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Guru
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A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

06/19/2007 1:50 PM

A few days ago I took the Americam Welding Societies part B practical welding Inspection examination. All A.W.S. certified welding inspectors have to take the part B test every 9 years or show 80 hours training in the field to keep their inspection certs. in order. I remembered how the original tests were so I opted to pay for a one day refresher course through A.W.S. to brush up a little. It is known by anyone who have taken this test that A.W.S. will insert some "trick" questions aimed at trying to make you make a mistake and see if you are really reading the inspection criteria. I went through the course and took the practice exams with good results. You see I inspect welds on a daily basis, write new welding procedures, I am administrator of my companies ASME R-stamp program and have been a code welder on pipe and tubes for 29 years. You might say that I have lived/worked welding since I was old enough to work and that I have made it my life understanding welding and it's proper use in the industrial U.S.A. On the day of the test I arrived with a good attitude and was ready to get on with the 2 hour timed test. After getting through the registering and so on the test got underway. I was issued a set of inspection criteria, a set of plastic weld samples and some inspection tools. The weld criteria is different than any other standard or code that one would use in the field. It is designed to see if you can interpret the given code and not let what you currently know interfere. The test consisted of 46 questions about the weld samples and the inspection criteria. This should have been easy for someone that inspects welds on a daily basis. I was amazed to see that every single question on the test was designed to try to make me make a mistake. The multiple choice answers were so close to the same that one is constantly catching himself double checking to see if he did mark the correct answer. It was very evident that A.W.S. was not interested in giving a fair test to the several veteran welding inspectors that were in the room and had paid the near 1000.00 to take the test. I left the room that day wondering if I had made the required 70% needed to pass the test or not and feeling insulted by A.W.S. The thing is if I don't pass the test then A.W.S. will pull my certs until I take and pass the entire 3 part (6 hour) test at an additional cost of over 1000 dollars. My question is to all the people that have ever taken this test before. Do any of you feel that A.W.S. is giving a fair test or does it seem the test is geared to have a high rate failure?

Pipewelder

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#1

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

06/20/2007 8:19 AM

I am a CWI certified under the ASME code for 10 years and NBIC stamp holder.

I found the questions were not difficult to answer if you based your answers on the materials they provided.

It is designed to see if you can interpret the given code and not let what you currently know interfere.

They also needed to ensure that you could read the tools and record your results with accuracy, no misplaced decimals or steps left out.

With your experience and the refresher you will do fine.

If you would have taken 80 hours of training related to your field the test would not have been an issue.

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#2

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

06/20/2007 8:48 AM

I haven't taken the A.W.S. test that you were tortured with but I have taken similar tests; one of which was 7 four hour tests over a four day period. There are a lot of classing societies that rely solely on the multiple "guess' format for virtually all levels of licensing and classification. I've learned a few things about these test through the years.

1. Multiple choice does not test one on what they know, rather, it tests one on what they don't know.

2. The testing societies believe (or are required) that a test must be administered on a level plane to all sitting, hence, a multiple guess (I prefer this term) is not subject to interpretation by the grader and meets the PC requisite.

3. Many of the testing societies lack the staff (in numbers and knowledge) to effectively administer and grade anything other than a multiple guess test; i.e., oral or essay exam that has a resultant grade based on the knowledge of the grader.

4. These societies have to exhibit that they administer 'rigorous' testing and because most people who have studied hard or are well experienced in the given field will pass an exam rather easily (you either know it or you don't) they have to keep the grades and pass/fail ratio where "rigorous' testing is defined.

5. If one wishes to take some sort of refresher course for a multiple guess exam, do not rely on the administering society to effectively prepare you for it. It will cost more, but independent schools/courses are generally in the groove of current testing.

6. In the test: One answer is clearly wrong; another is somewhat wrong; between the remaining two, one is more right than the other.

7. Almost always (if you are prepared for the test) the first answer you chose is the correct one. Be sure that if you change an answer, you have proven yourself wrong in the first.

8. When in doubt, enter 'B'.

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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

03/04/2008 7:57 PM

I feel the same as you. It seems that all they aer after is more and more money non profit HA HA!!!!!!!

