Everything you wanted to know about the CA-Survey/Seismic Civil PE Exams - Page 12 - CA-Seismic/Survey Exams - Engineer Boards
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Everything you wanted to know about the CA-Survey/Seismic Civil PE Exams

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On 5/17/2019 at 12:49 PM, AM$1987 said:

Hi all,

I'm looking to take review courses for CA Seismic & CA Surveying. I took EET's course for the 8 hour exam and passed (transportation). Although the lecture/materials were good, the only thing I wish that the on-demand version had was the ability to speed up videos. They use Adobe Connect so this function wasn't available. I found it a pain to listen through the lectures at normal speed especially if reviewing/rewatching a specific part.

Can anyone provide some details about the on-demand versions of the several different review courses that you have personally tried? (Quality instruction, up to date materials, most importantly THE ABILITY TO SPEED UP THE VIDEOS).

I would appreciate it so much.

Best of luck to all with your careers!

 -AM

I did the same for WRE, I feel your pain. I was thinking that you could run some screen recording software while the videos are playing and you're doing something else to make a clip that you could speed up on a seperate video player.

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Source: Spring 2019 Board Bulletin 

image.thumb.png.dc9b99e5e5aaca565df0bc077fda419d.png

 

Edited by vip-eng
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On 6/7/2019 at 1:16 PM, vip-eng said:

Source: Spring 2019 Board Bulletin 

image.thumb.png.dc9b99e5e5aaca565df0bc077fda419d.png

 

That's quite a drop in 2018 from increasing pass rates from 2014 to 2017, for both seismic and survey.

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Hey everyone,

Which references are absolutely necessary for the Seismic Exam?

Can we use ASCE 7-10 or do we have to get the 2016 version? Also, do we need to bring the CBC or IBC or both (what version would suffice)? My employer may have some of these books but I'm not sure if the exam will pull stuff from the most current versions of the codes.

Any help/advise would be appreciated. Thank you.

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From the Board website, the stats of Q1 2019. 

 

Capture.JPG

Edited by vip-eng

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3 hours ago, AM$1987 said:

Hey everyone,

Which references are absolutely necessary for the Seismic Exam?

Can we use ASCE 7-10 or do we have to get the 2016 version? Also, do we need to bring the CBC or IBC or both (what version would suffice)? My employer may have some of these books but I'm not sure if the exam will pull stuff from the most current versions of the codes.

Any help/advise would be appreciated. Thank you.

Check here : https://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/applicants/cerefs.shtml

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If you take EET there’s really no additional references that you will need per the instructor except In addition to the EET notebook that came with the course I took ASCE 7-10 as I’m used to using the code to lookup the R values, IBC 2015, and the masonry code. I knew I wouldn’t use the IBC or masonry codes during the exam but  I took them just in case a random question would’ve come out, which didn’t. Overall I only used the EET notebook and ASCE code.

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Hey all,

In Q2 2018 I took and failed Seismic. I then passed survey but got so busy with work and a baby being born I'm just now starting to retest Seismic in Q4 2019. Unfortunately, I don't remember all of the specifics from when I sat for Seismic the first time around, however in looking at the area's I was deficient at, I think one of the problems I had is that on the test many of the Seismic Force-Resisting Systems were called something I was unfamiliar with or that did not obviously match a specific category in ASCE 7-10 12.2-1. I feel like I understood the various procedures and did well on all practice tests, but if I looked up something wrong in the charts, there was no way I would get the question right on the test.

I self studied Hiner's book and this time I will actually watch the webinars, so hopefully I have a better overall understanding (structural is not my area of expertise), but did anyone else come across this issue when they tested? Anyone have any suggestions on a resource that would better identify other ways to describe typical Force Resisting Systems?

Any advise would be appreciated!

 

*Edit on 10/27 - NEVERMIND. After watching the first lecture, the ASCE tables make a lot more sense. I'm now thinking that trying to self study, while not being a practicing structural engineer and being over a decade out of school, was a really bad idea. If you have a similar story to myself, I would very much recommend purchasing the lectures. I should have done it the first time around!

