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moodusyeah

Just got my results back after my second attempt...

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moodusyeah    2

Hi everyone,



I've been out of school for 2 years now and have had two attempts at the new Environmental CBT FE exam, first time October 18th, 2014 and second time February 28th, 2015: both failed. I can post my diagnostic reports if anyone is interested in viewing them.



The first time I didn't study much...maybe a total of 40 hours spent studying over the course of 2 months before the exam... long story short I did not prepare enough and failed miserably. I only went above average in one category and was average in another. The other 12 categories I was below average. I guessed on a lot of questions but ended with 5 minutes to spend reviewing.




The second time I studied at least 7 hours a week (always during my lunch break at work and usually 2 hours on the weekends) for 2.5 months, averaging in at around 100 hours of study time on top of the first 40 I spent studying for the first attempt. My study materials this time consisted of the online FE NCEES practice exam, as well as the FE Reference Handbook, along with some practice problems I found online for the generic part of the exam (mostly math and physics). I only guessed on about 20 questions out of 110 because I ran out of time.



I received my results today and did a fraction of a bit better than I did the first time, improving in 6 categories, but doing worse in 7 (and the same in 1)... The questions this time around seemed much harder (Fluids section) and abstract (Ethics section) than on the first attempt. There were also some questions asked that simply could not be solved using equations from the handbook or from lectures I had in college.



What really did me in was not diversifying my study materials. I focused too much on answering questions quickly and analyzing the presented data quickly instead of doing a plethora of different practice questions. This is because I spent 95% of my time studying off of the 50 online NCEES practice exam problems.



I guess what I'm getting at is this; even though I studied my butt off, I was still not prepared. Can anyone enlighten me on study materials they reviewed aside from the NCEES practice exam which they think helped them greatly?



Thanks for reading




P.S. - Some advice for anyone reading this and thinking about taking the new CBT exam: Do no drink tea the day of the exam, not even one cup. I think I used up about 7-9 minutes of my time running to the bathroom during my second exam, even though I went like 3 times before I sat for the exam. I could have used that time answering questions.........


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Hi Moodus,



I just took the Mechanical FE exam on February 26, 2015, and passed. My advice to you would be to broaden your study material choices. I used an older version of the Lindbergh FEprep book. The specific one I used was a 2nd edition and it included a set of about 15-20 sample problems at the end of each section. The newer editions of the book don't include the sample problems, instead they are available on their website for purchase. I appreciated the sample problems because they exposed me to a range of different types of problems in each individual subject.



Like you, I also took the NCEES practice exam, but I also took another practice exam on FEprep.com. The FEprep practice exam is a full length exam of which you can take twice. It costs $85 but I think its worth it, just don't use the reference handbook provided with it. What is also nice about the exam is that you can go back to it at anytime and review the questions along with their solutions. The questions are very similar to what is on the actual exam, although maybe a bit harder, which is probably a good thing.



Furthermore, go into the exam with a winning strategy. Check out this blog (href='http://nickweil.blogspot.com/2012/01/fundamentals-of-engineeringeit-exam_18.html).%C2'> In it, he explains that you don't have to know how to solve problems from every subject included on the exam. It's better to focus your time studying subjects that you are fairly comfortable with and just guessing on those that you aren't. You only need around a 50-60% to pass the exam. So if you can score high in some areas and just guess in the rest (Where you should get at least 25% correct) you should have no problem passing. Plus, this strategy will save you time from struggling with questions you have no idea on and allow to spend more time working out the problems you can solve.



I began studying for the exam a little less than 2 months in advance. I put in 3-4 hours everyday and 5-6 on Saturdays, I normally took Sundays off. It was a struggle, but it paid off and now I don't have to do it anymore. On top of what I shared above, consider spending just a little more time studying, solve a bunch of different problems, don't focus on a handful of the same ones, and become very familiar with the reference handbook.



I hope this helps. Good luck on your next attempt. Don't give up!



Zach


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Kovz    63

Hang in there Moodus. I took the FE for the 3rd time in May 2014, and 4th time July 2014 when I finally passed. This was 6 years since graduating college. On my first attempt, I didn't study, and the second attempt was 3 years post-grad and taking a review course (not much additional studying on my own).



When I decided to man up and put the time in to study, I started in December 2013, so basically studied my ass off for 5-6 months. I was very close to passing, but getting that failing grade for the third time just motivated me even more. I basically only finished 90 problems and ran out of time so I had to guess on the last 20. It showed on my diagnostic sheet that I bombed the last 2 sections.


I knew I knew the material fairly well, but needed to get faster and focus on not getting hung up on difficult problems. So for 10 more weeks I continued practice problems over and over again and got faster and more knowledgeable. It paid off when I passed the 4th time.



