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How to Structure Your Study for the FE Exam?

  1. Mar 18, 2012 #1

    I graduated in spring 2010, and I am beginning study for the Oct 2012 FE / EIT exam (long wait, I know ...) .

    I was wondering if anyone else has taken it after being out of school about two years, and what you did to efficiently structure / make use of your time for studying for this exam?

    Anyone have good books / resources for the AM / PM-(Mechanical) specifically would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2012 #2
    I dropped out of school for 5 years before going back in 1999 to finish my BSME in 2 years. I took the FE after graduating. I tried to study Thermodynamics as I thought that would be the hardest section for me as it had been over 5 years since I had the class.

    However, I mainly studied the booklet that they mailed to me which covers the all the equations and formulas that would/could be used on the test. You get another booklet to use during the exam.

    Study where the equations are in the booklet, knowing where the equations/formulas are in the booklet will save you time flipping back and forth trying to locate the page that has what you are looking for.

    While all the necessary equations and formulas are in the booklet, it's up to you to understand the concepts and how to apply them.

    Ultimately, I was right in not being adequately prepared for the thermodynamics section, I know I missed a lot of those questions, but I did really well on the rest of the test so I didn't have to worry too much about it.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Jun 22, 2012 #3
    I've heard that advice a lot (regarding the booklet) and that it's deceptively easy since it's "open book" for the equations. Thanks!
  5. Jun 22, 2012 #4


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    Your best bet is buying a study manual and following the study plan in it. Take practice exams to understand your weaker subjects and target your review material and do lots of study problems.

    Here is the best FE study manual IMO:

    The study schedule in the manual assuming you cover all of the material:
    • 52 Day crash-course going straight through assuming no rest or review days, no weekends.
    • 72 days going straight through assuming a rest and review day every fifth day, no weekends.
    • 99 days using only 5-days weeks, taking off rest and review days and weekends.

    Always keep in the back of your mind that TIME is your biggest enemy in the test. Sure, you can solve any problem given enough time but the first half only gives you 2 minutes per problem, and 4 minutes per problem for the afternoon session (harder problems). Taking practice exams will help you get comfortable in finding problems that you can solve quickly, and skip problems that are taking too long. Worse than missing a problem is taking too long and not getting to the last 20 questions.

    Also remember: it's multiple choice, and working backwards from one of the answers may be easier, and you can narrow down a solution based on obvious wrong answers. They're sneaky too because some of the multiple choices are the answer if you make a common mistake... In the end you have a 25% guess chance if all else fails, but answer all of the questions even if you just guess.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  6. Jun 22, 2012 #5

    I checked that out from my library a few weeks ago. TBH I am just going to purchase it, along w/ the NCEES PM-Mechanical book (and AM booklet).

    I want to take this once and be done w/ it.

    I am tripping up a little on the math sections (the ones that I don't really remember like parabolas, hyperbolas, etc).

    BTW: How do electricals / chemicals take the AM? It has statics, dynamics, strengths. :P Seems a bit unfair.
  7. Jun 22, 2012 #6


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    Yup I understand what you're saying about non-mechanical majors being at a disadvantage. The exam really shows it's roots, structural and mechanical. Still, the review manual should give you everything you need if you go through it in detail.
  8. Jun 22, 2012 #7
    I'm preparing for the FE exam myself, although I may not have time to take it this October. I had the review book Mech Engineer suggested (until someone stole it :frown:) and found it quite good. I also have the NCEES review book and while its helpful it only has a fraction of the material of the other one.
  9. Jun 25, 2012 #8


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    For what it's worth I took the FE 5 years after graduating, and went through a somewhat relaxed 3-month review cycle covering mostly subjects I hadn't used since college. The Lindeburg FE Review manual (the one I recommended) does a great job of teaching you the basics, and the practice exams are pure gold. I also bought the Lindeburg Engineer-In-Training reference manual and kept it as a reference guide.

    In the end time really is your biggest enemy; keep yourself on-track with time, skip problems you get wrapped around the axle on, etc (go through and guess at skipped questions in the last 10 minutes or so). The FE Reference Handbook will have most every equation you need, so get familiar with its layout and use the index!

    Also don't underestimate the power of being able to work backwards from some of the answers to bound the right one. There's no partial credit or showing your work- all that matters is the right answer.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  10. Jun 25, 2012 #9
    Thanks for the advice Mech. Its good to hear you took it so long after you graduated as the way its going I'm probably wont be able to take it until after I graduate as well.
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