Edited by thebruce44
Disregard

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On 10/15/2019 at 10:22 AM, thebruce44 said:

Hey all,

In Q2 2018 I took and failed Seismic. I then passed survey but got so busy with work and a baby being born I'm just now starting to retest Seismic in Q4 2019. Unfortunately, I don't remember all of the specifics from when I sat for Seismic the first time around, however in looking at the area's I was deficient at, I think one of the problems I had is that on the test many of the Seismic Force-Resisting Systems were called something I was unfamiliar with or that did not obviously match a specific category in ASCE 7-10 12.2-1. I feel like I understood the various procedures and did well on all practice tests, but if I looked up something wrong in the charts, there was no way I would get the question right on the test.

I self studied Hiner's book and this time I will actually watch the webinars, so hopefully I have a better overall understanding (structural is not my area of expertise), but did anyone else come across this issue when they tested? Anyone have any suggestions on a resource that would better identify other ways to describe typical Force Resisting Systems?

Any advise would be appreciated!

 

*Edit on 10/27 - NEVERMIND. After watching the first lecture, the ASCE tables make a lot more sense. I'm now thinking that trying to self study, while not being a practicing structural engineer and being over a decade out of school, was a really bad idea. If you have a similar story to myself, I would very much recommend purchasing the lectures. I should have done it the first time around!

Dr. Mansour's goes over this topic very well in his on demand course, I suggest you contact him or try out his book https://www.passpe.com/store/products/183831

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Hi, I want to apply for comity for California PE license (Civil), I am a PE in Florida (Orlando).  I understand I have to take the CA surveying and CA seismic exams.  I have some questions. 

1.  I am filling out the application, do I check both the seismic exam and the surveying exam, even though I plan on taking them one at a time?  (I read elsewhere on this forum that you are given a time frame to take the exams.  I just don't want them to give me say April to June time frame to complete taking both exams)  

2.  For those who took the exams recently, any suggestion on online prep courses?  I was thinking School of PE. 

3.  For those who took the exams recently, any suggestion on study materials (books)?

4.  Any additional suggestion for the seismic?  I am terrible at structural, it's like rocket science to me.  

Thanks much!

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The first post may very well be due for an update.  I've been away from it for so long, I'll need recent examinees to please help me keep it updated.  If you have suggested updates, please advise!  Thanks.  

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On 11/12/2019 at 1:38 PM, MsCivilEngineer said:

Hi, I want to apply for comity for California PE license (Civil), I am a PE in Florida (Orlando).  I understand I have to take the CA surveying and CA seismic exams.  I have some questions. 

1.  I am filling out the application, do I check both the seismic exam and the surveying exam, even though I plan on taking them one at a time?  (I read elsewhere on this forum that you are given a time frame to take the exams.  I just don't want them to give me say April to June time frame to complete taking both exams)  

2.  For those who took the exams recently, any suggestion on online prep courses?  I was thinking School of PE. 

3.  For those who took the exams recently, any suggestion on study materials (books)?

4.  Any additional suggestion for the seismic?  I am terrible at structural, it's like rocket science to me.  

Thanks much!

Let me take a stab at your questions...

1. You should check both the boxes for the exams, as you are applying for licensure, which you need to pass both exams to gain. And what you have read on this site is probably some version of this: when your application is approved, you will be approved to take both the seismic and surveying exams in the following quarter. The quarters of the year are: Jan - March, April - June, July - September, and October - December. The quarter you get assigned to take the exams is wholly dependent on when your application is approved. If you are missing anything from your application, it could take more time. Check around this subforum to see anecdotal experience of members to see how long it took them to get approval of their license application.

2. People consistently recommend EET, Hiner's Seismic Review course, Mansour's courses, and Reza Mahallati's surveying course. When I took the exams a few years ago, I used Reza's workbook for surveying and Hiner for seismic. I have a structural background, so surveying was what I was less comfortable with, for sure.

