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jocey07

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Hi everyone,

What books did everyone study to take the vertical and lateral exams for buildings? Review courses?

Also, I am thinking of taking one day at a time, so I can really focus on each day at a time. What are  y'all thoughts on this?

 

tj_PE

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i recommend one day at a time. this is how i'm doing it. 

as for references and courses, and even both vs one at a time, there's a lot of info already in this forum that you can search through and browse

I highly recommend AEI California. The content is great, the instructors are fantastic and responsive. 

 

MR_E30

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One day at a time is the way to go.

I used School of PE for vert-buildings and would give it a 'meh'. No experience with AEI but I hear fantastic things often.

I used the SERM primarily as my main study tool. Felt it was much more worthwhile than the much more expensive online class.

 

Titleistguy

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SERM is useful on test day for random things and general reference.  

As for systematic study I'd take AEI and follow their schedule,  do all the homework , quizzes, mini exams, and practice exams and besides that David Connors bridge book was handy, David Fanella concrete, Breyer for Wood.  Hibbler for structural analysis and hibbler statics and mechanics book.  Structural loads by Fabella and ACIsp17 vol 1, 2...

Cant think of much else off top of my head. 

 

Titleistguy

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Some 2nd tier resources that were useful at times...

Sabbelli - ductile design of steel

Moehle - seismic design conc. Structures 

Hiner seismic workbook 

Ummmm .... ppi steel design was solid, the conc one was meh.  

 

dlegofan

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I took the PPI course, and I passed in my first attempt. I studied about 400 hours between the course and personal study. I bought all the references from the PPI course and used almost all of them while studying--though not necessarily on the test.

There is a lot of debate on taking 1 vs. 2 days. I went with taking both in 1 sitting. Personally, I felt the exams had much different material so it wasn't difficult switching from from vertical to lateral. After studying for about 6 months almost nonstop, I would not want to put my family through that again. You are going to sacrifice a lot of personal time if you do the studying correctly. Personally, if you're going to put in a lot of hours studying for the vertical, the lateral isn't that much more difficult (at least for bridges). The right answer for me was to take 2 days in one sitting, but yours might be different.

Personally, I would recommend the PPI course, especially if you are taking both days.

 
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Definitely split up the components. I took lateral first because it was easier to study for. Vertical has such broad base of questions that could be asked. 

Definitely the SEAOC IBC Seismic Design Manuals for lateral. Just study those and maybe take a review course and you should be OK for lateral. 

Follow the NCEES specs. for what to study.  Try not to stray off into subject matter that would probably not be covered by the exam. 

 

bigirishman

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I find it impressive just how different everyone's experiences are.  Guess that's a testament to the material on the test, the background of the test taker, and how the individual learns/studies.

Personally I found splitting the test up far better than taking in one cycle.  I found as a career bridge designer the vertical was far easier to study for than the lateral (vertical felt broader but also shallower than the lateral).  I used the SERM for studying for Vertical and found it almost 100% adequate for getting me through the morning.  Having a wealth of long form example problems for the afternoon at the ready was good enough for the bridge test.  I didn't find any of the references I purchased for lateral were useful (I bought and studied Williams's Seismic and Wind Structural Design Examples, Volumes 1 through 4 of the SEAOC design manual, PPI's Seismic manual, and a bunch of more niche references).  The lateral portion of the SERM is almost nonexistent.  I didn't even understand when each of the wind design methods was supposed to be used, let alone how to actually use them correctly.  I ended up taking the EET/AEI lateral class and that gave me everything I needed to confidently pass the lateral.

So your background and the way you learn will likely dictate what works best for you.  Note that despite working primarily in high seismic areas (CA and WA) and being fairly competent in displacement based and force based lateral bridge design, the only thing that really helped me "learn" building seismic and wind was taking that class.  Self study was perfectly fine for the vertical for me.

Best of Luck!

 

dauwerda

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I would recommend taking them separately. I took both on my first attempt (did not put in the study time that i needed to), I was so mentally exhausted after the first day, but still had to get up and do it again for the second day - I have never felt so drained as I did at the end of the second day.

I then took just the vertical and passed and followed that up with just the lateral and passed (I took EET for the lateral portion). Overall the single day attempts were a better experience just because I had time to recover after taking an 8 hour test.

 
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Structural Analysis by Hibbeler

David Connor's Book O' Bridge Problems

SEAOC Structural / Seismic Design Manuals 1-4 are great for learning/refreshing seismic, and make a terrific addition to your permanent library.  

 
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I heard most of the existing courses are not that friendly to Bridge guys, can anyone confirm this for me? Based on your experience with AEI or PPI, are they also good for bridges? Thanks

 

Titleistguy

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AEI is great for bridges. 

Remember it's a review course covering many topics....and aaahto is a gazillion pages.  

AEI hits all the high percentage topics and several of the more obscure one too.  No class or text covers them all.  

For bridges for bldg folks here is what I'd suggest :

1 AEI Course 

2 Connors book 

3 Caltran chapter 3

4 FHWA Example problems, especially the one for composite beams and the plate girder one

All those taken together will get you 90 percent of the way. 

