Passing Your Practical Exam

[box title=”Cosmetology” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#cccccc” border_style=”solid” align=”center”]According to the New York State Department of Liscensing Services “The practice of “cosmetology” means providing service to the hair, head, face, neck or scalp of a human being, including but not limited to shaving, trimming, and cutting the hair or beard either by hand or mechanical appliances and the application of antiseptics, powders, oils, clays, lotions or applying tonics to the hair, head, or scalp, and in addition includes providing, for a fee or any consideration or exchange, whether direct or indirect, services for the application of dyes, reactive chemicals, or other preparations to alter Once you finished your time at cosmetology school, you may be looking ahead to your licensing exams. You have to pass your state board of cosmetology exam before you can start practicing in your state. It is important to know what to expect and what skills you need to possess before stepping into the nerve-wracking exam room.[/box]

You have a number of skills at your disposal. Some of the most important things to review include:


  • thermal curling

  • blow dry styling

  • hair cutting

  • chemical waving


  • sculptured nail

  • manicure

  • basic facial

  • hair removal


Make sure when it’s time to take the practical exam you understand each of these principles and can perform them well.

Taking the Practical Exam

The practical exam can be a nerve-racking event for many future cosmetologists. This is a series of tasts that you must perform in an allotted time frame.

You Will Be Tested On:

  • Professional Appearance: Preparation of Work Area & Client Preparation
  • Hair Cutting Techniques (50 minutes)
  • Blow Dry Styling Techniques (15 minutes)
  • Thermal Curling Iron Techniques – Using Electric Marcel Iron (15 minutes)
  • Demonstration of Techniques:
    • Roller Placement – Top of Head (10 minutes)
    • Permanent Waving – Left Side (10 minutes)
    • Diagonal Pin Curl Wave/C-Shaping – Right Side (10 minutes)
    • Finger Waving – Back of Head (10 minutes)
  • Chemical Services:
    • Foiling Simulation – Right Front (15 minutes)
    • Hair coloring Simulation (Retouch) – Right Back (10 minutes)
    • Chemical Restructuring – (Virgin) – Left Front / (Retouch) – Left Back (25 minutes)
  • Clean Up of Work Area

When packing for your practical, here are a few things to keep in mind. A clean, washable outer garment must be worn, along with closed-toe and closed-heel shoes(no canvas). You should avoid bulky or dangling jewelry and wash your hands with soap and water prior to arrival. NO gum chewing or cell phone use is permitted in the testing area. You must bring a mannequin, along with your own bring your own examination supplies and implements.

The Department of State has a full list of what you will need to bring and general information about the exams. 

Here are just a few tips to help you succeed:

Pack in Advance

The supply list is extensive. Make sure you pack your kit well in advance and double check the night before to ensure all your supplies are there. You spent so long preparing. You don’t want to fail because you forgot something.

Be On Time

If you are late, you may not be able to take your test. Have an idea of where you are going, what the parking situation is, and how long it will take to get there. You should aim to be 10-20 minutes early to ensure there are no problems.

Listen and Pace Yourself

Sometimes instructions can seem confusing. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Take a deep breath and listen so you fully understand what is expected of you before starting. Before taking the exam, know how long each of the skills takes you. When in the test, pace yourself amd give yourself plenty of time to finish everything needed.


You have spent a long time practicing and preparing for your exam. Don’t worry too much. If you have practiced and taken the time beforehand, you will succeed. Be confident in your ability to deliver the best services.