Preparation is key to succeeding in exams. And I'm not talking about short period simplistic preparation, but a preparation that covers all the materials and topics included in the exam. The FE exam is no different. If you are about to take it or planning to, you need to prepare thoroughly for it, as it is a challenging exam. Many examinees start asking the question: how long should I spend preparing for the FE exam? Unfortunately, there isn't a single answer to that question. You can't decide on one specific period of time until you dig deep into the examinee's background. Many factors go into how long a person needs to spend studying for the FE exam.
The first main factor is the discipline of study: FE civil is different from FE mechanical, and so is the preparation they require. Secondly, is time out of school. How much time the examinee spent out of school is an important variable that goes into the equation as the FE exam generally covers topics studied in college. It's essential that the materials are still fresh in the examinee's mind. Other factors include family responsibilities, work experience, and other personal aspects, such as internal drive, motivation, and test experience.
With that being said, it's hard to determine how many hours of preparation you need in order to be ready for the FE exam. Overall, it's wise to start preparing at least 4 to 6 months before the exam. If you have been out of school for more than three years. You should probably start preparing as soon as you can as it will take longer to freshen your memory and go over everything you have studied in college.
FE Exam is definitely not easy, and in order to succeed, you need to understand all the concepts included and give yourself enough time to grasp all the content. You also need time to go over the NCEES Reference Handbook and to take some practice exams.