3. See my answer to #2... Personally, I don't really recommend the PPI books for surveying. I didn't think they helped me very much. I was a big fan of Hiner's and Reza's practice problems though (even though Reza had a lot of typos in his workbook, when I was using it).

4. Can you get ahold of a copy of ASCE 7-16 and IBC/CBC 2015? You're probably going to want them. It maybe also help you to have at least the NDS specifications. I remember I went in with all of my material codes (wood, steel, concrete, masonry), but didn't really use any of them.

The main thing is to get as many practice problems done as you can. You need to be fast at completing problems to attack these exams properly. Also, utilize the multiple pass system strictly. Time is definitely against you when you're trying to do 55 questions in 2.5 hours.

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On 3/11/2019 at 9:09 PM, Stardust said:

SoPE Seismic was okay, but I shoulda spent the money on the Hiner class the first try.. SoPE Survey is a hell no!

TL;DR No.

I finished the SoPE course for surveying and it's littered with typos, has anyone else completed it? I also worked most of the Reza workbook and that seems significantly more detailed and thorough (also easier to digest). I know the pass rate says something like 87% of people who took the course passed, but I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the Reza book.  Any suggestions? Worth bailing on school of PE? @MsCivilEngineer did you end up going through with SoPE? Thanks in advance for the help.

Also, I'm currently signed up for the seismic course as well but now having second thoughts after going through the survey course.

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It’s been a few years since I took SoPE, but Seismic was decent. Survey on the other hand is likely a lost cause (the instructor kept repeating certain phrases which added no value and drove me insane).

I passed Seismic in the second attempt with the Hiner text and highly recommend him if you still can. For Survey I used the Reza text, but needed to add a lot of my own notes to it as I found it’s lacking in the details and some examples are unnecessarily cumbersome.

Regarding SoPE pass rate, I’m not sure if they can capture all the results properly (I never answered their message asking about it). To be fair, I spent very little effort studying for Seismic and Survey ‘cause I was taking the 8-hour national exam a week before those 2. With proper preparation, you should be passing with SoPE, but why not just go with the better options out there.

Edited by Stardust

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3 hours ago, Stardust said:

It’s been a few years since I took SoPE, but Seismic was decent. Survey on the other hand is likely a lost cause (the instructor kept repeating certain phrases which added no value and drove me insane).

I passed Seismic in the second attempt with the Hiner text and highly recommend him if you still can. For Survey I used the Reza text, but needed to add a lot of my own notes to it as I found it’s lacking in the details and some examples are unnecessarily cumbersome.

Regarding SoPE pass rate, I’m not sure if they can capture all the results properly (I never answered their message asking about it). To be fair, I spent very little effort studying for Seismic and Survey ‘cause I was taking the 8-hour national exam a week before those 2. With proper preparation, you should be passing with SoPE, but why not just go with the better options out there.

Thanks, that's what I was thinking.  I feel like along side the preparation, in order to pass you need to have the confidence and right mind set.  And I feel like I'd walk into the test feeling under prepared if I stuck with the SoPE.  Other side of the coin is, already invested money in the course. But if I feel like I'd have to study again and pay for the different course next time, might as well pay for the different course up front.  

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On 11/23/2019 at 10:42 PM, PEmonster said:

@MsCivilEngineer did you end up going through with SoPE? Thanks in advance for the help

No, I think I will go with the other recommendations.  I took School of PE in FL in person, I thought it was very useful.  
 

I think I will begin studying after the New Years.  I was hoping to get my application in to CA before signing up for a class, but NCEES was giving me sh*t about my experience/kept rejecting, so I was just trying to get that square away first.  I finally had to “ask to speak with the manager” then magically all my experience was approved.  
 

Good luck!

