Wednesday, March 22, 2023

FE Exam (Inner Game)

Look at the following equation:

Performance = Potential – Interference

*Rarely does your best performance come out when we need it*
That’s why sports teams play the game. If there were no chance of the
weaker team winning, why even play? 

Doesn’t the better team always win? 


I want to show you how to minimize the “Interference”
variable in the equation above. 

By doing so, it tips the odds in your favor so you can anchor yourself into a peak state of certainty, clarity, confidence, and courage during the test. 

It allows your best-self and performance to come through because you don’t have to deal with all the bullsh$t (I mean interference. If you don’t minimize the interference, it will affect your performance. 

In life, interference can be things like hanging out with the wrong crowd, smoking, doing drugs, unhealthy eating habits, not setting goals, low level of standards, having a negative self-image, etc. 

It’s anything that prevents you from being your best-self and accomplishing your goals.

But with taking the FE Exam, Interference can be:

• Not arriving 30 minutes early to the test center and all the
parking spots are already filled up. You get frustrated and lose
your focus.

• Not doing a drive-by of the testing center a few days before the
exam to find out if your cell phone map is accurate or if there is
any street construction that might delay you the morning of....
Why do that? Just leave it up to chance.

• Not doing your research and knowing that you need to pay for
parking, and you don’t have cash. You get really frustrated.

• Having study habits that suck. You think you can just wing it
or that studying is a waste of time. You don’t realize that this is
all about developing problem recognition skills.
You just need to put in the work upfront to be able to identify them. All you need to do is study a collection of solved problems in each category. That is what this book is about.

• Not reviewing the calculator policy on the NCEES website for
the approved list and getting yours confiscated during the
exam. Nice.

• Listening to a bunch of Debby Downers® right before the exam which affects your mood. Ignore the naysayers. No one has ever erected a statue for a critic. Going the extra mile is always lonely. Most people are stuck/conditioned to be at the bottom.

• Not watching your units!! Answering a fluids question in cubic
feet per minute but the question wanted it in gallons per
minute. We all been there.

• Not knowing there is a list of common conversion
s on page 3 and 4 (9 of 502) of the FE Handbook. Too bad, that would have saved you a lot of time!

• Not having any systems in place to help keep you on an
effective study track. You just aimlessly work a problem or two
a few times per week. You have no schedule set up, no
dedicated study space and you leave it all up to chance. Let’s
see how that works out for you. How you do anything is how
you do everything. You need to take this exam seriously and
don’t be lazy.

• Spending too much time on the harder problems and thinking that you must go in sequential order. You waste all your time. You don’t realize there is low hanging fruit in the back of the exam, and you run out of time before you get to them.

• Not realizing that you can make up in numbers what you lack
in skill. You don’t have to be the smartest engineer; you just
need to work more practice problems to learn to see the
patterns and know where to find the equations. Success is
always at the margins! The little extra things you do to prepare
makes all the difference.

• Not trusting that the Law of Averages will work out in your
favor. You allow small setbacks to rob you of opportunities
because you quit when times get rough.

• Not disciplining your disappointments. You allow yourself to
become frustrated during the exam because you feel like you’re
getting a lot wrong. You only need to get about 65% correct in order to pass. Progress > Perfection.

• You don’t practice the Second Effort. You don’t give 100% on
every problem because you don’t realize that it only comes
down to a few questions that, if answered correctly, will make
you pass. This separates the winners from the losers.

• Not being comfortable with getting 4 out of 10 questions
wrong. You will probably still pass with just over 60% correct.

• Not preparing the recommended 8 weeks before the exam.

• Not playing the percentages nor choosing a good pitch to swing
at. You spend 10 minutes trying to solve a very hard problem.

• Not becoming familiar with the layout of the FE Handbook.
You wasted too much time trying to find the right equation
during the exam. This is a big one.

• Not using the process of elimination. Just by eliminating 1 or 2
possible choices greatly improves your odds at guessing the
correct one.

• Letting the test takers inside your head. Don’t let the bastards
get you down! They are purposely messing with you. It’s like
trash talking during a sporting event- good trash talkers -Athletes
- can get their opponents so off their game because
they get inside their head. Ever tried to shoot a free throw while
someone at the line is trash talking you? It takes skill
and confidence to either ignore it or tell them to look at the

• Flipping through the FE Handbook for the first time and
becoming discouraged. It doesn’t represent everything that you
need to know, but only what could possibly show up on the
exam. Just means that everything in it is Fair Game– just
know where to find it. Don’t have to be an expert at it.

• Posting your goals on social media -only for the validation. But
you never had any real intentions on following through with it.
Don’t do it. Post after you pass. Under promise, over deliver.
Posting goals is stupid and makes you less likely to follow
through with it because you get the immediate dopamine spikes – good feelings- from everyone. But once it fades, most people
don’t follow through for the real reward.

• Not relaxing the day before the test. Don’t get drunk either.
Drink after you pass.

