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SE Exam Lateral Morning Strategy

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This is my 3rd-time try in a row for Lateral Exam (Building). I have A, A, A, IR for the afternoon, but I only get 23/40 in the morning. So I pretty sure if I get a few more correct I would pass the exam and end this mission impossible.

Can someone shed some light on how to get more correct answers (Practices, Tools, strategy)? I feel like there is an invisible glass ceiling that I can't break through.  Lots of Thanks!

    Knowledge Area                                                                                               Your Performance (% Correct)
1    Analysis of Structures: Generation of Loads                                                      43
2    Analysis of Structures: Load Distribution and Analysis Methods                   75
3    Design and Details of Structures: General Structural Considerations            33
4    Design and Details of Structures: Structural Systems Integration                 100
5    Design and Details of Structures: Structural Steel                                             60
6    Design and Details of Structures: Cold Formed Steel                                      100
7    Design and Details of Structures: Concrete                                                        40
8    Design and Details of Structures: Wood                                                              33
9    Design and Details of Structures: Masonry                                                         67
10    Design and Details of Structures: Foundations and Retaining Structures   67

SE-Saturday-AM_Lateral_with-codes_2018.pdf

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Interesting. Seems our performance is essentially flipped. I can generally get what I assume to be a passing score for the morning (around 70%) but don't do as well in the afternoon. I'd recommend that if you're doing buildings, ironically the first thing is to know your bridge stuff. Use David Connor's book, since it provides you with a nice baseline of random problems. For building problems, read the commentary of ASCE 7 and essentially memorize the IBC seismic manuals. Look at each salient portion of the ASCE 7 code and realize that someone who meets the "minimum competence" requirement would be able to solve those problems based on them without making beginner's mistakes. Something I've noticed that makes lateral more difficult is that it's less intuitive. For gravity, you can just assume that making a member/component larger will save the day. Lateral...at times it's the opposite. Speed is essential as well for the morning, and accuracy. Try to identify what the problem is trying to test, and similarly, what mistakes are people likely to make. 

By the way, very impressed with your afternoon score. I'd like to know how to implement what you did for the afternoon...that's my glass...or shall I say...reinforced concrete cieling. Pretty sure you'll knock it out in April.

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Check out my post from last year where I described my study strategy. I was able to pass using this, but I also feel like I got questions that generally suited my strengths which helped a ton. Just had a good bud come up short on the SE. I'll be pulling for my bud and all y'all on the next go. 

 

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Hello, I am very sorry to her this.  My issue was always the afternoon (regularly got 70%, although this is still too low in my opinion, and kept missing the PM portion).  So, maybe I can help but let me ask you a few questions:

1. Were the results you posted consistent across all exams or were there large swings in success on different topics across different exam attempts?

2. Were you comfortable with bridge problems or were they a struggle?  I don't want to assume concrete or steel problems you missed were building related.

3. Have you already passed vertical?  There is some overlap in certain topics like connections, member capacities, and serviceability requirements that could be a source of struggle if you are mostly focusing on studying the lateral provisions, which are mostly emphasized in the PM portion.

4. Where are your strengths and weaknesses, in your opinion, and why?

5. How would you describe your approach to solving the am portion of the exam?  Do you tackle the problems in a specific order?  If so, then what order and why?

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I'm one of the few people (I assume) that is more intimidated by the morning portions of these tests than the afternoon.  I'm very comfortable in a situation where your process and work flow is almost more important than the numbers (obviously to a point).  

The morning is where I get hung up because every single question in my opinion has some sort of 'trick' or shortcut that makes it relatively reductive and straight forward.  Where I'll fall flat is not finding that 'trick' OR making some stupid mistake.  

 

So to combat that, I've made a check list for myself that applies to all morning problems, that doesn't mean it applies in all cases or is all inclusive, its just a short list of things that I typically miss out of trying to move too quickly.  It goes something like this:

 

1.) Restrictions?  (any fine print in a code table that applies here)

2.) Geometry?  (eccentricities accounted for, is there symmetry available)

3.) Sign convention (are my arrows, moments, and signs all what they should be, free body diagram or sketch required?)

4.) ASD / LRFD compatibility (are there any reductions or multipliers required for loading, capacity, deflections, and so on)

5.) Short cuts (zero force members, table short cuts (steel code))

 

I play a lot of golf, and I use an acronym GASP before each shot, (GASP), which meaning... grip, alignment, stance, posture.  Because those things are super critical before each and every shot.  So I just applied that same logic here and made use 5 piece mental acronym that I keep constantly rolling around in my mind.  RGSAS.  Really good students always succeed. 

 

Anyways, good luck in your practice, take care. 

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On 12/21/2018 at 10:11 PM, Titleistguy said:

I'm one of the few people (I assume) that is more intimidated by the morning portions of these tests than the afternoon.  I'm very comfortable in a situation where your process and work flow is almost more important than the numbers (obviously to a point).  

The morning is where I get hung up because every single question in my opinion has some sort of 'trick' or shortcut that makes it relatively reductive and straight forward.  Where I'll fall flat is not finding that 'trick' OR making some stupid mistake.  

 

So to combat that, I've made a check list for myself that applies to all morning problems, that doesn't mean it applies in all cases or is all inclusive, its just a short list of things that I typically miss out of trying to move too quickly.  It goes something like this:

 

1.) Restrictions?  (any fine print in a code table that applies here)

2.) Geometry?  (eccentricities accounted for, is there symmetry available)

3.) Sign convention (are my arrows, moments, and signs all what they should be, free body diagram or sketch required?)

4.) ASD / LRFD compatibility (are there any reductions or multipliers required for loading, capacity, deflections, and so on)

5.) Short cuts (zero force members, table short cuts (steel code))

 

I play a lot of golf, and I use an acronym GASP before each shot, (GASP), which meaning... grip, alignment, stance, posture.  Because those things are super critical before each and every shot.  So I just applied that same logic here and made use 5 piece mental acronym that I keep constantly rolling around in my mind.  RGSAS.  Really good students always succeed. 

 

Anyways, good luck in your practice, take care. 

Really awesome process! I'm not one for acronyms, but I will be trying this out going forward with my structural design problems. 

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