SE EXAM - READY FOR OCTOBER 2015?

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arash78s

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Hi everyone..

well, the exam day is getting closer and i decided to start this topic to see how others are doing. This will be my first time taking this exam. I will take both gravity and lateral in buildings. I decided to do only self study and avoid taking course.

I have been preparing for this about 5 months (1-2 hr a day). I have covered all topics and purchased/downloaded all exam materials, codes and ...

Apart from SERM, For concrete & footing i went over PCA problems...For Masonry I relied on 2012 design of reinforced maconry structures by CMACN, ..For lateral I have worked all problems of SEAONC Vol 1 and browsed Alan wiliams wind & seismic. I work with ASCE 7 on daily basis and I can find things fast on that....For wood I relied only on SERM which i think did a good job. I will take breyer book to exam too.

My job is mostly involved with steel design & I felt confident on that portion so i did not spent much time on it, although i have started to browse the AISC solved examples just to refresh my memory on equations.

I have read 6 minutes questions & solutions and plan to do the NCEES sample question plus PPI 16 hr exam in coming weeks.

I thought PPI solved problems are waste of time since they are more difiicult than actual exam.

I consider myself fairly smart when it comes to exams and never had a fail experience but Honestly I feel so unconfident on this SE exam,,There are too many topics which has to be covered & when I switch to a different subject I feel I have already forgotten the previous one :Locolaugh:

OK, here is my concern: Bridge & Prestressed concrete.

I took bridge course in my graduate school 3 years ago and I am fairly familier with AASHTO chapter 3 which talks about loadings & distributing loads between girders. The code itself is 1500 pages(2 binders) which is a lotttt.. I know there will be at least 6-8 questions in morning session but I am wondering which chapters are mostly in questions? Is it a good idea to look for question key words in code index to find the relevant code part or there is no time for that? what is the difficulty range?

Also any suggestion for prestress concrete? Is reading SERM examples enough? I have no back ground in that department :violin:

I am taking PCI manual with myself (another 800 page) with the hope I can answer some question by looking at capacity tables. is it worth it?

My last question is regarding structural analysis, e.g. moment distribution, conjugate beam, portal frames ... does any one remeber what type of questions will most likely appear in this topic? I hope they won't througha frame for moment distribution. that would be a skip for me.

I have made a list for myself sorted by topics wich tells me where I can find the relevant example. I don't know if I actually have time in exam to do these things. As many have said when you read the question you should have already know where to look !

Any help or suggestions will be appreciated.

sorry for long post and Good luck to every one !!!

 

arash78s

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OK, After reading the other post about bridge in this forum, i believe most of my questions were answered. however I still need some hints for rest :deadhorse:

 

Andy Lin

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Check the exam spec (which you probably already did) and make your best judgment on how you want to approach it.


For example, according to the gravity spec, there will be approximately 5 questions for concrete design and there are 11 subjects under that section. So chances are, you'll probably get 0 to 2 questions on prestress.

If you are familiar with the text in SERM and you bring a copy of PCI Design Handbook, my guess is that you'll most likely be able to "wing it" during the exam for the prestress question(s).

Now for structural analysis, since the methods are on the exam spec, all of the stuff you mentioned could potentially be on there.

However, since it's impractical to know them all (we rely on computer software to run these tedious calculations nowadays...), I suggest that you at least have copies of examples on how to do them in case questions come up.
 

phecke

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For example, according to the gravity spec, there will be approximately 5 questions for concrete design and there are 11 subjects under that section. So chances are, you'll probably get 0 to 2 questions on prestress.



If you are familiar with the text in SERM and you bring a copy of PCI Design Handbook, my guess is that you'll most likely be able to "wing it" during the exam for the prestress question(s).


0-2 questions on prestressed conc is pretty accuarte from when I took it. I also "winged" it with just the PCI Manual and am pretty confident that I got both questions right since one was just pulling a value from a table and the other was an equation right out of the book.

Now for structural analysis, since the methods are on the exam spec, all of the stuff you mentioned could potentially be on there.



However, since it's impractical to know them all (we rely on computer soSucks!are to run these tedious calculations nowadays...), I suggest that you at least have copies of examples on how to do them in case questions come up.


This is pretty important. I had gone over the portal method, influence lines, etc etc while studying and sort of got ok with all of them again. Having a worked example right next to me though really helped and made sure I wasn't making a dumb mistake.

With as much studying as you've done, you'll probably be fine. Don't sleep on the wood portion though. FWIW I didn't study near as much as you and passed both on my first go around.

