Do you struggle to find time to prepare for your FE or PE exam with everything you already have going on in your life? Then this episode is for you! It lays out three actionable tips you can easily implement to make time to prepare according to your own needs and pass your exam once and for all.
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The Ultimate Civil FE Review Course – https://civilfereviewcourse.com
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Reach out to Isaac – [email protected]
FE Civil Exam Specifications – https://ncees.org/wp-content/uploads/FE-Civil-CBT-specs-1.pdf
PE Civil Exam Specifications (Choose Your Depth) – https://ncees.org/engineering/pe/civil-cbt
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Transcript of Show
You can get our transcript of the show below!
Isaac Oakeson: What is up, everybody? Isaac here with Civil Engineering Academy. Excited to be with you on another podcast episode. Today, we're gonna talk about how to make time to study for the civil FE or PE exam. This is a topic and a question I get often from students, or those that are busy parents, really. How to make time to study for these massive exams. And I get it. You know, we all have a certain amount of time in a day, and sometimes that's very difficult to find time to do this. But hopefully with today's tips that I share with you, that you'll be able to find time in your day in order to pass these exams. So it's gonna be a good one. If you're preparing for your FE or PE exam, then you're gonna wanna pay attention to this, because there's gonna be good stuff here. So with that, it's gonna be coming up right up after this.
Isaac Oakeson: All right, let's get right into it. So how can we make time to study for the civil FE and PE exam? So, my very first tip for you is to get your family, friends, and coworkers or colleagues all onboard with what you are doing. And what this means is, like, look, life is gonna move forward, right? Everybody's moving forward with their life routines, work schedules, taking care of kids. All of this stuff is gonna continue to happen. So until we take a step back and pause and we let these people know that we are going to prepare for this massive exam, and we tell them the benefits of that. Your boss obviously knows the benefits of you getting your PE or FE exam done. Your family should know as well, and you can explain those benefits to them. This is a massive milestone in your life, and it's gonna be a springboard to the rest of your career. And it's really gonna help launch it.
Isaac Oakeson: So the more that they know, the more that they're involved with this, you know, the more time that they will give you to prepare for this exam. So oftentimes, you know, if you're at work and you do tell your boss about this, oftentimes they will allow you to find the time to study at work for some of these exams. Or at the very least, have your books open on your desk, so when you do have a free moment, they know what you're preparing for and it doesn't look like you're not doing anything.
Isaac Oakeson: And then with your family, you know, once they know, they're onboard, then a lot of other things can shake out of that schedule. So you know, if you have kids, maybe there's an extra time that your spouse can watch the kids for an extra hour after work so you can prepare for this. And I know that's very difficult, but the thing here is that this is a sacrifice for everybody, right? It's not only a sacrifice for you as the person studying for this thing because your life's gonna be put on hold for quite some time, but it's a sacrifice for your spouse or others that are helping you along with this journey as well. So keep that in mind. If we're trying to make time to study for this, we need to let others that we are close with, including our colleagues or our boss and our family, all onboard with what this major milestone is in our life. So keep that in mind, as you are trying to make time to study for either your FE or PE exam.
Isaac Oakeson: All right. Tip number two that I have for you is that you need to get a schedule and start putting that thing on a calendar. I don't care if it's an electronic calendar or a physical calendar. However you work and function, it's important to get a schedule and put that on a calendar. So what does that actually mean? So what that actually means is that you need to take a good, hard look at the specifications. If you're taking the FE exam, go look at that spec. If you're taking the PE exam, go get your spec that you have. Go look at every topic that you have and start hammering out weeks that you will study that particular section. And put that on the calendar, okay?
Isaac Oakeson: Once you've got that down and you've figured out kind of how many weeks that you need -- Obviously, if the specification has a topic that goes into a lot more detail on a particular subject, you're gonna want maybe two weeks in that area. If you're taking the PE exam and you know you're taking water resources, you're gonna wanna block out extra time for your specific depth section. Even though the new spec is all blurred into one spec, there really is still, you know, breadth kind of questions and depth kind of questions. The first date sections are the same among all the specifications. And the same thing with the FE. You know, take a good, hard look at that and start blocking out items on your calendar, weeks at your calendar, of the areas that you're going to study. And that's really how you start forming a schedule.
Isaac Oakeson: The next step of that is to actually go into your schedule, go into your calendar, and start looking where you have fringe hours where you can block off time, or make time, and start filling those hours in with study time. Your time is very important. You know, we all have 24 hours in a day. And so you got to get in there, fill out the spots so you can make the time to study for this. And everybody's on board. If you need to share that with your family, your friends, your spouse, or whatever, share that calendar with them. Let them know when you are studying for this exam, because it's a doozy. The FE and the PE are both doozies. And so you wanna make sure you do that.
