Information on what to expect from the Certified Welding Inspection Exam.
Tips for the CWI Exam
The exam itself is a very difficult test to take. Three parts, each two hours long.
The first portion of the test is called the fundamentals portion, or Part A. 150 Questions of multiple-choice questions geared to test your general knowledge of welding- you’ll need a 72% passing grade.
Part B or the Hands-On, is a 46-question test. This portion will test you on your ability to find flaws in plastic replicas of welds. Also 72% passing grade.
Part C or the Open Book portion of the exam is another 50-questions, testing you on the ability to find answers in the codebook. Easier said then done. Another 72% needed to pass.
AWS offers a weeklong seminar in preparation to the test. It is highly recommendable but not necessary. If you work with or know CWI’s then mostly likely they will have some study materials to share with you.
If you can get your hands on the study material and the code book, which is 500 pages long if you are going for the D1.1 Structural Steel Code, you should give your self a good two to three months of preparation time.
The tests are pretty expensive $1050 for the test alone. If you are looking to take the prep-course add another $1300. Plus consider getting a hotel, plus the cost of food while away from work. The dollars add quickly. AWS gives these tests on a monthly basis all over the world.
The US though has the most testing sites. You can go to the AWS website and see when and where the next testing location is. Likely is that at some point AWS will have a testing location close to you.
It is also important to have up to date study material if you decide to take the test by yourself. Currently everything is based on the 2008 addition.
If you work with any certified welding inspectors or know any ask them to lend you all they have. You’ll be given books upon books about the welding industry and what is expected of a welding inspector.
The amount of the material is quite daunting, but if you give your-self enough time to prepare, you can chip away at the material chapter by chapter. The current editions of the study materials will give you practice questions in all three areas. They’ll give you a feel of how the questions are asked and what areas to focus on.
PS. It is important you get your study material from AWS not any other organization! AWS is the leading authority in the industry, and slowly becoming the international standard too.