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Anonymous Poster
#4

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

10/17/2008 10:50 AM

I've had a similar feeling about our beloved non-profits. I've been an AWS Individual Member for 20 years and working in the welding industry for 30. The costs associated with AWS certification are so expensive that it's hard for craftsmen that are paying their own way to afford it and equally as hard to convince companies to use AWS certifications verses more affordable in house training to ASNT's SNT-TC-1A or similar. I've been down that road trying to get training budgets approved and it seems to leave a lot of experienced welding inspectors in a predicament to find work if laid off without the prefered AWS, API or ASNT certs. I do contract work as a CWI/CWE/ Level III for companies that do all of their training in house. I've read different studies that concluded similar results that the average age of a journeyman welder will be 54 years old by next year. While I've seen industries and interested organizations urge the recruitment and training of welders to prevent the predicted shortages, I've seen the wage scale for many of these jobs drop drastically. Many companies want to take an apprentice with minimal experience, run them through a wonder course and turn them out on the job, saving money. With the current unsure economy, I've also seen many Inspection job pay scales go down with it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that wage and benefit reduction is a bass-ackwards approach to the theory of supply and demand that governs the cost of everything else. Not to offend anyone but I've witnessed a lot of the work exported with a lot of people that will work cheaper imported. Didn't mean to jump on the soapbox to your post but my trick question to our non-profits and businesses is What can be done to reverse this?

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Anonymous Poster
#5

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

12/15/2008 10:17 PM

This test is the most dirty test I have ever taken.

I know they do this to get failures.

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Anonymous Poster
#6

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

05/02/2009 11:33 PM

I have been a CWI for 20 years. I should have done the 80 hours! I passed the 9 year Part B test 9 years ago with out the refresher course. This time around I went in with much more study of the make believe code and came out with out my cwi cert. I am the proud owner of a CAWI diploma. After more than 20 years. Now I am paying for another trip across the USA. and paying for my own motel which I found for 89 per night 15 minutes from the test site. The motel reserved by AWS is 120 per night if you dont tell them you are with the CWI test group or you get a good deal of 150 per night if you are with the group. Greedy sobs. Well I have now choice or I will not be able to work in my field. I will ask for the help in the refresher course and pass the test....or find another career. I am wondering if the investment is worth it in the Depressed economy. I will expect the trainer to train me to read the black plastic toys and i will remember his face.

unhappy assistant inspector

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Anonymous Poster
#7

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

07/03/2009 4:41 PM

I dont know if hey are setting people up for failure, but I do know that I have been welding for 28 years and it was the hardest test I have ever taken, I passed the visual and practical well, but I failed the code (D1.1) by four points and was terribly disapointed. I heard from 12 others that I tested with they ALL failed, so yes the failure rate is very high. I studied for 2 months by the way. I think the test should not be easy, but I also do not believe they should include "trick" questions. I think we should be tested on our knowledge, not our ability to read decite. I am re-taking the exam, and I will pass, no matter what it costs, and again maybe that is what they count on., good luck to you and I hope you keep trying

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Anonymous Poster
#8

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

09/06/2009 12:36 AM

I just found out that I passed the cwi exam for the first time. I "passed" the test earlier this year with cawi, having missed cwi by 2 questions on the part b practical. What I find annoying is that if you use a calculator to do some of the math problems it is actually too accurate and will cause you to get an incorrect answer. Then the next two questions will say..."using your answer from the previous question..." basically causing you to miss three in a row. Watch out.

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Anonymous Poster
#9

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

10/01/2009 5:35 PM

I was a CWI for 19 years. I took the 9 yrs test about a year 1/2 ago. The other times I took the part B, I made a score in th 90%. The results from the 2 hour exam last time was in the 60%. I think AWS got my test mixed up. I know they have made mistakes before. The proctor told me AWS failed him on his exam and about two weeks later notified him he passed. AWS is linning there pockets though.

