Last week, I had a discussion with Naudia about her overall FE exam preparation after passing the FE exam. She passed the FE exam but it was definitely not easy for her. She has been out of school for 20 years. Got her degree in Electrical engineering. On top of that, she is working full-time and has a family to love and take care of. She made it a goal to focus on passing her FE Other Discipline Exam because she was working within the Water/Wastewater sector. Her journey was NOT smooth. It required hard work, time, focus, and the belief in herself that she could pass this exam, no matter how many tries it took her, she always believed she could pass it and eventually she did.
Take away number 1
Believe in yourself. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t pass. Take a break, go at your own pace, and keep trying. You can take this exam multiple times a year and eventually you will pass. Evidence: Everyone I know who kept trying did eventually pass.
After using so many different services and courses (including the DirectHUB course at the end), she realized that her preparation was just all over the place. She made a commitment to focus on just one resource at a time instead of jumping from course to course or from one practice portal to another practice portal. This made sense to me because building focus takes time. Getting used to an instructor, teacher or a course structure also takes time. Plus, using too many resources is overwhelming mainly because we do best by ultra-focusing on one task at a time.
Take away number 2
To enhance your focus, use one or two quality study resources at a time. Look for quality study resources rather than gathering a bunch of resources without considering their relevancy to the FE or PE exam. Explore different options and find a course or platform that works best for you. One where you truly feel like you are learning and understanding what is being taught. You may even find a course where you enjoy your FE preparation experience! One of the best FE exam tips to remember in regard to FE study resources is that less is more!
Look for a resource that’s “making things stick“. The course offered at DirectHUB ultimately allows her to “make things stick”.
Revise, revise, revise. Literally, after each attempt at this exam, she would revise her study strategy and pinpoint her weak and strong areas. We noticed she was making a lot of “silly mistakes”. We made this the number ONE priority to avoid or unlearn before dividing deep into new concepts or practice questions. She knew her strong, average, and weak areas well. Ultimately, she decided to focus on her strong and average areas with enough predictability by knowing if she could answer the majority of those strong and weak area questions right, she would pass.
Take away number 3
Look for feedback after doing practice tests, practice questions or even the actual FE exam. Use this feedback as a way to revise by reexamining and altering some of your study habits while having a good idea of your weak, average, and strong areas.
Lastly, she accepted that she was not going to know everything. No one does and no one ever will. What was possible was her trying her best to go through the majority of the course practice problems, one practice problem at a time, with a goal of understanding the basic concept involved and ultimately recreating her own solutions.
Here are a few other interesting tips and strategies I learned from her:
- She slowed things down by ALOT. She would make a lot of silly mistakes and she noticed it was because she would just move too fast. So, she relied on the GIVEN, FIND, SOLUTION problem solving strategy taught in the course and deliberately made it a priority to write down important variables, units, and the equation before plugging anything into the calculator.
- She started to take more breaks and did her best to maintain a balanced lifestyle with her husband and kid. This allowed her to refresh and not always think about this exam. On top of that, these breaks gave her body and mind the time to take in all the information she learned.
- She was comfortable with the NCEES Handbook 10.1 forward and backward and knew how to find and use the equations in it. Knowing the handbook and using the problem-solving strategies she learned in the course allowed her to have enough time to search and work through problems on topics I’d never seen before.
- She took her exam with a “whatever” attitude or “I’m going to try my best” attitude. She honestly said she only took it because she did not want to pay the rescheduling fee and thought she would fail. The day before her exam, she said she slept so well because she felt at ease. So, she went in there thinking “oh well, whatever happens is ok, I’m used to this”. This did wonders! Well, we think mainly because she got good sleep, she was not too stressed, and she wasn’t so nervous while taking the exam. Sleeping, resting, and unwinding before your exam can be a huge determining on how you will perform on exam day. Don’t take it for granted.
You may find her experience relatable to yours. Her FE exam experience was definitely eye opening to me. To say the least, I am inspired by her commitment, persistence, and belief in herself.