 

arash78s

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Thanks for your comments guys,,phecke you really did a great job on passing both on first try.well done!

SEHQ, i checked your website..very useful hints there..I specially liked the idea of making an excel spread sheet for different values to get CL & CV for wood.

I have one question about the bridge, how can I determine the MAX moment & shear at supports for a multi-span bridge?

SERM uses a reference in its examples which is an old AISC publication called "Moments_Shears_Reactions 1986". I downloaded the book and it is full of tables based on influence lines theory & load positioning.

However the coefficients in SERM examples (e.g. 0.126 for a four span bridge) do not correspond with what I find in relevant tables. Has any one ever used this publication? Should I take it to exam or most probably they give the moment/shear in question and only ask for distributing them between girders?

cheers

 

Andy Lin

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I have one question about the bridge, how can I determine the MAX moment & shear at supports for a multi-span bridge?

SERM uses a reference in its examples which is an old AISC publication called "Moments_Shears_Reactions 1986". I downloaded the book and it is full of tables based on influence lines theory & load positioning.

However the coefficients in SERM examples (e.g. 0.126 for a four span bridge) do not correspond with what I find in relevant tables. Has any one ever used this publication? Should I take it to exam or most probably they give the moment/shear in question and only ask for distributing them between girders?


Ha sorry I have no clue. I must have "winged" it for questions like this...

However, there is a handy table from Caltrans for single-span. In case you haven't seen it: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/esc/techpubs/manual/bridgemanuals/bridge-design-aids/page/bda_9_1.pdf

 

trees

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The max moment and shear are based on influence line. I think either the question will give you that or it might not be that straightforward to have the answer.

 

OHBridgeGuy

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Hi All,

I am a pretty much the inverse, Bridge primary but have been studying the buildings side for the mornings. Taking the exam next week as well. I feel pretty good about my studying over the last couple months. I tried to put a focus on ASCE and the buildings side as I think that's where most bridge takers fall short. I've done some buildings work which helped that. Still, the last exam had a 21% pass rate for first time bridge takers which is eating at me.

http://ncees.org/exams/se-exam/ (bottom)

On the question of what in AASHTO to know, I'd say look heavily at Chapter 3, then know the detailing requirements of Chapters 5 and 6 (mostly 5, not much in 6). Chapter 4 might have a little for analysis methods and considerations, mainly section 4.7. Things like development length into footings, or required length of spiral extension would be reasonable questions from Chapter 5. Different requirements apply to each of the seismic zones 1-4 so knowing that you are in 3 limits the steel to 0.04Ag versus 0.06Ag for Zone 2 could be noteworthy. Just look at section 5.10.11.

I ended up creating a flow chart for bridge design, similar to what SEHQ had up for the ASCE stuff. Feel free to PM me with an email address and I can send it. It basically just follows and expands on Appendix A3 at the end of Chapter 3 which is a good guide. The SERM has some great examples for the UL and SM methods of analysis which are probably the only ones they will test. Finding the period of the bridge, etc.

I feel like I've done all I can to study for it, but there is a ton of material to cover and not that many resources out there (only 1 full practice test from NCEES that I've found). Probably just due to the limited number of us masochists who decided to go for it.

My weakest area I would have to say is the AISC Seismic Design Manual. Any recommendations for spots to look at or tab? I've had limited experience using it and it seems less user friendly than the Steel Construction Manual in terms of finding things (or maybe it's just that I've used it more).

Thanks all

 

BoilerEng

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My weakest area I would have to say is the AISC Seismic Design Manual. Any recommendations for spots to look at or tab? I've had limited experience using it and it seems less user friendly than the Steel Construction Manual in terms of finding things (or maybe it's just that I've used it more).


I also didn't have a lot of experience with the Seismic Manual going into the exam - The few tabs I had were in the Chapter 9 Provisions so I could get to the system quickly. I tabbed Moment Frames (9.1-28), Braced Frames and Shear Walls (9.1-50), Composite Moment Frames (9.1-77) and Comp. Brace and Shear Wall (9.1-88). From there you can go to the specific system in question fairly quickly (i.e. Special Moment Frames) and just follow along the design guidelines and find whatever information the test question is asking.

Other miscellaneous tabs include Protected Zone guidelines (9.1-104), RBS Moment Connection (9.2-11) because some sort of RBS question seemed to pop up a lot in practice exams and sample problems, the Ry and Rt Table (9.1-4), and Table D1.1 (9.1-12) since ductility of members is critical in certain systems.

Other than that, I used Alan Williams' "Seismic and Wind Forces Structural Design Examples" for reference.

