Dr. Z’s Corner

Dr. Z

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., Ph.D., Fellow-NSPE, Fellow-ASCE is an award-winning professor, structural engineer, Faculty Athletics Representative of UDC for NCAA compliance, author and mentor living in Washington, D.C. Since joining academia at UDC, "Dr. Z", as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond. He is passionate about engineering, gifted in teaching, and is a true champion for professional licensure. Dr. Z. has extraordinarily high standards; has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and infects others with these same values. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, including recent national awards from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Since 2014, he has been regularly writing monthly articles for “Dr.Z’s Corner “ and offering hundreds of engineering problems, for free, every month for students, engineers and engineering educators worldwide. Dr. Z. also offers pro-bono Saturday classes for students and engineers; his free classes are open to all in the greater Washington metro area and cost nothing, nada, zilch! Starbucks coffee is always a must have for Dr. Z.

Dr. Z's Corner

Dr. Z’s Corner (201802)

New Specifications (2018) for Structural Engineering (SE) Exams, Part-2

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Problems

Structural Engineering Exams Are Administered Over Two Days

Last month we started discussing the new specifications for Structural Engineering (SE) Exams. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) will be using new specifications for the Structural Engineering (SE) exams effective beginning with the April 2018 examinations. Registration for the pencil-and-paper April 2018 SE exams is currently open and will close at 3:00 p.m. EST on February 15, 2018. It is important to remind our readers that the registration for the computer-based FE and PE exams is open year-round and for details our readers should always consult with the NCEES website.

The new NCEES Structural Engineering exams will be administered as a single 16-hour exam given in two successive days (Friday and Saturday). The 8-hour exam on Friday focuses on vertical forces – gravity loads and lateral earth pressures. Both Friday and Saturday exams consist of breadth (morning) and depth (afternoon) modules. The 8-hour exam on lateral forces is offered only on Saturday and focuses on wind & earthquake loads. In summary:

Friday morning breadth exam: Vertical Forces (4-hour and 40 multiple choice questions. The exam uses the US Customary System (USCS) of units)

Friday afternoon depth exam: Vertical Forces (4-hour, examinees must choose either the BUILDINGS or the BRIDGES module. Examinees must work the same module on both components. Depth exam is not multiple choice; questions are constructed response, essay-type questions. The exam uses the US Customary System of units only).

Saturday morning breadth exam: Lateral Forces, Wind & Earthquake (4-hour and 40 multiple choice questions. The exam uses the US Customary System of units).

Saturday afternoon depth exam: Lateral Forces, Wind & Earthquake (4-hour, examinees must choose either the BUILDINGS or the BRIDGES module. Examinees must work the same module on both components. Depth exam is not multiple choice; questions are constructed response, essay type questions and the exam uses the US Customary System of units only).

In a nutshell, the new SE exam tests engineer’s ability to safely design buildings or bridges, particularly in areas of high seismicity and high wind.

Now let’s discuss the topics and number of questions for Friday and Saturday exams in detail:

Friday Morning Breadth Exam Specifications: Vertical Forces (Gravity/Other) and Incidental Lateral Component. Topics and Number of Questions:

Friday morning breadth exam has total 40 multiple choice problems in which 13 questions are from Analysis of Structures and 27 questions from Design and Detail of Structures. As always, find Dr Z’s practice problems here.

Friday Afternoon Depth Exam Specifications: Vertical Forces (Gravity/Other) and Incidental Lateral Component. Either BUILDINGS or BRIDGES

The BUILDING module covers loads, lateral earth pressures, analysis methods, general structural considerations (element design), structural systems integration (connections), and foundations and retaining structures. This 4-hour module contains one problem from each of the following areas: Steel Structures, Concrete Structures, Wood Structures and Masonry structures. All problems are equally weighted. At least one problem includes a multistory building, and at least one problem includes a foundation.

The BRIDGES module covers gravity loads, superstructures, substructures, and lateral loads other than wind and seismic. This 4-hour module contains three problems, one from each of the following areas: Concrete superstructure (25% of your score), other elements of bridges (e.g., culverts, abutments, retaining walls) (25% of your score), steel superstructure (50% of your score).

Saturday Morning Breadth Exam Specifications: Lateral Forces (Wind/Earthquake): Topics and Number of Questions

Saturday morning breadth exam has total 40 multiple choice problems in which 15 questions are from Analysis of Structures and 25 questions from Design and Detail of Structures areas.

Saturday Afternoon Depth Exam Specifications: Lateral Forces (Wind/Earthquake): Either BUILDINGS or BRIDGES

The BUILDING module covers lateral forces, lateral force distribution, analysis methods, general structural considerations (element design), structural systems integration (connections), and foundations and retaining structures. This 4-hour module contains one problem from each of the following areas: Steel Structures, Concrete Structures, Wood and/or Masonry Structure and General Analysis (e.g., existing structures, secondary structures, nonbuilding structures, and/or computer verification). In this section, all problems are equally weighted.

