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How to Prepare for an AWS D1.1 SMAW 3G Welding Certification Test

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The American Welding Society (AWS) defines the structural codes for welders working on buildings and bridges. To work at certain levels you must obtain certification through standard tests. The tests verify you have the skills to advance, provide documentation that you understand the codes of the level you're working at and show you've obtained the necessary training for your position. A 3G D1.1 SMAW welding certificate shows your abilities to weld a plate held vertically using stick welding or shielded metal arc welding. Practice and preparation for the test is key to advancing your welding career.

Brush up on your SMAW welding skills. If it's been a while since you've used a SMAW machine, use pieces of scrap metal to refresh your techniques.

Practice grinding a bevel to a specific angle. This is necessary to prepare the pieces of metal, called test coupons, you will work with throughout the test. Grind a bevel on two pieces of metal to see how well they fit together. Keep practicing the bevel angle until the pieces fit together along their length.

Practice joining the two pieces of metal from Step 2 with a root pass.To pass this portion of the test, the joint needs to be complete without cracks. Allow the metal to cool and grind down the joint until it is smooth.

Practice completing the joining of the two pieces with a fill pass, a cover pass and a cap weld. After the metal cools, grind down the weld until it is even with the metal. To pass this portion of the test the weld has to be smooth.

Practice preparing test coupons for performing two bends. The bends must be within a specified measurement and the metal should show no sign of cracks or slag inclusions.


Take the time to practice these welds and bends so you will feel comfortable doing them during the test. The Go Welding website has pictures of test procedures and information on many levels of welding certification.


Adhere to all safety requirements when welding.