SOLIDWORKS certification tests are a timed way to test people’s software aptitude. If you have never previously taken a certification test, they will typically have a part to model, then ask you a multiple-choice question about that part (typically mass related).
After the initial multiple-choice question there are typically open answer questions that have you modify dimensions of the part or assembly you modeled and then report the new findings. If there are no multiple-choice questions that match your initial model, it is a good sign that you made a mistake and should recheck your work. This article is about different techniques that can help you beat the clock including global variables, sketch pictures, keyboard shortcuts, and creating templates for certification tests.
Using global variables is a great way to save time during certification tests. Typically, the questions list A, B, C, D, etc. dimensions that will be changed in future questions to determine if your model is parametrically made in a way that updates correctly. Start off by adding these dimensions as global variables is a great way to set yourself up for success! (Screenshot below is from sample exam).
Sketch Picture with Dimensions
Some of the parts may have a particular view with many dimensions and tricky areas to sketch. A tip I like to use to help with the initial sketch and dimension placement is to insert a sketch picture (a screenshot of the 2D view given in the test itself) into SOLIDWORKS. This can be shown or hidden to help sketch contours and can help ensure proper dimensioning. (Screenshot below is from sample exam).
Keyboard Shortcuts for Speed
Typically, I use keyboard shortcuts to help me get answers during the tests, the most useful being that I make the ‘P’ key open the mass properties dialogue box. The answers are typically either mass of the part or center of mass, so it is useful to be able to pull up the mass properties quickly. Another one I like to add is I make the ‘M’ key bring up the measure tool. I use the measure tool occasionally to determine surface areas as well as double check dimensions if I have an answer that isn’t one of the multiple-choice answers. To get to the menu in the screenshot below right click the command manager and select customize from the options.
Creating a Test Part Template
Another way to shave off a few minutes is to start with a certification test template. I prefer to set up templates that have some global variables already inside, but other than that I pretty much use the training templates available on solidworks.com. See link for starting templates. Having some initial global variables set up saves just a little time, but some of the tests have you create multiple parts, so it adds up.
You will also need to have modeling skills on top of just these time saving techniques. The best advice is to prepare to avoid panic. Also, you can take these tests again typically within a 14–90-day period. If you have an active subscription with TriMech you get at least two certification tests annually for free. If you want to take more certification tests the prices are reasonable and the certifications will stick with you your entire life. Visit this link to see all the possible certification tests as well as sample exams that will help you prepare for the actual certifications: https://www.solidworks.com/solidworks-certification-program
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