Solidworks examinations: a walk through


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    Default Solidworks examinations: a walk through

    Hey ladies and gents,

    I’m going to start of with my humble opinion: if you don’t get these exams for free, it is not worth taking them. They serve no purpose. Nobody has ever heard of them, I’m not even sure it’s worth putting on your resume unless you finished expert. They aren’t all that impossible to pass. What they do is force you to learn and be proficient at every aspect of Solidworks.

    That aside, if you aren’t sure what the exams are, I recommend just googling it and going to the SW website, it’s fairly straight forward.

    What’s not straight forward is how you actually take the exams, and this has many aspects. First off, vouchers for free exams are everywhere. If you are a student and your school uses Solidworks, it has vouchers. If you bought the student ($100) or military student ($20) versions, it comes with a voucher for both CSWA and CSWP. If your company has a subscription through a value-added reseller, you get three exams biannually. More on this:

    There’s instructions for redeeming these vouchers out there, ask your reseller. Once you redeem them, you have something like 6 months to use them, which means if you roll over the biannual date (1JAN and 1JUL) you could potentially take 6 exams in a row. Caveat: it’s not any three exams. It’s one from each pool: CSWA/CSWP, one of the five pre-reqs for the CSWE, and one from a pool of extras.

    For instance, I have the military student version at home that came with the above mentioned vouchers. I used one for the CSWA this last weekend. I also work for a company with several subscriptions. After linking one of the serial numbers with my MySolidworks or whatever the heck it is, I redeemed vouchers for the CSWP, surfacing, and CAM exams. I have 6 months to take them. I also have a voucher from some random solidworks event for one free exam, but I’m not exactly sure what it entails, so more to come.

    As for actually taking the exam, there’s a program you download, and that is where you put in the voucher code. That easy.

    I’ll jot my thoughts on each exam as I do them, pass or fail. The plan is to hit CSWE in January when and if I pass all the prereqs.

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    Default Re: Solidworks examinations: a walk through

    CSWA

    This was super easy and it doesn’t deserve much attention. Some other fella had another post about it, so in summary do the practice exams and have templates prepared.

    A great resource for all of this is LinkedIn Learning. A guy has a lesson for each individual exam. If your company has access to this, then great, use it. If not, there’s other tutorials out there.

    A few questions on “what’s this view called” and general drawing knowledge (nobody says you can’t either google it or just look at solidworks and find the respective command).

    The rest is drafting and assembly. There are several methods of using shortcuts in solidworks. If you haven’t customized it to your preference and practiced with it, you are missing out. Something like: L is for line, h is for horizontal, c is for circle, and many other ones that don’t make sense but you’ll remember them if you practice. They either ask for the mass or the center of gravity (hmm, material must be important then). If the multiple choice answer doesn’t match up, you did something wrong. You should use the parameter table. I’m not saying you have to, because you certainly don’t, but it makes things a lot easier.

    Every drawing was over defined in some manner, and while this sounds like bad drafting practice, keep in mind this test is for beginners. Don’t over complicate it for yourself. At the same time, attention to detail is necessary; if the question says mate something as shown, mate it exactly how it says.

    Something from the practice exam and the actual; you can’t link parameters to mate dimensions. You can make a sketch in an assembly, link parameters to sketch dimensions, then mate parts to the sketch. This doesn’t work all the time. There are many other work arounds, but the moral is to double and triple check that the parameters you changed between questions made their way into the model.

    This is not a hard test if you’ve prepared and used Solidworks before.



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    Default Re: Solidworks examinations: a walk through

    CWSP

    That was tough. Definitely not impossible though. If I’d practiced more and did a bit more thorough of a review at the end I’d have gotten a better score, but passing is passing.

    I highly recommend the LinkedIn Learning course. Solidworks has a ton of different tools, and it would be impractical to study for this exam by simply knowing how to use every feature of every tool. That particular course goes through every question almost identically, covering just the right amount to lay out the exact exam. There’s nothing against having the course open on another screen while you’re taking the test either.

    Anyways, three segments:

    first section, you create a part from scratch and modify it a ton. Use parameters. If you don’t, you will spend way too much time on something that should be simple, and time is precious on this exam. We’re talking probably 15 questions worth. With parameters, they take 10 or so seconds. Without, probably 90 seconds a piece. If it asks you to remove features, try your best to either suppress them or change sketch entities into a “for construction” status in case you need to go back.

    Second segment, they give you parts that you need to modify. It is purposely made to generate errors that you need to troubleshoot and solve. While there are lots of ways to skin a cat, some are messier and take much longer when not really necessary. They’re trying to push you into using the cool-guy tools they created rather than extrude-mashing a part into existence. The shell feature was one that really tripped me up because I’ve never used it before.

    Final segment was assemblies, and man did that hurt my brain. If it wasn’t for the multiple choice questions I would have failed for sure. You’ve really gotta read each question word by word, because what might look like standard text might be telling you to change the default mass or material of a certain component. Again I can’t recommend the LinkedIn Learning module enough as it went through almost the exact scenarios on the test, enough that it was a good reference. In some ways, this part of the test was less about knowing how to use solidworks and more about dancing around obscure instances of problems you may or may not have. Something like swapping a component one for one. Is it possible? Sure. More than likely it’ll produce errors depending on what you’ve changed. Unless you have something formatted to work exactly with this problem set, I doubt it’s worth the effort to use said feature.

    In the end I had about 45 minutes to spare, but be advised, this isn’t really the type of test you can double check your answers after the fact. About the only thing you can do is a quick snapshot to make sure nothing is off by a lot and the answer you put down matches the one from the model. My recommendation is to budget time limits and double check as you go only if your budget allows.

    Next weekend I’m hoping to try the drawing tools exam.



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    Default Re: Solidworks examinations: a walk through

    I've been using SW since 98. Never once had anyone ask about certifications. Just because you're "certified" doesn't know what you're doing. Some of the worst designers I worked with had their "certifications." Knowing how to actually design something is way more valuable then a certificate.



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Solidworks examinations: a walk through

Solidworks examinations: a walk through

Solidworks examinations: a walk through