Getting the study materials is a great way to start learning the body of knowledge for the CWI exam and how to become a better inspector. But in reality, its the easiest part and in some cases, may not even be required. There are people that never studied a code book with the purpose of passing the exam and yet passed the exam. There are people who had never seen the WIT book yet passed the exam. That does not mean they haven’t spent time learning the material. Those people have spent much more than a 40, 80 or 100 hour class. Their time spent was gained during working hours so they had 100’s if not 1000’s of hours.
The majority of people that I have run into over the years will end up relying primarily on their study efforts to get the knowledge they desire and the best place to start is with getting some materials. But the materials are not the important part!
Effort is required
Studying material you are not familiar with requires some considerable effort. Even though you may be a welder with 4o years of experience, you may still have quite a few things to learn. Our industry is so wide ranging and full of wives tales that you have to use some caution when “recalling” what you have “learned” over the years. Make sure you don’t skip over some content just because you have been “near” that kind of stuff for years. being able to pass 100 welder qualifications tests does NOT make you an expert on the requirements for performing welder qualification tests. It just means you can weld up tests very well!
Effort means time
Now that you have the books, you realize you have to put in some effort, you have to realize that there is some time involved. The body of knowledge needed to pass the AWS CWI exam is wide ranging and can take a great deal of study time to learn. If you think it is just a matter of “reading through” the material a few times, you are incorrect. There will be concepts that will be completely new to you that you very well may “remember” but recalling facts is a lower level of learning and may need a bit of reinforcing to become a permanent part of your “knowledge”.
So are a few suggestions about studying these new materials.
1) Spend time using them. Keep at least one of them with you always. If nothing else, download the AWS Book of Specifications and have it on your phone. Read it during break/lunch/etc. You can even listen to it using a text to voice converter such as https://www.naturalreaders.com/online/
2) Ask questions for things you don’t understand. It can be useful to ask those who give you answers where they have “seen” the information they provided. Asking questions can also be done online at any of the many online resources. You have to remember that many forums are full of opinions and sometimes few facts. Questioning the references can help you look it up yourself. I like using the search function at https://app.aws.org/forum/forum_show.pl to go through hundreds of discussions on topics and see the responses from industry professionals that are unmatched in their knowledge.
3) When answering practice questions, DO NOT look at the answers for any question you don’t know when you read it. Go back to the section and find what it says. Memorizing answers to questions is not a great way to learn. learning how to find the answers for questions is important during study. Reading 2 paragraphs to find one sentence with the answer is a GOOD THING.
4) Get your mind clear of assuming you already know things that are based on things heard in the job about codes. Look it up! As mentioned above, the wives tales are plentiful. There are “code experts” on every job but the real expert is the person who knows what it says because they read it, have it available, and understand what it means. Don’t be a “code parrot” and just repeat what you heard.
5) When you read something and don’t understand a word used, then learn the word. Look it up. Read different definitions, find it in other contexts etc..
6) When looking through D1.1 or any code for the purpose of learning you read a reference to another paragraph, table, figure etc…, then go to it and see what it says related to the context of the referring paragraph. After you find it, go back to what you were reading. Adding a page number at the paragraph can sometimes be helpful.
Look at other resources
There are so many places online to learn the materials needed for the CWI Exam. AWS offers online materials, online instructor led courses, and face to face courses. There are other places such a SI Certs, Real Education, Atlas API etc… I cannot comment on any of them except for the AWS Face to Face course. I sat in on one last year to help me prepare for teaching my 1st inspection course.
Maybe I can Help.
I really enjoy sharing what little I know with others interested in the same topics. I have piddled with various online resources for sharing information over the years and have yet to get anything up to a commercial level. I have an online learning management system setup to help me with the materials I present during training and if you think having access to that site would help, let me know. Here are some resources I have made online.
A few process questions- https://h5p.org/node/214119
The Certified Welder- https://h5p.org/node/233525
Welding Inspection Basics- https://h5p.org/node/312731
My try at some interactive content for the AWS BoS. http://course.weldingclassroom.org/html5pages/AWSbosclause5Para5.2Thickness/HTML5/practice.html
Always feel free to contact me if I can help. I will occasionally be live online for discussions related to welding topics. let me know if you want to join in sometime.
Have a great day!