Transistors are extensions of another semiconductor component: diodes. In a way transistors are just two diodes with their cathodes (or anodes) tied together:
The diode connecting base to emitter is the important one here; it matches the direction of the arrow on the schematic symbol, and shows you which way current is intended to flow through the transistor.
The diode representation is a good place to start, but it’s far from  accurate. Don’t base your understanding of a transistor’s operation on that model (and definitely don’t try to duplicate it on a breadboard, it won’t work). There’s a whole lot of weird quantum physics level stuff controlling the interactions between the three terminals.
This model is useful if you need to test a transistor. Using the diode (or resistance) test function on a multi-meter, you can measure across the BE and BC terminals to check for the presence of those “diodes”.

The design of a transistor allows it to function as an amplifier or a switch. This is accomplished by using a small amount of electricity to control a gate on a much larger supply of electricity, much like turning a valve to control a supply of water.
Transistors are composed of three parts a base, a collector, and an emitter. The base is the gate controller device for the larger electrical supply. The collector is the larger electrical supply, and the emitter is the outlet for that supply. By sending varying levels of current from the base, the amount of current flowing through the gate from the collector may be regulated. In this way, a very small amount of current may be used to control a large amount of current, as in an amplifier. The same process is used to create the binary code for the digital processors but in this case a voltage threshold of five volts is needed to open the collector gate. In this way, the transistor is being used as a switch with a binary function: five volts  ON, less than five volts  OFF.
Semi-conductive materials are what make the transistor possible. Most people are familiar with electrically conductive and non-conductive materials. Metals are typically thought of as being conductive. Materials such as wood, plastics, glass and ceramics are non-conductive, or insulators. In the late 1940 a team of scientists working at Bell Labs in New Jersey, discovered how to take certain types of crystals and use them as electronic control devices by exploiting their semi-conductive properties.Most non-metallic crystalline structures would typically be considered insulators. But by forcing crystals of germanium or silicon to grow with impurities such as boron or phosphorus, the crystals gain entirely different electrical conductive properties.
By sandwiching this material between two conductive plates (the emitter and the collector), a transistor is made. By applying current to the semi-conductive material (base), electrons gather until an effectual conduit is formed allowing electricity to pass The scientists that were responsible for the invention of the transistor were John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley. Their Patent was called:Three Electrode Circuit Element Utilizing Semiconductive Materials.
There are two main types of transistors-junction transistors and field effect transistors. Each works in a different way. But the usefulness of any transistor comes from its ability to control a strong current with a weak voltage. For example, transistors in a public address system amplify (strengthen) the weak voltage produced when a person speaks into a microphone. The electricity coming from the transistors is strong enough to operate a loudspeaker, which produces sounds much louder than the person's voice.

                                                            JUNCTION TRANSISTORS
A junction transistor consists of a thin piece of one type of semiconductor material between two thicker layers of the opposite type. For example, if the middle layer is p-type, the outside layers must be n-type. Such a transistor is an NPN transistor. One of the outside layers is called the emitter, and the other is known as the collector. The middle layer is the base. The places where the emitter joins the base and the base joins the collector are called junctions.
The layers of an NPN transistor must have the proper voltage connected across them. The voltage of the base must be more positive than that of the emitter. The voltage of the collector, in turn, must be more positive than that of the base. The voltages are supplied by a battery or some other source of direct current. The emitter supplies electrons. The base pulls these electrons from the emitter because it has a more positive voltage than does the emitter. This movement of electrons creates a flow of electricity through the transistor.
The current passes from the emitter to the collector through the base. Changes in the voltage connected to the base modify the flow of the current by changing the number of electrons in the base. In this way, small changes in the base voltage can cause large changes in the current flowing out of the collector.
Manufacturers also make PNP junction transistors. In these devices, the emitter and collector are both a p-type semiconductor material and the base is n-type. A PNP junction transistor works on the same principle as an NPN transistor. But it differs in one respect. The main flow of current in a PNP transistor is controlled by altering the number of holes rather than the number of electrons in the base. Also, this type of transistor works properly only if the negative and positive connections to it are the reverse of those of the NPN transistor.


Before testing a transistor, you must  ensure your close the gate valve or collector by bridging the three legs with the black probe. 

Connect the negative or black probe to the source and the positive or red probe to the drain
move the positive probe to the gate and back to the drain with the black probe still stationed at the source(The gate valve has been opened) you would observe a  very low reading.

With the black probe stationed at the source,move the red probe at the drain,move black probe to the gate and back to the source you should get no reading(because the transistor has been turned off).
Reverse the probes positive to source and negative to drain and you should get a reading of 0.47 to 0.67v.
Note the multi meter must be on diode mode to get these results 

A field effect transistor has only two layers of semiconductor material, one on top of the other. Electricity flows through one of the layers, called the channel. A voltage connected to the other layer, called the gate, interferes with the current flowing in the channel. Thus, the voltage connected to the gate controls the strength of the current in the channel. There are two basic varieties of field effect transistors-the junction field effect transistor(JFET) and the metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET). Most of the transistors contained in today's integrated circuits are MOSFETS's. 

The best way to test a field effect transistor is by using voltage readings.
The laptop motherboard schematics tells you the appropriate voltage passing through the mosfet transistor.

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