Helpful Hints About the Examination

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Even under the best circumstances, taking an examination can cause stress and anxiety for many individuals. But candidates who are misinformed about the examination process or don't understand what is expected of them can have an especially difficult time. In an effort to lessen anxiety and prevent misinformation, the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (Board) offers the following answers to frequently asked questions about its examination process.


I just received my examination admission letter in the mail. What should I do?

Be sure to carefully read all of the information sent to you by the Board. You should also check the Board's Web site at for the most current Candidate Information Bulletins (CIB). The CIB includes information regarding the supplies you will need to bring with you for the practical portion of the examination.

In approximately 2 weeks after receiving the admission letter, you should receive a candidate handbook from PSI (the company that the Board contracts with to give the computer-based written examination). The handbook will have your written examination time. PSI offers a tutorial to familiarize candidates with the computer-based testing format at

I just received my examination admission letter and I am unable to attend on the scheduled date. Can I reschedule?

You are not allowed to reschedule your practical examination date for any reason. If you miss or are late for your examination, you will lose your examination fee and will be required to apply for re-examination by submitting a new application and fee.

You may cancel and reschedule a written examination without forfeiting your fee provided your cancellation is received 2 days prior to the scheduled examination date. You may reschedule your written examination online at or you may call PSI at 1 877-392-6422.

What will I be tested on?

The Board's licensing examination is a standardized examination. It consists of both a written and practical portion in which you will be required to actually perform various services. Although it is designed to test the same general skills, the specific questions and assigned tasks may vary from day-to-day. Please refer to the current CIB available on the Board's web site for the list of services and tasks that will be required in the practical portion of the examination.

Be careful of private agencies and individuals who try to sell you "inside" information about the examination.

I have a disability and require special accommodation to take the examination. Can the Board help me?

To request reasonable accommodation, you must submit a "Request for Reasonable Accommodation" form, which can be obtained on the Board's Web site at You will need to include a description of the accommodation and appropriate medical verification along with your application for examination. Reasonable accommodation may include the use of a reader, a signer or a request for additional time on the written examination. Additional time is not granted for the practical examination.

Does the Board supply models for the electrology practical exam?

No. You will need to bring your own model. The model can be an acquaintance or someone hired from an agency or kit company. But whomever you choose, he or she must be suitable for all the services you may be required to perform. All models must also have valid, government-issued photo identification. Documents such as school identification, credit cards, and store membership cards will not be accepted. For more information on models and the types of identification that are acceptable, check your examination admission letter and inserts, CIB, examination handbook from PSI, or the Board's web site

Note: Models are not used for the barber, cosmetologist, esthetician or manicurist examinations.

What else should I bring with me to the examination?

Your admission letter, the required supplies and equipment listed in the Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB), a valid/current Government issued ID and if you are a Pre-Applicant student it is recommended you bring your POT in a sealed envelope from your school.

I'm thinking of using a kit company to rent the equipment I need for the examination. Can you recommend one?

There are several companies that rent practical examination "kits" containing the supplies and equipment listed on the CIB. They are private businesses not affiliated with the Board, and the Board cannot refer you to one or recommend one over another. If you use one of these companies, remember that it is your responsibility to make sure the supplies you bring to the examination are in compliance with the CIB. For example: Manufacturer's labels are required on all disinfectants and sanitizers. Any deviation may result in lost points. The fact that the kit company assured you that the labels were acceptable for the examination will not make any difference. Make sure you check the kit beforehand.


How long does the practical examination last?

The esthetician, manicurist and electrologist examinations take two hours or less. The barber and cosmetologist examinations take longer, four hours or less. Cosmetology and Barber candidates get a 15-minute break halfway through the examination. You must return from your break in time. If you are more than five (5) minutes late, you will be denied reentry into the examination and will receive no score for the practical examination. You will also have to wait until the end of the examination to retrieve your belongings.

How long is the written examination?

The written examination for barbers is 90 minutes. The written for cosmetologists, estheticians, manicurists and electrologists is 120 minutes.

I have to leave the examination unit before completing the test. Can I pick up where I left off later?

No. Candidates who decide to terminate their examination prematurely must reapply for the portion (i.e., practical or written) of the exam that they did not complete, and pay the appropriate fee for re-examination.


I'm really curious about how I did. Can I ask the examiner about the examination?

No. Examination staff cannot discuss the examination or the grading factors with candidates, as this is a breach of examination security.

I failed the examination. Can I discuss my performance with the examiner so that I can do better next time?

No. The Board's function is only to evaluate your skills based on your performance on the day of the examination.

Can I get copies of my raw score sheets?

No. Those are considered examination materials and are therefore confidential. However, if you fail the examination you will receive a 'score report' that includes the candidate's score, a breakdown of subject content areas and the number of correct answers needed to pass the examination.

I've completed the written, but not the practical, portion of the examination. Can I get my results for the written?

No. Results are not issued until both portions are completed.

Candidates scheduled for both portions of the examination cannot receive printed results for any portion until both parts of the examination is completed.

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