how to pass the C-10 license test for California electrical contractors looking to get licensed through the CSLB as professional electricians

Pass The C-10 License Test With These 5 Quick Tips!

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Passing the C-10 license test on your first try can actually be harder than you think, but if you follow these steps it can be easy.

In California, thousands of people apply for the Electrical Contractor License each year. 

a person analyzing a construction blueprint on a computer. using a combination of practice exams, study guides, and classes to study for your C-10 license is critical

The C-10 license exam is for:

  • Electrical tradesmen who are masters of their trade
  • Electricians looking to scale their services and create a business

For a quick review of the electrical fundamentals, check out this course

The Contractor State License Board offers 73 different classifications of licensing in addition to the Electrical Contractor License. 

Read this to see if you qualify to get an exam date. I have helped thousands of people pass the exam on their first try, and these 5 Quick tips are based on the information I have gathered over the years that I know works

1. Know What Is Going To Be On The C-10 License Test

Two books laying on a table in what appears to be a library. Knowing what will be on the C10 license exam is very important

Seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people do not really know what they are getting into before test day.

Taking the time to look at some basic information about the test is very helpful. The C-10 electrical license exam will consist of:

  • 115 Questions LAW
  • 115 Questions TRADE
  • Multiple Choice Exam
  • Close Book
  • 3 Hours To Complete Each Section
  • Taken On A Computer at A State Testing Center

For a complete guide on the LAW portion of the electrical contractor license test, check this out.

Law & Business

  • Business Organization
  • Business Finances
  • Employment Requirements
  • Contract Requirements and Execution
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Safety 
  • Public Works


  • Planning and Estimation 
  • Rough Wiring 
  • Finish Wiring and Trim 
  • Startup, Troubleshooting, and Maintenance 
  • Safety

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2. Take C-10 License Practice Tests

An electrical contractor cutting wires. Taking C10 license practice tests will help you greatly in passing the exam

While running a contractor license school, I learned that the biggest difficulty guys faced was that most of them had not taken an exam in years.

Some of my students did not finish high school or had immigrated to the United States recently, and were still learning English. One of the best study tools for them was to use Online Practice Tests. Simulated online tests are based on the state exam. 

There are several places where you can find C-10 license practice test questions.

Some things to keep in mind when using online test questions are

  • Do not memorize the questions: Contractor license schools do not have the exact questions that you will see on the state exam.

  • They are simply questions based on information they have gathered about the test from people who have taken it.

  • The CSLB draws from thousands of different possible questions. 

  • Understand what the question is asking you: Try to categorize the question into a particular area of LAW or Trade.

  • For example if the question is asking you about potential job site safety hazards. Go do your research on OSHA.
  • Be Consistent: Get into the exams every single study and study as consistently as possible.

  • Get into the habit of taking exams and answering questions.

3. Use an Electrical Exam Prep Book

Test questions are great, but relying on them as your only study source is a big mistake.

If you are not into reading, you can find electrical exam study books in audio or video format. C-10 license practice test questions do not give you the theory behind what the question is asking you.

Use a book or study guide as a reference. Exam prep books for the Electrical Contractor License cover a wide range of topics.

They can also be incredibly helpful to refresh your memory on core topics you may have forgotten. Free contractor license study guides often cover just a snapshot of what you need to know.

Invest in yourself and look for C-10 license study guides that cover topics such as:

  • Lockout/tag out procedures
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Tools/equipment
  • Hazardous materials and job site environments
  • Finish device placement and installation
  • Motor and equipment installation
  • Wire and equipment labeling
  • Trims and sealants
  • Photovoltaic finish wiring
  • Plan and specification interpretation
  • Electrical calculations
  • System energizing and testing
  • Common electrical problems
  • Location, repair, and replacement of inoperable electrical wires/components
  • Selection and use of electrical testing equipment
  • Photovoltaic system performance
  • Wire and equipment labeling
  • Trims and sealants
  • Photovoltaic finish wiring
  • Wire and equipment installation
  • Grounding and bonding

4. Contractor Classes

A featured image for a blog post about the different advantages and disadvantages of going to a contractor license school

“Contractor Classes” are basically LAW & BUSINESS classes for construction contractors.

  • Contractor license schools offer state specific exam prep classes that cover the basics of construction LAW. 

  • It is essential to understand the distinction between a contractor license and a trade school.

The C-10 license test is for journey-level tradesman who has a solid understanding of their trade. Contractor classes are not meant to teach you your trade.

Contractor Classes are highly beneficial for those of us who haven't been in school for a while

Contractor Classes are:

  • Taught by Contractors or construction veterans
  • Live Instruction format with questions and answers
  • Bilingual (depending on the school you chose)
  • In depth classes that cover important exam concepts

Contractor License schools offer several services that can help you get everything taken care of quickly and easily.

Check out this article for a more in-depth look at how to choose the right school.

5. Study!

You are trying to get the Electrical Contractor license to make more money, achieve a goal or move up in some way.

It is totally understandable if the idea of taking an exam is intimidating.

Remember that most of the people there on test day are in the exact same position as you. The key is to get some accurate material and be consistent about studying them.

Professional athletes, artists, and other top-level tradesmen will all tell you the same thing. Developing mastery is about doing a bunch of little things over and over again.

Don't Cram!

Studying as little as 10 minutes a day consistently between the day you send off your application and when you go and take the test will increase your confidence in ways you cannot imagine.

I've worked with thousands of electrical contractors all over the country, and I have seen many fail the test multiple times because they crammed instead of studying consistently. 

Use a variety of study methods

If you commute, invest in an audio program, you can listen while you drive. If you are a native Spanish speaker and prefer to watch a recorded class, invest in a bilingual program.

There are a lot of options out there to get you the information you need to know so you can get where you want to be FAST!

If you have found this article helpful, feel free to check out some of our other free content.

For a complete guide to the C-10 License see this article. Drop us a comment and let us know what other topics you would like to see covered!