28. Is there an examination requirement for a contractor's license?
The qualifying individual for a contractor's license is required to pass the written Law and Business and trade
examinations unless he or she meets the requirements for a waiver.
29. Under what circumstances is a waiver of an examination granted?
The examination requirement is waived if the qualifying individual meets the following conditions:
The person is currently the qualifying individual for a license in good standing in the same classification for
which he or she is applying; or
The person has been a qualifying individual within the past five years for a license in good standing in the
same classification for which he or she is applying; or
Within the last five years, the person has passed both the Law and Business examination and the trade
examination in the same classification for which he or she is applying.
30. Are there any additional circumstances under which a waiver of an examination may be requested?
Yes, if the qualifying individual meets either of the two following criteria:
For at least five years within the immediately preceding seven-year period, the qualifying individual must have
been a member of the official personnel listed on the CSLB's records for any license that was active and in
good standing, in the same classification applied for. He or she must have been actively engaged in that
licensee's construction activities during those five years.
The qualifying individual is a member of the immediate family of a licensee whose individual license was active
and in good standing for five of the seven years immediately preceding the application. The qualifying
individual must have been actively engaged in the licensee's business for five of the previous seven years,
must be applying in the same classification, and the license must be required in order to continue the
operations of an existing family business in the event of the absence or death of the licensee.
Special Accommodation Request For Examination
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Public Law 101-336, the CSLB provides
"reasonable accommodations" for applicants with disabilities that may affect their ability to take required
examinations. It is the applicant's responsibility to notify the CSLB of alternative arrangements needed. The
CSLB is not required by the ADA to provide special accommodations if they are unaware of specific needs.
To request special accommodations, submit Form 13E-77, Special Accommodation Request For Examination.
Forms are part of the application packet and are also available in any CSLB office.
31. If I think I am eligible for a waiver, must I complete the experience section of the application?
Even if you think that you are eligible for an examination waiver, you must complete the experience section of
the application to document a minimum of five years of journey-level experience.
All experience claims must be verified by a qualified and responsible person, such as an employer, fellow
employee, other journeyman, contractor, union representative, building inspector, architect, or engineer. The
person verifying your claim must have firsthand knowledge of your experience; that is, he or she must have
observed the work that you have done.
Exceptions--you are not required to document your experience if any of the following conditions exist:
You are currently a qualifier on a license in good standing in the same classification(s) for which you are
You have been a qualifier within the past five years on a license in good standing in the same classification(s)
for which you are applying; or
Within the last five years, you have passed both the Law and Business Examination and the trade
examination in the same classification for which you are applying, and the license for which you took the
examinations was not denied due to lack of work experience.
32. How will I find out if I have to take the examination?
If you have to take the examination, you will be sent a Notice to Appear for Examination.
If you qualify for a waiver, you will be sent a notice requesting the required documents and fees be submitted.
33. How soon after filing my application will I receive my Notice to Appear for Examination?
Scheduling of the exam occurs after your application is processed and deemed acceptable (See Question
20). You will be scheduled for the exam approximately 4-6 weeks after your application is accepted. You
should receive your examination notice at least three weeks prior to the examination.
34. Where are the examinations given?
To make the examination procedure more convenient for applicants, testing centers are located throughout
the state. The seven examination sites are located in San Diego, San Bernardino, Norwalk, Oxnard, Oakland,
Sacramento, and Fresno. CSLB testing staff use zip codes to assign applicants to the testing center nearest
their business address.
The Notice to Appear for Examination mailed to you will state where you will take your examination, what
identification is required, and directions on how to get to the examination site.
35. What are the major components of the examination?
There are two parts to the examination process. All qualifying individuals must pass the standard Law and
Business examination. In addition, qualifying individuals must pass a second test covering the specific trade
or certification area for which they are applying, with the exception of the C-61 Limited Specialty
Classification. No trade examination is required for this classification.
36. What does the Law and Business examination cover?
The Law and Business examination consists of multiple choice questions related to business management
and construction law. Applicants can find information on the breakdown of the topics covered in the
examination in the Study Guide for the Law and Business Examination that is sent to applicants along with the
Notice to Appear for Examination.
37. How can I prepare for the Law and Business examination?
The current edition of the California Contractors License Law and Reference Book is the basic study
reference. Copies may be purchased from the Department of General Services, Office of Procurement,
Counter Sales: 1700 National Drive, Sacramento, CA 95834, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Mail Order: Please send check or money order (no cash) payable to Procurement-Publications with request
to: General Services, Office of Procurement, P.O. Box 1015, North Highlands, CA 95660.
When ordering by mail, include a street address and the recipient's name. All orders are shipped by UPS and
cannot be delivered to a post office box.
Please call for the current price: (916) 928-4630.
The California License Law and Reference Book is not sold at any CSLB office. Copies may be available from
some specialty book stores. Please check your local telephone directory.