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#10

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

10/01/2009 5:50 PM

Hey, Thanks to all that replied, while its good to now I am not the only one who thinks this way I still hate that some of you failed the test. I think they made it harder after 1999 because I really breezed through the first test with an overall 87 average on the three parts and then just made it by a point or so on the 9 year exam. The thing about it is that I write welding procedures regularly, administer my companies R-stamp and all the welders, teach welding part time and also have a fab shop I do code pipe work on the side so I am very envolved with the many aspects of the trade everyday.

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#11

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

12/22/2009 10:04 PM

hello , I agree with you , all of your statements are 100% true . I live in the mid west and other than travel work there isnt much so to save MONEY !!! I opted for the part b only , what a huge mistake 90% of it was trick questions . My advise for anyone needing a 9 YEAR renewal go ahead and shell out your hard earned cash to AWS for the easy way out and if you can GET THE ASME ENDORSEMENT as it will save you from the 9 year head ache. by the way in less than a week AWS sent me my results stating that i recived a 69% how convient for them now its time to retake the whole CWI test again, and by the way the AWS takes your CWI away changing it to a CAWI with new #s ,even if you had a year left on your CWI endorsement putting your employment in jepardy. So if you are out of work like me and get slamed by AWS have a fall back plan including paying more $$$ to mother AWS. By the way the jobs i had lined up a month fom now wont happen and looking at all testing sites it will take at least 3 months to get a retest. so for what its worth i am getting api certs 510,570 ect .

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Participant

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Chesapeake, Va
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#12

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

03/25/2010 10:41 AM

Well it's now 2010 and they still have a very difficult test unrelated to the real world. I was fortunate that my employer paid for the full course and test. I have been a welder for over 25 years and failed the Part "B". I agree it is extremely difficult, but my main gripe is with the test proctor. At the beginning of the test he announced he would let us know after an hour, a half hour to go and 15 minutes to go. We began the test and he never opened his mout to advise os of the time until we had 35 minutes remaining.... I still had 20 questions to go!!!!! No way to accurately answer 20 questions on that exam in 30 minutes!!! Had I known at the end of an hour where I stood I could have sped up a bit to make it in the full time. Anyway I got a 67% on the part "B" and am heading to Baltimore, MD in May, now on my dime, to re-take a $250 2 hour exam that should not be necessary if the proctor had done as he promised.

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Anonymous Poster
#13

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

07/11/2010 10:42 AM

gentilmen, second 9 year exam. failed! now i have to take the test again within 60 days. took 4 weeks to get my results. so i had to pay the 250 dollar fast track! i made 92 on my first 9 year recert. i have proctored this test twice. to me the test is gearer to collage grads not inspectors. money is the problem! i have been called out more than once to observe a new cwi companies have hired and had problems with! the problem is they never have welded anything. i am working at a major refinery now the inspector is 23 and told me he has never welded! how the hell did he qualify to take the test? ( money). ill take part b again hope for the best, if i dont pass ill go back to welding. i think a welding test should be required to even take the cwi exam! if you tell a welder his weld is flawed and he ask what to do to fix it an inspector should be able to answer, not quote code books!

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Anonymous Poster
#14

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

07/13/2010 9:56 AM

I agree with you. I did the same as you, took the 1 day class & part B exam and failed. And, I had a Examination book of Specifications along with the practice questions and I had studied that book and knew where to find everything prior to taking that test. I also listened very carfully to the instuctor in the class as well, did everything just as he explained too.

I had been a welder for over 25 yrs and a CWI since 92, was also a National Board Commissioned Inspector for 8 yrs, and that wasn't easy obtaining that! Now I am going to attempt to take the test again this weekend, if I do not pass it, I will no longer pursue being a CWI as I cannot afford or take the time off work to go through the complete coarse as I have already spent over $1500 just to attempt to recertify. Also, I cannot believe you can "challenge" the questions either, don't get that, either your right or wrong, but like I was told in my National Board training class, ASME stands for always, sometimes, maybe & except...............

ka.insp1@gmail.com

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Guru
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#15

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

07/14/2010 3:58 PM

It has been 3 years now since I took the 9 year, part B test. Now I get a summons to take it again this year for my 9 year renewal. I spoke with AWS and the guy said that I should not have taken it in 2007 because I was not due until this year. Now I know why it did not seem like it had been 9 years since I took the original test back then and why i argued about it despite what the AWS guy told me in 2007 it had only been 6 years. I swear I did not think I would have gotten that wrong but I guess I did.