If ncees wants to ask some obscure bearing designs or random detail that's buried in the code you likely have a small chance of getting it right.  However, assuming 10 bridge questions on the test... The above references get you to 70-80 percent.  The other 20... Not much here you can do unless you're a bridge person. 

 

dlegofan

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I heard most of the existing courses are not that friendly to Bridge guys, can anyone confirm this for me? Based on your experience with AEI or PPI, are they also good for bridges? Thanks
I took the PPI course and the bridge exam. I passed my first try.

 
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I took the PPI course and the bridge exam. I passed my first try.
do you recommend PPI for me to take the SE exam? or you study something else in addition to it? Any tips/suggestions from you will be highly appreciated.

 

Just_SE

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I highly recommend AEI ( Advanced Engineering institute). I took both vertical and lateral classes (building) with them. I did my first trial for both vertical and lateral in April 2019, passing vertical and fail lateral (27/40 AM, A, A, IR, U). Then I passed my lateral in Oct 2019. 

I only took AEI's handout and required codes with me for both exams. AEI's handout in really detailed and helpful. I can almost find all the things I need for the exam from their handout. 

Hope this help. Good luck for the exam.

 

dlegofan

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do you recommend PPI for me to take the SE exam? or you study something else in addition to it? Any tips/suggestions from you will be highly appreciated.
I do recommend PPI just for the sake of the one-on-one with the instructor and collaboration with classmates. Here are some things that helped me:

-Get all your books early and every time you study, lay them out on a desk the size of the testing desk. Put your books in the same place every time. The more you simulate how you will actually take the exam, the more comfortable you will feel. Personally, I separated into 4 stacks: materials (steel, concrete, timber, masonry), AASHTO, design codes (IBC/ASCE 7, etc.), everything else.

-Break up AASHTO into 4 sections: Ch. 1-4, Ch 5, Ch 6, everything else

-Make a binder with helpful cheat sheets. For example, I made a quick-reference for rebar development lengths.

-You need to study every chance you get. I took 1 week off for a vacation about midway through and studied about 400 hours total. You are going to sacrifice a lot of time, but your family and friends are also going to sacrifice time with you as well. Make sure to tell them upfront the commitment you are making. You don't want to have to retake the test and have them go through it again. (That was a big motivator for me)

-If you have a weakness, the test will exploit it. You need to know everything or at least where everything is located.

-Don't bring extra books that you don't need. You will just waste time thumbing through them.

-Make notes in all of the references. I drew pictures. I wrote what page number to go to instead of the section because it's quicker to find a page number. I made a chart of beta values for concrete. if a section called for iteration, I made a table when possible. Etc. Anything that saves you time and brain power will help.

-Leave time to study your weakest subject last. That way, it is the freshest in your mind. But you need to make sure you have enough time to study for it. For me, I left about 1 month.

 
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I do recommend PPI just for the sake of the one-on-one with the instructor and collaboration with classmates. Here are some things that helped me:

-Get all your books early and every time you study, lay them out on a desk the size of the testing desk. Put your books in the same place every time. The more you simulate how you will actually take the exam, the more comfortable you will feel. Personally, I separated into 4 stacks: materials (steel, concrete, timber, masonry), AASHTO, design codes (IBC/ASCE 7, etc.), everything else.

-Break up AASHTO into 4 sections: Ch. 1-4, Ch 5, Ch 6, everything else

-Make a binder with helpful cheat sheets. For example, I made a quick-reference for rebar development lengths.

-You need to study every chance you get. I took 1 week off for a vacation about midway through and studied about 400 hours total. You are going to sacrifice a lot of time, but your family and friends are also going to sacrifice time with you as well. Make sure to tell them upfront the commitment you are making. You don't want to have to retake the test and have them go through it again. (That was a big motivator for me)

-If you have a weakness, the test will exploit it. You need to know everything or at least where everything is located.

-Don't bring extra books that you don't need. You will just waste time thumbing through them.

-Make notes in all of the references. I drew pictures. I wrote what page number to go to instead of the section because it's quicker to find a page number. I made a chart of beta values for concrete. if a section called for iteration, I made a table when possible. Etc. Anything that saves you time and brain power will help.

-Leave time to study your weakest subject last. That way, it is the freshest in your mind. But you need to make sure you have enough time to study for it. For me, I left about 1 month.
Thanks a lot for your detailed explanations. I really appreciate your help.

 

ZEZO4

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Take AEI they will provide you the best handout to pass the S.E. exam.

 

davab

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Anyone who has studied using AEI...

How useful was the AEI handouts for the test? During the test, were you guys using the AEI binders 90% of the time? 80%? 50%? 

So far, I am putting post-it notes on both the AEI binders and code books. Wondering whether I should focus on one or the other.

At the end, I feel that it would be best to be the master of either the code book (ACI, AISC, NDS, etc) itself or AEI binder so I don't lose any time searching through the code references.

Any thoughts?

Also, after a long day at work,  I am barely putting 2 hours each night and extra hours on the weekends. I am worried that I am not studying enough for this April's tests. What were your study routines like for those of you who passed?

 

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