Instrumentation and Control Technician - Exam Information

Table of Contents


This tool can be used to reflect on your own experience and knowledge in the trade compared with what is on the exam.

Exam Breakdown

Each Red Seal exam's questions are developed to assess the activities laid out in the Red Seal Occupational Standard. This trade's Red Seal exam has 125 questions Footnote *, which are distributed as follows:

Major Work Activity A - Performs common occupational skills - 12 questions
Task 1 Performs safety-related functions
3 questions
Task 2 Uses tools and equipment
4 questions
Task 3 Organizes work
3 questions
Task 4 Uses communication and mentoring techniques
2 questions
Major Work Activity B - Installs and services process measuring and indicating devices - 30 questions
Task 5 Installs and services pressure, temperature, level and flow devices
9 questions
Task 6 Installs and services signal transducers
4 questions
Task 7 Installs and services motion, speed, position and vibration devices
4 questions
Task 8 Installs and services mass, density and consistency devices
4 questions
Task 9 Installs and services process analyzers
5 questions
Task 10 Installs and services multiple variable computing devices
4 questions
Major Work Activity C - Installs and services safety and security systems and devices - 11 questions
Task 11 Installs and services safety systems and devices
6 questions
Task 12 Installs and services facility security systems (NOT COMMON CORE)
0 questions
Task 13 Installs and services safety instrumented systems (SIS)
5 questions
Major Work Activity D - Installs and services hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical systems - 14 questions
Task 14 Installs and services control devices for hydraulic systems
3 questions
Task 15 Installs and services pneumatic equipment
5 questions
Task 16 Installs and services electrical and electronic equipment
6 questions
Major Work Activity E - Installs, configures and services final control elements - 25 questions
Task 17 Installs and services valves
6 questions
Task 18 Installs and services actuators
7 questions
Task 19 Installs and services positioners
8 questions
Task 20 Configures and services variable speed drives (VSD)
4 questions
Major Work Activity F - Installs and services communication systems and devices - 12 questions
Installs and services control network systems
5 questions
Installs and services signal converters
4 questions
Installs and services gateways, bridges and media converters
3 questions
Major Work Activity G - Installs and services control systems and process control - 21 questions
Task 24 Establishes and optimizes process control strategies
5 questions
Task 25 Installs and services stand-alone controllers (SAC)
2 questions
Task 26 Installs and services programmable logic controllers (PLC)
5 questions
Task 27 Installs and services distributed control systems (DCS)
4 questions
Task 28 Installs and services human machine interface (HMI)
3 questions
Task 29 Installs and services supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems
2 questions

Types of Exam Questions

All Red Seal exam questions are written in multiple-choice format. A multiple-choice question consists of question followed by four possible responses (A, B, C, D). Every question has exactly one correct answer and three incorrect options. They are not misleading or trick questions, but the incorrect options are not always obvious.

There are three types of questions that you will see on Red Seal Exams:

  • Knowledge and Recall
  • Procedural and Application
  • Critical Thinking

Knowledge and Recall

This type of question tests your ability to recall and understand definitions, facts and principles.

For this trade, between 25 and 30% of questions that are this type.

Example of a Knowledge and Recall Question:

What is the principle of operation of a bullseye level gauge when used on a steam boiler application?

  1. Conductivity of water.
  2. Voltage change of a thermocouple.
  3. Differing refractive indexes of steam and water.
  4. Resistance change of a resistance temperature detector.

Answer: C

Procedural and Application

This type of question tests your ability to apply your knowledge of procedures to a situation.

For this trade, between 40 and 45% of questions are this type.

Example of a Procedural and Application Question:

Which procedure is required when terminating a 4-20 mA, 2-wire RTD transmitter in the intrinsically safe (I.S.) barrier panel in the control room?

  1. Connect the red lead at the ground and the blue lead at the respective positive (+) point of the barrier.
  2. Connect the wires at the respective positive (+) and negative (-) points of the active barrier only and leave the shield open.
  3. Connect the wires at the respective positive (+) and negative (-) points of the active barrier and run a bonding jumper from the negative (-) point to the ground.
  4. Connect the shield to the barrier ground and the signal wires to the respective positive (+) and negative (-) points of the active barrier.

Answer: D

Critical Thinking

This type of question tests  your ability to interpret data, solve problems and arrive at valid conclusions.

For this trade, between 25 and 30% of questions are this type.

Example of a Critical Thinking Question:

After installing a new smart valve positioner, the valve does not respond to process changes. What is a possible cause?

  1. Positioner in auto mode.
  2. Improper actuator bench set.
  3. Controller in manual mode.
  4. Air supply set at 100 kPa.

Answer: C

Try more sample questions for this trade and check out the Exam Preparation Guide. It will give you practical insights on what goes into Red Seal exams, and how you can best prepare yourself to do well.

For more information about exam preparation materials contact your provincial/territorial apprenticeship office.