| Introduction | Chartered Members | 1
Introduction - Chartered Membership 2009
The Institution’s examinations have been held worldwide on the first Friday following
Easter for many years. The examination date for April 2009 is Friday 17th April 2009.
The examinations are widely recognised internationally as being representative
of the very high professional standards set by the Institution. The growing number
of professional engineering bodies or learned societies from outside the UK that
are using the Institution’s examinations as models for their own assessment of
professional competence is indicative of such recognition. It is clear, therefore, that the
chartered membership examination will continue to be a very important element of the
institution’s future activity.
Candidates are reminded that the chartered membership examination format did
undergo some change in april 2004, and there is a journal article enclosed outlining the
changes in full.
For the 2009 examinations all candidates will receive an interactive demonstration
examination preparation CD. This CD is an aide to your preparation and candidates will
be asked to give any constructive feedback so that suggested improvements can be
taken on board for the following year. The CD will be posted to every candidate early in
the New Year with instructions and further information given at the time of postage.
Candidates are encouraged to regularly visit the exams section of the Institution
website www.istructe.org to obtain the latest information with regard to the Friday 17th
April 2009 examinations. Candidates should note that question 8 for the April 2008 CM
examination will be based on earthquake engineering and not structural dynamics.
Candidates can visit and create a new subject for discussion within the examinations
section of the forum which is found on the front page of the IStructE website. The
examinations panel does monitor the questions posed and where appropriate will look
to respond in order to give clear guidance to candidates.
This CD contains the following information and reports:
• Installation instructions
• New format exam papers chartered membership 2004 - 2008 and relevant reports
• Advice and guidance for chartered membership exams
• Chartered membership past papers (previous format for reference only) for the period
1999-2003 and relevant examiners’ reports
• Instructions and regulations for candidates
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| Overview | Chartered Members | 2
An Overview of the Institution’s Chartered
Membership Examination Process - 2009
This paper describes the procedures that are used by the Institution in setting the
chartered member (CM) examination and assessing the performance of candidates
in such examinations. These procedures have evolved over a period of many years
as a result of the ongoing review carried out by the Institution’s examination panel.
The panel consists of corporate members of the Institution who have served as
chief examiners or who have otherwise gained extensive experience of assessment
procedures and the Institution’s examinations. The ongoing review process and
the setting and marking of the Institution’s examinations is led by the examinations
panel and is administered by the Institution’s manager, examinations who also serves
as secretary to the panel. The examinations panel is responsible for developing
examination policy and for providing guidance to candidates on all aspects of the
The Review Process
The examinations panel meets at least four times each year to review all aspects
of the Institution’s examinations. The panel reports formally to the Institution’s
membership committee which, in turn, reports to the council of the Institution. In
addition, the panel meets with the chief examiners and the marking examiners on
a regular basis to identify examples of best practice, to discuss improvements to
any aspect of the examination process, to seek feedback on any draft proposals for
change and to assist with the training of newly appointed examiners. The committee
structure not only considers and approves proposals for change made by the
panel but also provides guidance on how matters of Institution policy will affect the
Setting the questions
Each question of each examination is set by a chief examiner. The chief examiner for
the CM examination is always either a member or a fellow of the Institution. They must
however have previously gained several years experience as a marking examiner (see
below). The first draft of each question is considered in detail by the examinations
panel. The panel reviews each question to ensure the following:
• A level of technical challenge that is appropriate to each examination;
• Accuracy and clarity;
• Consistency of style.
The development of each examination paper is co-ordinated by members of the
examinations panel. It is the responsibility of the examination co-ordinators to develop
the final draft version of the paper taking into account the views of the other members
of the examinations panel and each chief examiner following the revisions to the first
draft. The CM paper is also subject to international assessors who check the wording
and comment on the appropriateness of the questions. The final draft of each paper is
approved by the chairman of the examinations panel prior to printing. A further check
of the final printed version of each examination paper is carried out by the examination
co-coordinators prior to the examination date.
