Painter and Decorator - 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 National Occupational Analysis. This trade's Red Seal exam has 130 questions Footnote *, which are distributed as follows:

Block A - Common occupational skills - 29 questions
Task 1 Performs safety-related functions
6 questions
Task 2 Uses and maintains tools and equipment
9 questions
Task 3 Performs routine trade practices
7 questions
Task 4 Performs quality control assessments
7 questions
Block B - Surface preparation - 36 questions
Task 5 Performs general surface preparation
11 questions
Task 6 Prepares wood surfaces for paints, coatings and wall coverings
6 questions
Task 7 Prepares concrete and masonry surfaces
5 questions
Task 8 Prepares metal surfaces
6 questions
Task 9 Prepares plaster surfaces and drywall
8 questions
Block C - Residential, institutional and commercial paints and coatings - 26 questions
Task 10 Prepares for application of residential, institutional and commercial paints and coatings
9 questions
Task 11 Applies residential, institutional and commercial paints and coatings
12 questions
Task 12 Applies decorative/specialty finishes
5 questions
Block D - Wall coverings - 10 questions
Task 13 Prepares for application of wall coverings
4 questions
Task 14 Applies wall coverings
6 questions
Block E - Wood finishes - 13 questions
Task 15 Prepares for wood finishing applications
7 questions
Task 16 Finishes wood surfaces
6 questions
Block F - Industrial paints and coatings - 16 questions
Task 17 Prepares for application of industrial paints and coatings
8 questions
Task 18 Applies industrial paints and coatings
8 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 40 and 50% of questions that are this type.

Example of a Knowledge and Recall Question:

What kind of water is used on the wick of the wet-bulb thermometer of a sling psychrometer?

  1. Hot.
  2. Cold.
  3. Sweet.
  4. Distilled.

Answer: D

Procedural and Application

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

For this trade, between 45 and 55% of questions are this type.

Example of a Procedural and Application Question:

What is done before using a new roller sleeve to apply an oil-based coating?

  1. Rinse sleeve in solvent, then spin.
  2. Work coating into sleeve, then spin.
  3. Soak sleeve in coating, then wash.
  4. Work coating into sleeve, then scrape.

Answer: A

Critical Thinking

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

For this trade, less than 10% of questions are this type.

Example of a Critical Thinking Question:

Too much pressure is applied to a wallpaper-perforating tool on a drywall surface. What is the result?

  1. Scored wallpaper
  2. Damaged drywall.
  3. Loose drywall tape.
  4. Bubbles.

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.