As the summer season is upon us, how are you maintaining your FE or PE Exam Prep Goals? Are you staying motivated and disciplined? Sticking to your Study Schedule? Getting distracted by the hype of summer and outdoor activities? I know personally as a contributor for Civil Engineering Academy, I have found myself a bit behind due to the warmer weather, birthdays, holidays, end of the school year, and the list goes on… It also takes me back to last summer (Summer 2022) when I was preparing for my PE exam which was scheduled in September. It made for a busy summer and forced me to be disciplined to stay on track with studying and exam prep. In today’s article, we provide some tips for preparing for your FE or PE Exams during the summer months.
1. Map Your Study Plan
Begin with the end in mind. Take your exam date and work backward to form a daily and weekly study plan. The Civil Engineering Academy curriculum and Ultimate Civil PE Exam Homework Planner are based on a 12-week (3-month curriculum). But maybe you need more study time, so determine a plan that is best for you. Also in the summer, there are a ton of fun events – vacations, beach trips, barbecues, family reunions, holidays, you name it! Be sure that your schedule fits in these events and a potential missed study day. A 12-week schedule is not 12 weeks of study time if you’re going to be hiking in Europe for 2 weeks. If you know that you are spending the summer doing extensive traveling, that’s great but consider beginning your exam preparation after your travels when you can consistently focus. The most important part is that you actually follow the plan. Do not count on being able to follow your study plan while you are traveling – there are too many unknown variables: transportation delay, wifi connectivity, not having all your exam resources, and different time zones. Trust us, just don’t! Enjoy your travels and then focus on your exam prep when you return home.
2. Know When You Are Most Productive
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Think about when you're most productive and able to focus on studying. Plan your study time and study schedule around the times you are most productive. Remember to think about lifestyle considerations. For example, maybe you have young kids and you really cannot focus on studying until after they've gone to bed, in this case, plan for 2-3 hours of study time later in the evening. Remember, you should be spending at least 2-3 hours each weekday and 4-5 hours each weekend day (so Saturday and Sunday) for several weeks practicing problems. Consistency is key! By scheduling your study time for the time of day when you are most productive, you will be setting yourself up for success.
3. ve Yourself Flexibility
Like we said earlier, summer is full of events, that’s what makes it fun. Inevitably life will get in the way of your exam prep. Maybe there's a family that has come into town unexpectedly, or an opportunity to go to the beach with friends or get dinner with relatives. Maybe you have last-minute travel for work or you have to head out of town abruptly for a family emergency. These life events happen and you may have to deviate a bit from your study schedule. You may miss a day of studying. And that’s okay, so long as you make up the time and let these deviations be the exception rather than the rule.
4. Enjoy some recreational time
Don't be afraid to take a study break and give yourself some time to enjoy the summer activities. Go for a bike ride, hit the beach with friends, go to a family barbecue. All of these recreational activities will recharge you and give you more energy to focus when you return back to your studying. After all, we are humans, not robots or machines, give yourself time for recreation and connection with family and friends. It is important!
5. Consider Rescheduling Your Exam
Let’s say you had a big distraction come up during your exam preparation period that was out of your control – may be a bad health diagnosis, an unexpected death, or maybe you just realized that you weren't as productive or focused during your study time. While all of us here at Civil Engineering Academy want you to stick with it and take your exam, we also realize that there might be a situation where you need to reassess your study progress and reschedule your exam. At the time of this writing, NCEES allows you to cancel your exam up to 48 hours before the scheduled exam time for a full refund less a $50 cancellation fee, but no cancellations are allowed less than 48 hours before the exam. More information and official policies can be found on the NCEES website linked here.
I would caution you though and remind you to really think carefully before canceling an exam. All of us have felt nervous before the FE and PE exams. Consider if your hesitation is due to nervousness or if you are truly or woefully unprepared. You can always learn something by taking the exam and seeing how it goes.
We are here to help you every step of the way toward becoming a licensed PE. The summer can be a time of distractions or fun recreational activities to break up your study time, how you handle the summer fun is up to you! These courses were the keys to success on my journey and I invite you to check time out at Check out Civil Engineering Academy Breadth and Depth Courses. We’ll see you there!
Do you have a topic or interesting project that you would like us to cover in a future blog post? Submit it to us here. We would love to hear from you!
Author: Matt Fanghella, PE, CFM
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