This is a comprehensive guide to help you find more time to study for the FE Exam (hint: you have more than you think).
Initially, I went in thinking the whole process of preparing for the FE Exam was going to be like any other exam I had taken up to that point.
Little did I know how far off I was.
Exams (historically) vs the FE Exam
From the moment we stepped onto the playground for Kindergarten and all the way through college, we had a set structure put in place around us.
- We had teachers walking us through the material we needed to know.
- We had peers that we worked alongside while completing assignments.
- We had a clearly lined out day that allowed us to tune our attention where it needed to be for some finite amount of time.
But no longer is this the case – this is the first thing you must understand and accept.
- We have no teachers telling us what we should be studying.
- We (likely) have no peers working alongside us.
- We don’t have our days structured in to a predictable routine.
But this doesn’t need to mean endless struggle that ultimately ends with you giving up on your dream of becoming a PE.
At Prepineer, we are here to help you understand the unique challenges of this exam and give you the tools and guidance needed for a successful run.
So with all of that, let’s find you some more time to study for the FE Exam.
Find more time to study for the FE Exam
One of the first things we suggest to our students when they join Prepineer is that they complete a full audit on where they are currently spending their time.
Some will scoff at the idea (I was one).
But when an honest effort is put into the exercise, it results in a clear understanding not only of where time is being spent but empowers you with an ability to change it all in a single moment.
Understanding where time is being spent and taking accountability for it has time and again been THE thing that has pulled a student from a position of defeat into one of clarity and hope.
That’s not an overstatement.
This is my desire for you, to walk away understanding how you can go about implementing this process into your own life.
I want you to move forward confidently understanding that the possibility of preparing for and passing the FE Exam is not only doable, but it’s doable now.
Let’s take a walk through the process.
1. Buck up
First things first.
We aren’t going to get anywhere unless you are willing to take accountability for whatever is revealed through this process.
In a world where pride and ego are put on a pedestal while humility and integrity are kicked to the curb, getting anywhere in life is going to require that you buck this trend.
This is easier said than done.
No one is comfortable being the one swimming upstream against the current of vulnerability.
But that’s the cost of entry when it comes to preparing for and taking the FE Exam (or tackling any major undertaking in life).
Much of what we think we know, we actually don’t, and that’s OK.
Missions never play out as originally planned.
Studying for the FE Exam is about being flexible and adjusting where you must to ensure you are making progress toward the ultimate end goal.
This is where it all starts.
2. The law of averages
Another thing I tell my students is that this process won’t work if you only give it a day or two.
It’s something that must be done religiously over the next week, at minimum, preferably over a 14 day period.
I am sure you would agree that life doesn’t look much the same day to day and even more so week to week.
So to get true results that can actually be of any benefit, playing out this process needs to be done over a period of time where everything can come to the surface and be vetted out.
3. Tools and tech
When I completed this process for the first time, my go-to set of tools were a simple pen and paper.
I’d write out the timestamp and record whatever I did during that period of time.
It was a lo-tech flexible way to make sure that I was carrying out the process no matter where I was.
However, with the number of apps on the market today, there are options if you decide you need a little tech in your life to benefit.
Here are a few I have used and have seen our students use over the years.
Toggl is a tool many of our students have adopted into their routines far past the point of this initial time audit.
A simple, yet powerful app that will give you everything you need to get into the weeds and identify where exactly you are spending your time.
As engineers, we love to lean into data, and visual data and reports is what you will get while using this app.
Another thing I really like about Toggl is the fact that you can use it seamlessly across your arsenal of devices, ensuring the convenience of logging your time whether you are on your phone, desktop or tablet.
A second tool that I have used to help track my time and increase my productivity is RescueTime.
Now I will admit, when I first started using this tool back in 2014, it was a free extension and provided me everything that it does today – but today, there is a cost (as low as $6.50/month).
So if you just want to use free tools, I don’t blame you, feel free to jump over the rest of this suggestion and in to the next section.
I like RescueTime because it leaves nothing up to the imagination.
As it runs in the background, it automatically logs your time usage.
You will get real clarity about where you are spending your time when you are working on a desktop.
Have a bad email addiction…you will know real quick.
Over consuming your friend’s Facebook timelines…again, you’ll know real quick.
At the end of the day, RescueTime is going to give you a report of where your time was spent, allowing you to discover where your focus is being robbed each and every day – oftentimes, without you even knowing.
Another really helpful feature is an option to block distracting websites either permanently or during designated periods of time set for focus.
This allows you no other option except to stay dialed in with the task at hand.
4. High and tight
Now, you can go about this whole time audit however you’d like, but I always recommend high and tight.
What I mean by this is that I work in tight 15 minute increments and log highly descriptive summaries of those increments.
This ensures that a few things will surface.
First, going high and tight allows you to really hone in on the deep trends, those activities you are likely doing in the micro-moments – maybe subconsciously.
This may initially seem unnecessary, but –
When you realize that the micro-moments can add up to be something much larger (real quick), it’s a level that can’t go ignored as it will likely present an opportunity to hack inefficiencies you didn’t even realize you had.
A second benefit to going high and tight is the opportunity to start cutting and implementing adjustments into your daily routine from the get.
Instead of waiting out the entire auditing process before you begin to make changes –
You can start chopping away at those obvious time sucks the moment you realize them, allowing yourself to become more and more productive over the duration of the process.
