Passing the Fundamentals of Engineering or the FE exam is one of the best ways you can set yourself apart from other Mechanical Engineers. There are multiple FE exams for the various disciplines like Electrical, Civil and Mechanical Engineering but this article focuses specification on the Mechanical FE Exam. As a student passing this exam gives you an opportunity to convey self-motivation, upward thinking and competency to prospective employers. You can take this exam even before you graduate which is a huge boost to your employability chances.
Most employers agree that students who clear FE exam before they graduate tell about how well educated and career driven they are. It also highlights that they are prepared for a full-time opportunity after graduation.
If you plan to become a professional engineer or PE, it is mandatory to pass FE exam. After passing the exam you will become engineering intern also known as an Engineer in Training or EIT.
Tips to clear the Mechanical FE exam before graduation
Take the exam at the right time
Most students who clear the exam before graduation agree that the best time to take the exam is in the beginning of your graduation semester. If you are graduating in the summer, then start studying in December and take it anytime in between January and March. If you are graduating in the winter, then start studying in August and take the exam anytime between September and December.
Engineering subjects you need to review
As you will be taking the FE exam before your graduation it is most likely that you will have taken the majority of the classes you need to pass the exam. The main classes that you will need to have completed include, Thermodynamics, Machine Design, Fluid Mechanics, Statics, Dynamics, Calculus, Geometry, Linear Algebra, Kinematics, Materials, Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Heat Transfer and Machine Design. Many mechanical engineering degrees do not cover all of these topics, but luckily you can supplement with study materials from FE exam prep companies.
There are other subjects that are most likely not covered by your mechanical engineering degree, which you will also need to learn for the FE exam via study materials from FE exam prep companies. These subjects include Probability, Measurements, Instrumentation, Controls, Engineering Economics, Ethics and Computational Tools.
Best way to study for the exam
The best way to prepare for the FE exam is the use of a study guide and a practice exam. There are only a few study guides for the mechanical FE exam, so it should not be too hard to select the one that best suits your budget and study habits. The practice exam will help you to be familiar with the format of the test and style of problems used on the exam.
The Holy FE Exam Reference Handbook
An extremely critical resource helpful in clearing the FE exam is the FE exam reference handbook made available for free to students. It is a 300 page PDF handbook of equations from all engineering disciplines. This handbook contains all the formulas, equations, constants and other relevant subject matter that you need to solve the majority of the 110 problems on the exam. You will not be allowed to take in any materials into the exam, so this handbook is made available. You should study with this handbook, which is available for free on the NCEES website. Go through the practice exam and study guide with this handbook, so you become familiar with the handbook and how to use it to solve the actual FE Mechanical exam problems.