“Deliberate” FE Exam Practice
Your FE exam preparation is not just about learning the material, it is also about your approach or test taking strategy employed on exam day.
So how are you supposed to build your understanding and develop the right test taking strategy in a way to ensure you are passing the FE exam? Simply put: Practice, practice, practice, practice.
Ok so obviously you need to practice by doing hundreds of relevant FE practice questions. But are you employing an optimal practice method? Are you “deliberately” practicing in a way to ensure you are making progress?
“Deliberate” practice is proven to work much better than any other practice technique in helping retain information leading up to your FE exam. It’s definitely better than mindlessly practicing hundreds of practice problems by just going through the motion and cheating yourself by constantly looking over the solutions!
Let’s define deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice is all about “active learning”. It has four characteristics. Let’s break these down and relate them to our FE exam prep.
1 – Well-defined, specific goals – our purpose
This is where you want to set a clear purposeful study goal for the day or for the week.
What are you trying to achieve during this FE exam study time block? What specific section will you focus on? What specific sub-section will you focus on? What concepts are you trying to understand and learn? How many practice questions will you do? How will you know you are understanding how to solve the practice problems? How will you know you are understanding the concept?
2 – Focused – high concentration and no distractions
Tidy up your workspace and clear it of distractions (you can forcibly remove distractions on your phone or computer by using certain applications).
You can use the famous Pomodoro study technique (especially if you are just starting out).
Tip: If the books don’t hold your attention, try learning from videos!
3 – Feedback – the more immediate the better
The greatest difference between “deliberate” practice and simple regular practice is this: feedback.
You can develop methods of receiving constant feedback on your progress and performance by employing the following feedback methods:
Feedback method #1
Look at practice questions (including practice exam questions) you got wrong and know why. Go back to the course or prep books and review the concepts for these topics. Do this kind of troubleshooting again and again all the sections you have any problems with. If you learn how to systematically note down your weak spots, you will become increasingly confident where you will have very little topics or questions you are struggling with.
Feedback method #2
Another recommendation is to have a few sheets of paper a list of all the topics, sub-topics, and the fundamental equations for each section.
Ask yourself, which topics are you clueless on? Which ones are difficult to retain? Which ones do you always make stupid mistakes on? Which problems take you more than a few minutes to solve?
Having everything summed up on a few sheets of paper makes learning all these sections a lot more manageable.
4 – Pushing beyond our comfort zones – gradually set a higher standard, adapt and create that new normal
Push beyond your comfort zone by doing full length practice exams with a goal of building your understanding, building your endurance, and developing a time management strategy that you can employ on exam day.
Practice, practice, practice. Do practice tests and review each question!
BE YOUR OWN SOLUTION MANUAL. When you get a problem wrong, don’t be so quick to read the solution.
It is easy to read a solution and say you would have gotten it right or that it was just a silly mistake but most time that silly mistake may be due to a lack of conceptual understanding.
Go into the course conceptual lessons, read about the relevant concept and do the problem again and again until you get the answer right. This may be excessive. But it is a sure way to train your mind to rely on your own thought process instead of looking over someone else’s solution.
Tip: Don’t practice the same style of questions time after time. The FE exam has changed in recent years. It is designed to test BOTH your conceptual and computational understanding. So make sure you are exposing yourself to quality conceptual and computational FE practice problems. This is exactly what the direct hub FE course offers – quality conceptual/computation FE style questions.