Well the good news is that they said I would not have to re-take it again for the next 9 years. I can't believe they did not make me take it again though, that would be a good chance for AWS to reap a little more harvest. And they usually harvest all they can.

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Anonymous Poster
#16

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

08/06/2010 6:51 PM

When you pull different sections from different codes arrange questions in the manner that AWS does, yes I feel like they are all about the money. $800 to test you fail its another $595 so guess what how many you think fails this or these not making a score high enough to only take the parts failed ? Part B has no meaning other than the hands on part the rest is garbage ! everyone taking these test was not born an enginner or rocket scientiest when you make a test trying to trick people instead of questioning there ability of learning the materials presented to them You Are Cheating Them Out Of A Fair Chance To Pass These Tests And Robbing Them Of The Money That They Have Spent

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Anonymous Poster
#17

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

09/20/2010 11:34 AM

yes they do they just want the money

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Participant

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Posts: 1
#18

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

11/19/2011 5:25 PM

Hi PipeWelder,

Everything you said is spot on. Part B is designed to make you fail. At my test a great number of repeaters re-iterated what you said. Failure rate is high even for experienced people.

Time Provided

The test consists of 46 questions and 120 minutes per question. This comes down to 2 minutes and 36 seconds per question which is about 30 minutes less than would be required to do the test properly.

Sample Inspection & Analysis of Discontinuitites

Ironically (it's a welding exam), samples are not real welds but plastic coupons so you cannot evaluate properly. The plastic welds have a grey paint like colour which can mask defects. Samples are plastic and small usage scratches (they re-use the samples) can be interpreted as linear discontinuities but are not, or vice versa.

Time is inadequate (remember you have 2 minutes and 36 seconds to do all of the below).

Step 1: Read the question and locate the test coupon referred to in the question.

Step 2: Move the test piece around the desk until you can locate it under a ceiling light.

Step 3: Take the 1/64th ruler in one hand and the magnifying glass in the other and place the ruler on the possible defect/discontinuity and measure it. Now because the test coupon is made from plastic it is very light and the chances are the coupon will move slightly under the pressure of your hand when you put the ruler on it. Since you are measuring down to 1/64th of an inch you must re-set the ruler and check your measurement again. Then write down the measurement taken of the defect/discontinuity.

Step 4: Repeat Step 3 for any other possible defect/discontinuity seen on the test coupon.

Step 5: Read the question again and then page through the Part B Specification until you find the section concerning the acceptability criteria for the type of test piece you are measuring e.g. production weld or bend test coupon. Read the criteria for example one single defect less than a certain size and a combination of indications within a certain length must be less than a certain amount etc.

Step 6: Using your calculator do a summation of discontinuities measured and compare the results to the acceptance criteria per step 5.

Step 7: Read the possible answers in the question paper and then take the answer paper and indicate the answer you deem to be correct.

Notes:
Discontinuities are measured down to 1/64th of an inch.
Room lighting is very poor.
AWS prohibit the use of the necessary illuminated mag-glass which would assist you to take measurements (of course in real life an inspector uses one all the time).
Answers can be perilously close to each other and it is possible to answer a question incorrectly even if the answer you give is out by 1/64th of and inch compared to the 'prepared' answer.

Now I hope you got all that done correctly in 2 minutes and 36 seconds.

Specification & Interpretation of Footnotes

The specification is deliberately written in a poor and contradictory manner in order to waste your time.

A rule on one page or on a selection table is over-ruled by an exemption in a footnote and no reference to the footnote is placed in the table at the obvious answer. In real codes footnotes are specified at the correct location in the text of the specification but this is not the case with the Part B specification.

Also, you could not regard the footnotes as real footnotes because some footnotes amalgamate a variety of subjects into one long paragraph covering a variety of subjects. You must then read this long paragraph in order to find subject matter that relates to your question and then read the specific exemption that relates to the test question being asked which once more amounts is needless timewasting. Some footnotes can be over 100 words long and consist of exemptions and derogations in relation to rules set out in other parts of the Part B specification and the point is that one long footnote can cover a whole variety of different subjects.

