Machinist - 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 135 questions Footnote *, which are distributed as follows:

Major Work Activity A - Performs common occupational skills - 13 questions
Task A-1 Performs safety-related tasks
2 questions
Task A-2 Organizes work
3 questions
Task A-3 Uses communication and mentoring techniques
2 questions
Task A-4 Processes workpiece material
4 questions
Task A-5 Maintains machines, tooling and inspection equipment
2 questions
Major Work Activity B - Performs benchwork - 11 questions
Task B-6 Performs hand processes
8 questions
Task B-7 Refurbishes components
3 questions
Major Work Activity C – Machines using power saws - 8 questions
Task C-8 Sets up power saws
5 questions
Task C-9 Operates power saws
3 questions
Major Work Activity D – Machines using drill presses - 9 questions
Task D-10 Sets up drill presses
5 questions
Task D-11 Operates drill presses
4 questions
Major Work Activity E – Machines using conventional lathes - 28 questions
Task E-12 Sets up conventional lathes
14 questions
Task E-13 Operates conventional lathes
14 questions
Major Work Activity F – Machines using conventional milling machines - 28 questions
Task F-14 Sets up conventional milling machines
15 questions
Task F-15 Operates conventional milling machines
13 questions
Major Work Activity G – Machines using precision grinding machines - 11 questions
Task G-16 Sets up precision grinding machines
6 questions
Task G-17 Operates precision grinding machines
5 questions
Major Work Activity H – Machines using computer numerical control (cnc) machines - 27 questions
Task H-18 Performs CNC programming
12 questions
Task H-19 Sets up CNC machines
8 questions
Task H-20 Operates CNC machines
7 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 10 and 20% of questions that are this type.

Example of a Knowledge and Recall Question:

Which product is used to check the final fit of mating tapers?

  1. Layout dye.
  2. Prussian blue.
  3. Penetrating dye.
  4. Permanent ink.

Answer: B

Procedural and Application

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

For this trade, between 50 and 60% of questions are this type.

Example of a Procedural and Application Question:

What process is used to achieve a spot-face?

  1. Machining a cone-shaped enlargement at the end of a hole.
  2. Machining a pilot hole larger than the web of the finish drill.
  3. Machining a flat surface that is perpendicular to the axis of a hole.
  4. Machining a hole to accommodate the head of a bolt or cap screw.

Answer: C

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 35% of questions are this type.

Example of a Critical Thinking Question:

What size is the gauge block build-up used with a 5 in. sine bar to check a workpiece that has a 3/4 in. TPF?

  1. 0.1561 in.
  2. 0.3121 in.
  3. 0.4682 in.
  4. 0.6242 in.

Answer: B

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.