I used the Lindeburg second edition as well, that had lots of practice problems. I also had a couple discipline specific PPI books that had a bunch of practice problems in it. I did probably 8-10 rounds of all the problems. There was enough practice problems that I didn't really remember doing them between rounds so it was like doing a new problem.



Best of luck, and don't give up!


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John QPE    178

Take a review course if you can.




They will ensure that you are studying the right material.


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moodusyeah    2

Thanks for the advice everyone. About an hour or two after submitting my original post I invested in the Lindeburg FERM 3 book (Hard copy as well as online, which is very convenient), 2 e-review assessments (1 is free), and the Lindeburg Environmental Specific Book (hard copy only).



I never realized how valuable these materials were to someone studying for the FE until I began reading them. PPI is great since they set up a study schedule for me based on my exam date, using the FERM 3 as well as the Environmental Specific book. The schedule covers all 14 sections of the Environmental Exam, and goes in depth on each topic and subtopic.



The schedule does seem a bit fast for someone in my shoes trying to balance work (field 3 days, office 2 days) family, a relationship with a SO, and friends, but I am chugging right along. For instance, I began studying last Thursday and should have been done with the Mathematics section by Sunday, however I am only about half way done. I figure it works out though since some areas such as Water Resources or Water/Wastewater are stretched out longer, usually a week. I have the option of creating my own schedule but I like the one they gave me so I will try and stick to it.



I have 11 weeks until my exam and I am feeling confident (not cocky) already that I will succeed. I have the resources now and a set path so nothing can stop me :)



Zachary, I will be sure to read the blog post you sent me. If there is one thing that I need to perfect, it is the strategy (and art) of taking this exam.



Thanks everyone!


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iwire    88

Just make sure you also understand what you are studying. Don't kill yourself for studying too much...don't get burn out



I would suggest 30 mins (max) 5 days a week for 2 months is more than enough for FE...you are just out school under 3 years. ..


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moodusyeah    2

Just make sure you also understand what you are studying. Don't kill yourself for studying too much...don't get burn out

I would suggest 30 mins (max) 5 days a week for 2 months is more than enough for FE...you are just out school under 3 years. ..

Thanks for the advice. I have been going hard all week between studying and work and I can feel myself getting burned out already. I'll take your advice and cut back. It isn't worth trying to relearn and refresh on concepts when I'm tired and it won't stay in my brain :reading::poop:

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DanHalen    76

The FE Exam is a tough exam. I know many people I went to college with that had to take it a few times (some five or six tries) before they passed. I failed it during my last semester in college. Six years after graduation I finally knuckled down and got busy. I took a prep class and didn't really study much of anything else. When I took the exam I developed a plan that is a hybrid between strategies I read about. I divided the exam in to three parts:



I. Class I problems are problems you know the answer/how to solve immediately without having to open your equation book. Do those first. They are the low hanging fruit that will help you succeed.


II. These are problems you know the answer to/how to solve but you need to take a little more time because you have to look up an equation or value from a table in the equation book. Do these problems on your second pass after completing all Class I problems.


III. Class III problems are the problems you want to save until you've completed Classes I & II. Class III type of problems are something you have no clue how to solve. At this point you will have completed the majority of the exam and have answered all the low hanging fruit questions. Hopefully there won't be many Class III. Try to answer these the best you can. When I took the exam I had maybe 20 of these at most.



When I was taking the exam I would write a II or III next to each problem I didn't know the answer to immediately. I answered the remainder of the problems on the 2nd and 3rd pass. Use this strategy and stick to it if you don't have your own plan. I took a sub-par prep class for the FE exam during my last semester in college and their strategy was focus on the material you already know so that you can do really well on those sections. The exam is too diverse for that nonsense and you will surely fail if you follow that philosophy.



Don't rely on one resource such as the FERM and NCEES practice problems. You've got to work other problems. Go on Amazon or some other popular site where people purchase exam study guides and follow the reviews and see what other people buy. I can guarantee you will find a great list of study guides to help you pass the FE exam if you take that additional time to read a few reviews. I found a lot of study guides for the PE exam that PPI doesn't even sell by doing this and they were far better than the exam study guides I got from PPI. Most of the PPI material is much harder than the actual exam and I don't think that they really help you prepare for the exam. Studying for the FE is like training for a marathon. It's not difficult to run a marathon because all you do is put one foot in front of the other. The PPI material is sort of like playing basketball to train for a marathon. If you want to run a marathon then you do so by running a marathon. Lots of practice and be diverse with your study material. You will be surprised at how much difference there is in exam problems by trying different authors.


