Stylists Article - November 2017

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Even under the best circumstances, taking an examination can cause stress and anxiety. But candidates who are misinformed about the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s 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 offers the following tips:

When you receive your examination admission letter in the mail, be sure to carefully read ALL the enclosed information. Check the date, time, location and language of the examination, and read all the enclosures. If any of the information is incorrect, contact the Board immediately.

You should also check the Board's Web site at for the most current Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB). The CIB is designed to give the candidates a comprehensive overview of both the written and practical examination. It also includes the verbal instructions the examiners will read and the tasks that candidates need to perform during the practical examination.

The CIB includes a list of supplies you will need to bring with you for the practical portion of the examination. You may decide to rent or purchase supplies from a “kit company,” but keep in mind that these are private companies and that the Board is not affiliated with them and has no control over their services. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check the kit and make sure all the items listed on the CIB are there and conform to the directions on the CIB. For instance, 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. Metal implements should be clean, rust-free and ready to use.

Approximately two 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 information to familiarize candidates with the computer-based testing format at

Rescheduling: 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. On the other hand, you may 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.

The Examination: 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. Please refer to the current CIB available on the Board's Web at for the list of services and tasks that will be required in the practical portion of the examination. You will find the scope for the written examination on the Board’s Web site as well. Be careful of private agencies and individuals who try to sell you "inside" information about the examination. The CIBs and the scope for the written should provide all the information you need to successfully pass the examination. Be prepared to do any or all of the services as listed on the CIB.

Special Accommodation to take the examination: 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.

Models: Models are not used for the barber, cosmetologist, esthetician or manicurist examinations. If you are testing as an electrologist, you will need to bring your own model. The model can be an acquaintance or someone hired from an agency or kit company, but cannot be a barbering and cosmetology student, or a current or former Board licensee. 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 at

Length of the examination: The esthetician, manicurist and electrologist practical examinations take approximately two hours. The barber and cosmetologist examinations take longer, about four hours. Cosmetology and Barber candidates get a 15-minute break halfway through the examination. You must return from your break on 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 any personal effects. The written examination for barbers is one hour. The written for cosmetologists, estheticians, manicurists and electrologists is two hours.

Leaving the examination before completing the test: 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.

Discussing your examination with the proctor or examiner: Examination staff cannot discuss the examination or the grading factors with candidates, as this is a breach of examination security.

Results: Candidates who pass both the written and practical portion of the examination are issued their license at the testing facility. Only candidates who fail a portion of the examination receive their numerical scores. Neither a license nor a score report will be issued until both portions of the examination are completed by the candidate.

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