The BRIDGES module covers lateral forces, lateral force distribution, analysis methods, general structural considerations (element design), structural systems integration (connections), and foundations and retaining structures. For details the readers should see the NCEES website.

And finally, an important reminder. PE/SE is an open-book exam and make sure to bring the books to the exam that you are intimate with. You do not want to be fumbling through a strange book during the exam. Stay relaxed and confident and always keep a good attitude. Focus on the ultimate goal and remind yourself that you are going to do your best!

Until next time,

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Z’s Corner (201801)

New Specifications (2018) for Structural Engineering (SE) Exams, Part-1

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We wish all our readers a happy and prosperous new year. This month we would like to talk about some significant changes that will take place in the SE exams in 2018. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) will be using new specifications for the Structural Engineering (SE) exams next year. Effective beginning with the April 2018 examinations the NCEES Structural-I and Structural-II exams will be administered as a single 16-hour exam given in two days.

Unlike the computer-based Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, the Structural Engineering (SE) exam is still administered in a pencil-and-paper format and is an open-book test.

The SE exam consists of two modules BREADTH and DEPTH and is offered in two 8-hour components on two successive days. It includes integrated design, analysis and detailing questions. No single component of the exam is a sufficient stand-alone exam for any purpose. We recommend our readers to see the NCEES website for exact specifications.

The 8-hour Vertical Forces (Gravity/Other) and Incidental Lateral component is offered only on a Friday. It focuses on gravity loads and lateral earth pressures. The 8-hour Lateral Forces (Wind/Earthquake) component is offered only on a Saturday and it focuses on wind and earthquake loads.

The 16-hour SE exam uses separate vertical and lateral components to test the applicant’s ability to safely design buildings or bridges, especially in areas of high seismicity and high wind. It is important to remember that the exam uses the US Customary System (USCS) of units only.

The breadth modules are in the morning sessions. These modules contain questions covering a comprehensive range of structural engineering topics and all questions in the morning are multiple-choice. The depth modules are in the afternoon sessions. These modules focus on a single area of practice in structural engineering. The examinee will choose either buildings or bridges, but must work the same topic area on both components. All questions in the afternoon depth modules are essay-type problems, constructed response (essay).

The examinee is required to obtain acceptable results on both 8-hour components of the SE exam in a single exam administration. It is acceptable to sit for and obtain acceptable results on one component, and then sit for and obtain acceptable results on the second component at a later date. The examinee must obtain acceptable results on both 8-hour components within a five-year period in order to pass the Structural Engineering exam.

New Structural Engineering BREADTH Exam Specifications

The 4-hour Vertical Forces (Gravity/Other) and Incidental Lateral breadth examination is offered on Friday morning and focuses on gravity loads. It contains 40 multiple-choice questions. The exam uses the US Customary System (USCS) of units. The breadth exam is developed with questions that will require a variety of approaches and methodologies, including design, analysis, and application. The knowledge areas specified as examples of kinds of knowledge are not exclusive or exhaustive categories. Score results are combined with depth exam results for final score of this component.

Topics and approximate number of questions of BREADTH exams

Analysis of Structures

Design and Details of Structures

1 – Analysis of Structures part has a total of 13 multiple-choice questions and consists of two categories. The first category is Generation of Loads with total 5 questions. Topics include: dead loads, live loads, moving loads, impact loads, vessel collision, earth pressure, differential settlement, hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads, flood, snow, rain, ice, thermal, shrinkage and load combinations.

2 – Load Distribution and Analysis Methods with a total of 8 questions. Topics include: static (e.g., determinate and indeterminate, location of forces and moments, free-body diagrams), shear and moment diagrams, code coefficients and tables, truss analysis methods, approximate beam or truss analysis methods and approximate frame analysis methods.

The Design and Details of Structures section has a total of 27 questions and includes the following five categories:

A-) General Structural Considerations, 3 questions
B-) Structural Systems Integration, 2 questions
C-) Structural Steel, 5 questions
D-) Cold-Formed Steel, 1 question
E-) Concrete, 5 questions
F-) Wood, 4 questions
G-) Masonry, 3 questions
H-) Foundations and Retaining Structures, 4 questions

For detailed topics in each category, our readers should consult with www.NCEES.org. But to give an idea about the topics covered in structural steel for example, the subject-list includes: tension members, columns and compression members, trusses, flexural members, plate girders, secondary support systems, shear in steel members, combined axial and flexural members, composite design, bolted and welded connections, base and bearing plates, thermal effects and bridge piers. You can find Dr Z’s practice problems for this month here.

In our February article we will talk about the Design Standards and Structural Engineering DEPTH Exam Specifications.

And finally stay relaxed and confident. Always keep a good attitude, focus on the ultimate goal and remind yourself that you are going to do your best!

Until next time,

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.