It’s a beautiful thing when you can open your log and compare what your day 1 looked like compared to your day 14, and see just how much more productive you became over that short period of time.
5. Stay true
If you are going high and tight, then you are going to experience a heavy shift in your productivity (and confidence) real quick.
It’s really hard to describe the feeling of empowerment that comes from knowing that you are in control of your own time – maybe for the very first time – but it hits hard.
Following through on this process and staying true to it after it all is said and done allows you to become hyper in-tune with not only how limited your time is, but clearly when those productivity killers begin to pop up.
This gives you the power to cut them at the onset rather than allowing them to bake into your day-to-day.
What is the best way to study for the FE exam?
Taking yourself through this process is going to open up a whole new reality.
It’s going to shine a light on exactly where you are spending your time so that you can’t get away any longer telling yourself that you don’t have time.
You do have time, you are just choosing to spend it doing other things.
And that’s OK.
But truth is, most won’t pursue the FE Exam because they will continue to tell themselves that they don’t have enough time.
At Prepineer, we have put together a proven system of coaching and curriculum that has helped even the most challenged individuals pass the FE Exam.
Learn more about how Prepineer is the best way to study for the FE Exam and get started for free.
In Prepineer you will:
- Get a real coach who knows how to get you to the finish line, despite your “lack of time”.
- A custom study plan that breaks down exactly where you should be spending your efforts.
- Proven curriculum that has helped even the most challenged find success.
Use Prepineer for 7 days free, with no obligations.
The heart behind why you want to find more time to study for the FE Exam
As we close out this guide on how to find more time to study for the FE Exam, I think it is only appropriate to touch on some common questions that gravitate within the realm of this whole discussion.
These won’t be all-inclusive answers, but where we need to be terse for the sake of space, we will link you to a further resource that you can dive in to.
So let’s get at it.
How long does it take to study for the FE exam?
At Prepineer, we have seen that most students will spend somewhere around 150-350 hours preparing for the FE Exam.
Those who fall at the lower end of this range are either still in college or had recently taken the exam.
So naturally, they won’t need as much study time as one who is getting after this for the first time, or after a long time away from the material.
Truth is though, there are so many factors that drive what this number will end up being.
To go deeper, we developed a Prepineer guide to help you gain some more clarity around what it will actually take for you:
What is the pass rate for the FE exam?
The NCEES keeps an updated tally of the number of individuals passing and failing the FE Exam over a single testing period.
Currently, for the total population as a whole, the FE Exam pass rate ranges from 35% to 83% depending on the exam discipline taken.
This is a wide range, and honestly, it’s not something you should rely on for a number of reasons.
These statistics account only for:
- Those who took the FE exam for the first time.
- Those who attended an EAC/ABET-accredited engineering program.
- Those who took the FE exam within 12 months of graduation.
I can tell you this much –
Of 100 students that come into our program at Prepineer, 95% fall outside one (or more) of these criteria.
So though it’s good to see that 83%, these stats are reflecting a population of individuals who meet the ideal testing characteristics of a candidate, not the mean characteristics as a whole.
So is the pass rate for the FE exam really 83%?
Or is it 35%?
Truth is, it’s hard to say.
So you can only do those things you can control, and that’s put in an honest effort to prepare your best.
Here is a resource that dives deeper in to the whole scoring process:
Is FE exam easy?
Well, if you are told it is easy, then hey, no big deal – wing it and get it done.
But, if on the other hand you are told it is hard, then what?
The problem with this question is that it’s subjective.
For the senior in college taking the FE Exam while fresh with the material, it may be “easy”.
But what about the individual who is taking the FE Exam after being out of college for a while, is it still “easy”?
Some would say yes, while others will struggle to get it done over multiple attempts.
So does that mean it’s “hard”?
See the dilemma is that everyone taking this exam are at different stages in their lives.
Some of us are good test-takers, others not so much.
Some of us can pick up the material fast, others not so much.
So is FE exam easy?
Maybe, maybe not.
Again, we can only control what we can control.
And in the context of the FE Exam, again, that’s an honest effort in preparing the best we can.
This leads me to the last question…
Can you pass the FE without studying?
The answer is yes.
Anything is possible.
But only you know how comfortable you are with the material that will be on the exam.
Only you know how good you are at taking tests.
Only you know if you have the time and money to throw at winging a full-day exam without it setting you back if you fail.
Can you pass the FE without studying?
But if you have any doubts at all, Prepineer is designed to help you get it done.
Final Thoughts on how to find more time to study for the FE Exam
Time is of the essence.
More now than ever, we will have distractions hitting us from all angles, prying us away from the very things we know we need to be doing to better our own lives both personally and professionally.
Many choose to go about life blindly hoping that everything will fall into place and complain about it when it doesn’t.
Keeping a tight audit on your time ensures that you are always taking accountability for where you are.
It ensures that you are running a tight ship as it relates to personal goals and aspirations.
It keeps you on the hook for your own actions, giving you ultimate control to maintain clarity and alignment with where you want to be and where you need to be.
Auditing will help you dial in your habits and daily routine, allowing you to become more resilient and sustain through challenges and fight procrastination.
When you are aligned and taking action towards your personal wants and needs, there will be nothing that can stand in your way.
You got this, we are here to help you get it done.
As always, with love, Prepineer
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