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10 Tips to Ace Your State Board Exam

Your students are graduating from nail school! But before they can start working in a salon they have to pass the state board exam. Here are 10 tips to help prepare them for the big day.

1. 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.

2. The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) provides tests to more than 30 states. Go to to see if your state is one of them. If it is, click on to see sample questions and a link to paidpractice exams, which will give you an ideaof what types of questions will be asked. Find the Candidate Information Bulletins(CIB) on the NIC website to learn how test questions are weighted. Download andprint the practical CIB for nail techs and study it.

3. Check out (click on the Product Catalog tab and then Online Licensing Preparation) to find resources for study guides. Many state tests use these as the references for test questions.

4. Review chapters and notes on sanitation and client safety. Also review your state
board’s regulations. California usually leads the pack in terms of state board regulations.
Whether you’re in California or not, you might consider checking out for information on exam prep tutoring.

5. Check and recheck your kit and materials against your state regulations, and bring duplicates of items in case of a mishap. Label all of your materials accordingly.

6. Write down every single step of the manicuring process before executing
it on your practice hand. Do the same with nail tip application, acrylic nail enhancement application, and the blood exposure procedure.

7. Practice the entire practical portion of the exam (including station set up) a day
before your test. Time yourself and get familiar with your kit.

8. When in doubt, sanitize. This is first and foremost a test for consumer safety. Sanitize every step of the way. It is the number-one thing proctors are looking for.

9. 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 visiting the testing site a few days before so you know exactly where it is.

10. Put all the vocab words (like nail diseases) and subjects you have problems with on flashcards. Run through them regularly until you’ve mastered them.

Relax! You're ready.

You Might Also Like: Quick Quiz: State Board Exam 3



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The main part or plate of the nail that is attached to the skin at the tip of the finger; although the nail plate appears to be one piece, it is...
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