Therefore it can be said that the Part B Specification is written in such a manner as to deliberately waste your time.

Answer Choices

Multiple choice answers are written in a manner which is designed to confuse. Often, very similar answers will be offered but with an obscure difference that requires re-reading and further analysis in order to differentiate one answer from the other.

The problem is that none of this seems to have anything to do with a genuine test of your knowledge of welding. The net result however is needless time wasting (and you were starting off with inadequate time anyway).

Results of Examination

AWS will not let you take the exam paper, that you have sat, with you, or give you a copy of your answers or the correct answers. In this way people taking exams are not in a position to identify mistakes in the exam questions and answers.

Failure Rate

Due to the above the failure rate for the AWS CWI exam is very high indeed, although AWS prefer not to publish those statistics.
Candidates must pay to re-sit the exam.
Even if candidates pass (>72%) the fundmanetals exam and also pass the code exam (>72%), if the candidate fails the Part B practical exam and the average score over the three exams is less than 72% you must re-sit all three exams at great expense.

Transparency

AWS are very secretive about examinations and offer no transparency at all in relation to examinations taken. You cannot gain access to the exam paper you sat, the answers you gave, nor the answers which were deemed to be correct. In that context repeating the part B Examination is in essence a lottery and you simply cannot prepare for it.

Conclusions

· A high percentage of candidates fail the CWI Part B practical exam and must pay to repeat the exam and even repeat other exams they have passed if their performance in the Part B exam is regarded as poor (avg <72% over 3 separate unrelated exams).

· Even highly experience people fail the CWI part B practical exam.

· The exam is rigged to waste your time needlessly and provide you at the outset with an inadequate amount of time.

· Candidates who successfully pass the Fundamental Theory exam and the Code exam should not have to repeat those exams because they have failed the Part B exam as these are totally unrelated and it makes not sense whatsoever to repeat exams that you have passed.

· A good examination is one where knowledgeable candidates pass and those who do not know the subject matter fail. On this basis it must be said that the CWI part B examination is not a good examination.

· The question that must be asked is why is the AWS employing techniques that cause so much time to be wasted, incorrect answers encouraged, and ultimately high failure rates? Surely if money was an issue the AWS should increase the actual cost of the course and the exam. After all, 50% of the overall cost is attributed to flights, hotels, and other traveling expenses which do not benefit the AWS at all. AWS could also build in mandatory annual contributions as part of registration/membership as a listed CWI.

· Obviously out there in cyber-world people are anonymously voicing their discontent over the AWS CWI Examination process, mainly because they fear they will be reprimanded for speaking out on what they deem to be valid issues. If the AWS is to retain respect within the welding community then surely the weld publicized issues should at this stage be taken on board by the AWS and acted on.

All the best,

FCAW.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

05/09/2012 8:50 PM

Hello ALL,

I have failed the CWI part B four times now I have to wait three years to retest. Anyone know how to get around this? Trust me I don't think I have failed this test four times but they say I did, I have no way to prove it.

Thanks

raf39

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Anonymous Poster #1
#21
In reply to #19

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

10/04/2012 8:17 PM

I didn't realize they make you wait 3 yrs. to retest. That's crazy. I have taken this test multiple times and only achieved CAWI. I guess I've reached my limit now. However, I think I am going to ask them to manually check my last test.

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Participant

Join Date: Jul 2012
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#20

Re: A.W.S. Certified Welding Inspector 9 year re-test

07/05/2012 10:59 AM

It is indeed a difficult test. I would highly recommend an online course.

I teach, and have a degree in, Welding Technology. I arrogantly went and took the CWI exam, without much studying, last year. I failed, even with a high score on fundamentals.

I had to retake the whole exam this past spring and achieved CAWI because I STILL did not study for the practical. (I missed by two)

I spent 3 months studying nothing but the Part B, took an online Part B course, then re-tested and passed it. Now I have to re-study my code book to get readjusted!

This kind of testing 'thins the herd', so to speak, and keeps the level of quality (and pay) high.

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