In March I wrote about how I was challenged by blogger Matt Lorono to pass the Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP) test, and my promise to pass it by the day SolidWorks World 2012 begins. It has been a month since my first post, so I thought I would give an update to everyone.
If you’re not familiar with the CSWP, it’s broken up into three segments. So when Marie Planchard started helping me train, we focused on what I would need to know to pass the first segment. In this part, you have 90 minutes to
- Create a part from a drawing
- Use linked dimensions and equations to aid in modeling
- Use of equations to relate dimensions
- Update of parameters and dimension sizes
- Mass property analysis
- Modification of geometry on initial part to create a more complex part
In preparing for segment 1, I worked through the sample exam on the website. After I created it the first time, Marie worked with me to make the design again and showed me where I could save time. For example, Geometric Relations, Linked Values for sketch dimensions and Equations really help. In the CSWP exam, the part was not difficult – but you have to work fast.
Using a clock, I worked through the sample part, and then I worked on it again to become faster. I found that setting up linked values really helps save time.
The images in the CSWP are given in individual views but use Third Angle projection. In school, I learned First Angle projection, so I had to think about the orientation of the part and its features as it relates to the sketch plane. This took a while to get used to. I reviewed each view of the model questions twice before I began to start the part. Luckily all the parts for the CSWP exam are in millimeters, so I didn’t have to create a new part template. It will save you time if you have a millimeter template – two decimal places already created.
All answers for Segment 1 require the mass of the part in grams. After I made the first part, the question gives four multiple choice answers. This is great- because you know you are on the right track. The second question was fill in the blank. It has been a long time since I have taken an exam. The last page on the CSWP exam- before you exit is the Summary Page. Luckily, I stopped here because one of my questions wasn’t answered – so I went back.
You get your score immediately after you press the “end examination” button and know if you passed or failed. I’m happy to say that I passed this segment on my first try, and a day later, I received an email from the Certification team saying that I passed the CSWP Segment 1 exam.
What I realized afterward is that this part of the CSWP really tests how well you understand the basic toolset and user interface. But I know that the next two segments will be harder, and I’m already starting to refresh my knowledge of configurations and mass properties.
If I were to give any advice to SolidWorks users who are thinking about taking the CSWP test, it would be this—be humble, don’t overestimate your skills, and prepare yourself. Marie made sure that I studied SolidWorks itself and familiarized myself with where all of the commands live, so I wasn’t hunting for icons and commands. By following her plan and preparing ahead of time, I know I was more prepared for the test than I would have been otherwise. And here are a few more pieces of advice.
Set up link values from the beginning. Drag the dimensions away from the sketch or part so you can see them to change them quickly in an isometric view.
To anyone else thinking about taking the CSWP, good luck. I’ll be sure to check back in after I have tried taking segment 2.
PS – Rob Wolkers suggested on Facebook to “be careful, not every question is based on the metric system.” Thankfully I didn’t run into this problem, but I did make sure to review my inches and feet just in case.