Dr. Z’s Corner

Dr. Z

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., Ph.D., Fellow-NSPE, Fellow-ASCE is an award-winning professor, structural engineer, author and mentor living in Washington, D.C. Since joining academia, "Dr. Z", as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond. He is passionate about engineering, gifted in teaching, and is a true champion for professional licensure. Dr. Z. has extraordinarily high standards; has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and infects others with these same values. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, including recent national awards from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Since 2014, he has been regularly writing monthly articles for “Dr.Z’s Corner “ and offering hundreds of engineering problems, for free, every month for students, engineers and engineering educators worldwide. Dr. Z. also offers pro-bono Saturday classes for students and engineers; his free classes are open to all in the greater Washington metro area and cost nothing, nada, zilch! Starbucks coffee is always a must have for Dr. Z.

FE Exams During Covid-19: Most Frequently Asked Questions and Exam Day Experience

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every corner of our lives including the FE and PE exams. In this month’s article we would like to list some of the questions regarding taking the exams during COVID-19 and what you are expected to do during taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (F.E) exam.

The most frequently asked questions about taking tests during the Covid-19 pandemic

When will test centers reopen? Why can’t I find appointment availability? Can I travel to a different state/jurisdiction to take my test? Am I required to wear a face mask? I would like to take my exam sooner. Is that possible? Why has my exam been moved to another location? Why was my exam canceled? My exam was canceled, but my friend’s exam wasn’t. Why is that? Will I get a refund if my exam is canceled? When can I reschedule my exam? Where can I find test delivery information specific to my country? I am scheduled to take my exam at a third-party test center, and I’m worried it is going to be closed. What should I do? Why was my cancellation notice so delayed? My window to certify is expiring soon. What should I do? What health and safety measures are you taking at your test centers? How can I find the latest information on test delivery during this pandemic?

The answers to these questions and more are given at Pearson VUE website: https://home.pearsonvue.com/coronavirus-update.aspx#face-masks

When approaching the FE Exam for the first time, it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. The best way to build your confidence is to prepare for the test and familiarize yourself with the FE Reference Handbook 10, the only official reference material for the computer-based FE exams. Review the latest version of the handbook prior to exam day. Most importantly, familiarize yourself with the charts, formulas, tables, and other reference information provided. An electronic version will be available onscreen during the actual exam. Printed copies will not be allowed in the exam room.

Exam day experience

Once you register and know your exam date, NCEES recommends the following: First, you should plan to arrive at the testing center 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. Upon arrival, a representative will provide you with a copy of NCEES-CBT exam rules for your review.

After doing so, you will be asked to provide your digital signature to confirm that you have read the rules and agreed to abide by them. Also you will be asked to provide a current government issued form of ID such as a driver’s license. Once the representative confirmed your identification and the exam that you are taking, you will be asked to provide palm vein scan and have your photo taken. Your signature, palm vein scan and photo will be stored with your exam result.

Prior to be admitted into the testing room, a representative will ensure that you have in your possession only the items that NCEES allows them to the testing room. These items include, your ID, an NCEES approved calculator and eye glasses. Most test centers have secure storage lockers on site for you to store prohibited items such as cell phones, other electronic devices and personal belongings such as a watch, wallet and bag.

Once you complete the check in process, then you report to an exam proctor who will ask you to confirm your ID by providing again your palm vein scan. Then the proctor will give you a reusable booklet and marker for scratch work. Then the proctor will review the exam rules and will escort you to the exam room and assigned workstation and launches the exam. Before starting your exam, all examinees will be required to read and agree to the NCEES’ non-disclosure agreement and complete a brief tutorial to learn how to ADVANCE to the next item, RETURN to a previous item and FLAG items for review.

The FE exam includes 110-questions. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long. Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes); Tutorial (8 minutes); Actual exam (5 hours and 20 minutes) and scheduled break (25 minutes).

After completing approximately 55 questions, examinees will be prompted on screen with the option to take a 25-minute break. Examinees who wish to take the scheduled break should raise their hands and wait for the prompter tor assistance. Unscheduled breaks may be requested at any time during the exam by following the same procedure. However, examinees should be aware that clock will not stop during an unscheduled break. Examinees are allowed to access their lockers during the scheduled and unscheduled breaks.

After completing the exam and a brief survey, you should raise your hands and proctor will verify that you had properly exited from exam and escort you from testing room and collect your booklet and marker. You will receive an email from NCEES within 7 to 10 days notifying you that your results are available for viewing in your MYNCEES account.

And lastly, stay relaxed and confident. Always keep a good attitude and remind yourself that you are going to do your best!

Until next time,
Ahmet Zeytinci (Dr. Z.)
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