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RE: Certification of Structural Engineers

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I was going to offer up the same comment.  The new exam format pretty much
shoots the whole "I'll just study/do structural related problems".

Personally, I don't like the new exam format.  I don't really mind SOME
multiple guess problems, but I don't like tests that are ALL multiple
guess.  It certainly makes the grading (and potential disputes with
grading) easier to deal with, but "exam problems" in real life (ie the
calcs I do every day) are not multiple guess.  Ultimately, multiple guess
exams (with no "short" answer problems) are just too vunerable to people
who are just good "test takers".

On Tue, 10 Oct 2000, Paul Crocker wrote:

> "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