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solomonb    48

There is no reason to take the FE exam more than once. If you have had not passed the second time, take the review course at Prepineer.com. Do all of the course work, take the practice exams and then pass the test.



There is nothing wrong with taking a review course. Yes, it costs money. Yes, I know about a new baby, job, sunshine, recreation, friends, summer, etc. You need to take some short time pain for some long term gain.



Establish a test date today-- say 13 August. Then back up from that to today, figure out the topics and get after it. Put the shoulder to the wheel and push. I know, not fun, however, having a structured approach will get to pass this test. It is NOT that difficult-- however, if you have been out of school, it is best to take a review course to get back into the study mode, as well as refresh on that material that you may have let some rust develop.


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patattacka    2

Take a review course if you can.

They will ensure that you are studying the right material.

To be fair, there are very few legitamate review course for environmental, if any. The closest would be civil, but even that does not cover a large section of the topics.,

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matt267 PE    3,319

Take a review course if you can.

They will ensure that you are studying the right material.

To be fair, there are very few legitamate review course for environmental, if any. The closest would be civil, but even that does not cover a large section of the topics.,

http://www.schoolofpe.com/feenvironmental/

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patattacka    2

Take a review course if you can.

They will ensure that you are studying the right material.

To be fair, there are very few legitamate review course for environmental, if any. The closest would be civil, but even that does not cover a large section of the topics.,

http://www.schoolofpe.com/feenvironmental/

Good catch there, I think I may have seen that when I was first looking, but the 1300$ price tag was prohibitive for me. Thanks for the correction

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matt267 PE    3,319

No problem. I agree, it's a bit expensive, but worth it if you can pull it off.



Good luck with your results.


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patattacka    2

No problem. I agree, it's a bit expensive, but worth it if you can pull it off.

Good luck with your results.

If this is directed at me, thanks! When I look back at it, I have actually spent close to that will all the smaller reviews, books, review material, time, etc so maybe I should have jus gone with that in the first place, but I couldn't convince my wife that it was worth it!

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matt267 PE    3,319

No problem. I agree, it's a bit expensive, but worth it if you can pull it off.

Good luck with your results.

If this is directed at me, thanks! When I look back at it, I have actually spent close to that will all the smaller reviews, books, review material, time, etc so maybe I should have jus gone with that in the first place, but I couldn't convince my wife that it was worth it!

It was, and you're welcome.

For the PE, convince the wife it's an investment and a tax deduction.

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MEPE1015    1

Hi Moodus,

I just took the Mechanical FE exam on February 26, 2015, and passed. My advice to you would be to broaden your study material choices. I used an older version of the Lindbergh FEprep book. The specific one I used was a 2nd edition and it included a set of about 15-20 sample problems at the end of each section. The newer editions of the book don't include the sample problems, instead they are available on their website for purchase. I appreciated the sample problems because they exposed me to a range of different types of problems in each individual subject.

Like you, I also took the NCEES practice exam, but I also took another practice exam on FEprep.com. The FEprep practice exam is a full length exam of which you can take twice. It costs $85 but I think its worth it, just don't use the reference handbook provided with it. What is also nice about the exam is that you can go back to it at anytime and review the questions along with their solutions. The questions are very similar to what is on the actual exam, although maybe a bit harder, which is probably a good thing.

Furthermore, go into the exam with a winning strategy. Check out this blog ( In it, he explains that you don't have to know how to solve problems from every subject included on the exam. It's better to focus your time studying subjects that you are fairly comfortable with and just guessing on those that you aren't. You only need around a 50-60% to pass the exam. So if you can score high in some areas and just guess in the rest (Where you should get at least 25% correct) you should have no problem passing. Plus, this strategy will save you time from struggling with questions you have no idea on and allow to spend more time working out the problems you can solve.

I began studying for the exam a little less than 2 months in advance. I put in 3-4 hours everyday and 5-6 on Saturdays, I normally took Sundays off. It was a struggle, but it paid off and now I don't have to do it anymore. On top of what I shared above, consider spending just a little more time studying, solve a bunch of different problems, don't focus on a handful of the same ones, and become very familiar with the reference handbook.

I hope this helps. Good luck on your next attempt. Don't give up!

Zach

Hey Zach,

Congrats on passing, I'm new in this forum and it seems hard to find people taking the FE mechanical discipline. I am also taking the Mechanical FE, right now its been 2.5 months of studying and working problems minimum 4 hours a day and mostly 8-10 hours during weekends. I think I'm ready. xD

I used the FERM by Lindeburg 3rd edition, and the new FEMechanical Review manual also by Lindeburg including the study companion which is the practice problems for FE mechanical specific.

Just want to ask if have you used the FE Mechanical Practice problems by Lindeburg? If yes, how are the questions in this book compared to the questions in the exam?

