Model Mania Tips and Tricks – Solidworks World

This article is a guest post by Jim Lucas 

SolidWorks World is coming in January! I just found out that I get to go. I’m a competitive guy, and enjoy challenges like Model Mania. It’s too bad they only happen once a year and that you have to go to the conference, because it motivates me to do a “skills/habits” analysis on my weak areas.

Instead of just showing up and taking it (like I would normally do), I’ve decided to start preparing and training. I have 2 friends who are also attending and going to compete. We are going to be accountability partners and do things like design our own test parts to test each other. I’ll be sharing my insights and strategies along the way. Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions. My email is Jim.Lucas@i-elf.com.

Is it too late to get ready? Not really- from the studies I’ve read, optimal preparing for a test takes about a month. More than that leads to diminishing returns and a “comfort” with the test (you actually want to feel a little uncomfortable when you take a test- it makes you more alert to tricks and errors). These studies deal more with SAT, ACT and other college-entrance exams. This is a slightly different beast. This is an all-or-nothing sprint. However- there are a few things that I’m sure would be good… Here they are:

Top 3 foundation suggestions: 

  1. Set-up and practice with the configurations you plan on using on the exam. Simulate testing conditions. Time yourself. If you are on subscription, you can download the parts from here: https://forum.solidworks.com/community/solidworks/parts_and_features/blog/2011/12I can’t emphasize this enough. My tendency to practice is to go slow, and maybe peak ahead at the change. Set a 10-minute countdown timer. Most of the winners were under this time. Testing conditions include: 
    • About 3 minutes to study a print out of the initial part. 
    • One monitor. 
    • Default factory settings for SW2014. 
  2. Review “Modeling for speed” and adjust it to your style. You should be using hot keys and mouse gestures.
  3. Set-up a training plan.  Mine is below: 

Countdown Plan: 

Week 4: Set-up the foundation. Work through the problems at the rate of one per day. (MM2000-MM2005) Research test-taking techniques based on this type of exam.

Week 3: Design (1) test question. Work through 3 questions. (MM2006-MM2008) Study how others did their parts. (MM2000-MM2003)

Week 2: Try to talk to someone who has won or place in a recent Model Mania. Work through 3 questions. (MM2009-MM2011) Study how others did their parts. (MM2004-MM2007) Take partner’s challenge- part #1.

Week 1: Finish up the questions. (MM2012-MM2013) Study how others did their parts. (MM2008-MM2011) Take partner’s challenge part- part #2.

Week 0: Study how others did their parts. (MM2008-MM2011) Take the test. And here we go. Let me know if you’re going to SW World.

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Jim is a CSWP and on the road to getting his CSWE.  He works for HawkRidge Systems, an authorized reseller of SolidWorks. Jim also runs i-elf, a product development consulting company.  He can be reached at Jim.Lucas@i-elf.com.

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