An automatic sample testing machine for testing samples stored in test cards. The machine has a test sample positioning system for moving a tray containing a plurality of test sample cards and fluid receptacles among various stations in the machine. The machine has a diluting station for adding a predetermined quantity of diluent to the receptacles as needed. A pipetting station transfers fluid from one receptacle to another. A vacuum station is provided having a vacuum chamber moveable relative to the tray between upper and lower positions. The chamber cooperates with the tray to make a sealing engagement with the top surface of the tray when it is lowered to the lower position. A vacuum generator supplies vacuum to the chamber. When the vacuum is released from the chamber, the fluid samples are loaded into the cards from the receptacles. The test sample positioning system moves the tray to a cutting and sealing station and then to an incubation station and loads the cards one at a time into a carousel within the incubation station. A test card transport station transports the test cards from the incubation station to an optical reading station, where optical measurements (e.g., transmittance and/or fluorescence optical testing) is conducted on the wells of the card. When the card has been read, it is either moved back to the incubation station for additional incubation and reading or transferred to a card disposal system when the reading is complete.