After completing 4 ( or 5) years of engineering life in college, one is ready to step out into the real world, holding the engineering degree in hand from a prestigious college, to show his calibre by working hard and making money. Most recent graduates usually think those 4 years of engineering are enough to set them right for the professional world, but maybe there’s more one must be aware of.
The Fundamentals of Engineering or FE exam is a comprehensive assessment of undergraduate engineering knowledge and experience. To become a licensed engineer, the first and foremost step is to attend and qualify for the FE exam. The National Council of Examiners offers this exam for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the discipline of engineering.
The importance and benefits of the FE exam
The FE exam is offered at NCEES-approved testing centres throughout the year. The test, which consists of approximately 110 multiple-choice questions, is a 6-hour long computer-based exam that ultimately helps assess your engineering knowledge.
Although the certification is vital, many engineers choose not to pursue it because they believe they will never need it. Even though you have scored great marks, it isn’t enough to be a licensed engineer. To get sought out by potential employers, one must keep in mind that one has to be competitive and dedicated to the job. So, passing the FE exam is of great help if you aim to get a job right after graduation.
Those who wish to take the FE must first register on the NCEES website. And you should check with your respective state licencing boards to see if they have any extra requirements as each state has its own set of fees, education qualifications, and other licencing criteria.
A major tip that one must consider: the best time to appear for this exam is right after graduation, with right FE exam prep.
If we go in-depth, there are two exams that one has to qualify in to get a license in the future. As I have mentioned before, the first one is the Fundamental of Engineering exam, which is usually taken a right after graduation or even during undergraduate engineering studies. After passing the FE exam, you must work for at least four years under a professional engineer to be eligible for the Professional Engineering (PE) exam. And with attaining the PE license, you prove yourself to be a vital addition to the company and increase your earning potential in your professional career.
Ways to score well in the FE exam
After you register yourself on the NCEES website, as mentioned above, they will be providing you with a free copy of the FE exam handbook, so you need to give your total attention to studying this and get into it as soon as possible. Another thing you need to know is getting used to the calculator approved to use in the exam by NCEES, which you can check on the website. Furthermore, when you check through the NCEES specifications, you will notice that they give a range of how many problems are on the exam, and you will want to be dedicating the majority of your time until you get very comfortable with the higher density problems to ace this exam.
Knowing the strategy of the FE exam is important. This exam is broken into two parts. Also, time management is the key! You have a particular time allotted per problem, so how you get through the exam is in you. Let’s say you find an equation that isn’t available in the handbook. You can always flag the particular problem and solve it after completing the other equations. Moving forward with the problems is important instead of dedicating too much time to a single equation. But unfortunately, you don’t have this opportunity in the first part of the FE exam.
For those freshly graduated from college, it will be wise to take up the FE exam to increase your chances of getting hired by potential employers or maybe your dream company. Even if you happen to change your mind in the future, this qualification will still be a great addition to your resume.