Passing your general contractor license test on your first try can actually be harder than you think, but it can be easy with the right information.
In California, thousands of people apply for the General Contractor License each year. The exam is for tradesmen who have achieved a journeyman level of expertise in their trade.
The Contractor State License Board offers 73 different classifications of licensing in addition to the General 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 On The General Contractor License Test
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.
Understanding some basic information about the exam is very helpful. The general contractor license test will be:
- Business Organization
- Business Finances
- Employment Requirements
- Contract Requirements and Execution
- Licensing Requirements
- Public Works
- Planning and Estimation
- Framing and Structural Components
- Core Trades
- Finish Trades
2. Take Online Practice Tests
I ran a Contractor Licensing school for many years, and in my experience, the biggest problem most guys faced was that they had not taken a test in years.
Some of my students did not finish high school or had immigrated to the United States recently, and were maybe still learning English.
One of the best study tools for them was to use Online Practice Tests. These are simulated online tests that are based on the state exam.
There are several places where you can find general contractor license online 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 a General Contractor License Exam Prep Book
A big mistake I saw a lot of students make was relying only solely on the test questions. While online test questions are beneficial, you have to understand the concepts that the questions are based on.
Exam prep books for the General Contractor License cover a wide range of topics and can be incredibly helpful to refresh your memory on core topics you will need to know.
Free contractor license study guides often cover just a snapshot of what you need to know. Invest in yourself and look for general contractor license study guides that cover topics such as:
- Scope of work and code compliance
- Identifying errors in design
- Field inspection performance
- Coordination of projects
- Roof, Subfloor and Wall Framing
- Painting and Tiling
- Personnel Safety
4. Contractor Classes
The term "Contractor Classes" is a loose term for a LAW class for construction contractors. These are mainly law and business-focused exam prep classes offered by contractor license schools.
It is essential to understand the distinction between a contractor license and a trade school.
The General Contractor 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.
Exam prep classes teach you the law concepts we spoke about earlier. 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.
None of this works without consistent study. You are trying to get the General Contractor license to make more money, achieve a goal or move up in some way.
You may have been putting this off for months or years because you didn't have the time or maybe are intimidated by the idea of taking an exam.
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.
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 contractors all over the country, and I have seen many fail the test multiple times because they crammed instead of studied consistently.
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!
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