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April 2018 SE Exam Results

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8 hours ago, David Connor, SE said:

If you haven't seen my book on AASHTO SE exam questions, please look into it.  I specifically wrote it for us building engineers who have to answer AASHTO questions on this exam. Lots of people have told me it was a great help on the bridge questions.  

I haven't taken the SE yet, but would like to start gathering materials. Could you direct me to where I might find this book? Thanks!

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34 minutes ago, TheBigGuy said:

Vert:  27/40  Masonry - IR,  Steel - A,  Conc - IR,  Wood - U

Lat:  22/40  Wood/Masonry - U,  Conc - U,  General Analysis - IR,  Steel - IR

I'm really surprised about the unacceptable wood on the vertical and the 22/40 on the lat morning.  Not surprised with the unacceptable concrete problem.  Didn't have time to study it.

You don't think I'd be fine with another 4 months of studying with the above starting point?

I feel like I'm in punting range.  Only thing left to study is high seismic steel and conc.  Then its just working gobs and gobs of practice problems:  NCEES practice exam, PPI practice exam, 6 min solutions, and your bridge book.

I took both Vertical and Lateral together on same cycle and failed both. Took vertical only this cycle and passed. The reduction in stress that I felt was one of the factor that I feel pushed me over the line. Obviously everyone studies at different level but waking up that Saturday after the vertical test was one of the most horrible moments in my life.

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13 hours ago, VladI said:

Thanks MA for being quick to release ..... :mad:

Maybe they lost the exams and will have to pass us?

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13 hours ago, VladI said:

Thanks MA for being quick to release ..... :mad:

It looks like the MA PE results were out 6 days after the results were released to the states... I’m really hoping the SE results aren’t on the same timeline. 😨 Has anyone tried calling PCS or the board?

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15 hours ago, MrStructuralEngineer said:

I haven't taken the SE yet, but would like to start gathering materials. Could you direct me to where I might find this book? Thanks!

https://www.davidconnorse.com/

The "Buy It Now" buttons will take you to the Amazon page.  Thanks!

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I took both days in MN and got past the vertical but not lateral, which was what I expected, 25/40 and IR on all four afternoon questions. A little worse in the morning than I expected but not by much. I was pretty confident on the wood/masonry and steel questions in the afternoon, I figured I would get A on those two and IR on the other two, so I'm curious about how much we need to get wrong in the afternoon to go from A to IR? I'm guessing you need to do every step right with just minor math errors in order to get an Acceptable score, but do you think they actually deduct for not referencing equations, factors and load combinations in the code? I would think if you're showing the right calculations they wouldn't require referencing every single equation and factor, but maybe that's what pushed me to IR on those two problems. I am confident with wind design on a wood/masonry structure as I do that a lot at my job, and I also thought I did well on the steel problem because I focused my seismic studying on steel and was hoping for some luck on the concrete portion, so I can't think of anything other than math errors and not referencing equations that I could have done wrong on those two, but I was two months ago so I could be misremembering.

It sure would be nice to be able to look through our graded exams one time after we get results so we could see our mistakes and not make the same one's next time, I'd pay $100 to be able to do that because it might save me the $500+ it would cost to take it a third time. You'd think NCEES would see the 19% pass rate for lateral buildings repeat takers and see a correlation between that and not having an opportunity to see what we did wrong, but what do I know.

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Just got my results from Florida. Passed both first try. Already have a PE (SE1) but missed out on taking the SEII before they changed exams. Then life and work happened and kept postponing.

Very relieved to have this monkey off my back. Another shout out to David Connors book. I hope to do a more detailed post on strategies soon.

 

Edited by deviationz
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1 hour ago, StruEng said:

 

It sure would be nice to be able to look through our graded exams one time after we get results so we could see our mistakes and not make the same one's next time, I'd pay $100 to be able to do that because it might save me the $500+ it would cost to take it a third time. You'd think NCEES would see the 19% pass rate for lateral buildings repeat takers and see a correlation between that and not having an opportunity to see what we did wrong, but what do I know.

