State Board Exam Study Strategies

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Expertise Area: All career fields
Career Stage: Student

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After beauty and wellness school, just one thing stands in your way of becoming a practicing beauty pro: your state board licensing exams. Here are some of our proven study strategies when preparing for your state board exams.

  • Schedule study time. Set aside the time in your schedule to prep for your tests. Form a study group with fellow graduates to review or block out time in your week to read through old class notes and take the chapter exams in your Milady Standard textbooks. Also, try to take the test as soon after graduating as possible. Taking the test as soon as you can after completing your program will keep the material fresh in your mind will give you a greater chance of passing than if you delay. Procrastinating out of test anxiety will not increase your odds of passing so make a plan and stick to it.
  • Take practice tests. Use Milady’s Online Licensing Preparation to prepare for your theory/written exam and for cosmetologists, use the Haircutting Simulation tool to prepare for your practical exam. This state board practice test tool comes in two formats: print and digital. Based off the Milady Standard books you used in school and formatting that resembles state exams, it keeps track of incorrect answers and shows reasoning for correct answers, helping you learn as you go.
  • Rest up. Get enough rest the night before. Some essential oils and a calm night routine and limiting caffeine may help you feel well rested in the morning. Make sure you eat something healthy before your test too. You don’t want a blood sugar crash in the middle of testing!
  • Double check your supplies. Make sure you have your ID and the correct supplies needed for both the theory and practical exams.
  • Choose your outfit. This might seem silly, but having the proper clothing for your test might dictate whether or not you pass. Wear comfortable clothing with closed toe shoes. Leave the high heels at home; you need to be on solid footing, especially during your practical exam.
  • Be on time. If you are a person who runs late, this is not the date to take chances with traffic. Do a practice drive to the testing center, if necessary, to ensure you know the way and you are comfortable with the drive.
  • Listen to all instructions. The testing environment is designed to keep distractions to a minimum but make sure you listen closely to any instructions. Just one mistake could cost you.
  • Read the test through first. For the theory or written exam, focus on each individual question. Take deep breaths and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Pace yourself. If you don’t know the answer, you can return to the question later.

By preparing yourself both mentally and physically for one of the most important days in your career, you set yourself up for success and help eliminate stress. Take your time, study hard, and good luck!

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