4 Reasons Why You will Fail the FE Exam
If you are anything like me, you have no problem tackling a task with little to no info and just running with it.
Sometimes you probably don’t even know what the goal is in doing it; you just truck along hoping everything will just work itself out.
I think you know what I am talking about, this is just our nature as Engineer’s.
We like to take on undefined problems and develop them in to something that is tangible and usable.
Many times though, diving in head first can be devastating to our projects success. By failing to plan, or semi define the process, we end up running into seemingly minor obstacles that turn in to huge roadblocks.
This is bothersome to me, as I know many amazing engineer’s that simply aren’t realizing their true potential because they refuse to employ basic planning.
If we can define up front what these minor obstacles are going to be, then I think we are well on our way to eliminating these momentum killers altogether, further taking our preparation to the next level.
So that’s what we are going to be doing today, defining the 4 reasons that I see all too often contributing to aspiring engineers failing to be prepared when we walk in to the FE exam on test day.
1. We’re not seeing any results
The process of preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam can be long and demanding. It is more of a marathon rather than a sprint to the finish.
This is something we aren’t used to. We are a bred in this day and age to be comfortable with cramming, sometimes the night before, and taking the exam.
With this mode of operation, we see results from our studies quick (whether good or bad) and continue to infuse the process deep in to our mindset until it feels natural.
Seeing results quickly while preparing for the FE exam is not going to happen.
We aren’t used to this slow methodical process of preparing for a test, and it can quickly become an obstruction holding us back from clear thinking if we don’t confront it upfront.
One trick I learned while studying is to map out your personal path for success.
Write down the steps you think it takes to get to where you want to go, and you’ll see you are in the beginning stages of something big.
Seeing the rest of the path (including your goal) on paper will definitely give you a boost to keep on keeping. The steps you outline will mimic the rate of turnaround you are used to, thus, improving your focus and overall productivity while you prepare.
Good news is…if you did your homework in the previous sessions, you have used the EITE Study Buddy tool to set up this roadmap.
2. We’re unsure what to do next
This happens all the time to me.
I start a project, only to get to a point in my development where I suddenly hit a wall, wondering what the next logical step is.
Before I learned the hard way, I would shy away from asking for help.
Don’t fall in to this trap. You will, and I am sure you have, just spin your wheels wasting precious time that could be spent doing something productive.
Use your resources to your advantage…fellow students, work mates, EngineerInTrainingExam.com, whatever you feel can be useful, just don’t sit there and be stubborn, if you hit a wall, ask for help.
Also revisit your map to success as defined above and see what the next steps are.
Remember, this is a marathon, take one step at a time.
3. We just don’t care anymore
Here’s something that is a little bit more intimate.
For whatever reason, at some point while studying, we will lose site of why we are working so hard; we will flat out quit on ourselves.
Maybe it’s from the combination of work stress and studying for the exam, or maybe we are just tired and stretched thin with other life commitments.
Whatever it is, I am here to say you must push through, here are some ways to put the fire back in to your studies:
- Go back and remember why you began studying for the exam in the first place. I know it was personal at the beginning, so make it personal again. Maybe it was to provide your kids with a better life, or as a way to gain that highly sought after promotion, for the sake of your success, revive that fire.
- Read a motivation essay. I personally love to read stories of people overcoming adversities. It brings me back down to earth and really puts things back in to perspective. Most all times, things really aren’t as bad as you think they are.
- Display your favorite quotes in your work area. A simple quote helped me succeed a huge sports feat in college. While I was struggling physically, I just kept telling myself “Pain is temporary, Pride is forever”.
- Talk to someone. Once again, don’t clam up, if you are losing motivation, reach out. Email me personally, I want to see you succeed.
- Give yourself a reward. This might sound a bit odd, but what I am really saying is give yourself a break for working so diligently towards your goal. Take a night to spend with your significant other, or catch a movie, go golfing, hit the bars. Whatever you got to do to reset that mindset, do it.
4. We lose hope
I remember when I was studying for the FE exam, one of my buddies received his results from NCEES and learned that he failed.
This was a huge set back for me, I looked up to this guy and thought he was way smarter than me. I didn’t quit studying, but I was for sure set back mentally. I lost hope that I could pass the exam, and it took some time to regain my focus.
Everyone lives with a certain amount of self doubt, it’s just human nature. Have you heard the saying “One positive thought outweighs 100 negative thoughts”?
There is nothing more important in life than recognizing the power of positive thinking.
There’s a quote by Rhonda Byrne that wraps this whole theory in to one sentence. “We are like magnets – like attract like. You become AND attract what you think”.
That’s it; you are what you think you are. This can be either constructive or destructive. Let’s practice the former, you are extremely talented, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t.
How to Take it Further:
I hope you realize that uncovering upfront the reasons why you will fail will only lead to a greater rate of success in your studies.
For your homework this week, I want you to do some simple reflection.
Think back on a time when you had run in to any of these obstacles. What happened? How did you respond?
There are going to be times when you think you had failed to respond, but there are also times when you are going to say that you succeeded in your response. Dwell on those.
Harness the steps that you took and place them front and center for you to call on when you run in to that obstacle in your FE Exam studies.
Until our next session, Good Luck and take care of yourself and your loved ones!
Justin Dickmeyer, PE