As some have said, take it in your 3rd/4th year of undergrad. It's just basic-level questions from all the engineering courses you've taken. If you take it in undergrad and have any sort of a brain you should pass it the first time no problem. If you wait a couple years you'll forget all that crap and will likely have to study for it.
The PE gets into more field-specific highly-detailed questions, but in theory you should have been working in this field for multiple years at this point thus some of it should be pretty second-hand. Who your sponsor is and how much you're asked to do at your job within your field of expertise will go a long way into affecting how difficult the test is for you.
It is 4 years post ABET accredited college degree in engineering under the guidance of a PE and passage of the FE to sit for the PE exam.
Yea the apprentiship is a big part of the process that I know a few of my friends were unaware of.
I am currently looking to hire a young engineer, but won't even consider someone without the FE.......
Eh, I think you're kind of the exception. I had passed it in college, but didn't even think of putting it on my resume and didn't have one employer ask me about it. Now maybe they went and checked it after I interviewed, but they never mentioned it. I also had plenty of friends get respectable jobs without ever having taken the FE.
It's probably not a bad practice if you know you're looking to hire a future design engineer to mandate that they have passed the FE, but I wouldn't expect it would greatly hinder him in the job search department.