Structural I | Structural II

NCEES Structural (SE) I Exam

What is the format of the NCEES Structural Engineering (SE) exam?
Which topics are covered on the Friday morning (breadth) vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral session?
Which topics are covered on the Friday afternoon (depth) vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral session?
Which topics are covered on the Saturday morning (breadth) lateral forces (wind/earthquake) session?
Which topics are covered on Saturday afternoon (depth) lateral forces (wind/earthquake) session?
Which design codes are referenced on the SE exam?
Is the ASD or LRFD method used on the SE exam?
Which system of units is used on the SE exam?
What are the future exam dates for the SE exam?
What are the passing rates for the SE exam?


What is the format of the NCEES Structural Engineering (SE) exam?

The 16-hour Structural Engineering (SE) exam was first administered in April 2011. It replaced the Structural I and II exams.

The SE exam consists of two components, each eight hours long, which are given on consecutive days. The vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral component is given on a Friday. This component focuses on gravity loads and lateral earth pressures. The lateral forces (wind/earthquake) component is given on a Saturday, and focuses on wind and earthquake loads.

Each day's component comprises a morning (breadth) session and an afternoon (depth) session. You must take both sessions in each component. For the afternoon sessions, you will choose one of two subject areas, either bridges or buildings.

The two morning (breadth) sessions are four hours each. These sessions are made up of 40 multiple-choice problems that cover a broad range of structural engineering topics specific to vertical forces (on Friday) and lateral forces (on Saturday).

The two afternoon (depth) sections are also four hours each. These sections are made up of essay problems. You may choose either bridges or buildings as your subject area, but you must make the same choice on both afternoons. That is, if you choose buildings in the vertical forces component, you must also choose buildings in the lateral forces component.

Results of the morning (breadth) and afternoon (depth) sessions are combined to determine a final score for each component.


Which topics are covered on the Friday morning (breadth) vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral session?

The following topics are covered on the Friday morning (breadth) vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral morning session.

  Approximate percentage
of the examination
I. Analysis of Structures30%
  1. Loads
  2. Methods
  • 10%
  • 20%
II. Design and Details of Structures65%
  1. General Structural Considerations
  2. Structural Systems Integration
  3. Structural Steel
  4. Light Gage/Cold-Formed Steel
  5. Concrete
  6. Wood
  7. Masonry
  8. Foundations and Retaining Structures
  • 7.5%
  • 2.5%
  • 12.5%
  • 2.5%
  • 12.5%
  • 10%
  • 7.5%
  • 10%
III. Construction Administration5%
  1. Procedures for Mitigating Nonconforming Work
  2. Inspection Methods
  • 2.5%
  • 2.5%

Which topics are covered on the Friday afternoon (depth) vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral session?

Buildings Section
The buildings section of the Friday afternoon (depth) vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral afternoon session covers the following topics:

  • Loads
  • Lateral Earth Pressures
  • Analysis Methods
  • General Structural Considerations (element design)
  • Structural Systems Integration (connections)
  • Foundations and Retaining Structures

There will be one problem from each of the following areas:

  • Steel Structure
  • Concrete Structure
  • Wood Structure
  • Masonry Structure

All problems are weighted equally. At least one problem includes a multistory building, and at least one problem includes a foundation. Bridges Section

The bridges section of the Friday afternoon (depth) vertical forces (gravity/other) and incidental lateral session covers the following topics:

  • Gravity Loads
  • Superstructures
  • Substructures
  • Lateral Loads (other than wind and seismic)

This section may also test your pedestrian bridge and/or vehicular bridge knowledge. There will be three problems, one from each of the following areas:

  • Concrete Superstructure (25%)
  • Other Elements of Bridges (e.g., culverts, abutments, retaining walls) (25%)
  • Steel Superstructure (5%)

Which topics are covered on the Saturday morning (breadth) lateral forces (wind/earthquake) session?

The following topics are covered on the Saturday morning (breadth) lateral forces (wind/earthquake) session.

  Approximate percentage
of the examination
I. Analysis of Structures37%
  1. Lateral Forces
  2. Lateral Force Distribution
  3. Methods
  • 10%
  • 22%
  • 5%
II. Design and Detailing of Structures60%
  1. General Structural Considerations
  2. Structural Systems Integration
  3. Structural Steel
  4. Light Gage/Cold-Formed Steel
  5. Concrete
  6. Wood
  7. Masonry
  8. Foundations and Retaining Structures
  • 7.5%
  • 5%
  • 10%
  • 2.5%
  • 12.5%
  • 7.5%
  • 7.5%
  • 7.5%
III. Construction Administration3%
  1. Structural Observation
  • 3%

Which topics are covered on the Saturday afternoon (depth) lateral forces (wind/earthquake) session?

