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Reverse Polish

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About Reverse Polish

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    Intern

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    Structural
  • License
    PE
  • Discipline
    Structural

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    North Coast

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  1. The governing document is the legally adopted building code for the jurisdiction in question. ASCE 7 may be adopted (in whole or in part) by reference in that code, but I've never seen ASCE 7 as the primary code document. This applies to any other codes (AISC, ACI, TMS, AISI, etc) that may also be adopted by reference. As an example, IBC 2015 makes quite a few amendments to ACI 318-14.
  2. When I took the exam in Illinois this past October, the room was only the 60-70 SE examinees. Illinois has separate testing locations for the PE exams. Given that the exam is administered by a third-party testing service, and Illinois has a separate Structural Engineering Board, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
  3. If it isn't clear by now, the grading methodology for the afternoon problems is a mystery. My understanding is that the graders aren't necessarily looking for a correct numerical answer, as much as they're looking to see if you have proper comprehension and application of the relevant code provisions for each problem.
  4. In a strict sense, a California PE isn't recognized at all by any of the other state boards--and definitely not recognized if you're doing structural work in Hawaii or Illinois. Now, whether having a California Civil PE license greases the wheels in a comity application elsewhere (vis-a-vis a "civil" PE license from another state)--that's a question that can have literally dozens of answers. Here's the rub: Because California only requires two years of work experience to sit for the exam, you can very well be a licensed PE in California and not meet the minimum requirements in most every other state.
  5. ACI 318-14 will run you all over the place. For example, design limits are given in the chapters near the front (the chapters named after building components), but Phi factors are located elsewhere, and limits for tension-controlled and compression-controlled sections are in yet another chapter. In other words, flow charts may be helpful. Be forewarned that there aren't any design equations in the code for tension-controlled members (i.e. beams), so know flexural analysis of concrete beams cold. AASHTO is very well organized and indexed. I have zero bridge design experience, and was able to learn AASHTO sufficiently for the SE exam simply by working practice problems. I doubt the PE Civil Structural will have anything that can't just be looked up. Best of luck!
  6. This is the best price on the AASHTO code. It's not cheap...but cheaper than taking the exam again. https://store.transportation.org/Item/PublicationDetail?ID=1541
  7. Thanks for sharing, structard. This will be helpful if I ever have to obtain a California license. I know of at least one board (Illinois SE Board) that does not accept work experience listed in an NCEES Record, and makes you document all your work experience on their form. It's nice to know that the NCEES Record serves its purpose in most states. 😉
  8. That same worry persisted for me right up until the exam. Remember to breathe every now-and-again--you still have about three months of productive study left. I studied about 10 hours a week on average, but was able to drag it out over 9 months. That's just what my schedule permitted from a work and personal standpoint. The rule-of-thumb that others have suggested in the past is that "adequate" study will amount to about 300 hours for the 16-hour exam. Your results may vary, of course. Agreed with Titleistguy that at this point, working problems and making annotations along the way is a sound approach. Practice exams are helpful to identify areas of weakness, as well as to get comfortable with the constructed response problems. You can then go back to the codes to brush-up the weak areas. I think I took one practice exam about 6 weeks out as a diagnostic, which allowed time for brushing-up on problems I missed. I took a second practice exam 2 weeks out, to catch any last-minute points that remained. Best of luck to you, and keep breathing!
  9. "Code Coefficients and Tables" covers a lot of ground. One area that I haven't seen mentioned in this thread are the approximate analysis coefficients in ACI 318 - beams, one-way slabs, two-way slabs, moment distribution, etc. It goes without saying that it's necessary to know the limits and applicability of these coefficients as well. You may or may not see a problem that directly pertains to "coefficients", per se, but that doesn't mean they can't crop up (or be useful) in another context--especially on the "free-form" afternoon problems.
  10. Also, I might still be having nightmares about a few specific problems from October. Not sure if post-exam PTSD is a thing, but some research might be warranted here.
  11. This is just me personally, but because I'm so naturally optimistic 😉, I assumed worst-case scenario at every opportunity. If NCEES says "Load Distribution and Analysis Methods", I interpreted that to mean, "Be able to take any kind of load, applied anywhere on a structure, transmit it to the foundation, and calculate any reaction/deflection/rotation along the load path". Truth. In reality, I think that category is intended to be a "catch-all", in order for NCEES to cover their behinds when a sadistic beast of a problem finds its way onto the exam.
  12. Working problems is at least as important as knowing the codes. No disagreement there. But to understand and apply the codes, you have to know the content of the codes (as well as how to interpret them). Most of us don't use every provision in every code on a daily basis in our professional work. For those of us who have been out of school more than a few years, some codes are drastically different (and twice as thick) from those we learned in school, or as young engineers taking the FE/PE exams.
  13. E720, you asked a valid question. I'm not trying to shred you for it. Rather, I'm trying to illustrate that your question relates to a very, very small fraction of the scope of this exam. Don't get too fixated on any one thing. No matter what, there will be problems on the exam that you never anticipated, and you'll have to be able to roll with it. I organized my study by topic, going through one book at a time, page by page, making notes for my own comprehension. While a certain table of coefficients may not specifically apply to "Load Distribution and Analysis Methods", it remains fair game if it's in any of the codes in the exam specification. If there's a table somewhere in a code, know how to apply it. In other words--don't just limit yourself to the letter of the specification. Because honestly, it doesn't matter. The exam can have a problem that the exam writers think a Structural Engineer should be able to solve, and the graders aren't going to care which portion of the exam specification covers it. For the afternoon problems, especially, the most important concept is how well you understand and apply proper methodology and judgment.
  14. ALL the coefficients and tables. In all the codes. Period. If you try to slice-and-dice, second-guess the exam writers, and study cafeteria-style, you will not pass. Guaranteed. The only certain way to pass the exam is to know every letter in every code in the exam specification--AND how to apply it. The vertical forces exam, in particular, is going to throw the house at you. What's fair game for a question on the SE exam? Quite literally, anything. I think that, in over 300 hours of studying, I spent less than an hour reviewing the exam specification. Rather than try to match components to what is stated in the specification, you'll be much better off spending that time devouring the listed codes. All of them. Roughly two-thirds of everyone who takes each part of the exam will not pass. Your course of study thus has to be sufficient to surpass two-thirds of your peers on both days. Don't short yourself by rationalizing the spec while everyone else is becoming intimate with every last footnote in the codes. Best of success in your studies.
  15. Well, that's a means-and-methods question that I can't answer. 😉 There are a lot of good study suggestions on these threads. Keep in mind, however, that everyone is different. We all have different study habits, aptitudes, and work experience, so what has worked for one may not work for you. I personally had success with some tactics that others here have recommended against. That's not to say those people are wrong--I just wasn't comfortable using their approaches in my own study. You know yourself better than any of us do. The goal is to develop mastery over the content and application of the codes. Whatever approach gets you to that point will be successful. At a minimum, know the codes in the exam specifications inside-and-out. Best of luck!
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