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Fundamentals of Engineering

Exam Strategy (Oneal@ncsu.edu)

National Examination
administered by the NCEES
(National Council of Examiners of Engineers & Surveyors)

twice a year - April & October 40,000 examinees per year

first exam towards licensure

(3 Es: education, experience, exam)

8 hour exam in two 4-hour sessions
AM session - common exam PM session - choose one of six discipline specific exams, or Other Disc.

AM General Topics
Problems are grouped together and exam index will show which problems belong to each discipline

Mathematics(15%) Elect. And Mag. (9%) Prob. And Stat(7%) Thermodynamics(7%) Chemistry(9%) Fluid Mechanics(7%) Matl Properties(7%) Engr. Economics(8%) Statics & Dyn.(10%) Ethics & Bus. Pract.(7%) Streng. Of Mat.(7%) Computers(7%) {Solid Mech.} ( ) - % of 120 questions on morning exam

Discipline Specific Exams

Chemical Engineering Civil Engineering Electrical Engineering Industrial Engineering Mechanical Engineering Environmental Engineering Other Disciplines (Advanced General)

PM Exam Decision
For topics covered on PM exam go to: http://www.ncees.org/exams/fundamental s/fe_exam_specs.pdf

Discipline Specific Exams have questions primarily from Junior and Senior level courses in the major discipline

Pass Rates of FE Examinees by Their Discipline and the PM Exam They Took, October, 2010 National Results for First Time Takers

Discipline of Examinee Chemical Civil Electrical Environme ntal Industrial Mechanica

Other D Exam 78% 71% 61% 67% 66% 80%

Chem Exam 83%

Civ Exam

Elec Exam

Env Exam

Ind Exam

Mech Exam

70% 68% 79%


Pass Rates of FE Examinees by Their Discipline and the PM Exam They Took, April, 2004
Discipline of Examinee Chemical Civil Electrical Environme ntal Industrial Mechanica l Gen Exam 85% 74% 65% 74% 48% 82% Chem Exam 85% 78% 77% 84% 71% 83% Civ Exam Elec Exam Env Exam Ind Exam Mech Exam


Discipline Specific or the General exam ?

If you are an IE, ChE, EE, CpE, EnE, BmE, CE, Const. Engr.& Man. it will be best for you to take a DS exam in the pm. If you are in an area that doesnt have a DS Exam, it is probably best for you to take the Other Disciplines exam (pm General).

If you are an ME, take the PM exam you feel most comfortable with. The relative advantage of the Discipline Specific over the Other Disc. (General) varies with time. If you have been out of school a long time, it may be easier to prepare for the Other Disc. pm exam.

Exam Points
180 multiple choice questions
120 1-pt questions in the morning 60 2-pt questions in the afternoon

240 total points !


Basic Exam Strategy

Pick the low hanging fruit in all areas Become very familiar with the Reference Handbook Be good at mathematics Answer all questions- guess if you must Read student comments about exam on E 490 web site and in Lindeburg

No penalty for incorrect guesses ! Statistically, guessing should give 25% correct answers. Guess!! Select an answer for every problem. Eliminate obviously wrong answers, then guess.


Texts for E 490

1. Course Pack buy it at Sir Speedy 2. FE Supplied-Reference Handbook- Free 3. FE Review Manual by Lindeburg New cost about $55 at sign-up night 4. DS Sample Questions & Solutions NCEES, about $40 at sign-up night. This is definitely worth buying

FE Exam Registration Process

See FE exam registration process handout (it is also on the course web site) 2 step process: A- Order your exam on-line from NCEES B- Register with NCBELS FE sign-up night-see course schedule for date

What to Bring to the Exam

Exam Authorization admitting you to the exam Photographic identification Calculator(s) and extra batteries Warm clothes cold exam room(?) Food, lunch


NCEES Calculator Policy

NCEES has approved the following list of calculators for use in the April and October 2012 exams :

Casio: All fx-115 models. Any Casio calculator must contain fx-115 in its model name. Hewlett-Packard: The HP33s and HP 35s models, but no others Texas Instruments: All TI-30X and TI-36X models. Any Texas Instruments calculator must contain either TI-30X or TI-36X in its model name. Calculators not included within the above descriptions are not permitted in the exam room.

Study Strategy
For Morning exam: Attend every E490 class. Preparation problems similar to those recommended by NCEES are in the E 490 course pack and will be covered in class. Work all problems using the FE reference Handbook.

For Afternoon exam: Learn to work all problems in the DS Sample Questions and Solutions or the General Exam booklet booklets published by PPI. Attend the DS review sessions if sessions are available. Take a practice test at ppi2pass.com/ppi/ecmain-a special price will be available 30 days before the exam; or for $10 at www.eitexam.com.
View some FE exam questions free at http://ncees.confex.com/creatinguser/register.html For further preparation, study the Lindeburg manual and sample problems. Work the FE style problems at the end of each chapter 17 using the Reference Handbook.

Typical Problem Set

for a morning topic with 12 problems:
2 may take under a minute to solve 4 may take 1 - 3 minutes to solve 3 may take 3 - 10 minutes to solve 2 could take 10 - 15 minutes 1 could take over 15 minutes !!!

spend most of your time on the under 3 min problems - low hanging fruit

Problem Triage
know exactly how to work,
so do immediately


need to think about how to work, so save till later have no idea how to work, so guess and go on with exam eliminate obviously wrong answers

Dont Get Stuck !!!

Handbook has units chapter (also contains conversion factors, constants) Handbook is in metric system FE problems are mostly metric (kg, meter, sec) but may have some U.S. Customary units(lbs, feet, sec)

Managing Fatigue
two 4 hour sessions + < 1 hour lunch May take short (5 min) breaks

bring favorite food & beverages replenish supplies during lunch break bring layered clothes could be cold


FE information on the Web: www.ncees.org information about passing rates, calculator policy exam dates, professionalism, brief practice exam, exam specs. www.ppi2pass.com FE review manual, take practice examination learn about examination www.eitexam.com take practice exams for $10 (not as good as PPI exam) . www.courses.ncsu.edu/e490/lec/001/ E 490 course web site- schedule, student comments, other stuff www.engr.ncsu.edu/students/profengr/

The last few exams contained difficult ethical situations. So get familiar with the two ethics pages in the Handbook Three Obligations To Society Employer and Clients Other Licensees Four general rules Be honest, tell the truth Be open, dont conceal information Dont practice in an area you dont know Dont accept money or gifts you dont earn Professions are self-regulating

Good Luck !!!