There are many different types of welding that you must be knowlegable in to become a welding inspector, but all aspiring welding inspectors have to face one big test: the CWI exam. In case you don’t know, the Certified Welding Inspector exam is the American Welding Society’s barrier to entry into the world of welding inspection.
The test is tough, but it’s worth it. Becoming certified can open up a whole new world of career opportunities and boost your salary. If you’re not sure what to expect on the 2019 version of the exam, we’ll show you here.
The CWI Exam: A Quick Breakdown
The CWI is a long, expansive, and difficult exam made up of three different parts labeled Part A, B, and C. The exam is also graded somewhat strangely. To pass the test overall, you need to score at least a 72% on each part. You can’t get 100% on section A to make up for your 50% on part B or vice versa.
However, if you reach an overall score over 72%, but fail one part of the test, you only have to retake that part to get your certification.
Recently AWS has changed the stucture of the CWI exam. Up until a few months ago, canidates would take all three parts of the exam at one time, thats six hours in one sitting! Now, canidates will take the Part B portion of the exam first and after completion you will have 60 days to take the Parts A & C at a Computer Based Test (CBT) center.
So what kinds of information do you need to know to pass these different parts? Let’s get to it.
Part A is a multiple choice question exam testing you on the fundamentals of welding inspection. This part will evaluate your knowledge of welding processes, defects, weld symbology, nondestructive testing and metallurgy to name a few, but there is one caveat that increases the degree of difficulty: You have to answer 150 questions in just 120 minutes.
This gives you less than one minute to answer each question, so you’ve really got to know your stuff. Keep in mind, though, that you only have to answer 108 correctly to pass. This means, strategically, that you should simply skip the questions you don’t immediately know the answers to and return to them later.
Part B is the hands-on portion of the exam. This section also lasts 120 minutes, with a minimum of 46 questions. You have more time per question but in this section, you’ll be evaluated on your ability to inspect weld replicas to a specification (using a variety of welding inspection gauges), interpret welding procedures, procedure qualification records and welder qualifications.
Lastly, Part C tests your ability to use a welding codebook to research, located, and use information practically. This may sound like an easy open-book test, but it’s far from simple when you consider the size of a welding codebook, like this one for example.
To pass the test in the allotted time (120 min), you should have a lot of knowledge about the codebook you’re using before taking the test. You have the option of using AWS D1.1, D1.2, D1.5, D15.1, D17.1, API 1104, ASME B31.1 or B31.3 codebooks. The number of questions will vary depending on the code book used.
So choose the one you want and start prepping.
Need Help Studying?
The CWI exam is quite lengthy, which can make it difficult to study for on your own. If you need help getting ready for the certification that will change your life, considering checking out some of our CWI prep courses. We’ll help you get certified. We guarantee it.