There are quite a few resources out there for the California Seismic exam, but definitely not as much as the general PE exam. I'm not going to list all of them, but if you feel like I missed some great ones, please let me know and I'll get them posted.
Before we begin I do want to say that you can study for this using the material outlined by California's Board of Professional Engineers, which is mainly the codes used, but that's a lot of material without much direction. Our hope is that we have something here for you to help you on your journey to pass this exam with more direction to take.
Having said that, here are the resources we can find to help you pass the California Seismic Exam. We should mention for any books you get at PPI you'll get a discount on by using our link here. School of PE also has some valuable resources that you can check out here.
The list of standards and codes was not included on this list. We would assume you are familiar with what codes you need and are up to date on the latest editions you require to study from. If not then grab the NCEES specifications and see what you need.
Full disclosure: I want to be completely upfront about the resources that are listed here. Some items listed are affiliate links that provide, at no cost to you, a small commission to me for helping you find products that will help you reach your goals of becoming a PE. We are an affiliate with PPI and School of PE, and we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I work hard to find the best resources for you and I have experience with a lot of the items listed. Please do not spend money on obtaining these books and materials unless it helps you to achieve your goal. That said, let's get to it!
Let's start with this book--the Seismic Design Review Workbook, which seems to be the bible when preparing for the CA Seismic exam. Get a copy of it if you can't beg or borrow one from your co-worker. The thing is, the codes change so fast that you'll probably want a new copy yourself and not some outdated 2003 edition. If you've found yourself struggling to pass then maybe you should check out our tips to help you ace the PE exam. I'm sure they apply here.
The description for this book is probably best taken right from Steven Hiner's website - "This comprehensive workbook has been proven to be one of the most effective tools available to help prepare for, and refer to when taking the California Civil PE Special Seismic Principles Examination."
It's broken up into five sections including lecture notes, exam problems (with solutions), multiple choice problems (very similar to the exam), solutions to those multiple choice problems, and finally definitions, notations, tables, and a sample exam.
Needless to say this book is fantastic and I can't recommend it enough if you are in the market for this.
California Civil Seismic Building Design, 12th Edition (SEIS12) presents the seismic design concepts most essential to engineers, architects, and students of civil and structural engineering, and architecture. The book’s 15 chapters provide a concise but thorough review of seismic theory, code application, design principles, and structural analysis. The 30 example problems demonstrate how to apply concepts, codes, and equations to solve realistic problems. More than 125 practice problems provide opportunities for independent problem-solving practice, and complete solutions allow you to check your solution approach.
This book includes two comprehensive indexes—one of key terms and another of seismic building codes—to quickly direct you to the information you are looking for. You can also locate related support material by following references throughout the text to the 150 equations, 29 tables, 144 figures, and 16 appendices, and to relevant codes and standards.
Here's the description of this resource right from PPI, "California Civil Seismic Principles Practice Exams, 12th Edition (SPPE12) offers comprehensive practice for the California Civil Seismic Principles exam. This edition is updated to comply with the exam spec changes announced by the California Department of Consumer Affairs Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists, who offer the California Civil (Engineering Surveying/Seismic Principles) Examinations and is part of a comprehensive learning management system designed to help you pass the California Civil Seismic Principles exam the first time."
California Civil Seismic Principles Practice Exams, 12th Edition (SPPE12) features include:
1 .Comprehensive practice for the California Civil Seismic Principles exam
2. Contains two realistic, full-length exams, each with 55 multiple-choice problems
3. All exam topics are covered, from basic seismology through applications of codes and standards
4. Step-by-step solutions to quantitative problems illustrate efficient problem-solving approaches
5. Qualitative solutions explain the correct answers and present related supportive information
6. Answer keys to both exams are included.
Practice Exams for the California Seismic Principles Civil P.E. Examination is a book and a Computer Based Test (CBT) simulation software to help you prepare for the special seismic exam with its new format. Three practice exams, each with 55 multiple choice questions and their solutions are provided in a manuscript format, computer simulation exam, and computer exercise exam.
The solutions to the questions are provided with easy to follow, detailed explanations and illustrations. The three practice exams are designed to cover the range of topics and tasks outlined in the seismic principles test plan. The objective for you is to practice your problem solving skills under realistic time constraints and identify any subject areas that require more review or practice. Third edition includes access to the CBT Website by the Author.
One full-length practice examination for the State of California Civil Seismic Principles exam. This is a realistic practice exam for the California state-specific seismic exam that is required to obtain a professional engineering license in civil engineering in California. Includes 55 realistic seismic problems with detailed, step-by-step solutions to help you prepare for exam day.
The solutions in this book directly reference ASCE/SEI 7, the California Building Code/ International Building Code, and the Seismic Design Review Workbook for the California Civil P.E. Seismic Principles Exam (Hiner).
California Seismic Courses
Below are courses that we have found available for the California Seismic Principles. If you think you need one (we recommend it) then check these out. We may be a bit biased on our stuff but we aim to let you know about all you have at your disposal!
Civil Engineering Academy
CEA has developed The Ultimate Seismic Review Course for you to help you on your journey to crush the seismic portion of the exam. It has an add on for the survey portion as well if needed. The course comes with lectures, practice exams, and practice problems to help you crush the seismic exam. Check it out here.
We are an affiliate with PPI and we know they have good material. They've been helping engineers for years help ace their exams. They have options to take the course on-demand, or chose from a month to a year of access. You basically chose what make sense for you. There are 22+ hours of material here and gives you all the reference materials you need to pass.
Seismic Design Review
Seismic Design Review is one of the most comprehensive products to help engineers prepare for the CA seismic exam. They've been specifically helping engineers for over 28 years have a track record of helping students double their pass rates. They provide live seminars as well as on-demand seminars. Each seminar goes over the Seismic Design Review Workbook in detail. It's a good class and highly recommended.
Engineering Education and Training (EET)
EET provides a course that has over 56 hours of live instruction. The program includes lectures, books, exams, and CBT software, weekly homework, and consultations to help you ace the seismic exam. They also provide a on-demand option. They are a reasonably priced course and one that has been recommended to us.
I feel like this is the new guy on the block of seismic courses but I thought I'd list it. The instructor has plenty of experience, and based on reviews, I think it's a helpful one. Check it out and make your own call. The course includes 45 hours of recorded prep course material and workshops.
So what do you think? Is there something we missed? Shoot me an email at [email protected] and let me know! If you need more study tips or maybe just need to learn to focus when studying then check out more tips on our blog!