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LACO48

Passing Lateral without Course

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I passed the Vertical SE in October 2018 taking the EET Vertical Course. I'm contemplating taking the April 2019 Lateral exam but haven't started studying yet. The Lateral EET course started already in Dec and I'm way behind. So I thought maybe I should just study on my own this time around. I just ordered the 2015 IBC Seismic Design Manual Volume 1. I attributed my success in the Vertical to taking the EET course so I'm not as confident in my ability to pass the Lateral without taking the course. In 2016 I took and failed the SE both days by studying on my own. 

 

I have the NCEES practice exam, the PPI practice exam, SERM (not good for seismic) and the 2015 IBC Seismic Design Manual Vol 1 is coming. Along with all the codes and some text books. 

 

For anyone who has passed the Lateral only without taking a course. Can anyone share what material exactly they used to be successful?

 

I remember the AISC Seismic Design Manual is important too. Can't remember if it was free to download or not. I think I brought a printed copy the first time I took it.

 

Thanks

 

 

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I was able to pass it without a course.  I actually think the lateral exam was easier to study for than the vertical exam. You know that 75% of the exam will cover seismic, and about 25% wind.

You know to study every section of ASCE 7 seismic chapters, and if you work out every problem in the SEAOC Seismic Design Manual Vol. 1, you will be more than 1/2 way there with seismic study. Other 1/2 of seismic study would be material codes, especially ACI 318 seismic chapter and AISC seismic design manual. Volumes 2, 3, & 4 would also help with this. 

For wind, studying the ASCE 7 wind chapters and any example problems you can find. ASCE has a wind loads guide that would help. 

Work out both the NCEES and PPI practice exams, but know that the PPI exam is more in line with the actual exam difficulty. The NCEES exam is too easy, but you may find some similar problems on the actual exam. Do the practice exams just like the exam itself, giving yourself 4 hours for each session. 

I really didn't use any textbooks while studying or during the exam. Study guides with example problems I think work the best. 

Also, don't forget that you will have about 10 multiple choice problems concerning bridges.  I wrote just the book for you!  See attached link. :)

https://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Problems-Structural-Engineering-Exam/dp/1535055464/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536335590&sr=1-1&keywords=bridge+lateral+loads&dpID=41yQX4vStPL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

 

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Thanks for the reply David, really helpful info. Hearing from people that the Lateral was easier is definitely a confidence boost. I've heard about your book multiple times throughout other threads. I didn't realize you had one specifically for lateral. Thought you had just one textbook for both. I'll look into purchasing it.

 

Did you have the Seismic and Wind Forces Design Example by Alan Williams?

I have the 3rd Edition PPI Practice exam but it looks like there's a 5th edition out now, do you know if it's worth buying?

How important is having IBC Volumes 2,3, and 4?

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I passed the exam without taking a course (lateral and vertical).

I have previously posted about it.

 

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I also passed lateral without a course. As David said, you just need to focus on wind and seismic so your volume of studies will be minimal compared to vertical. However, this means the questions will be more in-depth.

The one thing I'd add to David's list is ASCE 7-10's seismic commentary is fantastic; definitely read through that.

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I'd be careful which edition of Wind and Seismic you get, if you're looking at this April, you're likely going to want to use the 4th edition.  The 5th has been updated with ASCE 7-16.

 

That said, just be aware, while its a solid reference book,  I think that it has too many typos and so forth.

 

In my opinion, the BEST pure seismic review book I've seen so far, and with the best examples are the:

1. Hiner book - Seismic Design Review Workbook for the California Civil Professional Engineering Seismic Principles Exam, 2017

2. SEAOC Vol 1.

 

With those two you're likely good to go on seismic.

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On 1/17/2019 at 4:24 PM, LACO48 said:

Thanks for the reply David, really helpful info. Hearing from people that the Lateral was easier is definitely a confidence boost. I've heard about your book multiple times throughout other threads. I didn't realize you had one specifically for lateral. Thought you had just one textbook for both. I'll look into purchasing it.

 

Did you have the Seismic and Wind Forces Design Example by Alan Williams?

I have the 3rd Edition PPI Practice exam but it looks like there's a 5th edition out now, do you know if it's worth buying?

How important is having IBC Volumes 2,3, and 4?

You are probably OK with the 3rd edition of the PPI practice exam.  You are more going for practice with taking the exam and the pace you will need to maintain. As opposed to knowing if a certain concept in the code was moved to a different section.  You need to be aware of that, but that's not what I concentrating on when I took the practice exams. Take the exams just like the real test though. Start at 8am-noon for multiple choice, take 1 hour lunch, then essay questions from 1-5pm. Time yourself, etc. 

I would recommend getting Volumes 2,3, & 4.  Can you pass without them?  Yes, but I needed all the help I could get. But for Vol. 1 you get more "bang for you buck."  Vols. 2-4 are full building examples, but they certainly helped me out on the exam, and in my work too. 

