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Jun 21, 2021

Welcome to episode 10 of the Fire Code Tech solocast! In this episode, we share five tips for passing the Fundamentals of Engineering, Professional Engineering, or any other professional certification exam you might be interested in. With the fire protection professional engineering exam coming up in October, this episode is for those who are looking to refine their testing and studying skills. If you enjoy this podcast, don’t forget to check out five more tips on the Patreon-only episode at!



Hello. Welcome to the solo cast of fire code tech in these episodes. It's just gonna be me, your host, Gus Gagliardi. There's gonna be a range of topics, but I'm gonna talk about specific technologies, installation, standards, codes, and how they work as well as some other interesting topics that don't neatly fit inside of the context of a normal interview.

Hello wall. Welcome to episode 10 of the solo cast of fire code tech. On this episode, we have the F E and PE exam prep tips. So on this episode, I wanted to give some tips and tricks for passing the fundamentals of engineering exam and the professional engineering exam. So people are gearing up to study for the professional engineering exam.

And I wanted to give five tips in the free episode of the solo cast for how to pass the F E and the PE really both of these, all of these, uh, topics are interchangeable. For these exams, you're learning how to pass a test and how to study. And so it really, there are, uh, very similar things that you are learning how to do and practice.

Before we get started. If you could please be so kind to go, give me a five star rating on apple podcast. I would greatly appreciate it. Um, make sure you subscribe to all the episodes, so you never miss 'em and yeah. Thank you so much for listening. Um, I'm glad you guys are tuning in. I've been seeing a steady increase in listeners, so I'm really excited about it.

Also. Don't forget to follow us on social media. We probably post most consistently on linked. All right, let's get into the show. So my first tip for anyone taking the PE the Fe, or really any test for professional certification is to be very well versed on what the test material is based on. So the PE and the F Fe have syllabi.

So they will tell you the percentages, um, and weights of the different testing subjects. As a piece of background, I passed my Fe in 2018 and my PE in 2019 in October, the last paper exam. So I pulled these stats off the Fe website, but this is just some of the information that you need to become acquainted with when you're looking into, you know, looking at taking some professional exams.

So it says the Fe includes 110 question and the exam appointment is six hours. It goes on to say that there is a non-disclosure agreement that it will take it back. Approximately two minutes, a tutorial that's approximately approximately eight minutes an exam, which has about five hours and 20 minutes a scheduled break, which is about 25 minutes.

This is a high level overview. And you know, your exam experience might not take as much time. Is this, uh, I finished. Uh, really, you go at your own pace. You take your break at your own pace. Uh, you'll take the test at one of these Pearson view test centers, approved test centers. So you'll be in a room with people taking in different exams for, um, different professional certifications.

So I pulled the. syllabi for the Fe for other disciplines, fundamentals of engineering, um, exam for other disciplines, computer based testing. This is the one I took, the one I passed, but I just wanted do since our first topic is to be familiar with the material that test is based on. I just wanted to go over an example of what the Sy Bible say for what the test is based on.

So it says eight to 12 questions on mathematics. Six to nine questions on probability and statistics. Five day questions on chemistry, four to six questions on instrument, instrumentation and controls. Five to eight questions on engineering, ethics, and societal impacts. Six to nine questions on safety health in the environment.

Six to nine questions on engineering engineering, economics, nine to 14 questions on statics nine to 14 questions on dynamics. Nine to 14 questions on strengths and material. Strength of materials, six to nine questions on materials, 12 to 18 questions on fluid mechanics, six to nine questions on basic electrical engineering.

and nine to 14 questions on thermodynamics and heat transfer. So why I'm showing you this is because I want to, um, just basically show you that you can get a, an idea of what are the topics with the most questions, and then rank them in order from the highest percentage of your grade to pass and then study accordingly.

Don't spend all your time focusing. A subject that might only have six questions or less, um, or, you know, like a four or five question is not gonna be the bulk of your material. So study accordingly. Well, you know, why I want to talk about this is because, um, I believe in professional certification, um, there's a lot of good reasons to have professional certifi.

You know, in my career, I've seen a, a benefit to compensation and, um, you know, just having, uh, more respect at the company that I worked for as I've made progress, um, with certification over time, it's, it's been a huge, uh, tailwind for my career. And so I, I'm a huge proponent of people going and getting certified there's well documented statistics for people who get the PE and fire protection engineering and how that leads to about.

Uh, 10 to 20%, um, compensation bump, um, across the industry. So S F P E takes a survey of the engineers who are working now and at different levels of their career and releases a report on that, that you can pay for. I don't think it's too expensive to pick up, but it, it would be helpful if you were thinking about.

Making a job switch or wanting to make a case to your boss for increased compensation. But I just wanted to touch on that since it illustrates a concrete data that shows that people who are certified, um, are compensated more. And, uh, I think that in itself is a pretty good reason to go after some of these professional certifications, um, as well as letting everybody in the industry.

Um, that you are competent that you have the base level of qualifications in order to. Basically play ball in the architecture and construction industry in the United States. At least my second piece of advice is to, um, take a prep course. If you can spare the expense. I know that the F Fe prep courses and the FPE prep courses are expensive, but if you think of it as investing in yourself, And if you think of it as, um, getting the most out of your time for your studying, your time is valuable.

