Everything You Need to Know About the SOLIDWORKS CSWA Exam

Is the Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA) exam worth it?

There are about 6 million SOLIDWORKS users worldwide and roughly 600,000 of those users hold a SOLIDWORKS Certification. In other words, only about 10% of users are certified in SOLIDWORKS. Being a part of this 10% can be a great way to earn a job, promotion, or raise. As an added bonus, getting certified in SOLIDWORKS will help ensure that you’re trained in the most efficient design practices.

Continue reading to learn the answers to the most frequently asked CSWA exam questions.

What is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate?

The Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate — more commonly known as the CSWA — is the first of three SOLIDWORKS Certification levels. The other two levels are the Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) and the Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert (CSWE).

The CSWA is the most common SOLIDWORKS certification for high school students, postsecondary students, and entry-level engineering design professionals. However, any SOLIDWORKS user can take the CSWA exam.


Do you have to apply to take the CSWA exam?

No, you don’t have to apply to take the CSWA exam. SOLIDWORKS doesn’t place any restrictions on who can or can’t take the exam. You simply have to download the test software and have access to a SOLIDWORKS license.

How do you take the CSWA exam?

In order to take the CSWA exam, you must download the test software on your computer. Follow the steps below when you’re ready to get started.

  1. Download Tangix TesterPro Client.
  2. Install the software.
  3. Launch the application.
  4. Log in or create an account.

How long does the CSWA last?

Test takers have three hours to complete the CSWA exam. You can’t pause the exam at any point, so you’ll need to make sure you can take the exam when you have three uninterrupted hours available.

How many questions are on the CSWA exam?

The CSWA exam includes 14 questions that are worth a total of 240 points. The exam is broken down into three topics: part modeling, assembly modeling, and drafting. You need to get a 70% on the CSWA exam to become a Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate.

How much does the CSWA cost?

The CSWA exam costs $99 USD. However, there are a few ways you can take the exam for free. Check with your employer or school to see if they were given free vouchers with the purchase of their SOLIDWORKS license.

→ DID YOU KNOW? When professionals or students complete the SOLIDWORKS Beginner to Certification course, we’ll give you a free exam voucher ($99 USD value).

How can I take the CSWA exam for free?

There are a couple of ways you can take the CSWA exam for free.

  1. Become a SolidProfessor member and take the online SOLIDWORKS Beginner to Certification course to earn a free exam voucher ($99 USD value). This offer is available for individual, SolidProfessor for Business, and SolidProfessor for School members!
  2. Check with your SOLIDWORKS reseller. Sometimes they have free exam vouchers available.

Can I retake the CSWA exam if I don’t pass?

Yes, you can retake the CSWA exam. However, you’ll need to wait a minimum of 14 days before you make another attempt. There isn’t a limit on the number of attempts you can make; however, each CSWA exam costs $99 USD. You’ll want to prepare for the CSWA exam the first time around so you don’t have to keep purchasing the test.

Where can I take the CSWA exam?

All SOLIDWORKS Certification exams are on-demand, so you can take the CSWA exam wherever and whenever you’d like. Unlike other software certs, you don’t have to schedule a time to take the exam at a testing center.

Is the CSWA exam proctored?

No, the CSWA exam doesn’t need to be proctored. You can take it online at any time.

However, the CSWA – Academic exam needs to be proctored by an instructor during a designated time. The CSWA – Academic exam is offered to schools that are enrolled in the SOLIDWORKS Academic Certification Provider program. You can apply online to be part of this program.

What topics are covered in the CSWA exam?

The CSWA exam covers three categories: part modeling, assembly modeling, and drafting. In order to pass the CSWA exam, you’ll need to be proficient in the following skills:

  • Sketch entities (lines, rectangles, circles, arcs, ellipses, centerlines)
  • Sketch tools (offset, convert, trim)
  • Sketch relations
  • Boss and cut features (extrudes, revolves, sweeps, lofts)
  • Fillets and chamfers
  • Linear, circular, and fill patterns
  • Dimensions
  • Feature conditions (start and end)
  • Mass properties
  • Materials
  • Inserting components
  • Standard mates (coincident, parallel, perpendicular, tangent, concentric, distance, angle)
  • Reference geometry (planes, axis, mate references)
  • Drawing views
  • Annotations

Is the CSWA – Academic exam different than the regular CSWA exam?

The primary difference between the CSWA – Academic exam and the regular CSWA exam is that SOLIDWORKS allows the CSWA – Academic exam to be taken in two separate sessions rather than one, three-hour period. The CSWA – Academic exam should be proctored by an instructor during a designated time. It can’t be purchased online and only schools have access to this test.

Do SOLIDWORKS Certifications expire?

No, SOLIDWORKS Certifications never expire. However, your certification might not be the resume-booster you’d like it to be if you earned it back in 2001. SOLIDWORKS updates its software each year, so as the interface, tools, and best practices evolve, many people choose to retake certification exams so their skill set is up-to-date.

→ RECOMMENDED COURSE: Get the most out of your software upgrade with our SOLIDWORKS Update Training courses. Need to learn an older version of SOLIDWORKS? No problem. We offer Update Training from 2007 to today.

How can I study for the CSWA exam?

The best way to prepare for the CSWA exam is to get comfortable with the material through hands-on practice. There are a few great ways to get started:

  1. Learn how the CSWA exam is laid out.
  2. Complete CSWA practice exercises.
  3. Complete at least one CSWA practice exam.
  4. Learn from expert tips and tricks.
  5. Commit SOLIDWORKS keyboard shortcuts to memory.
  6. SolidProfessor offers an on-demand, expert-led CSWA Exam Prep Course to help you get CSWA exam practice with tutorials, practice exercises, and a practice exam. Plus, after you complete the course, we’ll send you a free CSWA exam voucher ($99 USD value).

Sign up for SolidProfessor today and get started.

Madie Norris Forcier
About the Author

SolidProfessor content writer and self-appointed World’s Greatest Dog Mom