With a little work, passing the Ohio Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is a stress-free process. The FE exam, previously know as the EIT, is challenging, but in FY 2011, 875 people passed the exam in Ohio with 1222 people taking the test. This is a 72% passing rate. For those sitting for the FE, the odds are in your favor to successfully pass the exam. Although the test may seem hard, particularly since there are subjects you may not have even had course work on the exam, there are some tricks to score well. As someone who passed the exam myself, here are some helpful tips that helped me to study and concentrate during testing.
- Take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam as early as possible. Each subject from undergraduate engineering courses is included. Although, the difficultly of the questions is not that great. You will remember the classes that you took better sooner rather than later. The FE exam is offered in Ohio each Fall (October) and Spring (April). The April FE test typically works out well with the timing of a spring graduation. You can take the test before you graduate if you qualify.
- Find the most convenient testing location. The exam is offered in the Fall and Spring in three locations including Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. It is also typically offered at Ohio Northern University each April. Pick the location where you would do the best. You will need a good night sleep and a relaxing drive in the morning to the exam. Map out a hotel, if needed, before the test, parking, and a place for a quiet breakfast.
- Study the FE supplied reference handbook equations. Some time ago the EIT test (now FE), was an open book test. Many people taking the exam spent too much time looking up equations for the problems and scored poorly because the did not finish. Eventually the EIT, now FE exam switched to providing all examinees with a reference handbook containing all the equations needed to answer the questions. The FE supplied reference handbook is available from the NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors.) for a fee before the test. It is the same handbook that is provided at the start of the examination. Know where to quickly find the equations in the FE sheets.
- Study the basics of every engineering subject, even the ones you did not take in college. For example, many civil engineering students did not have thermodynamics in college. This should not stop them from learning the basic equations of entropy and enthalpy. Learning the basic equations easily will net 4 to 5 correct answers.
- Learn the economics and probability and statistics section. This section is easy and gives you a chance to score 90 percent or above, which improves the overall score.
- Take a FE practice exam prior to the real examination. They say timing is everything and during the exam, it is certainly true. You will only have minutes to answer each question. A practice will help you learn how to pace yourself to finish on time, without rushing too much. The morning session has 120 questions and the afternoon session has 60 questions. In the morning testing focuses on general engineering problems for all disciplines. The afternoon test is specific for each area of engineering (electrical, mechanical, civil, etc). Examinees must move through the morning general engineering questions quickly. There is more time in the afternoon, but the questions are more challenging.
- Spend time with practice problems before testing. Examinees need to send in their paperwork to get approved to test well ahead of time. Use this as a starting point for solving practice problems. Brush up on the subjects you know well, but spend a little more time in the subject you know, but are difficult.
- Have the right supplies during testing. Currently the test is taken with pencil and paper. Have a small supply of pencils and erasers. You can have a calculator on the approved list. Check the Ohio PEPS website for the approved list. In 2014 the FE is moving to a computer-based test.