Passing an NCEES FE exam is an essential step in an engineer’s career, as it is typically required before taking the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) licensing exam. As many of our students report that the FE exam is more challenging than the PE exam, preparing for the FE computer-based test (CBT) can be overwhelming. In fact, many FE examinees have reported studying up to 300 hours for the difficult exam. To help reduce stress and the amount of time used to study, we have created a list of tips to help you get the most out of studying and to help you pass your chosen FE exam.
Review the FE Reference Handbook
The FE Reference Handbook by NCEES is the only reference material that you are able to use during your exam. Before you take your exam, you can download it for free from NCEES’ website. We recommend going through the reference handbook a few times so you have a good grasp of where everything is located.
Look over the FE Exam Requirements and Specifications
Don’t be that person who goes to the exam and forgets to bring an ID. Make sure you fully read all exam-day requirements including registration time, required documents, and accepted calculators. Also, read over your exam’s specifications before beginning to study, as the specifications lay out the ratio of subjects that will be covered on an exam. NCEES’ FE exam specifications and resources can be found here.
Strategically Schedule Your Exam
When you are scheduling your exam, try not to schedule it around holidays or any other events that may distract you from studying for long periods of time. We recommend preparing for the FE exam at least four months before you take your exam.
Practice, Practice, Practice
How do you know when you’ve fully grasped a subject? By practicing! Whether you are taking the FE Mechanical, FE Electrical, or FE Civil exam, practice problems are a great way to prepare for your exam. After studying a subject, test your knowledge by practicing 10-15 problems in that subject area. If you can answer the practice problems correctly, you can confirm that you are prepared for that given subject. If you struggle with the practice problems, consider setting some extra time aside to revisit the subject. Finding a way to practice for your FE exam that closely mimics the NCEES CBT experience is probably the most effective way to practice problems.
Attend an FE Exam Prep Course
Registering for an FE exam prep course is another helpful way to prepare for the FE exam. School of PE offers FE Chemical, FE Civil, FE Electrical, FE Environmental, FE Industrial, FE Mechanical, and FE Other (General) exam prep courses. Because of School of PE’s Prepare, Practice, Pass initiative, student pass rates continue to be much higher than the national rates. School of PE provides comprehensive lectures, instructor-led practice problem sessions, a Practice Portal, which allows students to independently practice problems that mimic the NCEES CBT exam-taking experience, and organized refresher notes that are perfect for helping students grasp even the most difficult topics. School of PE also designs its courses around NCEES’ exam specifications, so students know that they are studying the topics that are likely to appear on the actual exam.