Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Electrician?


By: J. Reinoehl

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Beginning electricians learn most of their knowledge on the job, but if you want to move up through the ranks, you have to get a license, which requires a three- to five-year apprenticeship. Although this quiz won’t cover the entire 1,000 page NEC, you might find one or two tricky questions here. Test exactly how much you know about being an electrician by taking this quiz!

What does NEC stand for?

“By an irony of fate, my first employment was as a draughtsman. I hated drawing; it was for me the very worst of annoyances. Fortunately, it was not long before I secured the position I sought—that of chief electrician to the telephone company.” Nikola Tesla


What is electricity?

William Gilbert first used the term “electricity” in 1600 to describe static electricity. Benjamin Franklin is credited with discovering lightning was electricity in 1759.


What is a battery?

“To be honest, in my five years as an electrician, I never got the license.” –Nick Flynn


Which of the following is a unit of resistance?

The ohm is named after Georg Simon Ohm (1789-1854). It is equal to volts over amperes.


In the U. S., where do you have to place the bathroom outlet?

“Electricity is really just organized lightning.” –George Carlin


Which is the best material to use for wiring in homes?

During the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, aluminum replaced copper wiring as a cheaper alternative and continued to be used in mobile homes until the 1990s. Unfortunately, aluminum needs special, sometimes costly, connectors every time it is connected to an outlet or fixture or it will degrade the connection and make it prone to fires without tripping the circuit breaker to prevent it. Replacing the aluminum wire or hiring a specially trained electrician to fix the connections are the only ways to prevent future fires.


What is a switched receptacle?

“Invention is the most important product of a man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.” –Nikola Tesla, My Inventions


What does “short circuit” mean?

Short circuits are frequently caused by damaged or old wiring insulation, loose connections, old appliances, and household pests. They need to be repaired quickly or they can cause fires.


Which tool would you need to use before you could connect two wires together?

“There is a force more powerful than steam and electricity: the will.” –Fernán Caballero


A ground wire will usually be which color?

Wires that are black, red, and blue are all hot and should be considered dangerous. Green wires are usually ground wires.


Which type of semiconductor would you find in a light switch with a dimmer?

“Is it a fact – or have I dreamt it – that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?” %0D― Nathaniel Hawthorne


What should you do before you work on any electrical project?

Signal velocity of the electrical current travels almost 186,000 miles per second in a metal wire. Individual electron velocity and drift velocity in the wire are much lower.


Which kind of pliers are best for getting into smaller places because they have a tapered tip?

“There are things done today in electrical science which would have been deemed unholy by the very man who discovered electricity, who would themselves not so long before been burned as wizards.” ― Bram Stoker


All homes in the United States must have one of what in each bedroom as well as in a central area on each floor?

Smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years, regularly vacuumed, and batteries should be replaced each year. Families should also have an escape plan they practice in case of fire.


Which tool would you use to measure current, resistance, and voltage?

“Who would not have been laughed at if he had said in 1800 that metals could be extracted from their ores by electricity or that portraits could be drawn by chemistry..” –Michael Faraday, The Letters of Faraday and Schoenbein


What does a diode do?

Diodes only allow current to flow in one direction. Because of this, their primary purpose is to prevent damage to circuits, such as when a battery is installed backward.


What does GFCI stand for?

“There is no substitute for hard work.” –Thomas Edison


Which of the following is a semiconductor?

Semiconductors conduct electricity better than insulators but worse than most metals. Transistors can change electric signals and amplify power.


Which of the following would you use to resist changes that might occur in an electric current?

“You must be ready to give up even the most attractive ideas when experiment shows them to be wrong.” –Alessandro Volta.


What is Ohm’s law?

Ohm’s law is considered one of the most important formulas showing the relationships between current, voltage, and electricity. It was developed by Georg Ohm in 1827.


In a series circuit, how many different paths can the current flow through?

“It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.” –James Prescott Joule


If you buy 60/40 solder, what does 60/40 mean?

All solder is made out of lead and tin. The more tin in solder, the better its quality.


An electrical transformer cannot transform which of the following quantities?

“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” –Thomas Edison


When a body with a positive charge is connected to a ground wire, what will happen?

An appliance can operate without a ground wire, but the ground wire prevents shock in the case of high voltage by tripping the breaker.


What generally comes in Phillips or flat blade?

“Each metal has a certain power, which is different from metal to metal, of setting the electric fluid in motion…” –Alessandro Volta


What is AC?

Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison argued over AC or DC currents in the 1880s. At the time, there were not methods for converting DC power to higher and lower voltages, but these have been developed today. Most things today run on AC power, but solar cells, electric vehicles, LEDs, and computers are all DC.


If power is constant in a distribution system, but the voltage drops, what will happen?

“My object has been first to discover correct principles and then to suggest their practical development.” –James Prescott Joule


Which of the following tools could help you level planes even in smaller areas such as inside walls?

The torpedo level measures horizontal, vertical, and diagonal planes just like a regular level, but the ends are tapered to allow it in tighter spaces.


As temperature increases, what does the resistance value in pure metals do?

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” –Nikola Tesla


What is the minimum amp electrical service a modern (as of 2017) house should have?

Older homes may contain 60 amp (or even 30 amp) service. The standard service today is 100 amp, but some larger homes with electric appliances might need more. When installing wiring in new construction it is important to do load calculations to determine if 200 amp is needed.


Which of the following is the minimum you need for a simple circuit?

“Know the function of a fuse box and the appearance of a tripped circuit breaker.” –Marilyn vos Savant


If you have three parallel-connected resistors with the values of 4 ohms, 4 ohms, and 4 ohms, what is the total resistance on the circuit?

When dealing with more than two resistors in a parallel-connected circuit, the correct formula is Rtot = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 … Therefore, Rtot = 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 = 3/4 = 0.75


What does DC mean?

“If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted instantaneously by electricity.” –Samuel Morse


What is the superposition theorem?

The purpose of the superposition theorem is to take a complex system and simplify it. When using it, you eliminate all but one power source at a time creating several parts that you then add together.


Which of the following tools has a cross shaped head and is used primarily for turning screws?

“It is not enough to wire the world if you short-circuit the soul. Technology without heart is not enough.” –Tom Brokaw


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