Achievement Unlocked: CSWP

First try!

After many years of using SolidWorks while hiding in fear of certified failure, I finally buckled down, studied up, and passed the CSWP exam (two months ago)!

Was it difficult?  Yes, but don’t let that deter you.  Anything worth your time and energy should be a challenging learning experience, and taking the tests for the CSWP is a relatively low-stakes scenario.  You fail: you’re out some cash and have a month to study more.  You pass: you bask in the glory of victory and assurance that you know what the hell you’re doing.  Regardless of the outcome, you’re bettering yourself as a SolidWorks user.

And as an added bonus, when you pass, you receive a fancy logo to include on your business cards and plaster all over your email signatures!


Let’s go over the structure and some resources I found helpful.

Segment 1: Model Building from Drawings

Time to take: 90 minutes.

Pretty straightforward.  The exam gives you a drawing with a few variable dimensions, and you build it.  Something every engineer or CAD user should know how to do.  The trickiness of it all is in the modifications you’re asked to make.  Sometimes it’ll be simple, like adding a hole here or there, other times, it’ll be much more involved.

Segment 2: Modify an Existing Part

Time to take: 40 minutes.

On this one, you’ve got to take a few moments to review a pre-made part, how it was built, and make some requested changes.  Helpful skills to know when you’ve got to work on someone else’s designs.

Segment 3: Assemblies

Time to take: 80 minutes.

Put all the supplied parts together and analyze using your own coordinate systems.

Resources Used:

CSWP Overview – As basic as it may seem, the overview given on the SolidWorks site was really helpful for me.  Everything you need to know is clearly bullet-pointed, so research the items you’re unfamiliar with.  Without this, I would never have known about rigid and flexible subassemblies.

Tips & Tricks – Offers a good idea on how the exam works, and the best setup on running it.

Speed Moves – You’ve got a time limit on these tests.  Practice these and make every second count.

Help Videos – Goes over a lot of the skills you need to complete each segment.  Watch and learn.

Good luck!

James M. Drachenberg


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