Nails 101: A Student Blog

Week 11: Prepping for California State Boards

by NAILS Magazine | January 4, 2011

This past week was probably my busiest week yet at school. We had two mornings of running through the practical exam for state board, studied the bones and muscles and other basic anatomy in theory, plus had a crazy amount of clients due to New Year’s Eve parties. The greatest part was that I got to go shopping and get plenty of the things I will need to be successful at my job once I get my license.


My Wednesday was fun because one of my dearest long time friends was home from San Diego and she came in with her mom and sister. I was able to do a manicure for each of them that afternoon as we all played catch-up. This was probably the highlight of my week. Every day was super busy from the moment we got started until we clocked out for the day. I did have to work for the better part of the week after school, but I didn’t have the late nights like I did the week before.


Tuesday we had an introduction to our state board practical exam. Everything that would be expected of us was laid out. We were told what would be in the kits we will rent so that we don’t have to bring everything down with us and were shown how we will set everything up at our stations in the exam room at state board. Our instructor did recommend that we bring our own glue if we want brush-on glue, our own acrylic brush, and the nail tips that we will want to use on our model. Time is limited and she said that we do not want to waste time measuring out tips for our model. She also recommended that we bring a bright red or pink cream polish because sometimes the polish the kit company has is really thick and gloppy. The run-though went really well. It was great to have a chance to be in that mode and have the opportunity to see what our time limits were going to be.


State Board’s biggest concern is client safety and sanitation. If you can’t pass that, you will fail the test. We have to prove that we know how to properly set up the QUATS and have it mixed and on hand for the start of the day’s clients. Then we have to perform, in a random order we won’t know until we get there, the following services: a one-footed pedicure, right or left foot to be determined; a two-handed manicure, finishing with polishing one hand; on the other hand we have to do a sculpted acrylic nail, acrylic over a tip, a silk wrap and a tip glued onto a nail; plus a disinfection after one of the previous services to show that we know how to properly clean implements. We have to use odorless acrylic, which is terrible stuff, but learning to use it properly is a must!


I felt pretty confident about it. The second run though that we did was the serious one. No talking to our models, we could ask questions to our instructor, but she wasn’t giving us answers, just helping us think through what we needed to do. Since I have been though this before with my Esthetic license, I know already what I need to do to get it done. Two of the other girls in my class kept asking me why I was taking it so seriously and my response to them was that I am only taking the test once and I am passing it on the first try. I am not here to pussy-foot around; I am here to get it done. Why shouldn’t I be taking it seriously? I have spent my time and money to be in school to get the education. I am going to walk into that building in Fairfield, take my test, and walk out as a licensed manicurist. (That is if I ever get the letter back with my test date!)


I can’t believe that they would have even asked me about my demeanor. One of them kept saying that she was going to fail after everything she did. She keeps saying that she is going to fail the written and that she’ll never get past the practical. With that kind of attitude you will fail. I don’t want or need that kind of negativity around me because I am going to pass. It really got to me on Thursday because I don’t deal with that stuff well. If you have that little faith in yourself why are you even here? I do understand that some people don’t test well. If that is the case then you need to find out what you need to do for yourself so that you can test better in high stress environments. There are classes you can take, books you can read, and stress relief techniques you can learn to help keep yourself calm so you can get though it. When you set yourself up to fail you can’t reach your dreams. Some people are so afraid of being successful that they psyche themselves out. If she does suffer from test anxiety I do feel bad for her as that is a horrid thing to have to deal with. Eventually she will have to face it and find a way to get past it. I don’t mean to sound insensitive to her situation, but we all have to take this test and pass it, and we will all have to find a method that works for ourselves so that we can deal with the stress of it. I am not perfect, sure I can screw it up, but I am so well prepared to take the test that I won’t allow myself the negative thoughts that could derail me.


Ok, that was my soap box moment and I apologize.


I did treat myself to a massive shopping trip to the beauty supply store. I got some wonderful items. The store’s owner was grateful as he was going to have to do inventory this coming week. I think that I have everything I need. If there are any nail techs currently working out there that wouldn’t mind suggesting any must haves for an aspiring nail tech I would love to hear what you have to say! I want to be fully prepared for that first client who walks though my doors and sits in my chair! Feel welcome to leave me a message here or drop me a line though Facebook.


— Karyn

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