When to Flag a Problem on the FE Exam

Flag FE Problems

Building a strategy for answering questions during your FE exam allows you to use the time you have most efficiently. One method to think about is how and when to flag questions. What is flagging? Flagging is when you mark a FE Exam problem as unfinished; it is a way of reminding you that you should return to this problem at a later point in the test.

Are Flagging Problems Necessary?

When I took my FE exam, many people recommended that I should try to solve every problem before moving on to the next one without flagging lots of questions . However, after taking my exam I don’t recommend this strategy . One, because you’ll waste a lot of time on each question. And two, you might end up not completing your exam.

When you spend too much time on long or challenging questions, you may need to rush through later sections in your exam. This is not a good strategy. Instead, you should flag questions as you go through the exam.

When to Flag FE Problems

#1 Flag Questions that are Difficult

Flag questions that cover concepts you’ve never seen before or ones you have no idea how to solve. Flag it and move on.

These questions aren’t worth your time. You want to spend time on questions that you know how to solve rather than spending time on a question that you’re not sure how to answer. Plus, you still have a 25% chance of getting it right by guessing later.

#2: Flag Long Questions

For long questions that you know which equations you might need to use, but take a little more time to solve, go ahead and flag it. These can take too much time because you might have to try different things to get to the solution.

Since you know how to solve these, make sure to leave some time at the end of your test ( 5 or 6 minutes) to revisit them.

TIP: Do the easy problems first. Your goal is to get as many easy problems done as you can. Then to get the medium or long problems answered correctly.

Go back and do the long questions first when you’re done with the easy questions. These are the questions you know, but they just take more time. Then, finally, you can try to do the best you can on attempting the difficult questions.

#3: Flag Questions to Double-Check

There will be problems you are not 100% sure of the answer, and you’ll want to double-check — if time permits. After you do the long problems, attempt the difficult problems, and go back and check the answers you want to double-check. If you don’t have time to go back and check these, it’s okay because you already answered them.

TIP: On your test booklet, create three columns: difficult, long, and double-check. As you go through the exam, flag the problem on the computer and then add the problems to your columns. Solve the long (but doable) questions first, guess or attempt the difficult ones, and double check the remaining questions.

Getting Stuck During the FE Exam

Now, sometimes you might get stuck on what you thought was an easy question. After 3-4 minutes, if you still don’t have the answer, flag it and move on. The answer might come to you later.

It is important to move on without beating yourself up for not being able to solve the problem. That can lead to becoming anxious and doubtful of your ability to take this exam. But under the pressure of the exam, this can happen. So be kind to yourself and be in the moment. Remind yourself you’ve done a lot of preparation to take the FE exam!

Building your strategy for answering questions on the exam will help you feel more prepared on exam day. Use these tips as you take practice exams too, so it becomes more familiar.

If you want to know more, make sure to watch the video at the top of the page where I talk more in-depth about those helpful techniques to manage test anxiety. Also, check out my YouTube channel for more FE Exam test videos, tips, and study tricks.

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enGENIEer Kenza

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