Marathon Exam: The FE/EIT

I’ve been getting a lot of support and questions about how I did on the exam. So I suppose that I should file a report on my FE/EIT exam experience, which I’ll reference just as the EIT herein.

I’ve been slowly preparing for this exam since the beginning of the semester. Most weeks, I went to a 2 hour EIT prep course offered by Mines. About a week and a half ago, I checked out one of those large test prep books from the library: Fundamentals of Engineering : The Most Effective FE/EIT Review : For the Morning & General Afternoon Tests. I mostly thumbed through the book in my free time, familiarizing myself with the exam format and types of questions that might be asked on the exam.

I went to bed early on Friday night and woke up early on Saturday morning – 4:30am. I stopped at Perkins on my way in and grabbed breakfast.

The exam was at the Colorado Convention Center. There were three of us getting extended testing time. This meant that instead of 8 hours of testing, I could theoritically be testing for 12 hours.

After about 30 minutes of instructions and bubbling, I finally got my first glimpse of the exam. The AM section had 120 problems each worth 0.5 points. Six hours of time to complete the AM section meant that I had to complete each question in three minutes on average. We were also supplied with an EIT Reference Handbook which was over 100 pages of all the equations we would need for this exam. I flipped through the first few pages of the exam and was pretty excited to see that I was familiar with just about everything.

Most questions were along the lines of:

A jet aircraft is flying at a speed of 1700 km/hr. The air temperature is 20 deg C. The molecular weight of air is 29 g/mol. What is the Mach number of the aircraft?1
(a) 0.979
(b) 1.32
(c) 1.92
(d) 5.28

and

2

It was just a matter of looking in my handy-dandy book and finding the equation, pluging the numbers in, and bubbling in A, B, C, or D. And that’s what I did for five hours in the morning.

I got an hour and half break for lunch before returning for the PM section. The PM section is a bit different because you get to pick the topic you want to take. For me, that meant either General or Electrical exam. After looking through both sections, I decided to take the General exam. This basically meant more of the same. The questions were a bit harder this time, which was reflected in the fact that we only had 60 questions, each worth a whole point.

Four hours later and I was done. Nine hours of total testing. I had been awake for almost 14 hours. I was mentally, emotionally, and physically drained of energy. It was the ultimate marathon for an engineer.

And despite the fact that I was completely worn out in every metric, I enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed proving to myself that I could do it. I hope I don’t ever stop challenging myself – although I hope I continue to pick reasonable challenges.

I also want to thank all those who were praying for me. I don’t think I could have done it without you guys.


  1. http://www.cyberbuzz.gatech.edu/tbpi/docs/FE/Fluid_Mechanics_SP2007.pdf 

  2. http://inside.mines.edu/fs_home/knelson/EIT Electrical Review Solutions 2006.pdf 

Boston: Day Two

Note: This actually took place 10/14/2007. I’m just super busy and haven’t been able to get it all typed up until now.

The following takes place between 6ampm and 2am, Boston Local Time:

Three hours of sleep is not near enough. Fortunately, it was race day and the adrenaline began rushing soon after the alarm went off. We were all out by 6:40am and had Colin dropped off around 7am.

We drove to the prime spectating spot and then found a Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast.

DSC_0835 It wasn’t long before Colin made his first appearance. I think he took us all by surprise since when had no idea where he was in the pack. Jeff, Tim, James, and Elizabeth were ready with Gatorade, goo, and change of clothes. I stood back a bit with the camera.

DSC_0847 Colin shed his hat and jacket and kept on running. It would be about an hour before we saw him again. Elizabeth, with some input for others, made a hilarious sign for Colin.

DSC_0865 The next time around, we were a bit more ready. Gatorade and goo hand off, plus a little bit of running along by Tim.

DSC_0852 As we later learned, Colin never notice the sign. Which is unfortunate because it’s awesome.

Once more around the loop for Colin. Tim and James when a couple miles down the way to prepare for jelly bean dispensing (pure sugar for a quick energy boost). Meanwhile, Jeff, Elizabeth, and I moved across the bridge for the third meeting.

DSC_0941 Colin was looking good. The last Gatorade and goo handoff when without a hitch and Colin was on his way. The three of us jumped into the van and drove to the finish line.

Traffic was hectic near the end. With streets blocked off, runnings in the road, and bridges closed, it was near impossible to get around. Jeff dropped Elizabeth and me off near the stadium where the finish line was. We started into the arena when I saw Colin passing me on my left.

Not wanting to miss him finishing, I took off in a dead sprint to beat him into the stadium. Unfortunately, I had no idea where I was going and was almost bear hugged by a volunteer to prevent me from racing onto the field.

DSC_0984 I back tracked a few paces, whipped out my camera and had plenty of time to capture Colin crossing the finish line.

DSC_1001Colin recovered pretty quickly. We doddled around the stadium for a while, took a group picture to commemorate Colin’s Boston Marathon Qualifying Time, and then headed back to BC.

I had a nap on the way back since I was dead tired.

We had dinner when we got back; which reminds me that BC has pretty fantastic dining service. It’s frustrating that Mines is locked into Aramark, because they do a pretty shitty job. This, however, is a topic for another day.

To cap of the day, Jeff and I went to Mass. I think I’ve only been to Mass once before, and that was for Stephanie’s High School Graduation. My Mom’s cousin was married this summer and they had a Catholic wedding, but no Mass (although we all bet heavy money that there would be one).