I agree 100%, it would be really really nice to be able to see our graded exams so we can know exactly what we need to improve on.

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First time taking the exam. Passed Vertical - Buildings. Failed Lateral 24/40, A, IR, A, U. Took the exam in MA.

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22 minutes ago, Dagny Taggart said:

I agree 100%, it would be really really nice to be able to see our graded exams so we can know exactly what we need to improve on.

Isn't that the point in all of this?  To make us all collectively better structural engineers (with or without the license)? I also feel it would make this feel less like a black box grading scale and show there is some accountability for the results.  I also believe it would reduce, not increase, the scrutiny on NCEES.  Having not passed multiple times but scoring more than 70% in the morning (>80% on the content covered in the afternoon) regularly and getting 2-3 IRs on the afternoon problems despite feeling there was little chance i missed them makes me wonder if there is something inherently wrong (or that is just not liked by the graders) with how I detail my solutions.  This is something that could be easily understood without revealing test content. Yet, here we are.  I understand technology makes it easy to steal test content if they provided a one time viewing but I'd gladly take a flight to the main office to see it in person if that was an option.  I just want to be better and meet the requirements.  The current system does not provide sufficient feedback, at least in the afternoon, to allow for much improvement.

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4 hours ago, deviationz said:

Just got my results from Florida. Passed both first try. Already have a PE (SE1) but missed out on taking the SEII before they changed exams. Then life and work happened and kept postponing.

Very relieved to have this monkey off my back. Another shout out to David Connors book. I hope to do a more detailed post on strategies soon.

 

what material did you use for lateral buildings to study. Thank you

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Used quite a few different materials.

Alan Willams - Seismic and Wind Design examples

Seismic Design Manual Volume 1

AISC Seismic Design Manual

Seismic Design of building structures (PPI)

Seismic Design solved problems - Baradar

Wood design Breyer for wood diaphragms and shear walls

Masonry Design book - Brandow and Hart. Very good book for cheap from the Masonry association of Calif and Nevada. Used the Amrhein book as well for specific checks.

Purchased the code master series from SK Ghosh associates. Didn't find it very useful except for the masonry portions.

 

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Add another one to the failure statistics for Lateral Buildings:

24/40; A, IR, IR, A

I guess they failed me because of the morning, but in my opinion this is a good score given the difficulty and time constraints of this exam. What is NCEES' definition of minimum competency? Have they ever defined it? Given the high failure rates, are we to believe that such a high number of engineers currently working in the field do not even meet minimum competency? It just seems crazy to me.

 

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It is not a minimum competancy exam by any stretch despite what the description may say.  It is a means of ensuring exclusivity.  What they have created is a professional exam that has the lowest pass rate compared to other professions.  So why are we forces to endure a hostile, toxic licensure process while our compensation is much lower than doctors, dentists, lawyers?  Where is the happy medium?  I basically ignored my wife and children to the detriment of our relationship in order to pass this thing.  I put more time into this than my entire MS which resulted in nothing lower than a 4.0. To be honest, I am extremely unhappy with this situation.  What can we do to improve it? Complaining on this message board will do nothing.  I am writing to ASCE/SEI and taking to social media to express my displeasure and to tell them I will not further their goal of encouraging people to enter this field but will rather actively discourage people from entering this field.  I realize they are not explicitly involved in the creation of this exam, but if they start feeling negative press, something will happen.  Otherwise, this situation will continue unchecked for a long time to come.  Alternatively, call the exam what it is, a test of excellence and extraordinary level of ability. I would even be okay with a couple additional steps added for extra measure if when I came out of it I was reasonably assured some recognition and the possibility of respective compensation.  Otherwise, I will begin steering others into becoming family practioners or dentists.

