A guide Alternative Item Type (AIT) Problems
This page is intended to be a living Master Resource Page for the Alternative Item Type FE Exam problem types which began to be implemented in July of 2017. We will continue to add materials and practice problems for you to review and reinforce your skills in performing on these types of problems come exam day. Bookmark and come back often to get the latest updates.
What is this FE Exam Alternative Item Type (AIT) all about?
There is fairly monumental change that came to the FE Exam back in 2017, are you on top of it?
Many aren’t…and even more don’t even know what it is, so let us break it down for you.
On July 1 of 2017, at the very moment that we would had rather been cracking the blue ribbon on an ice cold Pabst, the NCEES introduced a completely new testing component to all Computer Based Testing Exams, that being the FE Exam and the FS Exam (and to be on each PE Exam once they are computer based).
This new testing component is referred to as ALTERNATIVE ITEM TYPES…or AITs if you want to be one of those fancy people.
AIT, got it…so what’s that all about?
AITs are questions that fall outside the traditional multiple-choice questions we are accustomed to working.
These question types will include:
- MULTIPLE CORRECT OPTIONS which will allow for multiple choices to be correct.
- DRAG & DROP which will require test takers to click on and drag items to match, sort, rank, or label.
- POINT & CLICK which will require examinees to click on part of a graphic to answer the problem.
- FILL IN THE BLANK which will provide a space for you to enter a response to the question
The NCEES has also reserved room to scale past and not just limit itself to these four new problem types.
So the question is, Are you ready?
Did you know about this change?
That these types of problems actually existed?
Good, Bad, blah?
Drop us a message or ask any questions you have using the live chat box or comment below!
As Always, with Love, Prepineer.
FE Exam AIT Workshop Replay
Alright, let’s get in to some practical practice when it comes to executing on these AIT type problems.
In this video, we get you dialed in on what exactly is an AIT, and more specifically, what certain types of AITs will look like. Over the course of the video, we solve 5 problems touching on each of the individual categories: DRAG & DROP, MULTIPLE CORRECT, POINT & CLICK as well aw FILL IN THE BLANK.
FE Exam AIT Practice Problems
Below is a section of practice problems developed by hand, from scratch, with the intent to help you better prepare yourself both mentally and practically for what you should expect when you encounter Alternative Item Type (AIT) problems on the day of your exam.
Click on any of the links to view and work each problem.
[MULTIPLE CORRECT OPTION] FE EXAM AIT MATHEMATICS PRACTICE PROBLEM
[DRAG & DROP] FE EXAM AIT SAFETY PRACTICE PROBLEM
[FILL IN THE BLANK] FE EXAM AIT CHEMISTRY PRACTICE PROBLEM
[FILL IN THE BLANK] FE EXAM AIT MECHANICS OF MATERIALS PRACTICE PROBLEM
There is more to come so check back often.
Frequently asked questions
When we set off on any journey, it’s standard that a lot of questions arise…and setting your sites on the FE Exam is no exception.
With the new Alternative Item Type problems making there stay permanent on the FE Exam, naturally, we are going to have more.
So with that, we tackle some of the most common questions we get coming in to the Prepineer headquarters with the hope that you will be more informed and confident as you pursue your studies.
So now that we are dealing with questions that will call for us to answer correctly using multiple variables, are we going to be getting partial credit?
Fair question, and yes, this is how it went down in college, in elementary school, heck…even in preschool, right?
Is this going to happen?
The FE Exam has always been a “you either get it or you don’t” kind of exam…and that’s not going to change.
We dive in to more the details as they relate to this specific question here:
With the new Alternative Item Type problems now a reality on the FE Exam, many students are coming to us and asking how many they can expect to see when they sit for their exam.
The short answer, we have no clue…as we are still awaiting some real life data points to come in from the trenches.
However, the NCEES has given some indication on what we can expect to see.
We dive in to more the details as they relate to this specific question here:
In theory, no, the new AIT FE Exam problems will not be any harder than the traditional Multiple Choice single answer problems that we are accustomed to seeing on the FE exam.
Without any hard data to back our stance, but experience in creating the material to prepare for this exam, we feel that they will actually be easier if we can just wrap our minds around how they will be presented and how we can efficiently execute on the concept at hand when asked to do so.
We take a more in depth look at this question here:
Are the new AIT FE Exam problems going to be more difficult?
Yes, it’s definitely a possibility that you will get a “more difficult” FE Exam with the new Alternative Item Type (AIT) problems, but honestly…
It doesn’t matter.
Whether or not you are getting the “more difficult” AIT problems or the “more difficult” traditional multiple choice, single answer problems, the NCEES has set up measures to ensure that testing conditions are equivalent across the board.
We get in to the details and why “more difficult” is irrelevant here:
Is it possible that I will get a “more difficult” FE Exam with the new AIT problems?
With the new AIT problems stepping away from the traditional Multiple Choice, single answer option problems and adding a new, more complex, multiple variable element to obtaining a correct answer, how will the FE Exam passing rate be affected?
Fair question considering what we know at this point.
With the addition of these new multivariate AIT elements, the passing rate will take a hit too, right?
At the end of the day, the new Alternative Item Type (AIT) FE Exam problems will not affect the passing rate.
However, we do believe that it will affect the overall scores for those going in unprepared to see them at all.
Learn about what we see happening as it relates to the FE Exam Passing Rate here:
With the new open ended dynamic that the Alternative Item Type (AIT) problems will introduce to the FE Exam, one can expect that the overall duration of the exam will have some equivalent adjustment to ensure enough time to complete, right?
Well, actually no.
Despite the AIT problems (Multiple Correct Options, Point & Click, Drag & Drop, Fill in the Blank) inherent unpredictable nature to solving, as opposed to the more traditional Multiple Choice single answer option problems, we won’t be seeing any changes in the overall duration of the exam.
There will still be 110 problems, with approximately 10% of which will be in the new AIT format.
But what gives? We dive deeper in to this hot topic here:
Will we get more time on the FE Exam for the new AIT problems?
Remember the good old days of college when we could head in to a test and know exactly what was going to be on it because our friends took the same class the previous semester and dialed us in with the “need to know”?
Oh, the days of “faking it ’til you make it”.
So does this still go down?
Does knowing someone who just took the exam give us an “inside” in any way?
We get in to his life hack here:
Will I get the same AIT problems as my friend did on his FE Exam?
Although walking in to your testing facility on the day of your FE Exam may seem like you are turning yourself in for a prison sentence….it actually doesn’t have to be all that bad.
Yes, you do get shook down.
Yes, you do have to put all your belongings in to a locker far away from your desktop.
Yes, the doors are bolted shut as soon as that last bit of light dissipates from view.
Well, that last one was a bit of an over exaggeration, but the question remains.
Can you go out to your car at any point during the exam?
The answer is yes and no.
There are two defined breaks during your FE Exam: Scheduled Breaks and Unscheduled Breaks.
For your Scheduled Break, you will be able to leave the facility and do whatever you please for the time you are allotted.
For Unscheduled Breaks, you will not be able to leave the facility.
There are some caveats to each of these breaks and we dive in to them more in depth here:
It’s early and more content is being created, but right now here are a few suggestions:
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