Hairstylist - 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 120 questions Footnote *, which are distributed as follows:

Major Work Activity A - Performs common occupational skills - 14 questions
Task A-1 Performs safety-related and hygienic functions
4 questions
Task A-2 Uses tools and equipment
4 questions
Task A-3 Prepares for client services
3 questions
Task A-4 Uses communication and mentoring techniques
3 questions
Major Work Activity B - Performs hair and scalp care - 11 questions
Task B-5 Analyzes and responds to hair and scalp conditions
6 questions
Task B-6 Shampoos and conditions hair and scalp
5 questions
Major Work Activity C – Cuts hair - 24 questions
Task C-7 Cuts diverse textures of hair using cutting tools
19 questions
Task C-8 Cuts facial and nape hair
5 questions
Major Work Activity D – Styles hair - 16 questions
Task D-9 Prepares and styles wet hair
8 questions
Task D-10 Styles and finishes dry hair
8 questions
Major Work Activity E – Performs chemical texture services on hair - 17 questions
Task E-11 Chemically waves hair
10 questions
Task E-12 Chemically relaxes hair
7 questions
Major Work Activity F – Alters hair colour - 25 questions
Task F-13 Colours hair
9 questions
Task F-14 Lightens hair
7 questions
Task F-15 Performs colour correction
9 questions
Major Work Activity G – Performs specialized services - 6 questions
Task G-16 Performs services for hair extensions, wigs and hairpieces
4 questions
Task G-17 Performs basic services on the face and nape
2 questions
Major Work Activity H – Performs salon operations - 7 questions
Task H-18 Performs front desk responsibilities
4 questions
Task H-19 Establishes business fundamentals
3 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 type of rod will achieve a wide and even wave formation when permanent waving?

  1. Large straight.
  2. Small straight.
  3. Concave.
  4. Convex.

Answer: A

Procedural and Application

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

For this trade, between 75 and 85% of questions are this type.

Example of a Procedural and Application Question:

What is done to avoid off shades when blending grey hair with semi-permanent colour?

  1. Fill the hair first.
  2. Condition the hair first.
  3. Add warmth to the formula.
  4. Add natural to the formula.

Answer: D

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:

What is the effect of blow-drying hair with a round brush?

  1. It protects the scalp.
  2. It flattens the hair.
  3. It aids in curling the hair.
  4. It breaks the hair.

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.