I don't have the Hiner book, but I have also heard it is a great resource to have.

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I'm leaning towards taking the Lateral in April. I guess I'll go with the following materials:

 

All Building Codes

PPI Practice Exam

NCEES Practice Exam

IBC Volume 1-4

Connor Bridge Lateral Book (possibly)

Hiner Book (possibly, never heard about this one either, but looks good)

 

I feel like with the Bridge Problems they don't ask you anything that can't be looked up in the AASHTO. It's a matter of being able to find the Section in the massive code. But obviously having the textbook is beneficial. 

 

Also is the AISC 341 included in the Seismic Design Manual? I remember now last time I took the Lateral I just had the printed out AISC 341, can't remember if it was 341-10 or 341-16. Does anyone know if you need the Seismic Design Manual for the exam or is everything required to solve the exam problems included in the 341? Also is it the 341-10 or 341-16?

 

 

Edited by LACO48

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5 hours ago, LACO48 said:

I feel like with the Bridge Problems they don't ask you anything that can't be looked up in the AASHTO. It's a matter of being able to find the Section in the massive code. But obviously having the textbook is beneficial. 

The index is your friend! Print it out and put it in it's own binder (or put it at the front of each AASHTO binder you have).

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19 hours ago, LACO48 said:

I feel like with the Bridge Problems they don't ask you anything that can't be looked up in the AASHTO. It's a matter of being able to find the Section in the massive code. But obviously having the textbook is beneficial. 

Print this and bring it with you as well, table of maximum moments/shears/reactions for simple spans for HL-93 loading;

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/esc/techpubs/manual/bridgemanuals/bridge-design-aids/page/bda_9_1.pdf

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23 hours ago, LACO48 said:

I'm leaning towards taking the Lateral in April. I guess I'll go with the following materials:

 

All Building Codes

PPI Practice Exam

NCEES Practice Exam

IBC Volume 2-4

Connor Bridge Lateral Book (possibly)

Hiner Book (possibly, never heard about this one either, but looks good)

 

I feel like with the Bridge Problems they don't ask you anything that can't be looked up in the AASHTO. It's a matter of being able to find the Section in the massive code. But obviously having the textbook is beneficial. 

 

Also is the AISC 341 included in the Seismic Design Manual? I remember now last time I took the Lateral I just had the printed out AISC 341, can't remember if it was 341-10 or 341-16. Does anyone know if you need the Seismic Design Manual for the exam or is everything required to solve the exam problems included in the 341? Also is it the 341-10 or 341-16?

 

 

Hiner book + SEAOC vol1.  All you need for seismic analysis. 

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5 hours ago, onemanwolfpack said:

Print this and bring it with you as well, table of maximum moments/shears/reactions for simple spans for HL-93 loading;

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/esc/techpubs/manual/bridgemanuals/bridge-design-aids/page/bda_9_1.pdf

I had something similar for the Vertical, but do you think this is needed for the Lateral?

1 hour ago, Titleistguy said:

Hiner book + SEAOC vol1.  All you need for seismic analysis. 

Does the Hiner book cover different materials as well? How did you study for material specific Lateral problems?

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1 hour ago, LACO48 said:
6 hours ago, onemanwolfpack said:

Print this and bring it with you as well, table of maximum moments/shears/reactions for simple spans for HL-93 loading;

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/esc/techpubs/manual/bridgemanuals/bridge-design-aids/page/bda_9_1.pdf

I had something similar for the Vertical, but do you think this is needed for the Lateral?

Whoops sorry, forgot what thread I was in! No, not necessary for the Lateral. If I recall, David Connor's Lateral review book has a page that lists out all of the chapters/sections of AASHTO that have seismic provisions. I found that to be pretty helpful as a quick little reference, instead of looking through every chapter's table of contents.

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On 1/21/2019 at 1:28 PM, LACO48 said:

I'm leaning towards taking the Lateral in April. I guess I'll go with the following materials:

 

All Building Codes

PPI Practice Exam

NCEES Practice Exam

IBC Volume 1-4

Connor Bridge Lateral Book (possibly)

Hiner Book (possibly, never heard about this one either, but looks good)

 

I feel like with the Bridge Problems they don't ask you anything that can't be looked up in the AASHTO. It's a matter of being able to find the Section in the massive code. But obviously having the textbook is beneficial. 

 

Also is the AISC 341 included in the Seismic Design Manual? I remember now last time I took the Lateral I just had the printed out AISC 341, can't remember if it was 341-10 or 341-16. Does anyone know if you need the Seismic Design Manual for the exam or is everything required to solve the exam problems included in the 341? Also is it the 341-10 or 341-16?

 

 

Yes, AISC 341 is in the back of the Seismic Design Manual, along with AISC 358 - Prequalified Moment Connections. The NCEES specs refers to the manuals for both Steel Design and Seismic. Plus the manuals have tables that will help you solve problems faster. For the current SE exam you need the 2010 (red) editions of the steel manuals. 