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On 6/18/2018 at 6:54 PM, MrStructuralEngineer said:

I haven't taken the SE yet, but would like to start gathering materials. Could you direct me to where I might find this book? Thanks!

amazon works

 

my copy is collecting too... since i decided not to pursue that test

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On 6/20/2018 at 6:57 AM, VladI said:

It is not a minimum competancy exam by any stretch despite what the description may say.  It is a means of ensuring exclusivity.  What they have created is a professional exam that has the lowest pass rate compared to other professions.  So why are we forces to endure a hostile, toxic licensure process while our compensation is much lower than doctors, dentists, lawyers?  Where is the happy medium?  I basically ignored my wife and children to the detriment of our relationship in order to pass this thing.  I put more time into this than my entire MS which resulted in nothing lower than a 4.0. To be honest, I am extremely unhappy with this situation.  What can we do to improve it? Complaining on this message board will do nothing.  I am writing to ASCE/SEI and taking to social media to express my displeasure and to tell them I will not further their goal of encouraging people to enter this field but will rather actively discourage people from entering this field.  I realize they are not explicitly involved in the creation of this exam, but if they start feeling negative press, something will happen.  Otherwise, this situation will continue unchecked for a long time to come.  Alternatively, call the exam what it is, a test of excellence and extraordinary level of ability. I would even be okay with a couple additional steps added for extra measure if when I came out of it I was reasonably assured some recognition and the possibility of respective compensation.  Otherwise, I will begin steering others into becoming family practioners or dentists.

the best part? even the engineering boards agree that passing this test in itself in no way proves that you are qualified as a structural engineer. it simply means you passed an exam and nothing more

 

at least thats true in my state.... but honetly, i agree with them. 

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On 6/19/2018 at 1:25 PM, NCEng45 said:

Isn't that the point in all of this?  To make us all collectively better structural engineers (with or without the license)? I also feel it would make this feel less like a black box grading scale and show there is some accountability for the results.  I also believe it would reduce, not increase, the scrutiny on NCEES.  Having not passed multiple times but scoring more than 70% in the morning (>80% on the content covered in the afternoon) regularly and getting 2-3 IRs on the afternoon problems despite feeling there was little chance i missed them makes me wonder if there is something inherently wrong (or that is just not liked by the graders) with how I detail my solutions.  This is something that could be easily understood without revealing test content. Yet, here we are.  I understand technology makes it easy to steal test content if they provided a one time viewing but I'd gladly take a flight to the main office to see it in person if that was an option.  I just want to be better and meet the requirements.  The current system does not provide sufficient feedback, at least in the afternoon, to allow for much improvement.

so much ‘security’ to protect these tests when the fools at ncees dont address the existence of spy cams.

 

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Is anyone from Hawaii still waiting for their results?

I emailed the board but they aren't responding.

Read this post from Oct April 2017 results

Had one colleague pass and one fail the Hawaii April 2017 exam. The former got his congrats letter within several days of the first day. The latter had a long wait and had his result posted on the NCEES site (probably after the board meeting based on above).

I really hope thats not what they are doing. The results came out from NCEES one day after the board meeting so I'm also not hoping that I have to wait another month...

Edited by kenny509

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The level of bitterness in this thread is hilarious to me.... :popcorn:


Passing the SE is a significant career milestone, to be sure. But despite the effort that goes into it, very few people actually need to pass it to continue their careers. At the end of the day, it's one choice (among many) to enrich your value as an engineer and progress in your career. If the test turns out to not be your cup of tea, so be it -- find another way. We are problem solvers, after all.

I took the test one year ago, and found it challenging to be sure, but not so horribly contrived as suggested here. In fact, several of the "bridge" questions seemed trivial to the point I felt they were included purely to accommodate engineers from a vertical background.
 

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1 hour ago, Lomarandil said:

The level of bitterness in this thread is hilarious to me.... :popcorn:


Passing the SE is a significant career milestone, to be sure. But despite the effort that goes into it, very few people actually need to pass it to continue their careers. At the end of the day, it's one choice (among many) to enrich your value as an engineer and progress in your career. If the test turns out to not be your cup of tea, so be it -- find another way. We are problem solvers, after all.

