Prepineer Digest 008
FE Exam schedules that suck, resultant forces, burning out and a student success
It’s hard not to notice all the 2021 predictions swirling around us right about now, well, here is mine.
I believe a whole lot of you are going to pounce on the opportunity and have a breakthrough year – and the fact that you are reading this sentence, I’m willing to bet you’re one of them.
The challenges we collectively faced in 2020 made us stronger, more resilient, more creative…even if you don’t realize it yet. There was a moment of pause for the nation, but adjustments have been made and the opportunities are still sitting ripe for the taking.
This is your time to shine, I really believe that. But it’s only going to happen if you truly give yourself a chance by taking the first step.
At Prepineer, we are committed to helping you do just that, providing a stream of resources designed to guide you forward with clarity and confidence.
We will continue to prod you, providing you useful resources – but the action lies within you.
I hope you take that step, my friend, we are here for you.
Justin Dickmeyer, PE
What’s featured in this weeks digest
In this Prepineer digest, we are diving deep in to some of the more important components of exam prep, inching you forward, one brick at a time, towards FE Exam success – here is the rundown:
- We start off discussing a reality most of us won’t accept: Your schedules suck
- Need some reps in practice, we’ve got you covered, walking you through a practice problem in Statics: How do you find the resultant force of a system of forces?
- Are you crippled by the day to day ebb and flow of energy and burnout? We dive deep in to some outside the box approaches to making sure you escape unscathed each time you study: I am burning out preparing for the FE Exam, what should I do?
- After 5 failed attempts, shouldn’t you just give up? Bonnie didn’t think so, we dive in to her inspirational story of all out belief: The inspirational journey of Bonnie Mancuso
Click where you’d like to start, or check out each resource individually, whichever way you go, enjoy!
Our schedules suck
Welp, that’s the click baitiest title of all time, isn’t it?
Nah, our schedules suck – that’s it.
Let’s be real, we are on record for being the most horrible estimators of all time. But it’s not any one of us individually, the big shot estimators who are supposedly “educated” in this realm fall right there beside us in sucking.
I mean seriously, we see example after example in construction where they announce that a certain project will be completed on a certain date, only to end up being completed much (much) later – these are the “pro” estimators, and yet they can’t even get it right.
It’s not that the contractor was incapable (though most won’t hesitate in pointing the finger), it’s just a reality, we are not good at estimating how much time it is going to take to get a certain task done.
Think about it, when we sit to schedule out for a major goal of ours, we are often drawing out a best-case scenario to getting it complete. This is all good, I mean, Barney the purple dinosaur told us to be positive, so we are being positive – but we aren’t being real at the same time.
There is no utility in being positively naive.
In the midst of any pursuit, there will be things that come up which bump us off our intended route. Nothing long term plays out as the perfect utopia we initially envisioned that it would.
I believe that when it comes to tackling the major goals of life, schedules that stretch weeks and months in to the future are nothing more than hoop dreams on paper. There is no telling what is going to happen within that period of time.
Heck, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen 15 minutes from now.
This past weekend, I told my wife that I was headed outside to mow the lawn and that I would be done in an hour or so – 2.5 hours later, I came strolling through the door…and that’s just mowing grass.
We are just plain horrible at estimating time.
Studies show that we are often 2 times or more off on our initial estimates on how long it will take to complete a task – 2 or more times!
So that’s a good thing to remember wives, when your husband tells you he is headed down to the store and will be back in 15 minutes, you can expect to see him no less than 30 minutes from that point.
And husbands, when your wife tells you she is headed over to Target and will be back in an hour, you can expect…actually, scratch that, no trip to Target lasts less than 4 times the estimated time! 🙂
Now what point am I trying to make here?
When students come in to Prepineer, I recommend a minimum of 90 days of study time for the FE Exam, and preferably, like to see them give themselves closer to 110-120 days before the big day.
But how can I be so confident?
Bottom line is, I can’t – and that’s after more than a decade of helping engineers just like you prepare for this exam.
I can only recommend something that is relatively conservative yet reasonable at the same time, the journey is yours, you need to take control and build in time for the unforeseen obstacles that will surely arise.
Once your schedule is set, be ready to constantly adjust it on the fly.
Don’t be married to it and allow it to discourage you if it isn’t playing out as you had planned.
Be comfortable with it ever evolving, after all, it’s time and events that are controlling the outcome, not you.
But I do have a suggestion to make the management of your schedule much easier – break the monstrosity of a schedule down in to smaller, more intimate milestones.
The smaller the milestone is, the easier it will be to estimate the time it will take to complete.
You’re probably still going to be wrong, but your wrong is going to be on a much smaller scale than it would had been otherwise, point and pivot from there and embrace the suck.
Don’t worry, we are all participants in this together.
How do you find the resultant force of a force system?
Without a doubt, aside from the pure Mathematics, the most broadly applied subject you will encounter in the practice of engineering is Statics.
The theories found within this subject are foundational to much of the material you will encounter in the areas of Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials, Fluid Mechanics amongst others – so with that, we need to get to work.
In this video, we dive in to a FE Exam Practice Problem in the subject of STATICS, specifically revolving around determining the RESULTANT OF A FORCE SYSTEM acting on a hook…this is PART 1 of 2 for this particular problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
[GUIDE] I am burning out, what do I do?
We will most certainly experience the ebbs and flows of energy as we prepare for the FE Exam.
But what happens when one feels tired all the time no matter how little progress they have made?
What happens when they lack enthusiasm or feel disengaged?
What happens when they are bored or unable to concentrate on the task at all?
This is certainly to be expected to some extent, but if the student is feeling like this at a high frequency, then…
It must be addressed.
In this Prepineer guide, we address all the important angles and strategies of ensuring you are not only progressing, but sustaining your drive and momentum.
Let’s dive in to it…
This week we close with a student success spotlight on Bonnie Mancuso.
They say that most successes come from simply not giving up despite the obstacles…and Bonnie’s story exemplifies just that.
After 5 attempts, thousands of hours in the books and having tried every single program she could find, Bonnie still had hope that one day she would succeed.
Here is her story summed up nicely.
I am so happy to have been part of Prepineer.
There are a lot of programs out there, and believe me, I’ve seen most of them all, and Prepineer hands down stands above them all. Through the mentoring, accountability, custom scheduling, materials, tools, and the private community forums, you realize you aren’t in the fight alone.
That’s what a lot of people need to hear and realize…they aren’t in the fight alone.
Thank you for putting together Prepineer, I wouldn’t be where I am without it. Keep up the great work, you are impacting so many in a positive way.
I talk with many highly talented individuals who are in this same exact scenario right now.
Multiple failed attempts has led to a lot of discomfort, fear and doubt in what the road ahead has in store for them.
But my message of encouragement is always the same – if you can find just one person out there who was in your same shoes and was able to make it through, then you can do the same.
This goes for anything in life.
Despite how you feel today, just know, anything is possible – you just have to believe again.
Until we meet again my friend, may God bless you and your family! 🙂