in SolidWorks January 25, 2019
Have you ever attended one of our SOLIDWORKS Training courses or wanted to stand out from the crowd and show your level of expertise with SOLIDWORKS rather than just saying “you have X years’ experience using SOLIDWORKS”? Then why don’t you look at sitting one of the many SOLIDWORKS Certification exams on offer, which you could even be entitled to sit for free?
To better describe the different exams and when you should sit each, we will break the exams into four main categories;
- Mechanical Design
- Sustainable Design
- Electrical Design
- Additive Manufacturing
- Mechanical Design
- Flow Simulation
- PDM Administrator
- Professional Leading to Expert
- Mold Making
- Sheet Metal
- Drawing Tools
- Mechanical Design
The CSWP (Professional Mechanical Design) exam is the first step up from the Associate Mechanical Design exam and is a unique exam due to being split into three different sections which can be taken separately, but all three must be complete for a certificate to be awarded so this should help with those that find it difficult to find the time to sit down for a three hour exam. This is recommended for those that have also attended both the Advanced Part Modeling and Advanced Assembly Modeling courses.
The other SOLIDWORKS Professional exams do start to ramp up the difficulty a little and have been broken into two separate categories above with the 2nd group (Professional) being exams which either expand on their Associate counterpart or focus on a new area of SOLIDWORKS, such as the “PDM Administrator” Exam. These would be recommended for users with at least 6 months of experience with the software and have attended that exams respective training courses such as ‘Administering SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional’ training course for the PDM Administrator exam.
For the exams in the 3rd category (Professional leading to Expert) these are a group of five exams where the user must sit and pass any four of five professional level exams (referred to as CSWPA-xx exams) along with the Associate Mechanical Design Exam and Professional Mechanical Design Exams (all highlighted in bold) before being allowed to sit the Expert exam. This means that the coveted title of “SOLIDWORKS Expert” means that the users must have passed a minimum of 7 exams. Accumulating over 17 hours of exam time and at the time of writing this article there have only ever been 167 listed SOLIDWORKS Experts in the United Kingdom (according to the SOLIDWORKS Certification Centre) making this a unique and skilled group of users who have truly put their SOLIDWORKS skills to the test and show that they can make some of the most complex models SOLIDWORKS had to throw at them.
The Diagram below gives an example of the path from SOLIDWORKS Associate to a SOLIDWORKS Expert.
How do I take an exam?
Should you decide you want to sit an exam you don’t necessarily have to worry about how much this may cost you as any customer on active Subscriptions is entitled to two free exam vouchers each year for each seat of SOLIDWORKS. This means if you have 10 seats of SOLIDWORKS (on subs) at your organisation you can have 10 users sit any exam (assuming they meet any pre-requisites) in the first half of the year and another 10 users in the second half of the year. You could instead have the same user sit 10 different exams or any combination you like. Details on getting these exam vouchers can be found here, or you can give us a call/email for more information. If you are not on SOLIDWORKS Subscription you can purchase exam vouchers by getting in touch with us.
What if I fail an Exam?
It should be noted that if you happen to fail an exam you will be able to have another attempt, but all exams have a cooling off period should a user fail an exam, such as for the CSWA, a user must wait at least 30 days before making another attempt. At the end of the exam you should be given areas which you are both stronger in and weaker in, so it would be a good idea to practice those areas before trying again. Another attempt will require another exam voucher.
How can I practice for an exam?
The best way to prepare for an exam is to both attend its respective SOLIDWORKS training course and to just generally use the software with focus on those areas as the more you use the software the more you will learn and the more you will find solutions to any problems that arise. If you want additional support, you can visit “MySolidWorks” and have a look at the training material available there. If you have a subscription to MySolidWorks Professional, there are prep courses available for most exams where I have attached a link to the CSWP Exam Prep Course here.
Is there a practice exam?
Full details on each of the exams including a free sample exam can be found on the SOLIDWORKS website here where the sample exam also details how to download and install the software required to sit the exams.
If you wish to learn a little more about how the SOLIDWORKS Certified exams can benefit you in getting that job you want, secure the promotion you're after or just to prove you’re the better SOLIDWORKS user compared to your colleague, have a listen to the group of users in the video below and try sitting your own exam to see how you get on.
If you have any question regarding SOLIDWORKS Certifications, please give us a call on 01324 550 760 or send an email to SOLIDWORKS.Support@TMS-Scotland.com and we would be happy to assist.