So if you can pass the test your first time, instead of taking the test, uh, three times, um, having to pay the fees each time having to study two, three months each time, if you think about it as a, an your investment of time and your investment of. In that regard, your, your time is worth a lot of money and that's career opportunity that you are not taking full advantage of by not grabbing these certifications as early as you can.

I took prep courses for the Fe and the PE. And, um, here's what I found helpful about 'em I, I really liked, um, that they would go over like an industry expert who does this on a yearly basis and gets, you know, a lot of times paid to do this will help you with common pitfalls, best practices. Um, they'll demonstrate the easy question.

So. Um, I always tell people that prep courses help you understand like common graph and chart questions and they might help you get some of the, you know, not technically difficult questions, but, um, they might help you with the fundamentals of a particular chart or graph or, um, portion of the subject that you're working on.

A lot of prep courses also will guarantee that if you don't pass the first time that you can come back and take the prep course again. So, you know, if you really do need some help, some extra help, and you have, you're struggling with the test material, then you will be able to, um, go through all your lectures and inform.

uh, second or, yeah, hopefully not a third, but a second time. Tip number three, take practice, time tests. This really, you know, uh, tip three and tip four are BA around. The same thing. That is my number one recommendation for people, um, tip for is do as many practice problems as you possibly can. The test is based on answering questions in both of these tests, the F Fe and, uh, fire protection engineering exam, and really any certification exam is.

Uh, how can you pass the test? And, and the test is made of questions. So no, no matter how much notes you take over the subject, you know, if you're not doing problems and you're not doing problems in the way that you will need to do problems for the exam. You're not spending your time, um, the most effective way possible in my opinion.

So I think that the number one way to increase your chances of doing well on exams is to do as many prep problems as possible. Um, as wide a variety, you know, a lot of times there'll be variants in how difficult some of the practice problems are. and so you need to do as many practice problems as you can.

I did for the fire protection PE exam, I, I did hundreds and hundreds of practice problems. I did every Myre fire practice problem you can think of. I did all his weekly sessions. I, you know, did the practice problems outta the book, the more practice problems you do, the more confident you're gonna be in your ability to do the test.

Tip three is take, um, time tests. So maybe I'll switch these in the show notes. Time testing is important because you know, if you're used to just doing the problems in a vacuum and not keeping in mind that on average, you have a, whatever it is two to two to six minutes to get these problems done.

There's usually it's less time usually planning on two to three minutes to get these questions done and move on. And generally. You wanna solve 'em faster than that. And then if you can't solve 'em you wanna circle back to 'em why practice tests is also important is. You know, one of the things to practice when you're timing yourself and doing these problems in similar sample sizes and sets that you will have on the exam is to practice the endurance of taking one of these tests.

So it's. It's mentally, you know, it's mentally and sometimes physically draining to, you know, sit for, uh, three hours, four hours, uh, and to buckle down and do these problems. So you need to practice this muscle so that when you get into the test time, you're not just absolutely floored by having to. Do this many problems and, and you're not unfamiliar with the process of doing a triage of sorts on the problems you can solve, the problems you can't solve and you going in for and spending.

The most time on the problems that you know, how to solve. And then circling back to the questions that are more difficult, that if you have time for, at the end, that you can, you know, double down and really try to see if you can answer them correctly. My last tip would be to plan to study. You know, don't try you.

Can't cram really for, uh, a fire protection engineering prep, or, I mean, fire protection, engineering exam, professional engineer exam. It's not gonna work. Uh, you know, I wasn't the best studier in college, but when I started having to really buckle down and, you know, for my professional development, take some of these tests outside of school, I kind of figured it out.

You have to be disciplined in your approach to these tests? You know, I would do it on my lunch break. I would just say, Hey, I'm gonna spend whatever, 20 minutes, 30 minutes on my lunch break every day, and I'm gonna sit down and I'm gonna do a couple problems or read a section of the review manual or prep book.

Um, you know, prep course work. And would would just, if you have that scheduled times, and then on the weekend, I would have time as well, maybe as much as I could fit in, you know, with the schedule, but always I would wake up, spend an hour to two hours just early in the morning when I'm fresh, before you get consumed with your day and having these, uh, this discipline to study.

And this plan to study is huge for, you're not gonna, you're not gonna pass it on accident, or there's a very small chance that you're just gonna, you know, stumble through one of these exams. You know, maybe if you are a genius or something, but it, uh, it was never like that for me, I always had to be disciplined and I think that.

Even if you could stumble into a pass it's poor practice because, um, eventually there will be something in life that's so difficult that you will need to rely on the discipline to carry you through. And that's a lesson I had to learn the hard way through CRA and for tests at the last minute, um, during college.

But, so that concludes my first five tips. The PE exam and the Fe exam, and really for any professional certification course or certification. And so I hope you enjoyed the episode and if you want to hear more, don't forget. You can check out code tech. I'll have five more. Tips and tricks for studying for professional certification exams.

Um, I'm releasing the solo cast. Every time I release a solo cast, I release a bonus episode. Most of the time on the topic. Sometimes I'll have to switch topics, but, uh, I'm releasing. At least two bonus episodes a month on the Patreon. And I expect to start bringing more bonus content there. So if you like what you're hearing on fire code tech.

Uh, go check out the Patreon. Thanks for listening. Everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation.

Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life. Thanks again, and we'll see you next time.