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Strategies to pass the FE exam in the first attempt

by Rogers Gislason

The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is not as hard as people sometimes think. The exam has a high average passing rate of 73%. Even after such positive statistics, why do people think that the exam is hard to clear? One of the main reasons could be that the NCEES doesn’t calculate the passing percentage by taking all the students into account. Rather, it calculates the passing percentage only by taking those students into account who have given the exam for the first time. So, the marks of a large number of students are never taken into account. 

Thus, a majority of students are not able to enter their marks into the system. As a result, the pass percentage cannot be an accurate statistic that students should refer to. So, when students appear for the exam themselves, they can gauge the difficulty level of the exam. 

In this FE exam blog, you’ll find simple strategies that will help you pass the exam in the first attempt itself. But before that, let’s understand the FE exam in brief.

FE exam overview

The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is the first step towards your journey to becoming a licensed professional engineer. It is a six hours exam and consists of 110 questions. You also get the option of taking a 25 minutes break during the exam. There are two parts to the exam. The first part consists of general questions, and the next section is the specialized section. 

There are seven disciplines of the exam, and candidates can choose any discipline they want. However, the FE exam’s eligibility criteria mention that students who have passed only from ABET-accredited institutes can only pass the exam. Also, an engineering degree is a must to be eligible to appear for the FE exam. 

The exam is conducted by NCEES and is a computer-based test. You need to apply for the exam through the official NCEES website. There is a fee of $175 that candidates need to pay for the exam.

How can you pass the FE exam in the first attempt?

In every FE exam blogyou might find thousands of tips and tricks to pass the exam. However, there are no shortcuts available. The NCEES signs a non-disclosure agreement in which candidates cannot share the exam questions with anyone. Thus, any exam pattern analysis that you might see can’t be true. You only need to have a proper strategy that will help you prepare better.

However, there is one verified way that can help you pass the exam with a higher percentage in the first attempt itself. And that strategy depends on the resources you use. Yes, the resources you use can have a direct impact on how your exam will go. 

Resource management – the best strategy for the FE exam

You don’t have much time to prepare just after graduating. There is hardly any time left for preparation. So, you need to use whatever time you have in a wise way. Avoid going down the trodden path. Pick up something new that is customized only according to your preferences. 

It can be quite tempting to buy all the resources you see in the market. However, that is a very wrong thing to do. Always keep in mind that you have less time, so rely on smart work instead of hard work. 

While buying the resources, there are several things that you should always keep in mind. Sticking to these points can help you choose better resources. Reading 50 times from the same book is far better than reading 50 books for just once. So, fight down your urge to buy all the materials and streamline your choice.

You can refer to the following points for streamlining your choice of resources for the FE exam. 

  • Don’t buy the comprehensive books for the FE exam if you have only a month to prepare. Looking at a thick book which you know you can never finish will give you unnecessary anxiety. A rule of thumb would be to avoid anything that is more than 600 pages. Concise books will help you understand the topics in brief. As you are a fresh graduate, you just need to brush up your skills.
  • Buy more practice papers than explanatory books. You don’t need those thick subject books for FE that take up hundreds of pages to explain just one topic. You have already read about them in your Under Graduation course. So, buy practice papers instead and solve as many of them as you can.
  • Don’t buy more than one book for a particular topic. The bookstores are flooded with thousands of books from the same topic. Don’t feel tempted to buy them. Pick only one book per topic and stick to that for the rest of your preparation. Using more books for reference will not fetch you more marks, thorough revision would. 

The FE exam is possible to crack in the first attempt itself if you use your resources wisely. Remember that of all the resources you have, time is the most important one. So, learn to manage your time well, and everything else will fall into order.