In this article (and video above), I talk about how you can prepare to remain focused on FE exam day, especially if you have trouble focusing or get distracted easily.
Here Are Four Actions That You Can Take To Remain Focused on FE Exam Day:
1 – Know What to Expect on the Exam:
Showing up on exam day understanding what you will be asked to do will help you focus. Spend time reviewing the exam instructions and time limits for each section BEFORE exam day. Doing so will ease your nerves and therefore improve your chances of passing the exam.
The FE exam contains 110 multiple-choice questions and is administered via computer at approved Pearson VUE test centers. A six-hour appointment time includes a tutorial, the exam, a break, and a survey. You’ll have five hours and twenty minutes to complete the actual exam.
2 – Practice Taking Exams
Many people start doing practice FE exams about a week before the actual exam. But, that’s not enough time to adjust to the 6 hour exam time if you’re not already used to it. If you’ve watched any of our other Pass the FE exam videos, you know that I recommend you start doing practice exams at least six to eight weeks before exam day.
When you practice in exam-like conditions, you’ll want to make sure you’re timing yourself for the entire six hours, you’re not using any notes or formula sheets other than the provided reference handbook, and you’re in a room by yourself without distractions.
3 – Eat the Right Foods Before the Exam
The food you eat on exam day and in the weeks and months leading up to the exam can have a major impact on your ability to focus and concentrate on exam day.
Now, I am not a doctor or nutritionist, so you should consult one in designing your dietary plan, however here are some general recommendations on foods that can help boost focus and concentration:
Blueberries & Avocados – These fruits have been proven to enhance blood flow, and can ultimately ensure more blood and oxygen gets to your brain.
By introducing these foods into your diet during your months of studying, you’ll very likely be benefiting from the effects by exam day.
Leafy Green Vegetables – These veggies include anything like spinach, kale, chard, or lettuce. There are many others as well.
They all contain Vitamin B and folic acid. Both of these have been shown to improve your brain’s ability to stay focused and think clearly.
If you don’t like eating them plain (for example, in a cold salad) you can add them in small amounts to other foods. You likely won’t even notice them if you chop them up small enough. This is what parents do with their children 🙂
Fish – Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, and it has been shown that people that are deficient in these fatty acids often become fatigued easier.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to improve memory and increase mental strength. Most people fail to realize how foods can have such a major impact on your ability to study and remember things.
Some kinds of fish that are specifically high in omega-3 are sardines, trout, and salmon. If you prefer, you can also get omega-3 fatty acids by taking fish oil supplements.
Water – I know this technically isn’t a food but I’m including it here anyway because it’s incredibly beneficial and necessary for every part of the human body to function.
If you don’t currently pay much attention to how much water you drink, now, during FE exam prep time, it’s more important than ever. It can make a huge difference in your ability to think quickly and remain focused on FE exam day.
Unfortunately, you can’t bring water or any food into the exam center for your FE exam. So it is important to hydrate before and throughout the day when you have opportunities to do so.
4 – Stretching on Exam Day
Whenever you sit still for long periods, your blood circulation starts to slow down and your blood pressure may drop. It’s a natural reaction of your body because you’re not moving around.
However, the biggest problem is that when you’re sitting for a long time, you’re not getting as much blood and oxygen flowing to your brain. This ultimately reduces your brain’s ability to stay focused and concentrate.
Fortunately, you can minimize this by taking some time to stretch immediately before and during your exam. Stretch your arms, shoulders, neck, and legs. Create some movement for your body. It will increase your circulation and you’ll likely notice that you’re able to focus better than you were before stretching.
Stretching also allows your brain a few minutes to refresh itself as you won’t be thinking through problems for a few minutes.
Attempt to do 2 to 5 minutes of stretching every hour. I know that feels like a lot of precious time being wasted, but your increased ability to focus may reduce mistakes and save time in the long run.
I hope you found this week’s article helpful. In upcoming videos, I will answer more FE Exam questions and run through more practice problems.
We publish videos bi-weekly on our Pass the FE Exam YouTube Channel. Be sure to visit our page here and click the subscribe button as you’ll get expert tips and tricks – to ensure your best success – that you can’t get anywhere else. Believe me, you won’t want to miss a single video.
Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of the videos or here on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So, if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week.
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success