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mckenz007

If you leave the FE exam feeling horrible...

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This post is just to give hope to those who are awaiting their FE exam results and feel like they bombed it. 

I took the FE last year, 6 years out of college. I studied hard but the exam day panic quickly overtook me. I spent 40 extra minutes on the morning session, drastically cutting into my afternoon time. Throughout the test there were several questions I was very unsure about. When the timer cut me off at the end of the second session I had TWELVE completely blank answers, not even time to guess.  I left feeling miserable, knowing I had failed and as soon as I got home I tried to register to take it again (it wouldn’t let me, so soon btw). 

10 days later, I found out I passed! So don’t give up all hope yet if you are feeling bad, you still have a chance. 

My biggest recommendation to prepare for test day would be to practice doing problems using the dry erase notebook and marker you’ll be using for the exam. That really threw me off. Also fill in a guess and flag the question rather than leaving answers blank as you go, the clock will be flying and you can’t assume you’ll have time to go back and and answer questions at the end. 

Good luck!

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What size dry erase pad did they give? That may be helpful in planning if people want to try to keep notes on book the whole time ( i.e. tracking questions to go back to) but may not have the room to do so

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I took the exam this past Friday and this is what they provided: 

 

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5 pages for the entire exam? I understand you can ask for extra booklet, but that just seems small for the standard size. Just looking at the sample writing they show, they used about 1/4 to 1/3 Rd of the page for 1 question. 

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I took the Other Disciplines and found it to be adequate.  I used 3 pages but you can easily ask for more.

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McKenz007, CONGRATS!!!!

 

The FE was the hardest exam I have taken.  The hard part is done..  On to the PE!

 

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2 hours ago, youngmotivatedengineer said:

What size dry erase pad did they give? 

It’s 8.5”x14”, as the Pearson video indicates. You can erase, but it is not easy, so perhaps practice by crossing things out rather than using an eraser as you make mistakes in your studies. It does feel clunky to be writing in marker on glossy paper when you’ve spent your entire academic career doing math with paper and pencil. I used 2 notebooks for the mechanical test. 

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1 minute ago, MikeGlass1969 said:

McKenz007, CONGRATS!!!!

 

The FE was the hardest exam I have taken.  The hard part is done..  On to the PE!

 

Thank you!! I’m studying to take the PE in April! 

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Excellent!  Good luck!  You will do well!

 

PS...  You will probably feel the same way about the PE exam.  That is to be expected.

Edited by MikeGlass1969

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I actually got very sick (running to the men's room sick) the morning of my exam.  It may have been the anxiety stress getting me in the gut, but I almost decided to skip the test that day.  Also, I had been out of engineering school for 22 years before trying to study for that awful exam :( Then during the last hour of the morning session, I thought I was going to pass out right there on the test computer with my head feeling like it was going to explode.

I teach skills as a second job, and one mantra I follow is to always focus on 'realistic/scenario' training to improve mental muscle memory.  It worked for me in that case, because all my practice on how to attack the problems logically just seemed to just kick-in.  I re-focused and attacked only those problems I definitely knew how to solve first, along the way flagging any for which I had eliminated at least one answer, attacking those next, then finally picking a letter ('A' through 'D') that I had used least and using that as my answer for all those left (unfortunately those new types of problems where you use the mouse to move things from one part of the screen to another through a small wrench into my methodology, but I limited myself to three minutes on those and made best guesses). 

Also, earlier during the morning session I had made the business decision to guess at any Laplace Transform problems (anything with a little 's' in either the question or more than one answer).  By guessing at the dozen or so of those problems, I saved over 30 minutes that I could better use working problems I had a chance at solving.

I was able to regroup during the 25-minute lunch break, and then in the afternoon things went smoother. 

When I was done however I 'Really, Really' thought I had failed since there was about 40 of the 110 problems overall that I had completely guessed on.  Assuming I could have gotten no more than 70% of the ones I worked on correct, I did not think the odds were in my favor.  I went home and starting listening to Laplace Transform theory and working on problems well into the late evening.

Ten day later - I was shocked to see 'Passed' when I opened up my NCEES page :D

The moral - Never Give Up, and practice a test taking plan that our mind can rely on when you are surprised or things start to look bad. 

Also, the most critical resource during the FE exam is time.  You only have 2.909 minutes per problem (325 minutes divided by 110 problems).  I honestly believe that unless you are a genious (at the level of John Nash, that guy in 'A Beautiful Mind'), you need to decide which topics/problem-types must be sacrificed in order to have a chance to solve a sufficient number of problems to reach the cut-score.  I hate to say it, but its almost going into combat (or maybe some aspect of playing Chess).  Sometimes you have to sacrifice to gain an edge.

Finally, as I mentioned in another thread on a similar topic, do an online search of the A-B-C calculator, created by Joel Erway.  I found that very helpful in focusing my study time around the problems I could solve.

Edited by NY-Computer-Engineer
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