Each examination script is marked by two independent marking examiners. Marking
examiners are chartered structural engineers with extensive design experience in
one ore more of the specialist subject areas covered by the examinations such as
concrete, masonry, steel and timber building structures; bridges, offshore structures
and structural dynamics. The Institution uses an anonymous marking system;
candidates are only identified by a reference number until the marking process is
completed. Approximately one month after the examination date, a trial marking
meeting is held. This is attended by members of the examinations panel, the chief
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| Overview | Chartered Members | 3
examiners and the marking examiners. Following an initial briefing by the chairman of
the examinations panel, trial marking of each question is carried out by the marking
examiners. This is led by the chief examiner for each question who produces marking
guidance for each question. Even though the marking examiners for each question
are marking to the same marking identified by the chief examiner, it is inevitable that
differences in marking will occur.
To take account of this the marks awarded by each marking examiner for
each candidate are adjusted statistically to produce a set of normalised marks
(normalisation of marks is a standard technique that has been used for many years
within the UK examination system). The normalisation process adjusts the mean
and standard deviation of the marks awarded by each marking examiner to be the
same as the mean and standard deviation of the marks awarded by the entire group
of marking examiners for that question. Hence each candidate is awarded four
marks - a raw mark and a normalise mark from each of the two marking examiners.
Approximately three months after the examination date, the four marks for each
candidate are considered in detail by the examinations panel.
The answer of any candidate that is judged to be a borderline pass or fail is
identified by the panel for adjudication by the appropriate chief examiner. The chief
examiner reviews, in detail, the answer paper of each candidate that has been
identified for adjudication and decides if the candidate should pass or fail. Advice is
sought from the examinations panel when considered necessary.
Throughout this process the anonymity of all candidates is maintained. Hence, the
performance of each candidate is considered by two independent marking examiners
and any borderline candidates are considered further by the chief examiner.
Candidates with a disability or extenuating circumstances are also considered
during the adjudication process. On completion of the adjudication process, the
examinations panel and chief examiners make recommendations for the award
The examinations panel has developed a thorough quality assurance procedure
for all stages of the examination process. The procedure is divided into two sections
covering the setting of the examinations and the assessment. All aspects of the
examination process are subject to independent external audit.
Feedback is given to unsuccessful candidates (taken from a specific list of
advice hints points per question) which best summarises candidate performance.
Additionally, marking examiners receive feedback with regard to their marking
performance. The feedback given to candidates and marking examiners is constantly
under review by the examinations panel.
The Institution has an examination appeals procedure which is published under the
examinations section of the Institution’s website.
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| Instructions to Candidates 2009 | Chartered Members | 4
Instructions to Candidates - Friday 17 April 2009
For candidates wishing to enter the Chartered Membership & Associate-Membership
examinations held world-wide on Friday 17th April 2009, please note the following:
• Closing Date – Monday 9th March 2009
The enclosed examination entry form with the appropriate fee must be received by
the Institution before the above closing date. Examination entry forms received after
this date WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED for any reason.
• Examination Fees for 2009 (includes an interactive demonstration preparation
CD - ROM)
Chartered Membership: £265.00
All candidates will receive an interactive demonstration examination
preparation CD-ROM. This CD-ROM is an aide to your preparation. The CD-ROM
will be posted to every candidate early in the New Year with instructions and further
information given at the time of postage.
All examination entry forms are acknowledged once they have been
processed, there may be a few weeks gap before the acknowledgement is received.
Candidates are required to pay their examination fees in full by Monday 9 March
2009 or they will not be permitted to enter the examination.
• Fee Reduction - Low Income
There is a 70% fee reduction for candidates who earn less than £10,000 Sterling
a year. It is the candidates’ responsibility to apply for this reduction in writing
and attach it to the examination entry form (you may be asked to provide proof
• Centre Transfer
Transferring from one examination centre to another is not possible after the closing
date of Monday 9th March 2009.
• Refund of Examination Fee
A refund of the examination fee will only be made if notification of withdrawal is
made before the closing date. Medical certificates are not accepted for a refund of
the examination fees after the closing date.
