Everything you need to know about Structural Engineering

What is the Structural Engineering Course (SE)?
The Structural Engineering course is the test that tests the basic knowledge eligibility of a student to study and practice structural engineering. The 16-hour long exam establishes the ability of a student to design and build safe buildings, bridges or any other physical infrastructure that will withstand the forces of nature, especially earthquakes and high winds. The test is targeted for engineers who practice in States where an official accreditation is required for rendering professional services. The SE Exam has two components: Lateral and Vertical.

Structural Engineering

SE Exam pattern and duration
SE has two major components: SE Vertical Forces course and SE Lateral Forces course. The design standards for both the components are released six months prior to the exam dates. The exams are usually conducted in the months of April and October. The updates are released in November and May respectively. The exams are conducted on Fridays and Saturdays.

The SE exam is an open-book pattern exam. Students are allowed to take inside the exam hall reference material notes, text books, papers in bound form. Stapled materials are prohibited so are sticky notes and flags unless they remain attacked to the reference materials.

Passing credentials
A student needs to obtain acceptable results on both the 8-hour components of SE in order to pass. However, licensure candidates are not required to do the same. They can take one 8-hour component in one sitting, attain acceptable marks in it and take the next 8-hour component at a later stage for completing SE. However, there cannot be a gap of 5 years between both the sittings.

Scoring methodology
Both the SE Vertical Forces Course and lateral course are multiple choice question based during the morning session. The students have to mark the answer in a special answer tailor made for the purpose. The correction is done by a OCR machine which generates accurate scores of the student for the multiple choice question section. The afternoon session marks the constructed response (essay) pattern examination which will be evaluated by subject-matter experts, usually professors or practicing Structural Engineers.

Results reporting
The SE exam results are released in ten to twelve days from the date of the exam completion. Depending on the State where the student wrote the exam, the results will be communicated via the online portal of NCEES, through post or through mail intimation. The result will inform the student’s score in both the morning and afternoon components. The student must achieve minimum competency on combining both the components to be declared SE pass.

Students who do not attain the acceptable scores will be provided a diagnostic score report of both the components. The intend of the diagnostic report is to help the student identify personal strengths and weaknesses for better performance in the next attempt.