• Not having a Razor’s Edge working for you. The line between
winning and losing, passing or failing, is extremely thin.
Success is always at the margins. My Razor’s Edge when I
took this exam was being able to flip to any topic area within
seconds. I knew the layout by heart. That’s how good I knew
that FE Handbook. No one could do that on exam day. Only
me. That’s the Razor’s Edge. I also worked more practice
problems than anyone else. I could instantly notice what kind
of question it was and where to find the answer. Find your
Razor’s Edge.

• Not setting yourself up for success. Your personal philosophy
and set of the sail sucks. Not having any goals you are working
towards that pull you into the future. You’re in the 97% group
that aren’t even trying. Join the 3%.

• Not realizing that opportunities are often disguised as work. • Not eating healthy and regularly exercising. • Not understanding that you must get in the proper “learning”mindset and realize that this test is an opportunity to develop new skills. No matter how hard it is at first, you'll be able to improve over time through hard work and practice.

• Not realizing your score will reflect the amount of work you
put in- not just your raw intelligence.

• Not realizing that you must build speed, since you’re battling
the clock more than the complexity of the exam.

• Not understanding that you can create your own luck. When
you take care of the little things, most things just tend to go
your way. It’s just the way it is. Cause and Effect. Luck is
when opportunity meets with preparation.

• Not hanging up a blank certificate frame. Don’t do it, I don’t
care. But it absolutely works and will motivate you.

• Not knowing that you can mold your Self Image into anything
you want. Great test taker, public speaker, inspired
entrepreneur, fitness guru, etc.! It’s time to upgrade your
software by increasing the set point in your own mind. This is the greatest single concept I ever learned. Entire section on it.

• Not realizing that you already have Acres of Diamonds buried
within yourself just waiting to be discovered and polished. It’s
not “out there”, it’s within you.

• Not setting up a finite schedule for studying. Something will
take as much time as you allow for it- Parkinson’s Law. Set a
very specific time and ending for study. If it’s an open block of
time, you will fill it up with procrastination until that time is
up. Read the section on Why It’s Important to Schedule the
Exam First Before Studying.

• Skipping batting practice. You need to practice at solving
these problems. Why do you think the best baseball hitters of
all time still had to take batting practice before every game?
They’re already good, why the need for practice? Because they
need to warm up, there’s a certain way to hit a fastball, curve
ball, or a change up. Batters are trained to look at the spin of the
ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand, they are getting focused,
working on their swing, working on their inner game, etc. Just
like you should work all these different types of problems, be
on the lookout for patterns, knowing how to find the equations
for those patterns that keep coming up, etc. You need to take
batting practice before the big game.

• Feeling frustrated during the exam from the feeling that there
just wasn't enough time to finish the test. It is supposed to be
that way. It’s completely normal. The FE Exam is designed to
be hard and not being able to finish. Care less. Get 4 out of 10
questions wrong and you will still pass. They purposely make
some really hard questions to see if you’re smart enough to
skip them. You don’t get any extra points for solving them.
• Not studying the format of the exam and knowing what to expect.
• Not studying the main topic areas on your exam and what types
of question to expect. The greatest chess players of all-time
study their opponent’s opening repertoire, tendencies, habits,
strengths and weaknesses, etc. They don’t just show up and play chess. Same with pro sports.

• Not creating a Mission Control sheet as you study. Always
write down what you learned on a separate sheet of paper.
That’s what I call my Control Sheet. Not the entire problem.
But anything you should note Handbook has common Beam loading diagrams with formulas for deflections and slopes already calculated for you! You Do NOT need to solve this from scratch! Find the figure on the left which matches the problem that has a cantilevered support
with a distributed load across it.”. Simple things like that. Also
things like “If the problem didn’t give you the E (Modulus of
Elasticity), just look on page 138 for the E of common
materials!) etc.. “When doing thermal deformation problems,
if the coefficient of thermal expansion was not given in the
problem, you can also look up the value on page 138 for
various types of materials” This is valuable information. That
way, you can review these notes next time you study. By the
end of your studying, you should probably have about 5-6
pages of notes front and back on your Control Sheet. It’s like a

• Not knowing ahead of time how many minutes per problem
you have on average. That’s sad. You need to have an internal
gauge in your mind constantly monitoring it. Spending too
much time? Skip.

• Not checking to see if your felt marker works when you sit at
the testing table. Trust me on this one.

• Not realizing that this is only an exam and not representative of
real life. Look in the front of any engineering textbook or test
prep, it says “these equations are for study only– not to be used
for design”. Really? It’s for theory purposes only. I could teach
anyone how to pass this exam if they are decent at math. You
don’t even have to go to engineering school. That’s sad but
true. In life, you don’t have to swing at every pitch, you get to
choose which ones you want to swing at.

• Not realizing that your criteria for success should be if you are taking action each day. Not solving all the practice problems correctly. 

If you can eliminate all the bullsh$t interference ahead of time, it will allow you to be in a flow state. None of these things take any skill to do- they’re very easy to do.

Learn more HERE!

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