I took the test one year ago, and found it challenging to be sure, but not so horribly contrived as suggested here. In fact, several of the "bridge" questions seemed trivial to the point I felt they were included purely to accommodate engineers from a vertical background.
 

everyone in most threads is bitter when they failed an exam.

haven't taken that exam, so I can't attest to how hard/easy/confusing the questions are

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Background - Structural engineer with 12+ years of experience. I first took my structural 1 in 2010 and passed first try. I only took the SE exam this past April and passed both of them. I must admit that my experience probably helped me through the afternoon problems on both days.

I agree with many that the test is pretty difficult and you have to be on your A game for 16 brutal hours. However, I do not think that the questions on the test were as ridiculous as people above are claiming it to be. I think they were fair to the most part. There were certainly many curve balls and problems intended to lure you into the wrong answer. However, as a practicing engineer, you should be trained to pick those up. The test is designed to drill down into the nitty-gritty in the codes. Unfortunately for many of us, we only utilize 30-40% of the code to design 80-85% of our day-to-day problems. However, the test is designed to check your knowledge on 100% of the code, meaning any question from a code is fair game. There is no way other than going through the codes in its entirety and not skip on topics thinking you will get lucky. I believe most of all the problems were code-related and didn't require knowing some obscure material. If you spent time trying to invent a method to solve the problem, you are already on the wrong path. You need to have a very good understanding of statics, load paths, design principles to pass this test. This test cannot be passed by going through the SERM one time, period! You need to review multiple resources, especially on topics you don't design/detail on a daily basis.

I would suggest spending a lot of time sharpening your analysis skills (I used the problems on www.mathalino.com as a resource). Create cheat sheets, write down formulas as you work out problems every time so that the formulas just end up getting memorized. Don't tab your books until 2 weeks before the exam. The goal is to know the material by flipping to it every time so that you know exactly where to find it without relying too much on tabs.

Many of us work in firms where you are not exposed to all different types of materials, structural systems etc. It is up to each one of us to plug the gaps. In my case, I had a lot of brushing up to do on wood design because I personally don't care much for wood. I had to re-learn the concrete code because I took the test in 2010, I did it with ACI 318-05 and to date know where to find things in that code. ACI 318-14 was a difficult adjustment. AASHTO was a bear as well. Do not skip studying AASHTO if you are a building engineer. It's likely that a straight-forward code lookup from AASHTO might cover you for a curve ball from ACI/AISC/ASCE etc. The David Connor book was a blessing to help go through the code sections in AASHTO. My strategy was to work out all the building problems first and then do the bridge problems last. Put the AASHTO index on the front of the code to make looking up easier.

It is critical to know how to analyze problems without the use of a computer, which we use indiscriminately at work. There are many analysis aids, force/moment/deflection formulas available as resources and you should familiarize yourselves with it. I cannot stress the importance of knowing how to shortcut into an answer by using these design aids. Time is always going to be an issue.

Work out as many problems as possible in its entirety, don't skip steps or look at the solutions, no matter whether it takes you 20 minutes to solve it the first time. Your knowledge of flipping through the codes and reference material to solve the problem is invaluable. Practice, practice, practice - that's the only thing that will help you cut down on the time to solve a problem. The only way to know what you are tripping up is to work the problems out and cement your understanding of how to approach it.

Edited by deviationz

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On 6/19/2018 at 8:17 PM, deviationz said:

Used quite a few different materials.

Alan Willams - Seismic and Wind Design examples

Seismic Design Manual Volume 1

AISC Seismic Design Manual

Seismic Design of building structures (PPI)

Seismic Design solved problems - Baradar

Wood design Breyer for wood diaphragms and shear walls

Masonry Design book - Brandow and Hart. Very good book for cheap from the Masonry association of Calif and Nevada. Used the Amrhein book as well for specific checks.

Purchased the code master series from SK Ghosh associates. Didn't find it very useful except for the masonry portions.

