In our previous two videos, I discussed two of the depth areas that you can take for your PE Exam, Geotechnical and Construction, and in this article (and video above), I review, in detail, the structural depth portion of the Civil PE Exam to help you decide if this might be the right option for you.
The Five Different Areas That You Can Choose From When Taking the PE Civil Exam Are:
- PE Civil: Geotechnical
- PE Civil: Construction
- PE Civil: Structural
- PE Civil: Transportation
- PE Civil: Water Resources & Environmental
Remember that the PE Civil Structural exam is a breadth and depth examination. The breadth items (typically known as the morning section) cover topics from all areas of civil engineering. However, the depth items (also known as the afternoon section) focus more closely on a single area of practice, like structural engineering.
Please note that the PE Civil: Structural exam is not the same as the SE (Structural Engineering) exam. The PE Civil: Structural exam is to obtain your Professional Engineering license, while the SE Exam is one you would take to obtain your structural engineering license.
What Is Structural Engineering?
In the field of civil engineering, structural engineering involves the design and analysis of structural components of buildings and nonbuilding structures. It includes calculating the stresses and forces that affect or arise within a structure. Major concerns are related to the designing of structures that are resistant to seismic activity (earthquakes and explosions that cause the earth to shake) and retrofitting existing structures for seismic resistance.
Here Are a Few Things to Note About the Civil–Structural CBT Exam:
The exam includes 80 questions. The exam appointment time is 9 hours and includes a:
- Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
- Tutorial (8 minutes)
- Exam (8 hours)
- Scheduled break (50 minutes)
This Is What You Can Expect to Be Tested on in the Exam:
- Project planning, such as quantity take-off methods, cost estimating, and project schedules.
- Means and methods, such as construction loads, construction methods and temporary structures and facilities.
- Soil mechanics, such as lateral earth pressure, soil consolidation, effective and total stresses.
- Structural mechanics, such as dead and live loads, trusses, bending (e.g., moments and stresses) And shear.
- Hydraulics and hydrology, such as open-channel flow, and stormwater collection and drainage.
- Geometrics, such as basic circular curve elements (For example, middle ordinate, length, chord, radius) and basic vertical curve elements.
- Materials, such as soil classification and boring log interpretation, soil properties (For example, strength, permeability, compressibility, phase relationships) And concrete (For example, non reinforced, reinforced)
- Site development, such as excavation and embankment (For example, cut and fill), construction site layout and control and temporary and permanent soil erosion and sediment control.
- Analysis of structures, such as dead and live loads, construction loads, wind loads and seismic loads.
- Design and details of structures, such as materials and materials properties, component design and detailing.
- Codes and construction, such as codes, standards, guidance documents, and temporary structures.
Here Are the Pass Rates for the Civil Structural CBT Exam:
As of December 2021 the PE Civil: Structural depth has a 62% pass rate for first time takers and 42% pass rate for repeat takers. You can view the full list of pass rates at https://ncees.org/engineering/
Let’s compare them to the PE Civil: Geotechnical and Construction Depth exams that we discussed in the previous article.
The Construction depth had a 53% pass rate for first time takers and 37% pass rate for repeat takers, and the Geotechnical depth portion had a 54% pass rate for first time takers and 30% pass rate for repeat takers. So you can see the PE Structural Depth exam has the highest pass rate so far at 62 so far % for first time takers.
Hopefully this information will give you a better idea of what to expect on The PE Civil Structural CBT Exam.
Remember to consider your experience and interests and to check the passing rates when deciding what depth section to take for your PE Exam. Lastly, I would strongly recommend also previewing the exam by doing some exam prep courses that offer a variety of live and on-demand classes. Looking at the previews of the practice exams for each discipline might help jog your memory of which areas have questions that are easier to study for. For some great prep courses visit our sponsor PPI today at ppi2pass.com to see all the options available for PE exam prep.
Geotechnical Review | What Depth Exam Should You Take for the Civil PE Exam?
Civil Construction Depth | What Depth Exam Should You Take for the Civil PE Exam?
College of Engineering Civil Engineering Department
NCEES: PE Civil exam
NCEES PE exam Pass Rates
This Episode Is Brought to You by PPI
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I hope you found this article helpful. In upcoming articles, I will solve some more PE exam practice problems and answer other questions from our subscribers. Pass the PE Exam videos will publish weekly, so be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss something that could make a substantial difference in your exam result.
Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of this video, or on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So, if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week… on Pass the PE Exam
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success