If you completed training or have been working in trades in Canada, you might be familiar with the Red Seal endorsement. Having a Red Seal certification gives you access to better jobs and higher wages, and enables you to relocate within Canada for greater opportunities. In order to obtain the Red Seal endorsement you need to demonstrate the eligibility and pass the exam. Read this blog to learn how to prepare for it.
Once you determine the eligibility and make sure that you meet the criteria of your province or territory, you should register to challenge the Red Seal exam with the provincial and territorial apprenticeship and certification authorities. After registering and paying your exam fee, you may start studying for the exam.
There are many resources available to help you with the Red Seal exam preparation. These include preparation courses, sample exams, study guides, materials and textbooks. You can also use your own network of support that can consist of your employer, previous instructors, mentors and colleagues at work.
The best place to start is the official Red Seal website. It provides a number of excellent resources and study guides to help you understand the content and structure of the exam, as well as to practice certain skills required to pass the exam. Red Seal exam preparation material is available for each of the Red Seal trades.
National Occupational Analysis (NOA)
The NOA describes the skills and knowledge required to perform the duties of the trade. Each NOA consists of blocks, each block is divided into tasks and each task is then divided into sub-tasks. Red Seal exam questions are specifically based on the NOA sub-tasks. The Task Profile Chart in the NOA outlines all the blocks, tasks and sub-tasks in your trade.
NOA also includes information on essential skills, safety measures, technical terms, glossary, tools and equipment, acronyms for all the Red Seal trades. When you’re getting ready to challenge the Red Seal exam, NOA can give you a detailed approach to exam preparation. It’s best to use the NOA as a self-assessment tool to identify the skills and activities you have become proficient at and the ones you need to brush up on.
Exam Counselling Sheet
Every one of the Red Seal trades has an exam counselling sheet that can also be found on the Red Seal official website. The sheets provide you with a breakdown or distribution of the percentage of questions for each topic area on the exam. Red Seal exams have between 100 and 150 questions depending on the trade. Refer to the exam sheet to make sure you focus on the right areas.
When you’re preparing to challenge the Red Seal exam it’s important to remember that you will also be tested on your ability to apply essential skills in trade-related situations. Examples can include knowledge of mathematics, ability to problem solve and think critically, analyze situations, plan projects, use quantitative terms, etc. Essential skills are used in specific contexts in each trade. Check the NOA to find out how essential skills are used in your trade.
Another critical skill for any of the Red Seal trades, is the language proficiency. You can choose to take your exam in English or French. If none of these is you native language you might want to have additional language training before registering for the Red Seal exam. There are numerous recourses available for new Canadian immigrants to help them improve their language abilities.
A very important aspect of Red Seal exam preparation is not only understanding the content of the exam but also getting familiar with its format. Sample tests available online show the structure and phrasing of the questions. All questions in the exam are multiple choice and of equal value. Each question has four possible choices (A, B, C and D). Only one answer is correct. Practise the sample tests as much as possible until you feel confident with the format and know what to expect during the exam.
Once you go through the NOA and start practising sample questions you might realize that you lack certain trade-specific knowledge or skills. The best solution here is to refer to study materials and textbooks used in apprentice training programs. You can access these recourses through a local library or at your provincial or territorial training provider. Some bookstores can also carry trades-specific textbooks.
If you find it hard to cope with the Red Seal exam preparation on your own, you can enroll in a prep course and seek help from professional instructors. Based on their experience, the certified practitioners will help you review the trade-specific concepts and theory you need to successfully pass the exam. They will also offer valuable tips, techniques and solutions that you can quickly learn and apply. Contact Ashton College to learn more about the Red Seal prep courses we provide.
This content is sponsored by Ashton College in collaboration with ConstructConnect® Media. To learn more about Ashton College, visit www.ashtoncollege.ca.