Preparing for your Cosmetology Exam


It’s been years since I have been a beauty school student and since then I have had several jobs in the beauty industry. I was a beauty school instructor for a while, as well as managers to several different hair salons. This hub is really designed around giving some hints and tips for the student of cosmetology and to get them prepared for taking that dreaded Cosmetology board test.

I went to beauty school in New Mexico and took my state board exam in Sante Fe New Mexico, such a beautiful place that is and I was there during January during the most amazing snowstorm that they had ever had. I remember it well, and I also remember how nervous I was to take the state board test. After 10 months in beauty school I still felt like I wasn’t prepared and I thought that I would never pass it, but I did and later realized how easy it was because all those months of training all came back to me while I was taking my test, and I should’ve realized that I didn’t really have anything to worry about.

When you are ready to take your state board test the best advice I can give you is to be prepared. There are so many people that walk in to take their test and then realize that they don’t have the necessary equipment that they need for the test. If this happens the instructors do not put up with any of it and you are kicked out for not being prepared. You then have to reapply to take the test and have to pay for it all over again. Bummer.

Be Prepared

Before I took my test I made a list of everything that I was going to need for my test. I had all my equipment ready, I double checked everything and wasn’t going to be caught off guard. I also retrieved as much outside sources as I could and the Board of Barbers and Cosmetology in whatever state you live in is a great source for getting this information.

I also talked to as many licensed stylist as I could and got their take on the exam as well and got as many tips as I could. They were very helpful in telling me what the experience was for them and let me know what the instructors were going to be looking for.


In my beauty school the area of sanitation was placed at a very high standard, so make sure that you are up to date on all the sanitation rules of your state and that you know it like the back of your hand because during the test instructors are known to ask you out of the blue questions about sanitation.

A few weeks before the exam I went through the cosmetology book and had someone ask me as many questions as possible so that I knew them very well. Before you graduate from beauty school they usually give you a practice test to see how well you do, so remember to practice on the areas that you didn’t do so well on and concentrate on them until you feel comfortable enough in that area that you will ace it.

The most important thing is that you have to remember that you have been through about 10 months of schooling for this profession and that you have the knowledge in your head so you have to not get too nervous or stressed out thinking about the exam. If you have to go to another city for your exam such as I did, it would be a good idea to get there the night before so that you can find the place you will be taking your test because you don’t want to be rushing the morning of the exam looking for it and possibly getting lost. Make sure that you are not late because if you are 1 minute late, they will close the door and tell you to reschedule, at least that is the way it was when I went through it. If you have to take a live model then make sure that you choose someone that is going to be dependable and doesn’t back out at the last minute. Some exams only require a mannequin head but in my state they required a mannequin and a live model.

Also it is crucial to get a good nights sleep the night before and eat a good breakfast before the exam because you do not need any distractions. Remember to take a deep breath and just tell yourself that you can do this as so many others before you have done it and you will be fine.

Remember that whatever state you live in has a Board of Barbers and Cosmetology and they will be happy to send you a check list of everything you need before your test and they are pretty good about helping, of course your beauty school is pretty good about preparing you as well.

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Comments 21 comments

Rajkumer 6 years ago

good sexy gairl fariend

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you Rajkmumer lol!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

My, My - that's quite a test they give! Makes a body feel confident that the beauty operator knows his/her stuff! Thanks for the glimpse behind the scenes!

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Nellieanna thanks for reading and it is quite an exam it takes forever but its not hard. Good to see your lovely face again. Cheers.

loriamoore 6 years ago

Nice tips for people in that profession. On an unrelated note, this made me recall that scene in Grease, "Beauty School Dropout." :-)

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ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

thanx loriamoore I think of that all the time. Thanks for visiting, cheers!

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Lady Jane, obviously I'm not going to take this test, but I do go to a cosmetology school for 6 month beard and hair trims, just about ready for the "Willie Nelson" braid at close to 30 inches of hair. It's fun to watch those that are practicing on dummy heads. I found as the dummies ran out of hair they tossed them and bought new ones. I've been paying students 10 bucks for the heads after they were worn out. They make good target practice pieces with my bow and arrow. I would think there would be a way to refurbish them?

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

50 Caliber thanks for reading. That's a great idea about the dummy heads. I remember how much fun they were to practice on and you know some have lice on them so that we can identify what lice looks like. Kind of strange. And many people go to beauty school to get their hair done because of the price they have great bargains compared to salons. Thanks again for visiting. Cheers.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Best of luck with your exam. I have always heard they are difficult. Good hub.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Pamela99 Oh I have taken the exam over 17 years ago as well as the instructor's exam I was just giving some helpful hints for the newbies out there that are no doubt scared too death as I was. Thanks for visiting Cheers.

Ryan Paul profile image

Ryan Paul 6 years ago

Great Hubwork

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Ryan Paul thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Cheers to you.

Lorna 6 years ago

Great story, Lady Jane. I agree that you can never be too prepared for the cosmetology exam. That was nice of your friend to drill you with questions. For those who don't have that luxury, there's a few programs available online like Beauty4Pros and Salon Prep at Your story will give courage to many readers, I'm sure.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hello Lorna thanks for reading and for your nice comments to this hub. Thanks for the information about the prep for the exam Im sure it will be very helpful to many people. Cheers.

Powerpoe1 profile image

Powerpoe1 5 years ago

Great tips!...I have a cosmetology license and I was dreading to take the state board exam in 1992. I was very nervous, but passed my written and practical exam the same day. Later, had to retake the exam because I let my license expire. I will never let that happen again. : )

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas Author

Powerpost thanks for reading and for your nice comemnts Glad everything went well for you. Cheers.

mommiehughes88 5 years ago

I took the exam back in 2006 passed the written exam and the floor exam but I never purchased my liscense what would I need to do to get it now I need to go back to I purchase it then take extra classes I am so lost please if you can help it would be much appreciated

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas Author

mommiehughes88 thanks for reading my hub. If you took the test back in 2006 and never got your license then you are going to have to retake the test, they wont allow you to purchase your license without the test and the time to get your license already expired. Of course it depends on the state you are in because in my state it is 5 years, maybe you aren't there yet but you should call the board of barbers and cosmetologist in your state and they can look your info up. You don't have to go back to school because your hours are always good but you will probably have to retest again. Hope that helps, good luck. Cheers.

kansas 5 years ago

mommiehughes88.. I had a similar problem. I passed my practical with flying colors but failed the written (hate written tests) and never went to retake it, 2 years later and i am consider dormate and I have to retake the practical :-/ not looking forward to that! but spending 8000$ on school, its worth it to me. so starting to prepare myself once again for that dreadful test! best of luck to you!

missboss505 4 years ago

Hi, So I finished school about 8 years ago and never got my license. I did the practice test at the school I went to and passed my practical all with 100% and the written I failed which is why I never took the state board test. So know I have the new Milady Standard Cosmetology 2012 exam review book and so I'm wondering if I study with just that would I be able to pass the written part of the exam?

missboss505 4 years ago

Hi, so I finished school about 8 years ago but never got my license. I took the test that the school offers and scored 100% on my practicals and failed really bad on my written which is why I never took the state board test. I have the new milady standard cosmetology exam review book and I'm wondering would I be able to pass the written part of the exam with just this book that I have.

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