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Just my 2 cents, I think the test is pretty reasonable if you are A) A building engineer B) Working frequently in high seismic areas and C) work frequently with at least 3 out of the 4 major materials.  I work primarily in high seismic zones but only work in bridge design (all requiring displacement-based design, which is out of the scope of this exam), so the hill to climb for passing this test without a class was a bit too steep.  I found that out the hard way...twice.  Vertical on the other hand I passed first try self studying, and fairly minimal self study at that.  Taking a class showed me how big my gaps were in ASCE and in building-centric concrete and steel design.

My experience was as follows:

-Try one: minimal self study (same level as vertical) - Shell shocked

-Try two: rigorous self study - Felt better but only got one or two more questions

-Try three: EET lateral class - Finished both morning and afternoon with a lot of extra time and left knowing I passed

Beyond that, in terms of reference materials, I personally needed to just be way more familiar with the codes (so primary references were ASCE/ACI/AISC/AASHTO/etc).  The best way for me to do that was a lot of practice problems and tests, with deliberate tabbing and quick reference binders (pulled tables from the codes, sample guides, how-to type stuff).  I own all the SEAOC books, Williams S&W, Hiner, CMACN book, all the PPI seismic books and sample questions and probably a half dozen others, but in the end I attributed my success to the class and familiarity with the codes.

A quick note (this may be how others feel about the steel or concrete or wind or whatever) but the AASHTO questions in the morning are super basic.  They're essentially testing your ability to find the section in the code, and follow a super simple calc.  If you're familiar with loads (chapter 3) and basic analysis (chapter 4) you'll probably get about 75-80% of the bridge questions pretty easily.  Just pay attention to any boundary condition-related terminology in the question.  They're usually tell you if something is fixed transversely at an abutment or not, or if there's some other stiffness for you to consider (like a foundation or passive resistance). 

If you're a building engineer working with a bunch of different materials in a high seismic zone you'll probably do pretty well with deliberate study.  Good luck and remember to email NCEES about any questions you thought were unclear or misleading.  Even though most probably go nowhere you may be the person the pushes that particular question over the line and get it thrown out.

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The lateral exam for buildings is certainly "code-heavy"; but more importantly, some aspects of lateral design are simply counter-intuitive. Changing from vertical to lateral is like switching from Newtonian Physics to Quantum Physics. "Wait so you mean the electron which I learned was a particle, isn't quite a particle, but sometimes acts like a particle, but simultaneously like a wave, but at the same time we don't quite know where it is?"

So if you're forgetting something, some obscure code reference or exception, it's bad times. Whereas on gravity you can just say "shoot, make the beam/column/member bigger" and you're good to go. A class would be helpful in highlighting all of the caveats of the code which NCEES tests you on. You essentially need to eat, sleep, dream and breath the code. Study until you have dreams about overstrength and redundancy.

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Alright just ordered all the IBC Seismic Volumes, along with the AISC Seismic Design Manual. I've been studying like crazy the last week coming into my office during the weekends. Just finished studying IBC Volume 1 and took both practice exams (morning only so far). The practice exam questions are taking a bit too long but that's expected as I'm taking the practice exam early in the studying process. But I'm able to get thru them understanding everything and getting correct answers. I feel pretty good so far, and I think I covered a lot of ground in just a couple of weeks. IMO I think it's a good idea to take the 2 practice exams early on as you soak in a lot of info just by attempting the questions. You'll have questions and concepts in the back of your head from the practice exam that will register when you actually see them again during the study process. I believe this connection will help build your understanding. I plan on taking the practice exams 2 more times. Once again sometime in the end of Feb and once again before the exam. Practice problems were the key to my success for the Vertical. Even though they're the same problems I still think it will be beneficial. 

 

Or maybe I'll get the Alan Williams book if I need more practice problems. Does anyone know how the problems in the Williams book compare to the problems in the PPI and NCEES practice exams?

 

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Hi all,

I'll probably take courses myself but I'd STRONGLY recommend checking out this guy's site for material for self-study tips for both PE & SE exams:

http://structuralengineerhq.com/

He's been releasing new email content recently as well (including a discount on SERM that puts it lower cost than even Amazon!) and I'd be happy to forward said emails to anyone who PM's me their email.

 

It's all free content and I don't get anything out of sharing this, just wanted ya'll know the best (hands down) aid I've found in prepping to study for exams.

 

Best knowledge to ya!

-Weaver

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On 12/11/2018 at 10:59 AM, SE-wishes said:

Sounds like we were comparably close for lateral bldgs.  Such a bummer right? I was 28/40; A,A,U,IR.  That 3rd problem (General Analy) was awful, I kept flipping back and forth trying to get it straight in my mind; I went from Acceptable in the Spring to Unacceptable in the Fall on it, how does that happen?!

I know buddy, This time I pray we get questions that we can answer. we are very close. 

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