Your marriage to SOLIDWORKS is on a good steady road and then, all of a sudden, either (1) the boss asks you to get SOLIDWORKS CSWP certified or (2) you decide on your own to get certified. Not all certifications are planned or intentional, but if you find that an exam is on the horizon, you can still take steps to prepare for a healthy full-term certification.
SOLIDWORKS Exams are completely paperless, timed exams. The CSWP exam is broken out into 3 consecutive segments “trimesters”, totaling 3 hrs and 30 minutes of active labor. Answers are usually not multiple choice. Testers submit answers by manually entering a value: the volume, weight, or center of mass of your SOLIDWORKS model. If you’re really good at cheating on tests, you won’t fare well on this exam. Be aware that you are going to have to give birth to your very own SOLIDWORKS creation starting with not so much as a zygote.
Question 1 starts with something along the lines of “Make this.”
Seems reasonable…until Question 2 slams you with something along the lines of “Change what you just did into this whole other animal.” [insert expletives and panic here]
Just remember that getting a Certification is a beautiful, magical thing. It’s just as much about the journey as it is the end result.
Guidelines to help you prepare for your CSWP Certification:
- Announcements. Tell everybody. Tell everybody that you plan to take this exam. Make a big deal out of it. Otherwise, no one will know and no one will care and no one will give you so much as a brownie point. You need to straddle the line between whiny and stressed.
- Decide on your Birth Plan. Block out time on your Calendar. You need time to prepare and you also need time to take the exam. This is also a fine line to walk. Don’t block out so much time, that you aren’t being effective at work.
If you are a current subscription holder, you actually have two free exam codes per year. Watch this short video to grab those codes.
- Select a Birth Partner. Don’t do this alone. Drag your colleagues into this. It’s moral support and it benefits the company to have more certified users.
- Prepare a Checklist. You should review the list of topics which will be covered. Be familiar with the requirements, content, and duration of the exam.
“Sketch relations, check. Fillets, check. Equations, wait, whaaaaa????”
If you don’t know SOLIDWORKS equations except that Friday + 5pm = beer, you’d better read up.
- Lamaze. Enroll in a prep course. Since there’s no learning through osmosis, a prep course will lead the way. If you have a MySolidWorks Professional license, you can take a CSWP prep course (among others). If you aren’t sure if you have MySolidWorks Pro, contact your reseller.
- Assess the Delivery Room. Make sure you have a functional Keyboard, Mouse, and Dual Monitor. You need the exam questions on one screen and SOLIDWORKS on the other.
- Prepare the Nursery. Avoid distractions in your workspace. Clear any desktop alerts and distractions (i.e. email notifications, etc). More importantly, leave your smartphone in another room. Some of you are already convulsing at the thought of separation, which is another topic I will try really really really hard not to lecture about but I’ll leave you with this. Our bodies have a dopamine response to our smart phones. Yikes. We are literally addicted.
“Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for the seeking which makes you seek more. It becomes harder and harder to stop looking at email, stop texting, or stop checking your cell phone to see if you have a message or a new text.”
– Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. of psychologytoday.com
- Empty your Bladder before the exam. Pregnant women are really good at emptying their bladder before an exam. But in the slight chance you aren’t a pregnant woman, go to the restroom right before you start. The last thing you want to do is a side-to-side chair dance while running the clock on the exam. Also, there’s a very distracting backlight flashing on your test screen in the last few minutes of your exam which makes it even harder to concentrate.
- Pack Snacks. “Eating at your desk is gross.” says people who don’t have to take a 3 hour exam on a computer. You need to fuel up because this exam is draining.
- Knowing the Gender and Apgar Score. You will find out right away if you pass or fail and also by how much. It’s kind of exciting and scary waiting 6 seconds for the results at the edge of your seat…especially if you still need to go to the bathroom. Don’t worry too much about the specifics. We have a policy in our office:
“All You Need is A Green Bar”
- Trying for a second one. If you don’t pass one of the segments, don’t let it bruise your confidence. Lots of people have to retake one or all of the segments.
GoEngineer is supporting you and we wish you the best of luck! You got this!