 

Which editions of the Alan Williams book and the Baradar book did you use?  I'm looking for more practice problems for the next round on lateral!  Thank you :)

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On 6/24/2018 at 5:12 AM, deviationz said:

Background - Structural engineer with 12+ years of experience. I first took my structural 1 in 2010 and passed first try. I only took the SE exam this past April and passed both of them. I must admit that my experience probably helped me through the afternoon problems on both days.

I agree with many that the test is pretty difficult and you have to be on your A game for 16 brutal hours. However, I do not think that the questions on the test were as ridiculous as people above are claiming it to be. I think they were fair to the most part. There were certainly many curve balls and problems intended to lure you into the wrong answer. However, as a practicing engineer, you should be trained to pick those up. The test is designed to drill down into the nitty-gritty in the codes. Unfortunately for many of us, we only utilize 30-40% of the code to design 80-85% of our day-to-day problems. However, the test is designed to check your knowledge on 100% of the code, meaning any question from a code is fair game. There is no way other than going through the codes in its entirety and not skip on topics thinking you will get lucky. I believe most of all the problems were code-related and didn't require knowing some obscure material. If you spent time trying to invent a method to solve the problem, you are already on the wrong path. You need to have a very good understanding of statics, load paths, design principles to pass this test. This test cannot be passed by going through the SERM one time, period! You need to review multiple resources, especially on topics you don't design/detail on a daily basis.

I would suggest spending a lot of time sharpening your analysis skills (I used the problems on www.mathalino.com as a resource). Create cheat sheets, write down formulas as you work out problems every time so that the formulas just end up getting memorized. Don't tab your books until 2 weeks before the exam. The goal is to know the material by flipping to it every time so that you know exactly where to find it without relying too much on tabs.

Many of us work in firms where you are not exposed to all different types of materials, structural systems etc. It is up to each one of us to plug the gaps. In my case, I had a lot of brushing up to do on wood design because I personally don't care much for wood. I had to re-learn the concrete code because I took the test in 2010, I did it with ACI 318-05 and to date know where to find things in that code. ACI 318-14 was a difficult adjustment. AASHTO was a bear as well. Do not skip studying AASHTO if you are a building engineer. It's likely that a straight-forward code lookup from AASHTO might cover you for a curve ball from ACI/AISC/ASCE etc. The David Connor book was a blessing to help go through the code sections in AASHTO. My strategy was to work out all the building problems first and then do the bridge problems last. Put the AASHTO index on the front of the code to make looking up easier.

It is critical to know how to analyze problems without the use of a computer, which we use indiscriminately at work. There are many analysis aids, force/moment/deflection formulas available as resources and you should familiarize yourselves with it. I cannot stress the importance of knowing how to shortcut into an answer by using these design aids. Time is always going to be an issue.

Work out as many problems as possible in its entirety, don't skip steps or look at the solutions, no matter whether it takes you 20 minutes to solve it the first time. Your knowledge of flipping through the codes and reference material to solve the problem is invaluable. Practice, practice, practice - that's the only thing that will help you cut down on the time to solve a problem. The only way to know what you are tripping up is to work the problems out and cement your understanding of how to approach it.

All great information here.  And thanks for the shout out!

In regards to the time issue (and this will also help out with your steel studies), I would recommend going through EVERY design aid table in the AISC codes.  Both the Steel Manual and Seismic Design manual. Work out problems showing how they arrived at the values in the tables so you understand the background of them.  

However.....on the exam, if the solution can be arrived at by simply looking it up in a table, then by all means do that.  Please note that this also includes the essay problems.  You DO NOT have to work through all of the calculations for the essay problems if they can be looked up in a design table in the code.  Just cite the Table in your solution. I asked this to an exam grader a few years ago and he said that citing the table and choosing the right number from the table is just as good, if not better, than doing the full calculation. 

In regards to the morning problems, I do remember quite a few problems that were simply values to look up from a table, but I previously did not know that it was something that was in a table until I started studying for the exam. There is a lot in those tables that I personally don't use on a day to day (or month to month, year to year) basis. 

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