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adamn185 PE    4

I took the FE 3 years ago and just took the PE. Waiting on results lol. I'm a Chemical but do a lot of crossover work with mechanical (lots of heat:/mass transfer, thermo, fluid dynamics and other areas that overlap).

Just wanted to say good luck. With the work you're putting in you'll do fine and it'll all be worth it when you finally get that stamp!

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MEPE1015    1

I took the FE 3 years ago and just took the PE. Waiting on results lol. I'm a Chemical but do a lot of crossover work with mechanical (lots of heat:/mass transfer, thermo, fluid dynamics and other areas that overlap).

Just wanted to say good luck. With the work you're putting in you'll do fine and it'll all be worth it when you finally get that stamp!

Just finished the practice problems from NCEES mechanical, my first try I got 75%..yikes! I think needed to just improve on time management.

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cpunpingco    0

I have been out of school for 11 years so I dedicated about 6 months studying 4 days out of the week for 2-4 hours. My goal was one subject a week because it was a lot of relearning and teaching myself subjects I never learned in college. Plus I had my family that I couldn't neglect. ? I then took a 3 weeks off and then 2 weeks right before the exam I went thru all the subject again in the FERM.

I relied mostly on the FERM (problems were more difficult than the exam), did 100 problems out of the 1001 Problems and watched a lot of YouTube. I took EIT Experts 2 years ago and it was a waste of $1000. This discouraged me so I put the exam on hold.

I took the FE Other Disciplines last Saturday and thought I failed. I registered for School of PE and mentally preparing myself to do it all over again. Fortunately I just found out on Wednesday (4 days later) that I passed. I think if you dedicate enough time based on how comfortable you feel about each topic then you should be okay. If an old fogie like me being out of school for over a decade passed, believe that you can pass too. Good luck!

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mcjohn4    2

Do you have enough of a civil background to take the Civil FE? I know a lot of environmentals go on to do the Civil PE because it's more versatile and easier to get through.


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iwire    88

Just make sure you also understand what you are studying. Don't kill yourself for studying too much...don't get burn out

I would suggest 30 mins (max) 5 days a week for 2 months is more than enough for FE...you are just out school under 3 years. ..

Thanks for the advice. I have been going hard all week between studying and work and I can feel myself getting burned out already. I'll take your advice and cut back. It isn't worth trying to relearn and refresh on concepts when I'm tired and it won't stay in my brain :reading::poop:

how you did? Hope you passed

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moodusyeah    2

Hi everyone,



Sorry to keep you hanging. Long story short: I have been studying at least 2 hours daily, 5-6 days per week for the past 3 months. I have gone through the Michael Lindeburgh FE book and done every problem associated with the Environmental FE, twice. I am just finishing up my second round of the Environmental Specific review book by Michael Lindeburgh as well.



I took the next two days off of work to really hone in on the stuff that isn't second nature to me, as well as to take a practice exam or two. I am taking the exam on Saturday (8/29/2015) at 8 AM.



Feeling really good about it this time since I know about 5 times as more now than I did the last time I took the exam.



Any last minute advice? (Test taking strategy, keeping calm, how to prepare the day before, etc) or any input is appreciated.



Thanks! Wish me luck :)


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TWJ PE    179

Best of luck!



Hopefully you know the ins and outs of your calculator - this will save you time.



Time wise I tried to split the two sections 50/50. If I didn't know how to solve the problem after I read the question, I moved on.



Use the reference key word search function to your advantage!



The day before I just kicked back and gathered everything I needed to take to the exam. I tried to treat it as a normal day but I didn't sleep at all that night I was so nervous.



Pack a light lunch for your break (nuts, power bars, etc.).


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moodusyeah    2

Best of luck!

Hopefully you know the ins and outs of your calculator - this will save you time.

Time wise I tried to split the two sections 50/50. If I didn't know how to solve the problem after I read the question, I moved on.

Use the reference key word search function to your advantage!

The day before I just kicked back and gathered everything I needed to take to the exam. I tried to treat it as a normal day but I didn't sleep at all that night I was so nervous.

Pack a light lunch for your break (nuts, power bars, etc.).

Thanks! For the most part I know the ins - and - outs of my TI-36X Pro, such as basic integration, matrices, vectors, number solver, polysolver, sys-solver, etc. I feel like I don't know how to utilize my calculator 100% though. I tried reading through the user manual but it wasn't too helpful, and all my internet searches pulled were basic calculator use.

It will definitely save time with the math and probability section.

I'm actually really pumped to take the exam this time, where as the first two times I was nervous. I'm actually taking two practice exams today.

Thanks again for the input!

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