Buildings Section

The buildings section of the Saturday afternoon (depth) lateral forces (wind/earthquake) session covers the following topics:

  • Lateral Forces
  • Lateral Force Distribution
  • Analysis Methods
  • General Structural Considerations (element design)
  • Structural Systems Integration (connections)
  • Foundations and Retaining Structures

There will be one problem from each of the following areas:

  • Steel Structure
  • Concrete Structure
  • Wood and/or Masonry Structure
  • General Analysis (e.g., existing structures, secondary structures, nonbuilding structures, and/or computer verification)

All problems are weighted equally. At least two problems will include seismic content at Seismic Design Category D and above. At least one problem will include wind content with a base wind speed of at least 110 mph. Problems may include a multistory building. Problems also may include a foundation.

Bridges

The bridges section of the Saturday afternoon (depth) lateral forces (wind/earthquake) session covers the following topics:

  • Gravity Loads
  • Superstructures
  • Substructures
  • Lateral Forces

The section may also test your pedestrian bridge and/or vehicular bridge knowledge. There will be three problems, one from each of the following areas:

  • Columns (25%)
  • Footings (25%)
  • General Analysis (i.e., seismic and/or wind) (50%)

Which design codes are referenced on the SE exam?

The following codes are referenced on the SE exam:

  • AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specification (2010)
  • ACI 318 (2008)
  • AISC Steel Construction Manual (13th edition, 2005)
  • AISC Seismic Design Manual (2006)
  • ASCE 7 (2005)
  • AISI (2007)
  • IBC (2009)
  • NDS National Design Specification and Supplement for Wood Construction ASD/LRFD (2005)
  • NDS Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic with Commentary (2008)
  • PCI (2004)
  • TMS 402/602 (ACI 530/530.1) (2008)

Is the ASD or LRFD method used on the SE exam?

Steel problems must be solved using either AISC ASD or LRFD methods. Masonry problems must be solved using only the allowable stress design (ASD) method, except for problems related to walls with out-of-plane loads, which may be solved using strength design methods in ACI 530 Sec. 3.3.5.


Which system of units is used on the SE exam?

All exam problems are in customary U.S. (English) units. You will not receive credit for solutions using SI units.


What are the future exam dates for the SE exam?

April 11 – 12, 2014
October 24 – 25, 2014
April 17 – 18, 2015
October 30 – 31, 2015
April 15 – 16, 2016
October 28 – 29, 2016
April 21 – 22, 2017
October 27 – 28, 2017
April 13 – 14, 2018
October 26 – 27, 2018
April 5 – 6, 2019
October 25 – 26, 2019
April 17 – 18, 2020
October 23 – 24, 2020
April 23 – 24, 2021
October 22 – 23, 2021


What is the passing rate for the SE exam?

The passing rate for first-time examinees was 27% in April 2011.


NCEES Structural II Exam

Exam Format
Subjects Covered
Design Codes
ASD or LRFD?
System of Units
Exam Dates
Grading
Passing Rates
Advice from Previous SE Examinees

What is the exam format?

The Structural II exam is an 8-hour exam divided into 2 sessions, morning and afternoon. The exam consists of 8 essay problems, of which examinees must work 4. There are 4 problems in the morning and in the afternoon sessions. In both the morning and afternoon sessions, 2 problems will involve buildings and 2 problems will involve bridges. Examinees must work 2 problems each in the morning and the afternoon sessions, and all 4 of these problems must be in one category--either buildings or bridges, in accordance with local instructions.


What are the subject areas covered on the exam?

Problems fall into two major subject areas:

Buildings

The buildings problems will test the following skills:

  • defining the scope of work
  • reading and interpreting drawings
  • determining the method of analysis and applicable code requirements
  • using professional judgment in making design assumptions
  • integrating design requirements and organizing calculations
  • integrating analysis and design
  • following through from design into drawings and details
  • sketching details
  • applying quality control procedures to calculations and construction documents
  • modifying structural elements as a result of coordinating with other design disciplines

The exam content will include loads, forces, vertical support systems, lateral resisting systems, connections, and foundations.

Each exam will emphasize one of each of the following problem types:

  1. Steel structure
  2. Concrete structure
  3. Wood and/or masonry structure
  4. General analysis (e.g., existing structure, secondary structures, nonbuilding structures, and/or computer verification)

Two of the 4 buildings problems will have seismic content.

Bridges

The bridges problems will test the following skills:

  • defining the scope of work, reading and interpreting drawings
  • determining the method of analysis and applicable code requirements
  • using professional judgment in making design assumptions
  • integrating design requirements and organizing calculations
  • integrating analysis and design
  • following through from design into drawings and details
  • sketching details
  • applying quality control procedures to calculations and construction documents
  • modifying structural elements as a result of coordinating with other design disciplines

The exam content will include loads, superstructure, and substructure.

Each examination will emphasize one of each of the following problem types:

  1. Steel bridge
  2. Concrete bridge
  3. Pier
  4. General analysis (e.g., existing structure, culverts, retaining walls and abutments, and/or computer verification)

Each examination may test pedestrian bridge and/or vehicular bridge knowledge.

Two of the 4 bridges problems will have seismic content.


Which design method does the exam require: ASD or LRFD?

Candidates may choose either the ASD or LRFD method to work exam problems.


What system of units does the exam use?

Per NCEES, only US customary (English) units are used on this exam.


How is the SE II exam graded?

The Structural II exam is graded pass/fail (no numeric grade is given).

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