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Hello, I am taking the Seismic in about a week. I used Hiner's book, watched all the videos, read the book and did all the multiple choice problems twice. I took the sample exam provided at the end of the book and got 46 out of 55. Most of my colleagues are telling me I should be in good shape, but I still don't know if I'm well prepared enough. I don't want to have to take this twice. I also have EET's book, and was only thinking of skimming over it in the last few days because it seems to have much more text and I thought that may come handy in case I can't find the answer to a conceptual question in Hiner (which I am at this point familiar enough to locate concepts and equations very quickly). Does anyone know ballpark how many you need to get right to pass this exam? I also have Mansour's 626 problems book. I don't know if I should just do one more do over with Hiner or spend the remaining few days doing Mansour and EET. Anyone have suggestions? Thanks in advance. 

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29 minutes ago, sanjeem said:

Hello, I am taking the Seismic in about a week. I used Hiner's book, watched all the videos, read the book and did all the multiple choice problems twice. I took the sample exam provided at the end of the book and got 46 out of 55. Most of my colleagues are telling me I should be in good shape, but I still don't know if I'm well prepared enough. I don't want to have to take this twice. I also have EET's book, and was only thinking of skimming over it in the last few days because it seems to have much more text and I thought that may come handy in case I can't find the answer to a conceptual question in Hiner (which I am at this point familiar enough to locate concepts and equations very quickly). Does anyone know ballpark how many you need to get right to pass this exam? I also have Mansour's 626 problems book. I don't know if I should just do one more do over with Hiner or spend the remaining few days doing Mansour and EET. Anyone have suggestions? Thanks in advance. 

what i did, and it helped a ton, was i went through all of Hiner's long form problems, tabbed each problem, and wrote one each tab what type of problem it was (diaphragm, shear wall, etc).  i used Hiner's cheatsheet the most during the exam, but there were several problems that i just found the long problem that was the same type, and then proceeded through the steps as outlined by Hiner.  Knowing where to quickly find the stuff I needed was critical.  

 

The problem with the seismic test is that the area is so broad, and the test so short, that its almost like playing darts when deciding what to review.  No one knows (or at least admits to knowing) what the cut scores are anymore.  I walked out of the October exam a bit shaken as I was unsure if i had passed or not, unlike the PE which i knew i had aced.  dont stress too much, get a good nights sleep, and nail the exam.

 

good luck

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its safe to say for survey and seismic exams

33-36 out of the 55 is needed to pass based on my long experience taking them.... I can't see it being any higher than 36 that would make it too difficult for more test takers

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Took the seismic test yesterday (attempt #2). My goal was to over prepare and I went in pretty confident since I took 3 practice tests and was scoring between 85-90%. I left the exam not feeling nearly as confident. I flagged 6 questions that I ended up guessing at the answer, but there were probably 5-6 other questions that I was a little iffy on.

There were a couple problems where I knew the concept inside and out, but there was some wording or an unusual situation so I had to guess. If I don't pass, I will be pretty discouraged considering the amount of prep and success I had prior to the test. Hopefully it was just a harder test than normal and the required passing score reflects that.

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Something I wish I knew before I signed up for my test dates was that you find out your test scores the same time as everybody else who took it that month. Knowing that, I would have taken one test in the first month of the quarter, and the 2nd test in the 2nd, that way by the 3rd month I will have found out if I needed to sign up for reexamination. Now, if I don't pass in the 3rd month, I'll find out my results in the 1st month of the next quarter, meaning I'll have to wait a full 4 months until I can retake... and by then the material won't be fresh anymore. 

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1 hour ago, JVip said:

Something I wish I knew before I signed up for my test dates was that you find out your test scores the same time as everybody else who took it that month. Knowing that, I would have taken one test in the first month of the quarter, and the 2nd test in the 2nd, that way by the 3rd month I will have found out if I needed to sign up for reexamination. Now, if I don't pass in the 3rd month, I'll find out my results in the 1st month of the next quarter, meaning I'll have to wait a full 4 months until I can retake... and by then the material won't be fresh anymore. 

So I guess the most efficient approach allowing for the most study time would be to schedule the exams at the end of the 1st or 2nd month of the quarter.  That way in the 3rd month you can apply for reexamination and be good to go in the following quarter?

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