Other suggested study materials are listed in the resource list included in the Study Guide for the Law and
Business Examination. These additional resource materials include employer's guides from state and federal
tax agencies, and materials focusing on business management and construction law. The study guide is
available on the CSLB Web site, www.cslb.ca.gov, or by calling the 24-hour automated public information line,
(800) 321-CSLB (2752).
38. How can I prepare for my trade or certification examination?
A study guide for each examination is available from the CSLB and will be sent to you with your Notice to
Appear For Examination. The study guide (also available on the CSLB Web site) lists the topic areas covered
by the examination, shows how each area is weighted, and recommends resource materials to study.
39. What are the trade examinations like?
All trade examinations consist of multiple-choice questions. You will be informed at the test site about the
percentage of correct answers needed to pass each examination. Most examinations include questions that
refer to accompanying blueprints and/or booklets containing drawings.
40. What should I bring to the examination site?
You will need your Notice to Appear for Examination to be admitted to the test center.
You must also bring picture identification (either a current valid driver's license, Department of Motor Vehicles
identification card, or military identification card).
You may also bring a scale ruler. Pencils, scratch paper, calculators and rulers will be provided at the test
No personal calculators, cell phones or pagers are permitted in the testing area. All personal items must be
placed in common storage area at your own risk. You are advised to leave articles of value locked in your
vehicle since the test center staff do not watch the storage area.
41. How long does the examination take?
You will be given 2 -1/2 hours to complete each examination.
42. What is involved with the computer-assisted testing (CAT) system?
You will be taking your examination on the easy-to-use computer-assisted testing (CAT) system. No prior
experience with computers is necessary--only the space bar and four arrow keys on the keyboard are
needed. The test monitor guides all test-takers through a short exercise to help them feel at ease with the
43. What kind of feedback will I receive?
Successful test-takers are told only that they have passed the examination. They will not be given detailed
information about the score.
Applicants who are not successful are told the percentage of questions they answered correctly. In addition,
they are given a statement showing how well they did in each section of the test. These sections are
described in greater detail in the Study Guide for that examination so the test-taker will know what areas to
emphasize in preparing to retake the examination.
44. If I fail to appear for an examination or fail to pass the Law and Business and/or a trade examination, may I
retake the examination(s)?
Yes. If you fail to appear for an examination, you must pay a $50 rescheduling fee. If you fail to appear a
second time, your application will be considered void, and you will have to submit a new application with new
fees. Your examination may be rescheduled one time without a fee if you provide documented evidence that
the failure to appear was due to a medical emergency or other circumstance beyond your control.
If you fail the Law and Business examination and/or your trade examination, you must also pay a $50 fee
each time you are rescheduled. You are given 18 months to pass the examinations. If you do not pass within
18 months after your application is accepted by the Board, your application is considered void, and you will
have to submit a new application. The void date on an application may be extended up to 90 days if you
provide documented evidence that the failure to complete the application process was due to a medical
emergency or other circumstance beyond your control.
To file for rescheduling, complete the application on the bottom of the notice informing you that you failed to
pass the examination and submit it with the $50 fee to the CSLB. (Please note any address change on this
form.) You will be sent a notice informing you where and when to appear for your next examination.
Examination results are good for five years. If you pass either the trade or the Law and Business examination
but fail the other, you need only take the examination you failed as long as you retake the examination within
45. May I review the test questions after the examinations?
No. Test questions and answer keys are not available for review. You may file a written protest or critique of
any examination question(s) after you have completed your examination and before you turn in your
examination materials to the proctor.
46. Are there any penalties for disclosing the contents of a state examination?
Conduct which violates the security of the examination includes providing information about test questions to
any school, person, or business other than CSLB examination staff; removing examination materials from the
examination site (includes writing down examination questions for future use); communicating with other
examinees during an examination; copying or permitting your answers to be copied; having in your
possession any written material other than test materials provided by the CSLB; or taking the examination on
behalf of another applicant.
Penalties for conduct that violates the security of the examination include prosecution on misdemeanor
charges resulting in a fine of $500, payment of damages of up to $10,000 plus the costs of litigation, and a
sentence in the county jail. You would also be subject to automatic test failure; any fee(s) paid to the State of
California would not be refunded; and you would not be allowed to apply for any license classification for a
period of one year from your examination date.
47. What will I receive to show that I'm licensed?
You will receive a wall certificate showing the name of the person or company to which the certificate has
been issued, the license number, and the date of issue; and a permanent plastic pocket card showing the
license number, business name, classification(s), certification(s) (if applicable) and the license expiration
date. The law requires that you display your wall certificate in your main office or chief place of business. You
should also make it a habit to carry your pocket card, especially in situations where you think you might be
soliciting business or talking to potential customers.
48. How long before I receive those documents?
You should receive your wall certificate and pocket card within approximately one week of the time your
license is issued.