Author Topic: Test experience  (Read 1156 times)

Kelly

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Test experience
« on: June 12, 2017, 07:43:48 AM »
Just finished up a few hours ago taking my FE exam for the first time, and I wanted to capture some thoughts I had during the exam. You sign a non-disclosure agreement saying you won't give away any questions or answers, and I haven't.  But I can say how well this book helped me prepare.  I used this exam prep guide, EITFastTrack.com, and I have some things to say about it as well.

First off, the test center.  Show up 30 minutes early.  I know, the instructions say 15 minutes early.  I did that and the first thing he said was I should have go there earlier.  The test center was smaller than I thought it would be.  The bathrooms were outside and down the hall.  Lockers were plenty big to store all my stuff.  There were only 18 lockers, which seems like not much.  They asked a guy in front of me who was taking a different exam for two forms of ID, which made me worry.  But the guy at check in told me for this exam you only need one form of ID.  they do allow you to bring a snack to eat during the 25 minute break, and I brought a Red Bull, some blueberries and a small bag of shelled walnuts.  Also, a Smart Water, for the psychological boost and hydration, if for nothing else.

The computer I took the test on was fine, adequate, no slow searches and I never had to wait for it.  The keyboard, mouse and screen were adequate.  One screen only, no double screen.  It was split and set up already with the reference manual on the left and the test on the right side.  The reference manual wasn't opened in Adobe Reader.  It was some sort of proprietary reader, but the search engine was adequate.  It's a 'display all occurrences' type of search engine, so if you typed a common word like 'amount' you got a list of occurrences as long as the screen.  You can't use 'alt-F' to search, like you can in Adobe Reader.  Instead, if you hit 'alt-F' it flags the question for review when you're done with the section.  My one complaint about the split screen format is that the appearance of a page of the reference manual was smaller and lower resolution than if I'd had the actual paper in my hand, and there's no excuse for that.   There were times I had to use the 'expand' feature to get a clear view of an equation or a detail in the reference manual, and with the limited time I had, those lost seconds expanding and restoring the reference manual were an irritating loss of time.

The math section was first, and it was, for me, the most intimidating part of the exam.  Nearly half of the questions were disquieting for me.

On my exam it was a 57/53 split, meaning I wasn't given an opportunity for a break until I'd completed and reviews the first 57 questions.  So given 320 minutes for all 110 questions, that's 2:45:00 for the first 'half' and 2:35:00 for the second half, and that's just what I took.  Time flew during the exam.  Flew.  It was slightly disturbing.  I did every test in this test guide, and timed myself during the practice tests.  I didn't take that long on any of them.  But on the real exam I took all the time I had, and had very little time to spare.

I believe many of the test questions in this preparation guide aren't as hard as many of those I saw on the exam.  The hard questions on the real exam are only a little bit harder than the hardest ones in these practice exams, but the easy questions on the actual exam, the 'simple lookup questions' aren't as easy as the easy questions in these practice exams.  I still believe strongly in this method, and these practice questions were great at forcing  me into the reference manual.  I believe in studying for the test rather than trying to relearn the meat of the material.  You either learned this stuff already, and it's back there in your brain, or it's not.  Either way, learn the exam and the reference manual and just what you need for the questions.  Also this test prep book force me to learn, or relearn terms and their meanings. 

The ethics and safety questions were easy.  No reason to miss any of those.

Chemistry questions were easy for me.

Statics and dynamics questions were harder, I think, not by an order of magnitude, but harder than the questions in this guide.

I was surprised by the difficulty of the thermodynamics questions. 

On the first segment of the exam, 57 questions for me, I had time to review.  On the second segment I hoped I'd get some easier questions, but I got bogged down on a couple, and only had the last 10 minutes to review.  I know I changed at least one of the review questions from wrong to right.  But the whole time-management thing was so true.  On many questions, even though I knew, solidly, how to work through the problem, I took longer than I would have liked because the problem had so many steps.  On some chemistry questions I had to look up atomic weights for several different elements, then plug them into the problem.  It just took time, a lot of time.  Time flew.

I won’t learn whether I passed the exam for 7-10 days.  I’ll post again when I get results.  But my initial feeling is that this exam prep manual does a good job of preparing you, but you can do still more prep once you’ve finished the five practice exams.  And also don’t get an impression that the time you take on the practice exams is representative of the time you’ll take on the real exam.  You’ll take the whole 5:20:00.

Here was my exam prep plan:
FE Test Day Checklist:

Eat eggs for breakfast - protein - to stay feeling full longer, and not get the munchies
Get a coffee for the drive to the test center.  Not decaf.
Wear comfortable clothes.  You’re not applying for a job, and your grade won’t change if you are in running shorts, sports shoes and a t-shirt.  They’re proctors, not hiring supervisors.  You don't need to impress them.

Empty your pockets.  Bring only an ID & calculator
Leave your phone in the car.

You’ll get a locker where you can put personal items before entering the test room.  You are not allowed to bring food or beverages into the test room, but you can leave them in your locker and eat them during your 25 minute break.  Plan smart & bring food that won’t make you sleepy.

I am bringing these things in a clear ziploc bag:
-a pint of blueberries - brain food, & they’re so good.  No refrigeration needed.
-a Red Bull - duh
-small ziploc bag of shelled walnuts - also brain food & won’t make you sleepy
-a bottle of smart water - for the placebo effect

They’ll give you a laminated blank booklet to use as scratch paper.  Ask for two.  It’ll save time later.  I use lots of scratch paper.  I did indeed use all of one booklet and started on the second.

Think of the FE as two exams: one before your break, and one after, since once you submit the first set of questions you can’t go back to them.

Timmy_s123

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Re: Test experience
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2017, 07:49:51 AM »
wow,, thanks for your experience!  I've been preparing the last 3 weeks and I'm starting to get scared to death!

Shelly_Brouton

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Re: Test experience
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2018, 09:16:10 AM »
I loved hearing about your experience! I'm pumped now.  :-*

Kevinator

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Re: Test experience
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2018, 09:29:35 AM »
this will be my 3rd try.   I'm studying, not really sure why I suck at tests.  :(

The testing center is ok, just know how to do tons of problems. 


yoda

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Re: Test experience
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 11:55:55 AM »
I like hearing about this too.   I came form the reddit site  someone posted about this forum helping them. I need all the help I can get.

Steviewonder

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Re: Test experience
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2018, 12:17:47 PM »
Was it mainly a race against the clock most of the time.?    if we had all day, we'd all pass!

johnnyzx

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Re: Test experience
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2018, 12:40:39 PM »
the testing center was a nightmare the first time I failed.    It was hard finding a parking spot and there were weirdos everywhere.  There's also a locker where you put EVERYTHING from your pockets in there during the entire test.  I needed my contact lens!   horrible first experience.