instructors, which will offer you everything you need to refer to during the exam.

5. Failure to learn how to utilize a calculator

We understand that some folks have favored calculator models that aren’t on the NCEES’ approved calculator list. Make sure to check the approved list a few months before your exam so that you may not only ensure you have an acceptable model in time but also learn how to use that calculator. Obtaining a free calculator training tutorial should suffice.

6. Late night study before the exam

We all know that more than studying more, we should study for FE effectively. Before the exam night, try not to study late at night. We know that most exam takers are like that, but you should avoid this technique before an important FE exam. 

What happens with that is that you can only remember what you studied last night and forget the things you studied before. Moreover, you will be fatigued by not sleeping enough the day before the exam, and your mind will probably not work properly.

7. Ineffective Use of Internet Resources:

The internet is a great place to improve your skills. There is a lot of information there, and if a student wants to study, they can receive a lot of beneficial things there, and in that case, they need less aid from seniors or professors. There are numerous courses, resources, and important knowledge available there. 

Look for online educational sites, watch YouTube video lessons, master some new technologies, and take advantage of the internet’s free resources. Make excellent use of social media to join a group or community and seek assistance from there.

Life is an unpredictable roller coaster ride. No one ever achieved enormous success in life without experiencing failures. The master has tried more times than the beginner. So, it doesn’t matter if you fail; what matters is how many times you pick yourself up and do your hardest every time. We hope that you’d avoid these seven mistakes and try to improvise your preparation schedule and exam day preps. Best of luck with your FE exam!


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