C-33 California Painting Contractor License Practice Exam

Per the California Contractor State License Board the painter's license exam will contain questions comparable to the 3 sample questions listed below. Further down I've included a list of each covered subject and the percentage of the exam that's devoted to each of those subjects...

Sample questions for the state exam:


1. What is the square footage of a gable 12ft. wide by 6 ft. high?
  • a. 24 sq. ft.
  • b. 36 sq. ft.
  • c. 42 sq. ft.
  • d. 72 sq. ft.
(B is the correct answer)


2. When bidding a job from a blueprint, from what section would the painting contractor
identify the paints to be used?
  • a. The general notes
  • b. The elevations
  • c. The finish schedule
  • d. The table of contents
(C is the correct answer)


3. How should loose paint be efficiently removed from wood?

  • a. Apply paint remover
  • b. Soak with a pressure washer
  • c. Use a blow torch and a putty knife
  • d. Scrape in the direction of the grain
(D is the correct answer)

Approximate percentages of each subject in the state exam:


1. Planning and Estimating

Planning and Estimating will comprise about 32% of your state exam.

Examples given of the types of subjects under this topic:
  • Assessment of job site conditions
  • Material selection and calculation
  • Estimating painting products


2. Substrate Repair and Replace

Substrate Repair and Replace will comprise about 9% of your state exam.

Examples given of the types of subjects under this topic:
  • Removal of wall coverings
  • Repairing and replacing substrate
  • Patching and caulking


3. Surface Preparation and Priming

Surface Preparation and Priming will comprise about 26% of your state exam.

Examples given of the types of subjects under this topic:
  • Masking techniques
  • Removal of paint
  • Cleaning surfaces and pressure washing
  • Primer application
  • Filling and texturing


4. Application of Paints and Finishes

Application of paints and finishes will comprise about 8% of your state exam.

Examples given of the types of subjects under this topic:
  • Application of Finish Coat
  • Application of Specialty Coatings


5. Wood Staining and Finishing

Wood Staining and Finishing will comprise about 5% of your state exam.

Examples given of the types of subjects under this topic:
  • Preparation of wood
  • Staining wood
  • Sealing and refinishing
  • Finishing wood (interior/exterior)


6. Job Site Safety

Job Site Safety will comprise about 20% of your state exam. Kinda shows the emphasis that
the industry is putting on safety... Of the six sections the safety section is third largest section.


Examples given of the types of subjects under this topic:
  • Personal Protection
  • Waste Disposal
  • Elevated Work
  • Hazard Identification and Prevention




Due to unforeseen circumstances I no longer have the California C-33 Painting Contractor License practice exam available for purchase.

However, in an effort to help you I have listed above exactly what the license board says will be on your test so that you'll know what to look for as you search for computer-based practice exams.

Please use the above information to help guide you as you decide which practice exam to purchase. And don't rely on the practice exams as your only source of education (e.g. schooling, books, etc.) because the practice exams do not contain the exact questions that the state exam does.

It's illegal for someone who has taken the test to share the questions with anyone so if you find someone claiming to have a practice exam that has the same questions as the state exam - hit that back button as fast as you can! ;)

Also make sure the practice exams are up to date. They aren't always current because the law changes so quickly and so often, at times.

So, even though you don't use them as your single source of education, realize that it can still cause confusion when there's a wrong answer.

The main purpose of practice exams is to help you familiarize yourself with the actual taking of the state test; they're not designed to educate the user.



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