What is the Structural Engineering Exam?

Structural Engineering can often scare away students because of the sheer amount of learning material. The SE conducted by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is one of the most intense exams offered by the organization. Students can appear for the exam in either April or October. The exam occurs over a period of two days with different sessions. Overall, the exam takes about 16 hours.

structural engineering exam

Structural Engineering courses teach students about designing bridges and buildings. Students learn how forces like gravity and wind can affect the design of a building. The SE exam tests students thoroughly on these concepts to check their proficiency. Students can choose to appear for both the modules separately, provided they do so within a period of five years.

For those considering the SE engineering exam, here is some information on how to prepare for it.

You Can Bring a Reference Manual

The SE engineering exam is an open-book exam where students can bring their reference materials. However, the bind the material together with a binder, file, etc. This does not mean you will be able to take answers to all the possible questions on the exam. It simply means that you will be able to take review notes from your prep as well as important formulae and concept.

Online and On Demand Study Courses

While preparing for this exam, students find that online and on demand study courses are a huge help. All leading course providers, including Kaplan, School of PE, and ASCE, offer Structural Engineering courses. Online study material, live lectures, as well as access to practice exams are the biggest plus points of these courses.  It might prove to be a little expensive. However, passing the SE exam will require considerable time and resources.

Budget Your Time from the Beginning

Schedule your study time in three steps. First, get an overall estimate of how much you need to study. You can look up the topics on the NCEES website to see what exactly you need to study. Second, create a day-to-day schedule and stick to it. This will be vital if you want to finish studying on time. Third, dedicate 3-4 hours in the day to focus on studying. Turn off your phone and lock the door if you must.

Practice Exams and Review Sessions

As mentioned before, a study schedule is important. Make time for full-length practice exams while you are studying. Also, ensure you add time for review sessions at the end. Students often fail to account for these two things and end up scrambling for time before the exam. The full-length tests will help you determine how far you have gotten in your studying.


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