Clearing SE Vertical Forces Exam Made Easy

What next after the FE and PE license? The next big leap after getting the FE and PE structural engineering license is the SE vertical forces exam. Structural engineers, armed with this license, will be the most-wanted professionals in the industry.

Female students at the libraryThe growth in this field of engineering is phenomenal. As a specialized branch of civil engineering, structural engineers are responsible for building stable, strong and rigid structures with minimal resources. The demand for structural engineers is rising with the construction industry booming.

About SE Exam

There are two components in the SE exam – vertical forces and lateral forces course. The exams for both these components are twice a year – in April and October. The notifications will be out in November for the April schedule and in May for the October schedule.

Students must take up a 16-hour long exam. Each of the components – lateral and vertical – is 8 hours each. Those with FE and PE license can take the 8-hour exam, get good scores and sit for the next 8-hour exam within the next five years.

The morning session of the exam is in the multiple-choice format. Corrections are through the OCR machine. In the afternoon session, students must write essay-type answers. This is to test the subject knowledge of the students. Evaluation of papers will be by the experts in the field. Generally, professors or structural engineers will evaluate the papers.

Open Book Format

The exams are in open book format. This means students can take the reference materials inside the exam hall. Text books and papers are also allowed. But avoid taking sticky notes unless they attached to the books.

The exam format itself is difficult to understand. To clear this exam, students must attend SE vertical forces course at a reputed institute like the School of PE, Kaplan etc,. Here, the students will have the opportunity to learn the nuances of clearing the exam at one sitting.


The results for both the components will be out within 10 days of the exam. The average scores of both the components are considered to declare a student pass.


  • Start preparing for the exam well ahead
  • Enroll at a reputed institute
  • Get instructors help you with the registration process
  • Concentrate in problems. Reasoning and logic are important
  • Get doubts cleared

Expert instructors will be able to teach the students even the most difficult concepts and problems. Check out this link to gain an insight on what this exam is all about and how to clear it at one sitting.


3 Simple Steps for Top Score in SE Vertical Forces Exam

Structural engineers play a vital role in creating the durable and functional physical world we live in. The onus of maintaining the structural integrity and strength of any structure is on structural engineers. Principles of structural engineering focus not only on the design of the structure, but also on the external forces that act on the structure. Every structural engineer aims to bring about a perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality well within the budget. The established route to becoming a qualified structural engineering is by completing a professional course or through a certification. Further specializations like SE lateral or SE vertical forces qualify the engineer as expert structural engineering forms.


SE Exam Educational & Licensing Requirements

Acquiring a degree or an equivalent in structural engineering is only half the battle won. In order to become market-ready, you need to gain considerable work experience and acquire the Structural Engineer (SE) license. The table below provides the prerequisites for taking up the SE exam.

Educational requirements Under graduation in civil engineering with ABET accredited institute
Work experience 2-4 years (varies in each state)
Additional Skills Strong math and science skills
Basic understanding of structural design
Excellent analytical and problem solving skills
Software proficiency Knowledge of AutoCAD and other designing software

All You Need to Know About SE Exam

The SE exam spans for 16 hours totally: 8 hours of SE vertical forces and 8 hours of SE lateral forces exam. You need to focus on both these components for a high score in the exam. Once you meet the prerequisites for the exam, you need to focus on the following:

  • Understand exam specifications and design standards
  • Get familiar with exam pattern and content
  • Understand the scoring and reporting methods
  • Know the pass rates for the exam

Gathering this information helps students work out an effective study plan for a high score in the exam.

3 Highly Effective Ways of Preparing for SE Vertical Forces Exam

The next step after gathering basic information about the SE exam is to fix the exam date. Students should create a study plan with the exam date in mind such that ample amount of time is allocated for review of topics, practice and revision. Here are three steps to SE exam success:

1) Plan well ahead of the exam date
Your study plan must include a thorough revision of topics, exhaustive practice on numerical problems and complete review of the entire syllabus. The best approach would be to break the overall plan into daily timeframes for easy review of progress. The study plan must also allow for any unexpected delays in the review schedule.

2) Practice, practice and more practice
Practice is the key to success in the SE vertical and lateral forces exams. The more you practice on full-length practice papers, the better will be your time management skills. In addition to this, you will gain more familiarity with the exam pattern and difficulty level.

3) Revise thoroughly on exam critical topics
A thorough revision of the entire syllabus enables easy recall during the exam. Ensure that your study plan allocates time for revision of topics, with special focus on your weak areas.

A comprehensive SE vertical forces exam review course enables guided preparation for the exam. Increase your exam preparedness and boost your confidence by enrolling for a review course right away.

Preparing for the SE Vertical Forces Exam

Are you in the midst of your career journey and looking for a SE certification? SE certification is always needed as it gives the proficiency and responsibility to approve structures like building and bridges on your job. However, clearing the SE exam isn’t an easy task. The exam itself is 8 hours in duration and covers all topics related to structural engineering. It is advisable to get all the materials and a good preparation is indeed the key to passing the SE exam.

se-vertical-forces-exam-courseProper preparation for the SE exam leaves you worry less during the examination. Knowing that the examination is 8 hours in length, you should be well prepared to face the exam. The exam consists of theoretical part and problem solving. The SE vertical forces course curriculum prepares you well for the exam. You can be benefitted by the 60 hour online reviews that cover the important topics for the exam.

Exam Preparation

Nothing can replace a good preparation for the exam. And time is a big factor as working people seldom find time to prepare. But that can never be an excuse. SE exam takers must start their preparation at least 6 months in advance. There are numerous topics to be covered in structural engineering, and taking ample time will ensure that you cover all the topics before the exam. The SE review course covers topics from analysis of structures, construction administration, design and details of structures, design of building and design of bridges.

Course providers like School of PE, Kaplan etc provides good prep materials that can be very useful in preparing for the exam. There are totally 60 hours of online review course that can benefit you. Out of the 60 hours, most of it is used for covering the concepts and some hours are dedicated for problem-solving. You can as well save the online lectures, and listen to them on demand whenever you want to. Listening to all the live lectures from experienced professionals and practising the problems will make you comfortable while taking the real exam.

Getting a SE certification will be a huge break in your career. The SE is a competitive exam, and getting a SE certification helps you to take up responsible engineering positions within an organization. It is viewed as a benchmark to your engineering skills. The SE vertical forces course and the training curriculum will put you well on the way to securing the SE certification.