# What kind of math is on the electrician test?

The math on the electrician licensing exam covers several important concepts that electricians need to understand. The main areas of math that are tested include basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and some calculus. Let’s take a closer look at the specific math skills needed for the electrician exam.

## Arithmetic

A solid foundation in basic arithmetic is essential for electricians. Some of the arithmetic concepts tested on the licensing exam include:

• Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
• Converting between fractions, decimals, and percentages
• Working with units of measurement like feet, inches, meters, centimeters, etc.
• Calculating percentages and ratios
• Solving simple word problems involving arithmetic operations

Electricians routinely need to perform calculations involving these basic math skills when working with electrical wiring, circuits, and equipment. The licensing exam will assess an applicant’s proficiency with arithmetic to ensure they can carry out the mathematical parts of the job correctly.

## Algebra

Algebra allows electricians to solve problems symbolically and work with unknown values. Some key algebra topics on the licensing exam include:

• Evaluating algebraic expressions with substitution
• Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing algebraic fractions
• Working with exponents and square roots
• Solving linear equations and inequalities
• Analyzing direct and inverse variation
• Graphing linear and quadratic equations

Electricians use algebra when calculating voltage drop, working with electrical formulas, and determining unknown amperages and resistances in circuits, for example. Strong algebraic skills are needed for many aspects of the job.

## Geometry

Geometry deals with shapes, sizes, angles, and distances – all concepts directly applicable to electrical work. Some geometry topics on the licensing exam are:

• Calculating perimeters, areas, and volumes of shapes
• Using the Pythagorean theorem to find side lengths
• Working with similar and congruent triangles
• Solving problems involving circles, cylinders, spheres, etc.
• Calculating angles and degree measures
• Determining symmetry and transformations

Electricians use geometry for conduit bending, measuring wire lengths, finding distances between electrical components, and other aspects of the job. The licensing exam tests geometry skills relevant to electrical applications.

## Trigonometry

Trigonometry involves studying triangles and the relationships between angles and side lengths. Key trigonometry topics on the electrician exam include:

• Using SOHCAHTOA to find side lengths and angle measures
• Solving for sides and angles in right triangles
• Using the law of sines and law of cosines
• Working with trig functions like sine, cosine, tangent
• Graphing trig functions
• Solving trig equations

Electricians rely on trigonometry extensively for calculations involved in alternating current circuits. Trig is also used for conduit bending, finding wire lengths, and other applications. The licensing exam emphasizes the trig concepts most relevant for electricians.

## Calculus

Calculus focuses on rates of change and curves and functions. Electricians need to know some basics of calculus for certain aspects of the job. Calculus topics covered on the licensing exam include:

• Understanding slope and rate of change
• Finding the derivative of a function
• Using derivatives to analyze curves and find slopes
• Solving optimization problems with derivatives
• Working with integrals and signed areas under curves

Electricians apply calculus when working with changing voltages and currents. Calculus helps electricians analyze power consumption rates, optimize electrical efficiency, and work with transmission lines. The exam covers the most essential calculus skills needed for electrical work.

## Other Mathematical Concepts

In addition to the major topics covered above, the electrician licensing exam can include questions testing math skills like:

• Reading and interpreting graphs and charts
• Using scientific notation
• Working with imaginary and complex numbers
• Performing matrix multiplication
• Solving exponential growth/decay problems

Electricians use math in many forms – from simple arithmetic to advanced calculus. The licensing exam is designed to thoroughly test an applicant’s comprehension and mastery of the full range of mathematical concepts that are essential for safe and effective electrical work.

## Overview of Math on Electrician Exams by License Type

The specific math concepts covered on the electrician licensing exam can vary somewhat depending on your license type and location. Here is an overview:

### Journeyman Electrician Exam

The journeyman electrician exam typically covers arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry thoroughly. Some journeyman exams may also cover basic calculus principles. The math questions are oriented towards practical electrical work.

### Master Electrician Exam

Master electrician exams test a broader scope of math skills. In addition to arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, master exams often include more algebra 2, pre-calculus, calculus, matrices, and complex numbers. The math is geared towards advanced design and installation issues.

### Contractor Exam

Electrical contractor exams focus less on math and more on regulations, safety, and business knowledge. However, fundamental arithmetic, algebraic, and geometric math skills are still covered to ensure basic electrical proficiency.

So in summary, the journeyman exam focuses on practical math applications for residential and commercial wiring. The master electrician exam goes more in-depth into advanced math for large-scale electrical systems. And contractor exams test just core math skills related to the contracting business.

## Tips for Studying Math on the Electrician Exam

Here are some helpful tips for preparing for the math portion of your electrician licensing exam:

• Obtain the exam content outline – This will tell you exactly which math topics are covered.
• Refresh and review math skills – Go through textbooks, online resources, or training classes.
• Work through many practice problems – Practice tests will hone your math skills.
• Understand how math is applied – Know the electrical context and formulas.
• Focus on your weak areas – Spend more time reviewing concepts you struggle with.
• Don’t neglect basic arithmetic – Simple math mistakes can cost you.
• Ask for help if needed – Instructors and colleagues can assist with math prep.
• Use flashcards – Portable flashcards help reinforce memorization.

With diligent review and practice of the relevant math principles, you can gain confidence and excel on the mathematical aspects of your electrician licensing exam.

## Conclusion

In summary, electrician licensing exams test a wide range of mathematical skills, including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and some calculus. The math questions are focused on practical electrical applications like calculating conductors, voltages, amperages, and circuit loads. Journeyman exams concentrate on fundamental math used for wiring and installations. Master electrician exams go more in-depth into advanced math concepts needed for complex systems design. By refreshing math knowledge and practicing regularly, applicants can prepare fully for the mathematical challenges of any electrician licensing exam.