• Candidates with a Disability
candidates should tick the box on the enclosed examination entry form and state
the nature of their disability. The institution can supply guidance notes regarding the
format and structure of the examinations. These should be given to the candidate’s
medical practitioner who can then ascertain what assistance, if any, should be
provided on the day of the examination. The advice given should be sent to the
manager, examinations. Any information provided by the candidates’ medical
practitioner will be kept confidential by the examinations panel to consider. The
candidate will be informed of any special arrangements by letter at least two weeks
before the examination.
• Candidate Number and Examination Venue Information
Candidate number, contact and venue details of the examination venue will be
posted to all UK candidates three weeks before the examination and four weeks for
• UK Candidate Centres for 2009
Please indicate your choice of centre, which is subject to room being available.
If, unusually, there is no room available, the Institution will allocate you to another
centre within reasonable distance. Centres are as follows: Aberdeen, Belfast,
Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hertfordshire, Jersey,
Kingston, Leeds, Liverpool, Norwich, Newcastle, Northampton, Salford, Southampton,
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| Instructions to Candidates 2009 | Chartered Members | 5
Surrey London: City University, East London University, Imperial College (London
SW7), Westminster Kingsway (Vincent Square SW1), IStructE HQ.
• Non-UK Centres
it is possible to set up an examination centre overseas in any large town or city but
applications must be made as soon as possible and success cannot be guaranteed.
The following list shows where the examination has been held in previous years:
Amman, Auckland, Begawan, Boston, Brisbane, Cape Town, Colombo, Cork (RoI),
Doha, Dubai, Dublin (RoI), Durban, Gaborone, Harare, Hong Kong Polytechnic
University (Kowloon), Hong Kong University (Pokfulam), Johannesburg, Karachi,
Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, Melbourne, Nairobi, Nicosia, Paris, Perth, Riyadh, Singapore,
Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver.
• Absence from the Examinations
Absence from the examination, unless notification has been received before the
closing date (see 5.), will not entitle candidates to a refund or transfer of fees to the
• IStructE Examination Preparation Courses 2008-2009
A full list of the examination preparation courses are updated on the IStructE
website under the examinations section.
• Results (Provisional date)
Results will be posted to all candidates during the second week of August 2009.
The examination pass-lists will be published on the website shortly afterwards
under the member’s quarter. Results will not be given out over the telephone.
If you do not wish your name to appear on the website pass-list please contact
Candidates are encouraged to regularly visit the examinations section of the IStructE
website www.istructe.org in order to note any new examination related articles and
examination information updates with regard to the Friday 17th April 2009 examinations.
Peter J S Jinks
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| Exam Regulations 2009 | Chartered Members | 6
Examination Regulations - Friday 17 April 2009
• Candidates must provide all the equipment and materials required, except paper. A4
lined answer paper and graph paper will be provided by the Institution. All scripts will
be scanned to further increase safety measures. Candidates will be provided with
A4 feint lined paper and 4 sheets of A3 graph paper (use both sides on all paper
issued for scanning purposes).
a. Chartered membership candidates may bring an A3 size drawing board as
examination centres are not responsible for providing these. Most centres no longer
use drawing offices and therefore will arrange to hold the examination in their own
b. Associate-Membership candidates will be given the same A3 graph paper as used
by CM candidates. A sample will be sent to AM candidates before the exam.
• The invigilator will adhere to the length of, and the times allotted for, the
examinations. Both examinations are seven hours long.
• A period of 15 minutes is provided for reading the question paper, from 9.15am,
immediately before the start of the examination. Candidates are not permitted to
write in answer books, or on the drawing paper, or use a calculator during this
• A period of half an hour will be allowed for lunch, which the candidate must provide
and which must be taken in the examination room. Lunch is between 1pm - 1.30pm.
No work is allowed during the lunch period.
• A candidate may not enter the examination room after 10.00am, nor leave the
examination room between 4.30pm and 5pm.
• A candidate may not leave the examination room during the prescribed period other
than in exceptional circumstances or to visit a toilet. In each case the candidate
must first obtain the permission of the invigilator.
• Candidates must not speak to each other during the examination and must not
see each other’s work or discuss it before all the papers have been collected.