 

OHBridgeGuy

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Thanks BolierEng, much appreciated. I had tabbed out most of Chapter 9, but wasn't sure where to go from there.

 

bassplayer45

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For AASHTO questions, the main chapters you want to be familiar with are chapter 3, 4, and 5. From the times i have taken it, those were the main focus and they didn't get in the weeds of the other chapters (knock on wood). They MAY, big may, make you hunt around chapter 10 and 11 for foundation / retaining wall stuff, but most information in that section doesnt pertain to seismic, aside from the all important eccentricity must be in the middle 2/3rd for anything in seismic (10.6.4.2 and 11.6.5). Anything outside of these chapters is stretching it for morning questions. The big one that seems to trip a lot of non bridge folk up, is development length needs to be multiplied by 1.25 for seismic regions having column or footing connections (5.10.11.4.3). Know that, it is easy to miss.

I am almost done studying. Doing some more essays and running through the SE practice test one more time and keeping my fingers crossed. There is still a bit of bridge deflection theory i am iffy on for my essays, but overall i feel good. Just those random quirky questions they throw out that always trip me up in the morning. I just hope they essays are more fair this time around, last time they were brutal

 

bassplayer45

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I hear you. I am running around trying to think of the stuff i missed on the essays last time and how i can get reference material to help myself out

 

Exception Collection

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I hear you. I am running around trying to think of the stuff i missed on the essays last time and how i can get reference material to help myself out


I haven't taken the exam yet - this is my first try - but I'm taking the following books:

-AISC Steel Manual & Seismic Manual

-ASCE 7

-Masonry Spec

-Main 3 wood books (lateral, NDS & supplement)

-PCI Design Handbook

-AISI Manual

-ACI 318

-IBC

-SERM

-PPI's Solved Problems book

-(4) of the CRSI Design Guides

-Some hand sketched notes on steel and concrete.

I've been doing structures almost exclusively for most of a decade and a half. Most of them have been wood (until the last two years, 95% wood), but I've done enough steel, concrete and masonry to know the codes. I can do this. And if I fail? I'll try again, though I'll be desperately disappointed on having failed an exam for the first time in my life.

 

phecke

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I felt pretty good the day/night before I took it. Nervous, but ok. Then I got to the exam site and seeing everybody else there for the other disciplines for some reason freaked me out. I got really nervous, and anxious, and it took me a good 20 minutes to calm myself. Luckily, this 20 minutes occurred before the exam started. After thinking about it, I was freaked out because I was in a room of my peers who I didn't want to be "worse than".

I got into and went to a great school, I always did well in my jobs and even survived the economic crash and was never out of work (though I was laid off, I was hired by another firm 2 weeks later) while other more senior engineers around me were let go. I pride(d) myself on being a good engineer and I thought if I failed this I wouldn't be.

My advice to everyone is, you'll be fine. This exam is a (your choice of expletive here). The majority of people do NOT pass this exam. It doesn't mean you're a bad person or a bad engineer. Do your best, and if you have to do it again, so what? Once I realized that, I calmed down and did well enough to pass. To borrow from Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide:

DON'T PANIC.

 

bassplayer45

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Agree. I have been taking it in Cincinnati now and there have only been 2 or 3 people in there. It is nice only having a few people, but no matter how hard you try, when they put the book in front of you, you always panic since you are so used to the practice problems you have been doing. Just have to remember to breath and you can't control what the ask you. I've improved every time I have tried, so I am hoping this is the last time. The passing rates are daunting, but should be more rewarding when it is finally over, I hope. Just don't ask me any questions on non uniform bridge seismic deflection, I don't work in California and those areas, so my seismic bridge knowledge is basic, but I know it (knock on wood)

 

OHBridgeGuy

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Agree. I have been taking it in Cincinnati now and there have only been 2 or 3 people in there. It is nice only having a few people, but no matter how hard you try, when they put the book in front of you, you always panic since you are so used to the practice problems you have been doing. Just have to remember to breath and you can't control what the ask you. I've improved every time I have tried, so I am hoping this is the last time. The passing rates are daunting, but should be more rewarding when it is finally over, I hope. Just don't ask me any questions on non uniform bridge seismic deflection, I don't work in California and those areas, so my seismic bridge knowledge is basic, but I know it (knock on wood)


I took the vertical in April and fortunately passed, there were 6 of us in Columbus. I'm seat #1 for the lateral, hopefully it won't just be me and a proctor.

 

bassplayer45

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I am seat number 3! Highest I have seen so far. Last time we had 3 proctors and they brought 2 people with them to keep them company.

 

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