Isaac Oakeson: So take a look at this spec, get each topic on the calendar for how many weeks you think you're gonna need to study. If you've been out of school for a long time, you're gonna need more time. If you've been in school and you're gonna take the FE, then you're gonna probably need less time. So it really is up to you as the student. Same applies to the PE. If you've been in school and you're taking that right after the FE, probably need less time. If you're taking the PE and you've been out of school forever, you know, maybe you wanna lean towards like a six-month time frame, where you're really hammering these topics out, giving yourself flexibility in your schedule to study those things.
Isaac Oakeson: So getting a schedule, start putting it on the calendar is an extremely important tip to help you make time to study. You'll be surprised at the hours you can find to help prepare you for this exam. So take that tip as it's worth, and you'll start finding some hours in your day to really start blocking off, putting your specification on the calendar for which weeks you're gonna study, and then finding the hours in your day to really plug and chug. So go fill that out. It works wonders when you actually see something on a calendar and can make the progress to really study it during those times that you block off. So anyway, remember that. That's a good one.
Isaac Oakeson: All right. The third thing that I have for you is that you need to determine your weak points. So after you've looked at the specification and you've blocked out some time on your calendar, you know what you are probably good at, or at least better on, and you probably know which areas you suck at. So by knowing that, and you know where your weak points are, you -- This ties into that other thing. Once you know your weak points, we can add additional time to help prepare you to really do well on those weak points. Because you will need to get an answer on every single problem that they throw at you. Don't think that because you suck in a particular area that you don't need to study it. Even if it's a smaller area, you should definitely give yourself a chance to prepare for this exam by giving yourself the best possible chance. And that's preparing for all problem types that they give you.
Isaac Oakeson: So even if you suck at a particular area, let's say you're taking the FE and there's some parts in math that you struggle with, make sure you determine those weak points and give yourself additional time. So this ties into also scheduling your exam when you're gonna take it, as all exams now are CBT exams. So they're computer-based testing, and you've gotta schedule that thing. So make sure you've built some time in your schedule when you plan on taking this exam to allow for that flexibility. And you know yourself, you know which areas you're good at, you know which areas you're weak at, and make sure you're prepared for that.
Isaac Oakeson: Now to go along with that, some people might think, "Jeez, if I'm really weak in this area and now I've gotta crank this up, I gotta study eight hours a day." Which really isn't a reality for people. You're busy, you have work, you have stuff going on. Most people that study and prepare for the FE and PE exam are putting in one to two hours during the week and more on the weekends. If you're preparing for the PE, most people put eight to 10 hours on the weekends, because they have the time to do it. And FE is probably less than that, maybe half. So that gives you an idea of what typically people schedule their time around and how many hours that they typically need to prepare for the exam.
Isaac Oakeson: And that's exactly what I did when I was preparing. In fact, these tips that I'm sharing with you are things that I did personally. I remember when I was taking the FE exam, at my workplace I was an intern still. And when I told them I was preparing for the FE, they allowed me to study there. You know, they allowed me to do things to help me get to the point where I can prepare for the exam. You know, these are tips that I have taken personally and done in my own life. So definitely do that.
Isaac Oakeson: All right! So that's really it, everybody. Those are the three tips that I have for you to help you make or find more time in your day to help you prepare for the FE or PE exam. Those tips are, you know, things that you can carry with you to help you as you start this journey, no matter where you're at. Whether it's your first time or your seventh time taking this exam, those tips will always help you. So make the most of it, prepare, get a good schedule together, make sure everybody is on board with it. And I promise that you will be well ahead of the game in preparing to pass these exams.
Isaac Oakeson: And so, if you really wanna accelerate that and you wanna do it even faster, I always recommend taking our courses. We have the Ultimate Civil FE Review Course and the Ultimate Civil PE Review Course. Go check those out. You can find them at civilengineeringacademy.com. And if you feel like you just wanna go at it alone, that's fine too. We have tons of practice exams that you can check out as well at civilengineeringacademy.com. And we have a full, CBT exam simulator for the FE. We're working on one for the PE. But it's all there to help you ace your exams.
Isaac Oakeson: If you have any questions about this, definitely hit me up on email, [email protected]. I'm happy to help you on this journey to pass. And hopefully these tips helped you. So thanks for being here and we'll see you in the next one. Bye!
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