I just recently passed the FE first try. I would say, if you are already doing your review through the PPI manual, the next biggest thing after you are comfortable with the review is practice problems. The biggest thing for me about this test was staying calm (I have anxiety issues). The best way to stay calm is being confident, and you can only be confident if you have done the work before hand. This means doing a lot of practice problems without help. No matter how much you struggle, give each problem you do the good old college try without looking at answers. Otherwise, you won't learn from your mistakes or retain the information as well.
After doing enough practice problems, I would take several practice tests that simulate actual conditions as close as possible. Go to the NCEES youtube page and watch the general process of the test so you can replicate those conditions. That way, you won't be surprised by anything the day of the test. The mock timed test will really help give you a feel for what the test is actually like. I personally didn't run out of time, but I have heard stories of it happening. Time management is a huge aspect of the test as you will want to do the problems you know 100% first then come back later and do the ones you can figure out with a bit of thought. Don't get caught up on questions you have no clue on. A passing score is around a 50-65, but each state requires a passing score of 70 by law, so NCEES takes the passing score (50-65) and curves the test accordingly to a 70. I say this so you know that you can skip questions you don't know and come back and guess if you don't have time. There is room to make some mistakes. The mock timed test really helps give you an idea of what all this feels like. In the case you are taking longer then normal on the test, you won't be panicked or rushed because you know your time targets you set for yourself and what it feels like already.
If you consider a worst case scenario, where for some reason, a passing score is a non-curved 70, you would want to shoot for an 80. This is because NCEES also throws away 10 questions from the total 110. So in the case 10 questions you go right were thrown away, you would want to get an 80 (i.e. 80 right - 10 thrown away = 70 right). This is a hypothetical and an extreme overestimation though, it is just what I had in my head as a guaranteed passing score while I was going through the test. Honestly though, I wouldn't get too caught up in this stuff as you just want to try your best on every question. It's just something to strive towards even though NCEES unofficially reports that a 50-65 is usually the passing range.
I will echo what everyone else has already said in that most places require an EIT. It is really the bare minimum for practicing engineers and there is little to no advancement if you don't have one. Depending on what you want to do in your career, most civil's get their PE which allows for more career advancement and opportunities. In order to take the PE exam, there are many requirements, one of which is passing the FE (you can actually wave the FE if you have a Ph.D and 1 year of professional experience or a Masters and 8 years of professional experience in certain states). Another aspect of this is that you aren't really legally aloud to call yourself an engineer until you have your PE (which is really the ability to stamp plan sets). It is to the point where even at my company we use the EIT designation sparingly because it has the word engineer in it, in order to avoid any and all liability issues. So to summarize, I would say this certification is the jumping point for the start of your career and is really a must for any field of engineering.
Like Chase mentioned... UNITS! The reference manual has all the conversions you could ever want, but knowing where they are is key to not wasting a lot of time. I remember multiple questions being asked in SI and reporting answers in Imperial. Don't rush and read each question carefully. Navigating the reference manual is very easy on the computer thanks to the find command. However, you will still want to be familiar with where certain sub sections are within each section (e.g. the environmental section is quite packed with information and broken into a lot of different sub sections).
It sounds to me like you are well on the path to success for the test and putting the work in. I'll tell you I built it up in my head too much and had some severe anxiety about the test. But once I sat down and did the first problem I felt comfortable because of all the work I previously put into studying. Keep doing what you are doing and really focus on your problem areas. I wish you luck!
P.S. With the work you are putting in, I promise you'll come out of the test wondering why it was so easy. :)
Grant Warnke EIT,A.M.ASCE
Moffatt and Nichol
Sent: 05-28-2019 10:55
From: Azamat Khadikov
Subject: FE Exam
I am taking my FE exam in a month. I've been studying for the last two months: reviewing the PPI manual, NCEES manual, watching FE review videos from Marshal University. I'm about to start on practice exam and various practice problems.
Please share anything that would help to prep for the exam.
What problems to work on? Did you pass from the 1st attempt? How did this certification help you in your career path?
Azamat Khadikov S.M.ASCE