Conquering the FE & PE Exams
By Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., F-NSPE
Editors Note: With this edition of the NCS eNewsletter, we begin a new monthly feature which will focus on insights and tips for mastering the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineering (PE) Examinations. The NCS is pleased to have Dr. Z share his expertise on this important topic.
It is indeed a pleasure to be writing this monthly column for students and practicing engineers in the metro area interested in pursuing the FE and PE Exams.
The FE Exam is the first step in the arduous process leading to obtaining a P.E. license in a variety of disciplines. Both exams are administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), a national nonprofit organization.
The FE Exam is designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing their undergraduate degrees in environmental, industrial, mechanical, electrical, civil, or chemical engineering. Starting January 2014, the FE Exam became a Computer-Based Test (CBT) administered all year-round. For detailed information regarding the FE and PE Exams, readers should refer to the official website of the NCEES at http://ncees.org.
The new Civil FE-CBT consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. Examinees will have 6 hours to complete the examination which includes a tutorial, a break, and a brief survey at its conclusion. The FE Exam uses both the International System of Units and the US Customary System. The Civil FE Exam covers many of the topics covered during an undergraduate curriculum in civil engineering, including mathematics; probability and statistics; computational tools; ethics and professional practice; engineering economics; statics and dynamics; mechanics of materials; fluid mechanics; hydraulics and hydrologic systems; structural analysis and design; geotechnical engineering; transportation engineering; environmental engineering; and construction and surveying. Those interested in the exam topics within their individual specialty fields, other than civil, can ascertain this information at the NCEES website address listed above.
Finally, the readers of this column will always find a hyperlink at the end. This link will take readers to a PDF document containing sample problems, solutions, short cuts, and time-tested strategies. The variables, nomenclature, and terminology will generally be similar to that used in the NCEES FE Reference Handbook (9th edition).
For this month’s sample problems and solutions, click HERE.
Ahmet Zeytinci, Ph.D., P.E., F-NSPE, F.ASCE, an award-winning licensed professional engineer, author, professor, and former chair of the Department of Engineering, Architecture, and Aerospace Technology at the University of the District of Columbia, in Washington, DC, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Directors.
Since joining academia, Zeytinci, or “Dr. Z” as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond as an extraordinarily dedicated and passionate teacher, mentor, scholar, and champion for professionalism and service in engineering. His areas of specialization are in structures, vibrations of plates, and computational applied mechanics.
He has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and his pedagogical style allows free exchange with students and promotes deep learning. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional, and national awards, including the 2015 Excellence in Engineering Education from the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Distinguished Teaching and Outstanding Campus Representative from the American Society for Engineering Education’s Mid-Atlantic Section, the 2016 Dr. M.H. Parker Distinguished Educator’s Award from UDC, and the Centennial Engineer of the Month award from ASCE’s National Capital Section.
Zeytinci, who is also a Fellow of NSPE, has contributed to the professional societies in many ways. He has served as the co-chair of the ASCE National Capital Section Education Committee, past president (twice) of the District of Columbia Society of Professional Engineers, and the campus representative of ASEE. Since 1990 he has been the chapter/state coordinator of MATHCOUNTS, a national program that provides all sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers.
He has been regularly writing technical articles for the ASCE National Capital Section’s monthly newsletter since 2014. His column is titled “Dr. Z’s Corner.” In addition, he has been offering pro bono Saturday classes for students and practicing engineers preparing for the FE/PE exams for the last 20 years.
After completing his master’s degree in Istanbul, Turkey, Zeytinci worked as a researcher in Japan for two years on earthquake resistant high rise buildings. Before joining UDC, he was a project engineer working in Europe, Japan, and the United States designing commercial and industrial structures, including the award-winning 7th District Police Station in Washington, DC.
He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Istanbul Technical University. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Gamze and his son Koray.