- Practice examination questions with past papers
Try to do an examination paper out of these past papers every two weeks. Simulate the actual examination environment by bringing all your reference materials. Do the mock examination under the allocated 7 hours. After the mock examination, learn from your mistakes, including improving on time allocation of each examination section, determining your lack of knowledge on certain areas and questions and improving your understanding on these key concepts, improving on your drawing skills on details, sections, and connections, etc. See whether what you have prepared, such as design references, rules of thumbs, etc, were all you needed.
- Review tips from our recommended books and review packages.
Previously, we recommended three essential books that all structural engineers should have. Click here to read reviews on those three books. Use these three books to review design and analysis procedures. You can also grab a copy of our very own comprehensive study guide for the IStructE and HKIE structural engineering examinations here.
- Book of typical details
You will be doing a lot of drawings of details in Section 2 of the examination, so it is best that you have a reference book of typical details. We recommend the Standard method of detailing structural concrete: A manual for best practice by the IStructE for concrete detailing and Manual for the Design of Steelwork Building Structures by the IStructE for structural steel detailing.
You should also practice drawing free-hand and in proportion, so that you can efficiently draw high quality drawings for Section 1 of the examination.
- Timetable for exam sections
Prepare a timetable for each examination section, in order to pace yourself during the 7 hour examination. You would need to prepare this resource yourself, since each test taker’s pace is different. Remember to include time for reading questions, selecting questions, and checking your answers. Also, it is recommended to allocate equal time for the two structurally viable and distinct schemes.
Practice using your timetable with a mock examination, review the time managed for the mock examination, and then revise it! Always stick to this timetable during the ACTUAL examination. You can also download our ebook for a sample timetable here.
- Review key concepts and calculations
Mr. Colin Caprani, a lecturer in Structural Engineering at the Dublin Institute of Technology, has compiled valuable notes and information that is used in the CM exam. In his set of notes, you can find important terminologies used in the exam, such as the importance of functional framing (framing that has structural nature and behaviour). His notes also include a suggested timetable for the exam, so that you can use it as a reference to create your own. In his notes, he also explains the concept of stability and bracing systems and provides examples of various schemes and options. He goes over how to determine the best structural form based on different factors in the question (technical, economic, and functional requirements), as well as, implementing structural preliminary calculations. We believe the most valuable part of his notes is his worked examples for the preliminary design of structural framing.
Prepare design references
Here is a list of suggested structural codes and design references that you should bring to and use in the exam:
- BS EN 1992-1-1: Design of Concrete structures – General rules and rules for buildings
- BS EN 1992-1-2: Design of Concrete structures – Structural fire design
- BS 8500: Concrete – Complementary British Standard to BS EN 206-1 – Part 2
- BS 8110: Structural use of concrete
- BS EN 1991: Actions on structures
- BS EN 1990: Basis of structural design
- BS 4449: Steel for the reinforcement of concrete
- Standard method of detailing structural concrete by IStructE/The Concrete Society, 2006
- Reinforced Concrete Design by W.H. Mosley
- Concrete buildings scheme design manual by The Concrete Centre, 2006
- Best practice guidance for hybrid concrete construction by The Concrete Center, 2004
- Refer to rules of thumbs
Economic Concrete Frame Elements has various charts and tables for numerous rules of thumbs. Preliminary sizing charts for slabs are also in this book, with tools such as span-depth charts and tables that find the overall depth, ultimate load, and the reinforcement required based on the applied loads. Preliminary sizes for depths, ultimate loads, and reinforcements are also available for beams. You can also determine the preliminary sizes for columns by looking up the instructions (estimating the axial load, finding its support conditions, determining reinforcement percentage, etc). The axial load vs moment charts can be used to determine sizes and reinforcement percentages.
- Attend the CM Exam Prep Course
Remember to register and attend the Chartered Membership Exam Preparation Course, hosted by the iStructE. The course focuses on preparation and examination taking techniques, such as tips on determining key engineering issues in the questions, solving them efficiently with structurally viable solutions, etc.
- Last, but not least, remember to review our notes in our website and to download our concise structural engineering examination guide here!