Crush the FE Exam: Expert Tips for Preparation and Retaining Knowledge

In this article, (and video), I dive into one of the most important steps on the journey to becoming a licensed engineer: PREPARING FOR THE FE EXAM. We explore effective strategies to utilize your strengths and weaknesses in each exam topic, and discuss techniques for retaining knowledge to maximize your domain knowledge.

Once you’ve decided to register for the FE exam, or if you’re in the planning phase, the next crucial step is to prepare for it. Finding studying techniques and strategies that work for you is key to making the process friendly with your workload and daily responsibilities.

Strategies help us organize information into patterns and encourage purposeful learning. Understanding the exam specifications is essential, so let’s take a look at the areas of knowledge covered in the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) CIVIL CBT Exam.

The Exam Consists of 14 Areas, Including:

  1. Mathematics and Statistics
  2. Ethics and Professional Practice
  3. Engineering Economics
  4. Statics
  5. Dynamics
  6. Mechanics of Materials
  7. Materials 
  8. Fluid Mechanics
  9. Surveying 
  10. Water Resources and Environmental Engineering
  11. Structural Engineering
  12. Geotechnical Engineering 
  13. Transportation Engineering
  14. Construction Engineering

To start your studying process, it’s important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses in each topic. Break down the areas and determine what you need to reinforce. Begin by reviewing the topics you feel most comfortable with and then proceed to study those topics that require more attention. You might even give yourself a quantitative score from 0 to 5 to help you chart your strengths.

I understand that the amount of content may seem overwhelming for the exam, especially when time is limited. However, there are Techniques for Retention of Information that can help you with your main objective of acquiring as much domain knowledge as possible. Let’s review a few of those techniques:

  1. One effective strategy for improving your learning efficiency is to understand how you learn best. Recognizing your learning habits and styles can greatly enhance your studying process. There are various theories about learning styles that can provide valuable insights into your preferred approach.
  2. It’s also crucial to learn in multiple ways. Instead of solely relying on auditory learning, such as listening to podcasts or lectures, find ways to engage with the material verbally and visually. Consider describing what you’ve learned to a friend, taking comprehensive notes, or creating mind maps to solidify the knowledge.
  3. Another powerful technique is to teach what you’ve learned to another person. If you have a classmate who is also preparing for the exam, seize the opportunity to share knowledge. Translating the information into your own words helps reinforce your understanding, and by sharing it, you deepen your comprehension further.
  4. Utilizing previous learning to promote new learning is an effective strategy as well. Relate new information to things you already know, making connections that enhance your understanding and retention.
  5. Lastly, gaining practical experience is invaluable. Engage in exercises using online resources, NCEES textbooks, and practice exams. These resources allow you to practice and master the topics that need reinforcement, building your confidence and expertise.

Remember, finding the right strategies and techniques that work for you, and leveraging your strengths, are the keys to success.

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By Amanda Martin
Amanda Martin