On April 13, 2013 I wrote the longest exam of my whole engineering career; The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam in Seattle, Washington. This was an 8 hour exam consisting of a 120 question, 4 hour morning exam on basic general engineering questions and a 60 question, 4 hour afternoon exam which was discipline specific for which I chose electrical .I cannot talk about the questions in any detail but I will talk a bit about my thoughts of the exam and ho to prepare for it.
I spent the last 3 months studying for this huge exam in which I bought this book from amazon and went through practically all 900 pages:
The book is good and very detailed, I felt most of the questions in that book were much more difficult than the questions on the actual exam. So if you study from this and can do most of the questions in it you should be set for the exam.
I also bought a copy of the FE Supplied Reference Handbook. This is the formula book that they give you during the exam so it is important to know this book well and know where to find things in it.
Since the calculator I have used through my diploma and degree was not on the approved calculator list for the FE exam I had to learn to use a new calculator. I chose the TI 36X Pro. This is a great calculator it was able to handle everything on the exam with ease.
I arrived at Seattle center at about 7:00 am and was done by about 5:00 pm; it was a very long and exhausting day. None of the questions on either the morning or afternoon exam are particularly difficult individually but the length of the exam makes it mentally draining. The exam to me was more of a test of endurance than it was engineering aptitude.
A few words of advice to anyone planning on taking the exam in the future
- Do lots of practice exams, and practice doing 120 questions in a 4 hour or less period of time using just your calculator and the FE Reference book. You need to know where thing are in the FE Reference book since you don’t want to spend too much time flipping through it searching for that one formula you need.
- Don’t study the night before and go to bed early and get a good sleep; if you don’t know something the night before the exam you wont know it during the exam, cramming the night before is only going to stress you out.
- Bring food and water, the exam is long and it’s nice to have something to snack on and drink during the exam
- Relax and try to have fun :)
I am glad I took the exam and feel I did well, I should find out my results in the next few weeks. If I pass the next thing for me to do will be to apply to APEGBC to be an Engineer in Training (EIT), if I failed I will have to decide if I want to write it again.