I found the built in SW tutorials for each of the listed potential topics sufficient to get to CSWE.
The main things we don't want to see are screenshots of exam models, videos of someone taking an exam, or the actual exam models for download!
We're not very tricky people, so I can say that the topics you see listed on the exam page are the topics that are covered in the exam, so you should know those topics and features.
The sample exams are a good start, but are no means a complete sample of what to expect in an exam. For example, the sample exam for CSWP only covers what's in segment 1, and the CSWE doesn't even have a sample exam! One of the best parts about the sample exams is that you use the actual tester software to take it, so that takes care of making sure the software runs on your computer and gets you used to the interface.
As far as study material, the book referenced here by David Planchard is very good, plus there is study modules available from SolidProfessor and a bunch of modules available on MySolidWorks.com. Last year we ran a promotion where you could take the CSWA exam after completing the CSWA prep modules. For those who did, just ofver 80% of them passed the exam compared to a normal passing rate of just over 60%, so the study materials do work. Plus, if you are on subscription both the CSWA exam and he prep modules on MySolidWorks are now free.
Good luck to everyone taking an exam!
Having taken many different types of exams/tests over the years I would rate the SW Certification Exams as very close to the best, if not the best. There are always going to be potential misunderstandings when trying to communicate 3D design ideas but if you focus on the intent of the design you'll almost always get to the right answer. The way the exams are put together requires a number of 'soft skills' that are vital in order to be a good designer. Too many industry-specific tests are so focused on forcing you to use specific tools and doing things the "their way" that too many unqualified people pass them simply by memorizing sample test answers.
My advice to prepping for the exams is to go through all related tutorials at least once, and then try and do a model mania challenge or sample part you can find online to see how many different ways you can achieve the end result.
In terms of test-taking strategies, here are a few things I make myself do every time:
- Write a number for every question on a separate line on a sheet of paper and write the total possible points and minimum passing points at the top
- Read EVERY question and group questions relating to the same part/assembly/drawing together (I draw a bracket around all question numbers)
- Write the point value for each question next to the question number (some exams have different point values, some are all the same)
- As you answer questions mark off the numbers on your paper with a check mark if you are confident in the answer or a question mark if you have any doubts
- Go back over question numbers with question marks (I usually start from scratch if I have time)
- Tally the points for your questions with check marks as a guide to how close/far you are from the minimum passing grade
- If you are short on time go back to working on the highest point value questions that you are still unsure of
- Review ALL answers by reading every letter and word of the question and examine your work and answers carefully.
Oh, and one more super-important point:
PLAN TO TAKE THE FULL AMOUNT OF ALLOTTED TIME AND DO YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST TO PREVENT INTERUPTIONS. IF CO-WORKERS WON'T RESPECT AN "EXAM IN PROGRESS" SIGN YOU MAY HAVE TO TAKE THE TEST AT HOME OR ON THE WEEKEND!