You’ve graduated from nail school! But before you can start working in a salon you have to pass your state board exam. Here are 21 tips to prepare you for the big day.
1. Remember, studying for the test begins on the first day of class. Decide to learn the material, not simply know it well enough to pass the test.
2. Don’t delay in taking your exams. Take them as soon as possible after completing your coursework when everything is still fresh in your mind.
3. The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) provides tests to more than 30 states. Go to www.nictesting.org/details.htm to see if your state is one of them. If it is, click on www.nictesting.org/cand_info.htm to see sample questions and a link to paid practice exams, which will give you an idea of what types of questions will be asked.
4. Check out Milady.com (click on the “students” tab) to find resources for study guides. Many state tests use these as the references for test questions.
5. Review chapters and notes on sanitation and safety. Also review your state board’s regulations.
6. Beautytech.com/forums/quiz.php has questions that may help you. You’ll also find forums where you can talk to other techs who may be able to give you pointers.
7. Take out your old tests from class, see where you made errors, and review these sections.
8. Find the Candidate Information Bulletins (CIB) on the NIC website to learn how test questions are weighted. Download and print the practical CIB for nail techs and study it.
9. Stay positive. You have done the work, you’ve studied hard, and you’ve earned the right to take the state board. Tell yourself that you won’t fail. A positive outlook will keep your head clear.
10. To answer a multiple-choice question, first cover the choices, next read the question and determine your answer, then uncover the choices and search for your answer.
11. Check and recheck your kit and materials against your state regulations, and bring duplicates of items in case of
12. Pay attention to details — if a question requires you to list steps, make sure you list them all.
13. If you are using a live model, make sure her nails and skin are healthy. Offer to drive your model to and from the testing site to ensure her participation.
14. Bring a photo ID and a social security card to the test. (Bring another government-issued ID if you don’t have a social security card.)
15. Make sure all your IDs list the same name. (One may be a married name, in which case you may need to bring a marriage certificate.)
16. Make sure your transcripts have been sent from the schools. Make sure any necessary paperwork is filled out prior to the test.
17. Know the testing times and leave plenty of time before the test begins to park, use the restroom, and walk to the testing room. Bring money for a parking meter. Consider taking a test run to the testing site a few days before so you know exactly where the test will be.
18. Ensure that your payment method is acceptable.
19. Wear comfortable, professional clothing, remembering your clean lab jacket if required by your state. Make sure your hair is pulled back and away from your face and that you don’t wear any dangling jewelry.
20. Don’t load up on caffeine or sugar before the test. They could make you jittery and cause anxiety.
21. Relax! You’re ready.
Visit blogs.nailsmag.com/student to read about other new grads’ state board exam experiences.