Conversation between candidates is not permitted during the lunch break.
• The invigilator will not answer any queries on the interpretation of
• All answers, rough working and preparatory sketches must be made on the paper
officially supplied and given up at the end of the examination.
• Candidates may refer to printed tables, personal notebooks, printed books of
reference and extracts from printed books, which they have brought with them
into the examination room for their personal use. They may not borrow or use such
documents from another candidate.
• The candidate’s examination scripts, unless previously given up, will be collected
at the time stated on the question paper, together with the question paper itself.
Candidates should remain in their seats until all the scripts have been collected.
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| Exam Regulations 2009 | Chartered Members | 7
• Portable computers or programmable calculators may be used provided no special
arrangements are necessary at the centre, and on the understanding that their use
must not cause any inconvenience to other candidates. However sufficient hand
written calculations must always be submitted to substantiate the design, and
these should be set out on the script as in practice (note enclosed guidance sheet
regarding computers and calculators).
• Strictly no external electronic contact is allowed between a candidate and anyone
outside the examination venue. Mobile phones must be switched off throughout
the duration of the examination. Any attempt at impersonation or other irregularity
in undertaking the examination will result in instant disqualification. The Council
of the Institution reserves the right thereafter to refuse a candidate permission to
proceed further by examination to complete entry to any class of membership of
• Candidates who propose to claim grounds for special consideration due to adverse
circumstances which are outside their control should intimate these grounds to the
chief executive & secretary of the institution in writing, in a letter posted within one
month of the conclusion of the examination.
• Candidates will not be permitted to take the question paper away from the
examination centre at the conclusion of the examination. Candidates who wish to
have the question paper returned to them should bring an A4 size stamped self-
addressed envelope to the examination centre. The question paper will be posted
shortly after the examination.
• Results will only be released if all subscriptions, examination fees and all other
charges have been settled in full. Candidates whose membership has lapsed
after the examination will not receive their result until such time as the outstanding
balance has been paid.
• Details of the examination appeal procedures are available from the website.
Candidates are warned that they may be required by the Examination Invigilator to
produce proof of their identity; appropriate documents (identity card, driving licence
or other formal item, preferably bearing a photograph) should be brought to the
Chartered Membership: Structural Engineering Design and Practice
9.15am - 9.30am Reading Time
9.30am - 1.00pm Examination
1.00pm - 1.30pm Lunch
1.30pm - 5.00pm Examination
5.00pm Examination Finishes.
Dr Keith J Eaton,
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| PRI Exam Rules 2009 | Chartered Members | 8
Rules for Examination Candidates -
(Applicable from 01/01/2002)
Those candidates who last sat the CM examination in 2006 but did not sit in either
2007 or 2008 must sit for the Institution’s April 2009 examinations. This is to avoid the
necessity of sitting another professional review interview. Please refer to rules below.
Rules for Examination Entry
Candidates wishing to progress to chartered membership will be required to apply to
sit the Institution’s professional review.
The professional review is a two-stage process, the first being the professional review
interview (pri) or the equivalent and the second part being the Institution examination,
chartered membership examination.
Candidates successful in the interview part of the professional review or the equivalent
may apply to sit the appropriate exam. However, if the candidate does not sit the exam
following the interview but chooses to postpone taking it for a year or two, he/she
will be required to submit a further experience update form on the reverse side of the
examination entry form before being allowed to sit the examination.
Three Year Rule: If a candidate postpones taking the examination for three consecutive
years after the completion of the interview, he/she will be required to submit an
experience report and attend a further interview before being allowed to re-sit the
Five Year Rule: Candidates who fail the examination five times (applicable from 2002
onwards) will be required to attend a further interview before being allowed to sit the
examination. Previous examination attempts before 2002 are not included.
Candidates who sat the April 2008 examinations without success or have sat the
examinations in previous years without success (less than 5 attempts), must complete
the experience update form on the reverse side of the examination entry form in order to
sit the examinations on Friday 17 April 2009.
Candidates are encouraged to regularly visit the examinations section of the IStructE
website www.istructe.org order to note any new examination related articles and
examination information updates with regard to the Friday 17th April 2009 examinations.
