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[SEAOC] Re: Structural Engineer registration

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>  =========================================================================   
>  Date: Thu, 01 Feb 1996 23:50:23 -0500                                       
>  From: Lew Midlam <Lew.Midlam(--nospam--at)>                                     
>  Subject: Re: ìSEAOC? RE: Structural Engineer registration                   
>  Dennis McCroskey wrote:                                                     
>  > >Ron Hamburger wrote:                                                     
>  > >>There is no excuse for an engineer who regularly practices structural   
>  > >>engineering, and believes himself to be competent in this area,         
>  > >>not to sit for the Structural Exam.                                     
>  > I tend to agree more with Ron Hamburger                                   
>  > dennismc                                                                  
>  Dennis,                                                                     
>  You are honestly to be congratulated for easily passing the S.E. exam on    
>  your first attempt, and I'm sure you're proud of it and rightly so, but IMHO
>  the CA.                                                                     
>  S.E. exam is a joke and a crap shoot.  Half of the questions are ambiguous, 
If you are properly prepared it is hardly a joke nor a crap shoot. I passed the
time through, having learned the first time to keep my answers quick and to the
point. I know some other SE's who experienced the same thing the 1st time. I   
thought I was well prepared the 1st time, but apparently the best preparation  
taking the exam (and just barely missing it ... ouch).                         
>  and attempting to answer 20 of them in 16 hours requires a lot of luck.     
>  of the                                                                      
>  questions are so poorly written that it often takes 5 to 10 minutes of      
>  study and re-reading to just figure out what the question is asking.  The   
In any exam you should allow yourself 5 or 10 minutes to really understand the 
question. When I reviewed my 1st exam, I was shocked to see how I had raced in 
solve the problem, only to have solved for the wrong item, having hastily read 
not grasped what was required in the problem.                                  
>  exams are graded by the same individuals who wrote the questions and        
>  they often think there's only one way to solve *their* problem; but, as     
>  you know, an experienced engineer can easily find numerous ways to          
>  solve a problem.  If the gradee picks a method that the grader doesn't      
>  agree with, or worse doesn't understand, should the gradee be penalized?    
You are incorrect, the exam is graded by a pool of SE's, and each exam is      
at least 2 graders. If the scores differ, a 3rd grading is done to reconcile   
discrepancies in the two previous grades. A solution is prepared by the person 
'wrote' the problem, however, if an engineer demostrates that they know how to 
solve the problem(s) and does the work to a conclusion, they will most likely  
full credit, as there is flexibility within the grading scheme to deviate from 
exact items in the solution example. For example, the use of tables is         
and if a proper reference is given (e.g. Table such and such of AISC manual...)
values from the table are acceptable in lieu of an actual derived value by     
calculation (e.g. Fb values for steel).                                        
>  A test (any test) is *valid* if it measures what it purports to measure.  If
As is apparent from all the discussion on this listserver, measuring the       
qualification of an individual to practice a complex field like structural     
engineering (let alone civil engineering) is an extremely difficult thing to   
accomplish in the space of a 2-day exam. However, I think the SE exam, if it   
errs in the direction of conservatism. The reason it is a tough exam, with 25% 
33% passing rates historically, I think, is to favor those individuals who can 
rapidly recall _from experience_ facts needed to solve a problem, rather than  
allowing a great deal of problem research to occur during the exam.            
>  Lew Midlam, P.E.                                                            
Thanks for your comments, Lew.                                                 
Thomas D. Honles, S.E.                                                         
DWP Energy Services Structural Engineering  (213)367-0006                      
Vines:thonle@pdc_csess_struc@ladwp          (213)367-0066 Fax                  
Internet E-Mail: usdwpydp(--nospam--at)