How to Study for SE Exam

A team of three were constructing a building, a passerby enquired each of them separately about what they were building. The first man said he was putting together bricks and cement to make a structure. The second man said he was building a home. The third man gave a reply which impressed the passerby – he said he was building a masterpiece! No matter what kind of work we all do, it can be a masterpiece only if we take pride in doing it. Buildings that steeped in aesthetics, homes that are vibrant with love and energy and official buildings that are functional and withstand the test of time are possible only when the Structural Engineer takes pride in his work and ropes in dedication and commitment in building structures. Not just buildings, but a structural engineer is responsible for building bridges, machinery, medical equipment and other architectural structures that are structurally strong.

se structural engineering examWhat is the scope of work of a structural engineer?

Structural engineering is all about designing the framework of buildings, pipelines and bridges, taking into consideration factors like weight of the structure and action of resist forces. A structural engineer needs to liaise with architects, building contractors and other engineers. Lateral forces and vertical forces are the two branches of structural engineering studies. The scope of work of a structural engineer is as below:

  • Design building framework with software
  • Accurate calculations about each individual structures within the framework
  • Finalizing the construction materials based on the weight and resist forces
  • Using computer aided design (CAD) to simulate various pressures and stresses
  • Liaising with construction workers, architects and other engineers

With such a wide scope and critical nature of work, a structural engineer attracts a good pay package with an estimated annual job growth of 8% (as per U.S Bureau of Statistics).

What are the educational and licensing requirements for SE Structural engineering exam?

Entry level jobs in for a structural engineer require an under graduate degree in Civil engineering or a Master of Science degree. Most big players in the industry prefer to have a structural engineer having a SE licensure. The requirements for the SE licensure are given in the table below:

Educational qualification

An undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and FE licensure in Structural engineering

Work experience

Minimum of 4 years (varies in each state)


Analytical, eye for detail and creativity

Software proficiency

AutoCAD and RISA

Once you have the basic requirements for the SE structural engineering exam licensure, you are all set for exam preparation. The first step is to gather the reference material for the exam. You need to focus on vertical and lateral forces exams for a high overall exam score. Enrolling for a prep course can streamline your preparation so you don’t miss out on exam critical topics and practice on problem solving. Some prep courses also provide guidance on the usage of calculators and provide free training on basic math. More important than enrolling for a prep course, is the choice of the educator. Institutes like School of PE, Testmasters, Kaplan and ppi2pass have a proven track record of pass rates.

What are the alternative career options for a structural engineer?

A structural engineer need not limit his or her career to just design of structures. Structural engineers can foray into careers as a Civil engineering technician, architect, geotechnical engineers, hydraulics and water resources, urban planning and construction managers.


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