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NCEES Revised SE I & II Exams

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NCEES revising structural engineering exam

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) will introduce a new 16-hour Structural PE exam in April 2011. The exam will replace the current Structural I and Structural II exams, which will be administered for the last time in October 2010.

NCEES Director of Exam Services Tim Miller, P.E., explained the need for the revision: "NCEES currently offers two 8-hour structural exams, and some licensing boards also use state-specific exams. NCEES wanted to provide one exam that could be used by any state requiring specialized structural licensure, even a state with high-seismic activity."

To develop the new exam, NCEES surveyed licensed structural engineers from across the United States to find out what knowledge areas are most relevant to current professional practice. NCEES brought together representatives from state licensing boards and national structural engineering organizations to analyze the survey results and set the specifications, or content areas, for the new exam.

Miller is confident that the exam will be an effective measure of minimal competence for any state. "We've gone through a deliberate and rigorous process to develop the specifications, and the state boards that currently license structural engineers have been included in this process," he said.

The new 16-hour Structural exam is divided into two 8-hour components, which will be offered on successive days. The Vertical Forces component focuses on gravity loads and incidental lateral loads. The Lateral Forces component focuses on wind and earthquake loads.

Each component of the exam has a breadth module that contains questions covering a comprehensive range of structural engineering topics. Each component also has a depth module that focuses more closely on a single area of practice. Examinees will choose whether they want to concentrate on buildings or bridges for this module.

To pass the exam, examinees must pass both the Vertical Forces and Lateral Forces components, but these components may be taken and passed in different exam administrations.

The specifications for the new exam are posted on the NCEES Web site. NCEES will also publish a book of sample questions and solutions in 2010 to familiarize examinees with the new exam's format and content areas.

"The changeover is still two years away, but it's an important transition," Miller said. "We want to give people as much advance notice as possible."


D. Matthew Stuart, P.E., S.E., F.ASCE, SECB

Senior Project Manager

Structural Department


Engineers and Consultants - CMX

200 Route 9

Manalapan, NJ 07726

732-577-9000 (Ext. 308)

908-309-8657 (Cell)

732-298-9441 (Fax)