Cosmetology Study Guide

The National Cosmetology Written Examination and Cosmetology Licensing Examination offered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) and state licensing boards qualifies successful candidates as Licensed Cosmetologists.

The NIC exams began in 1969 as a way to achieve a more uniform standard across all state’s cosmetology services. The NIC organization began serving exams as a way to determine if a candidate has enough experience to be servicing the public. In this way, the exam has stood the test of time. Now the test can be taken in virtually any of the fifty states.

The cosmetology exam covers fundamental skills necessary for good quality service. The candidate should be prepared to answer questions related to hair-shaping, chemical waxing, chemical relaxing, hair lightening and hair coloring, as well as thermal coloring. Depending on which state board is administering the exam, the candidate may also be questioned on blow-dry styling, shaping and pincurl placement, roller placement, facials, manicuring, and sculptured nails.

The cosmetology exam can be administered in paper and pencil form or via computer-based means. The way it is assessed depends on the conditions of the state board. The computer-based exam gives students their results in an immediate fashion. The alternative is for the exam site to mail the answer sheets to the organization and wait a few days for a response. Either way the candidate should have their score within a week or two.

The cosmetology exam consists mainly of multiple choice questions. Candidates will have a set amount of time to complete the exam.

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