I didn't take the FE EIT during my senior year in college or upon graduation. BIG mistake. Then, four years later I found myself needing to take the FE EIT. I am a mechanical engineering graduate from a major public university and I had always taken tests well. I figured I'd brush up on some topics and then I'd take the exam. Needless to say, I failed the exam my first attempt. Looking back it was more of a hail mary than anything else. I didn't even know all the subject areas that were fair game. So for round two I would self study harder. Again I failed the exam. Now keep in mind I had not really ever failed ANYTHING in my life. This was a tough pill to swallow. So for round three I got serious. Let's face it, the FE EIT is not an easy exam. Any amount of time that passes since you had the particular subject makes it even worse.
In most states you only get 3 chances to pass the exam or you have to wait a year or more to retake it. Others require proof of formal upgrading or classes in order to retake. The pressure was definately on.
This is how I overcame 4 years of leaking mechanical engineering knowledge to get myself of the right track in order to pass the EIT FE.
After failing for the second time, I had to look long and hard at my approach. Self study was not going to work. I had heard of various test preparation classes and knew I'd have to shell out the money in order pass this test. After looking at several companies, I decided to go with Testmasters. The course cost just under $1000.00 for a months worth of weekends. It was sort of like paying to get your butt kicked. However, since I paid the money I wanted to get my money's worth. I didn't miss an hour of these review classes. The classes were held at a hotel which had a large business/conference room. They provided coffee and some breakfast snacks each morning. Class commenced are 8:00 and lasted until 5:00pm most days. If we finished early, the instructor worked extra problems. They employed a different person for almost every subject.
Get the EIT handbook reference guide prior to taking the course. You will need it and need to get comfortable where all the useful equations are located. Finding this information quickly is key. It is true that many answers to the FE are plainly located in the handbook, but if it takes you 4 minutes to find the answer, you have already handicapped yourself for the next question and are falling behind. You can only budget so much time per question.
Know your calculator's capability. The CASIO FX115 is solid. It can handle matrices with ease. The course will teach you how to do them quickly. Ask questions about this because I had no fewer than 4 matrix questions and all I did was input the data and know how to use the calculator. I had no concept of what I was actually doing. Easy points.
Skip it if you don't know it. I'm serious. Go with your first instinct on this. I easily skipped 5 straight problems until I got to a softball I could knock out. Even if you have a slight hesitation, skip it. Get the low hanging fruit and take those points to the bank. The time you feel you are wasting by reading the question and skipping it pales in comparison to just one question you end up wasting a bunch of time with.
Go General. The course covers all topics. You WILL have a working knowledge of every area. I took the specific Mechanical section during one of my failed FE attempts. Even after taking the prep course I am confident I would have failed the specific area had I chose to take it. General section equals general questions.
Math and Chemistry are key. Math is fundamental to all other areas. This is also where you can make up time. The math questions are straight forward, you either know it or know where to find it in the handbook or you don't. Chemistry seemed to have the most questions, and it will show up many times in both the morning and afternoon areas. I felt these areas gave me most bang for my buck.
Relax. I saw people getting up way before the morning session ended and thought I was going to fail (well I did fail twice) but then I learned some testing centers give other exams at the same time, not just FE so I had Surveyor examinees finishing their test way before my FE. I laugh now but I think that affected my concentration alot during test day.
Do as many examples as you can. I reworked everyone at least twice. The types of questions will be very similar, only the numbers change. Theory matters very little for the FE. Working examples matters very much. There will be misleading answers to avoid. For example, if there is a multipart question the answer from step one will be listed to make you commit early. Doing examples will assist with this and also identifying ridiculous answers that you can eliminate. Some problems can be done by just converting given info into proper units but you need to do examples in order to recognize this.
Things You Will Need
Casio FX 115 (A MUST)
A test preparation class (I couldn't have done it without one)
It wasn't easy. I sacraficed 4 weekends including all day Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday. It wasn't cheap. I paid for the course AND hotel stays since the closest class was 3 hours from home. I can't give you specific examples from the exam but hopefully the above insight will motivate you and prove that even if you fail (twice!) you can overcome and pass the FE. Seriously consider a test preparation course if it has been a year or more since you graduated or if you have previously failed the FE. You can do it. I had to work hard but when I received the notification that I passed, it was all worth it. Good luck!