Feedback for PPI's "SE Structural Engineering Buildings Practice Exam"?

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ItzmeJ0e

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I'm working on making updates to PPI's "SE Structural Engineering Buildings Practice Exam" for the new code list. For those of you that took the exam recently and used my book as part of your preparation, I'd appreciate any feedback you might have so I can make improvements for the next edition. In particular:

-How did the difficulty and length of the practice exam compare to the actual test?
-Are there any topics you think are important that aren't covered by at least one of the practice problems?
-Are there any problems you think are poorly written or confusing that should be replaced?
-Are there any solutions you think are unclear and could be improved? (In general suspected errors should be reported here: Report an Error | PPI, A Kaplan Company. But feel free to post those here too if you'd like.)

Any other suggestions for improvements are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Joe
 

Engineerbabu

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Apologies for my comment earlier! I clearly didn't read the topic properly.
I have a 4th edition of the book and here is my comparison of vertical and lateral.
Vertical Difficulty- AM portion was consistent with the practice test mentioned above. I would say the PM portion of the exam was a little difficult compared to the test.
Lateral Difficulty- I found AM portion of the exam to be easier than the practice test, but the PM portion was way difficult in the exam. Difficult in the sense there was one question which one wouldn't expect in the exam. Other questions were pretty consistent with the practice exam.
 
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Tac42turtle

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Just to help clarify, it sounds to me like the author of the PPI SE Practice Exam is asking for constructive feedback on his book to incorporate while he is updating for the new codes.

Joe, I haven't used it yet but plan to for the Oct SE exam. Looking forward to the updated version!
 

organix

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Minor comment. Since ACI does not change, maybe this issue could be missed:

There’s a coupling beam problem. I had looked semi recently and think it was problem 72, maybe 73. Either way, the solution is correct, but the letter shown as “correct” is a typo. It should be letter B and not D.
 

ItzmeJ0e

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Apologies for my comment earlier! I clearly didn't read the topic properly.
I have a 4th edition of the book and here is my comparison of vertical and lateral.
Vertical Difficulty- AM portion was consistent with the practice test mentioned above. I would say the PM portion of the exam was a little difficult compared to the test.
Lateral Difficulty- I found AM portion of the exam to be easier than the practice test, but the PM portion was way difficult in the exam. Difficult in the sense there was one question which one wouldn't expect in the exam. Other questions were pretty consistent with the practice exam.
Thanks for the feedback. In general my goal was to make the practice exam similar in difficulty or slightly more difficult than the actual test. Based on your response, I will try to tweak the lateral PM to be more difficult.
 

ItzmeJ0e

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Minor comment. Since ACI does not change, maybe this issue could be missed:

There’s a coupling beam problem. I had looked semi recently and think it was problem 72, maybe 73. Either way, the solution is correct, but the letter shown as “correct” is a typo. It should be letter B and not D.
Thank you! This was already corrected in the 5th Edition. The correct answer to question #72 is (B) 96 kips.
 
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I'm going mostly off memory here, but I found the difficulty of the practice exams in the 5th Edition to be very comparable to the difficulty of the actual exam. If I had any recommendations, I would say that treatment of deep foundations (in so far as the SE exam covers deep foundations) and diaphragm / subdiaphragm analysis and design could use a bit more emphasis, but I understand that it is wholly impossible and unrealistic to cover the entire range of possibilities that NCEES might throw at you on a particular exam.

In hindsight, thank you for providing such an excellent resource.
 

organix

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Thank you! This was already corrected in the 5th Edition. The correct answer to question #72 is (B) 96 kips.
Oh awesome. I didn't even realize I had an older version, haha.

If you do any bigger changes to the PM portion, I'd say it would be beneficial to add in some problems that test seismic irregularities. I rarely see PM example problems that ask to identify and/or design for these. For example, in my studies, I haven't found much that detailed well the design for vertical irregularity 4 or horizontal irregularity 4.

With that said, as RP stated above, it's not realistic to cover it all and I do think the practice exam you put together is a pretty good example to set one's expectations.
 

Shafiullah

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I'm working on making updates to PPI's "SE Structural Engineering Buildings Practice Exam" for the new code list. For those of you that took the exam recently and used my book as part of your preparation, I'd appreciate any feedback you might have so I can make improvements for the next edition. In particular:

-How did the difficulty and length of the practice exam compare to the actual test?
-Are there any topics you think are important that aren't covered by at least one of the practice problems?
-Are there any problems you think are poorly written or confusing that should be replaced?
-Are there any solutions you think are unclear and could be improved? (In general suspected errors should be reported here: Report an Error | PPI, A Kaplan Company. But feel free to post those here too if you'd like.)

Any other suggestions for improvements are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Joe
When can we expect the availability of updated PPI's "SE Structural Engineering Buildings Practice Exam
 

ItzmeJ0e

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Oh awesome. I didn't even realize I had an older version, haha.

If you do any bigger changes to the PM portion, I'd say it would be beneficial to add in some problems that test seismic irregularities. I rarely see PM example problems that ask to identify and/or design for these. For example, in my studies, I haven't found much that detailed well the design for vertical irregularity 4 or horizontal irregularity 4.

With that said, as RP stated above, it's not realistic to cover it all and I do think the practice exam you put together is a pretty good example to set one's expectations.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try to add a seismic irregularity question to one of the PM example problems.

I'll also add that the "2018 IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual Volume 1" is a good reference for these types of problems. I believe they have a worked example for each type of irregularity.
 

ItzmeJ0e

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When can we expect the availability of updated PPI's "SE Structural Engineering Buildings Practice Exam
Not sure yet. I'm about half way through making edits and expect to be done in about four weeks. But then PPI will need some time to incorporate the edits and print the book. I'll let you know when I have a firm date.

So far, there have not been many substantial changes (not like last round of updates when there were majors changes to ASCE 7 wind loads). Mostly just minor changes to some code section numbers in the solutions. Using the current version (5th edition) will probably work just fine for most people until the new one is published.
 

organix

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Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try to add a seismic irregularity question to one of the PM example problems.

I'll also add that the "2018 IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual Volume 1" is a good reference for these types of problems. I believe they have a worked example for each type of irregularity.
Thanks for the recommendation. I haven't looked at the 2018 version, but I did see 2012 and 2015. Unfortunately, they don't get much into the analysis of the irregularities I'm curious about in those versions.
 
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