Fail 2x

Structural Layout Vignette and Multiple Choice

Fail 2x

Postby Rachen210 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:13 am

I am kind of in a predicament now.

I took the SS exam last week for my second attempt and just found out, that I failed again because of a level 3 on the Vignette. I am extremely perplexed because during the exam, I went back and checked my answer at least five times before submitting it, even with plenty of time left over. I felt very confident and still feel very confident with my answer because it is very very similar to the prompt featured in the guides. In terms of studying for the vignette, I have watched most of the videos and read the guides regarding the vignette, (Ncarb, read through a lot of Coach's forums, Google forum, Thaddeus, DORF, Kaplan, Ballast, Jenny's Notes, Rich, Marty, etc) and followed it exactly the same, to the point that I can repeat it verbatim. (clerestory rules, column rules, beams/ and joist supports rules, decking rules, etc)

From what I understand, NCARB does not allow you to challenge a vignette but I was wondering if perhaps there is a glitch with the software. I have experienced glitches taking the vignette portions of Ncarb's exams in the past and I have read in this forum that numerous other people have had this failure with the ss vignette. I am not exactly sure what to do now. I am thinking of purchasing Coach's vignette video to study for my third attempt at the vignette, but if i fail i will lose 3 exams (BDCS,BS,SD). The problem is that this is the my last exam, and I only have one attempt left. If i fail on my third attempt, i would need to wait a year to be eligible to retake, which will be in July of 2018. At this point, the 4.0 has already been retired, and I would lose three exams (BDCS,BS,SD) and would need to take two more in the 5.0 (PPD, PDD), which is completely absurd.

Has anyone been in a similar situation, or can provide some insight or recommendations in studying for the SS vignette?
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Re: Fail 2x

Postby SDTK » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:20 pm

I failed the PPP vignette though I was sure I had passed. I called NCARB and they told me that there has never been a case of someone challenging a vignette, and the results being overturned, in the history of the exam. So, I felt it was pointless to fight with those kind of statistics. The next time I took the test, I passed. After much thought, I think the only way I might have failed on the first attempt was by drawing an envelope line 1 click INTO a curved setback, where I should have error'd on the side of caution and drawn 1 click AWAY from a curved setback. This is obviously a different vignette than the one you took, but the way NCARB enforces failing errors may be of a similar nature.

On the Structural vignette, here are some fatal errors I have heard are commonly made...

- Columns must not block circulation path (This is different than the "column-free" area, but I am not sure exactly how)
- Columns on upper level must not be supported by beams (must be supported by columns or bearing wall on lower level)
- Clerestory must be supported by beam or bearing wall below (depending on where the clerestory is located, this can be overlooked)
- Joists/Beams drawn to centerline of column. (After getting through the exhausting multiple choice, people sometimes draw the joists to the exterior face of walls without noticing)

Not sure if this is a failing error but...
- Some people suggest drawing separate beam for EACH span from column to column in a straight line, to be safe.

I have also heard many people do not use bearing walls at all, and only use beams. But the NCARB "Sample Passing Solution" specifically calls out "Efficient use of bearing walls" pointed at an exterior wall. I think it is strange that NCARB offers a tool (bearing walls) but there is no benefit to using them, and no deduction for only using beams/columns.
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Re: Fail 2x

Postby ccolley12 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:34 pm

I agree with what SDTK said with regards to this vignette. I used only beams and columns and passed. I too drew individual beams between columns vs. a continuous beam. I figured the computer was calculating the length of beams (to determine a pass/fail) and I didn't want a beam to be considered too long. Could you have used the incorrect joist spacing and/or deck size?? I made sure to write down the max span or whatever they tell you in the program to ensure I chose the correct deck and joist span combo. I am just trying to think of fatal errors that could have occurred w/o you "seeing" the issues as you were reviewing your work.

Don't get discouraged! The problem with simple vignettes is one missed requirement is amplified... Make sure you have a strategy for solving these. That was what I took away most from the Dorf videos... he always had a method of solving these that made sense to me. Different people have different strategies... search YouTube and see which method makes the most sense for you and then focus on solving it that way.
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Re: Fail 2

Postby Rachen210 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:12 pm

Thanks.
Both times I took the exam I used post and beam only. The only common thing I can remember the two times I took the exam was that I drew the beams as one continuous beam. I think you might be right ccoley, I will try that next time and draw them individually between the columns. Otherwise, I think I did everything else right.
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Re: Fail 2x

Postby SDTK » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:08 pm

Without giving away too much, were there any general categories you noticed were prevalent in the multiple choice sections for your two structural test attempts? I am testing tomorrow. Much appreciated.
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Re: Fail 2x

Postby Rachen210 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:44 pm

I would say maybe 10-20 questions about calculations with formulas, some mc, some fill in the blanks. These are Simple ones like deflection, moment, shear, etc. I only memorized a few formulas. I didnt bother looking at the reference sheets they gave. They weren't even helpful. You need to know your lateral systems well especially when they give you situational questions in which you need to recommend the best type of system. Know your seismic and wind, most of these answers can be found in the FEMA guides
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Re: Fail 2x

Postby Coach » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:22 pm

Rachen210 wrote:I am thinking of purchasing Coach's vignette video to study for my third attempt at the vignette

Good idea! ;)
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