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| Exam Question 8 | Chartered Members | 9
Chartered Membership Examination Question 8
Friday 17th April 2009
CM question 8
For the 2009 examination onwards, question 8 will locate the structure in an area
where earthquakes must be taken into account. It is expected that the dynamic
characteristics of the structure will be considered when answering the question.
Seismic or Dynamic Activity
The chartered membership examination, to be held on the above date and for the
foreseeable future will make reference to seismic or dynamic activity which will be
restricted to Section 1(b) in only ONE question.
00025_DA08 CM Exam instructions & Regulations v2.indd 9 24/11/08 12:15:30
| Portable Computers/Programmable Calculators | Chartered Members | 10
Portable Computers/Programmable Calculators
The chartered membership examination has always sought to reproduce design office
conditions as much as is practicable, and the examinations panel is reluctant to impose any
arbitrary ban on design methods other than is essential for practical reasons.
Candidates should note, therefore that they may, if they wish, use a portable computer or
programmable calculator so long as it
• Requires no external power supply.
• Is silent in use.
• Is sufficiently small to cause no disruption to other candidates or the smooth conduct of
• Is not used under any circumstances to make electronic communication with anyone else.
Candidates must note however, that computer printouts will not be acceptable as part of the
candidate’s paper and will not be marked. Any calculations performed by computer should be
checked manually as in normal practice in a form that can be marked.
The examinations panel wishes to stress that, when assessing calculations, examiners look
primarily for an understanding of fundamental engineering concepts. Computer output, however
clear, concise or comprehensive it may be, does nothing to satisfy the examiners in this regard.
Previously Prepared Material
Candidates will not be allowed to include any previously prepared calculations, notes, sketches,
diagrams, computer output or other similar material in their answer books or A3 drawings. Any
previously prepared information submitted by candidates will be ignored by the examiners.
During the examination, electronic contact between a candidate and anyone outside the
examination venue is strictly forbidden. Any candidate who is suspected of cheating by
attempting, during the examination, to communicate with an other person using electronic
communication via e-mail, the internet or similar means, using a computer, mobile phone or
device with similar capacity, will be reported to the Institution’s professional conducts committee.
The committee has the power to revoke the candidate’s membership of the Institution and bar
them permanently from reinstatement. Similar action will be taken in the case of any candidate
attempting to obtain information about the exam by communicating with a colleague in a country
in which, because of time differences around the world, the exam has already finished before the
candidate’s examination has started.
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| Disability Guidance Notes | Chartered Members | 11
Disability Guidance Note - for Medical Practitioners
This note deals with the avoidance of discrimination against disabled people who are
candidates for the examinations administered by the Institution of Structural Engineers for
admission as chartered members. The Institution follows the Code of Practice for Trade
Organisations and Qualifications Bodies in relation to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995,
published by the Disability Rights Commission.
The Institution aims to avoid discrimination in two areas related to the exams: in enabling
disabled candidates physically to access the exam (for which reasonable adjustment might
include ensuring that exams are held in premises fully accessible to wheelchair users; printing
application forms and examination papers in large print, etc), and in enabling disabled candidates
to take the examination where their disability might impair their ability to do so (for which
reasonable adjustment might include allowing candidates additional time in which to read the
question paper or to write their answers).
This note covers both the above areas, and is for the guidance of medical practitioners who
have been consulted in relation to their patient’s disability.
The Institution’s chartered membership (CM) exam is the final step in the qualifying process for
people wishing to become chartered structural engineers. Before taking the exams, candidates
will already have gained academic qualifications in structural engineering and will already have
achieved required standards in meeting core objectives from post-university training.
The exam is held once a year, in early April, at some fifty centres around the world. It is
a seven-hour exam normally held from 9.30am to 5pm with a thirty minute break for lunch
from 1.00pm to 1.30pm. Candidates who sit the chartered membership exam are required to
answer one question from a choice of eight. A period of fifteen minutes is provided before the
commencement of the exam to allow candidates to read the exam paper. Candidates normally
take the exam seated at a desk.
