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RE: Certification of Structural Engineers

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I am uneasy about the muliply choice method of testing. As I am 
currently studying to take the Struc I exam, I like the format of the 
study materials I have been using. One of the guides uses 
exampleswhich are based/or are from previous californian structural 
exams, the questions not only require the 'number crunching' 
skills, but a number of them require judgement. For example, 
describing descrepences in a connection design. 

To me, this defines if you have the competency in an area, not just 
punching number is to formulas.

Albeit, I hate exams and am not one of those that can scream thru 
an exam. I have always been the 'get back to first principles' and 
'why is it so' type of guy....

my pennies worth......

Peter McCormack

Date sent:      	Tue, 10 Oct 2000 23:59:11 -0400 (EDT)
From:           	"Scott E. Maxwell, PE, SE" <smaxwell(--nospam--at)>
To:             	"'seaint(--nospam--at)'" <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject:        	RE: Certification of Structural Engineers
Send reply to:  	seaint(--nospam--at)

> Paul:
> 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".
> Scott
> 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 
> > 
> >