Powerline 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 - 32 questions
A-1 Performs safety-related functions
8 questions
A-2 Uses and maintains tools and equipment
6 questions
A-3 Organizes work
5 questions
A-4 Accesses work area
4 questions
A-5 Uses live-line methods
7 questions
A-6 Uses communication and mentoring techniques
2 questions
Major Work Activity B - Installs Structures - 16 questions
B-7 Installs pole structures
13 questions
B-8 Installs steel lattice structures
3 questions
Major Work Activity C - Installs Conductor Systems - 19 questions
C-9 Installs overhead conductors and cables
13 questions
C-10 Installs underground and underwater cable
6 questions
Major Work Activity D - Installs Auxiliary Equipment - 26 questions
D-11 Installs lighting systems
3 questions
D-12 Installs voltage control equipment
9 questions
D-13 Installs protection equipment
8 questions
D-14 Installs metering equipment
4 questions
D-15 Installs communication equipment
2 questions
Major Work Activity E - Performs Operation, Maintenance and Repair - 32 questions
E-16 Operates distribution and transmission systems
8 questions
E-17 Maintains distribution and transmission systems
9 questions
E-18 Repairs distribution systems
9 questions
E-19 Repairs transmission systems
6 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 15 and 25% of questions that are this type.

Example of a Knowledge and Recall Question:

Which protection conditions must be met when using live-line methods on a circuit?

  1. Ground trip blocked and tag in place.
  2. Breaker in non-reclose position and tag in place.
  3. Breaker in non-reclose position, ground trip blocked and tag in place.
  4. Breaker open and tag in place.

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 60 and 70% of questions are this type.

Example of a Procedural and Application Question:

Before beginning work on an isolated underground primary cable, how is a capacitive charge dissipated?

  1. By using a fast acting disconnect.
  2. By applying protective grounding.
  3. By coating conductors with an anti-oxidant.
  4. By applying protective rubber matting.

Answer: B

Critical Thinking

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

For this trade, between 10 and 20% of questions are this type.

Example of a Critical Thinking Question:

What reading indicates that one transformer on a 240 V, wye-delta power bank is burnt out?

  1. 2 phases will measure 0 V and 1 will read 240 V.
  2. 2 phases will measure 240 V and 1 will measure 0 V.
  3. All voltage readings will fluctuate.
  4. All phases will measure 240 V.

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.