Each question is based around a requirement for a structural engineering scheme to be
proposed and designed to meet a client’s brief. Constraints are imposed which must be taken
into account in the proposed solutions. Chartered membership candidates are required to
propose two distinct and viable solutions, to choose between them on the basis of suitability to
meet the brief, and then to undertake detailed design and production of drawings for the chosen
solution. Candidates are required to write a letter to the client responding to a change of brief or
to a problem arising during the project.
Questions are generally presented in an A4-size booklet: each question normally comprises a
page containing text (Helvetica font, 9 point) describing the client’s requirements and constraints,
and a page containing diagrams relating to the question (Helvetica font, typically 12 point or
larger). As far as possible, the wording of questions is standardised from question to question
and the style remains consistent from year to year.
It is emphasised that each question is open-ended and it is for the candidate to demonstrate
competence by making and communicating engineering judgements in response to the question.
In particular, there are no single correct answers; rather, there will be several potential satisfactory
outcomes which the candidate is expected to perceive, assess and pursue on their merits.
Candidates are permitted to take into the exam room any textbooks or reference works that
they wish and are permitted to use portable computers and programmable calculators during
the exam, but are not permitted to include with their answers any previously-prepared material
whether pre-printed or stored on computer. Candidates are not permitted to communicate with
each other during the exam, nor with anyone outside the exam room.
Each candidate’s script is assessed by two chartered structural engineers acting as marking
examiners. They act independently and without reference to each other. Their assessments are
normalised by computer to eliminate the effects of ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ marking. No information about
a candidate, including any disability they may have, is given to either marking examiner. In the
event of disagreement between the marking examiners’ assessments or in case of anomaly, the
script is adjudicated by the chief examiner for the question attempted.
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| Guidance Notes | Chartered Members | 12
The examination is a test of a candidate’s competence to practice as a chartered structural
engineer. The following features of the examination are considered to be competence standards
applicable to people holding these qualifications:
• Use engineering judgement and experience to propose distinct (CM) and viable possible
solutions to an engineering problem.
• Understand and take into account the key constraints affecting the viability of the proposed
solution. A non-viable solution is one that may be unstable, uneconomic or unsatisfactory in
meeting the client’s requirements.
• Estimate the sizes of structural elements and then to prove by calculation that the proposed
size is satisfactory
• Produce text (in the form of a letter and calculations) and drawings by hand to a standard
sufficient to communicate the candidate’s intentions
• Manage time so as to achieve a satisfactory outcome within the time constraints imposed,
with the pressure of time constraint replicating the need to take decisions rapidly under
normal commercial pressure in a busy office
• Work alone and not to communicate with any other person for the duration of the exam, so
that the work produced is the candidate’s own unaided work.
The Institution acknowledges its duty to make reasonable adjustments to avoid discriminating
against disabled people, and to this end it has taken these steps:
a. Disabled candidates applying to take the examination are asked to state the nature of their
disability in their application
b. A disabled candidate is required to produce confirmation from their medical practitioner that
their impairment meets the definition of disability in the DDA 1995 Act and that it is substantial
(that is, more than minor or trivial), and adverse, and long term (that is, it has lasted or is likely
to last for at least a year or for the rest of the life of the person affected).
c. Medical practitioners are asked to consider the nature of the exam described above and to
specify any way in which the Institution should consider making a reasonable adjustment
to its examination processes to avoid placing the disabled candidate at a substantial
disadvantage compared to non-disabled candidates.
Candidate’s name: Examination No:
Nature of candidate’s disability as notified to the Institution:
Commentary by medical practitioner:
a. Please confirm that the candidate suffers from the disability notified.
b. Please confirm that the candidate’s impairment meets the definition of disability in the DDA 1995 Act and that it is substantial, and adverse, and long term.
c. Please give your opinion as to the effects of the disability on the candidate in relation to sitting the examination.
d. Please specify any way in which the Institution should consider making a reasonable adjustment to its examination processes to avoid placing the disabled candidate
at a substantial disadvantage in taking the exam compared to non-disabled candidates.
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