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RE: Certification of Structural Engineers

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"it drives me crazy to argue with those who believe that everyone takes the
PE as if they were taking the EIT - proving no competency in one special
area.

If you intend to take the PE - don't study the non structural material.
There will be more than enough questions for you to pass the exam on
structural skills alone."

I am not sure how directly this applies with the new exam format.  Starting
with the October test session (which I am taking), the exam is divided into
two sections with a total of 80 questions.  No questions are optional.  If
you choose not to answer a question you choose to forfeit those points.  The
morning session focuses 40 questions equally on each of their 5 divisions of
civil engineering (water, environmental, geotechnical, transportation, and
structural).  The afternoon specialty section focuses 40 questions primarily
on only one of the 5 topics to be picked by the examinee.  When I say
primarily, the exam writers say they will focus the afternoon structural
session 65% on structural, 25% on geotechnical, and 10% on structural.
Hence, only 34 of the 80 questions will be purely structural.  Not nearly
enough to pass.  Assuming the non-structural specialty section stuff is
still moderately structure related, you could consider 48 questions to be
somewhat structure related.  Depending on which resource about the new exam
you believe, this is either enough to pass if you get everything right (not
likely even for the best of us) or this falls 8 points short of passing.
Hence, you are pretty much forced to make a decent show on the water,
environmental, transportation, and geotechnical sections if you expect to
pass.  In the old format, I agree with you, and I would not have bothered to
give anything non-structural (with the expection of geotechnical
engineering) more than a cursory glance; there were generally enough
structural questions to focus on.  With the new exam format, I can't afford
to ignore the rest. 

Paul Crocker