How to Pass the Cosmetology State Board Test

How to pass the cosmetology state board test? OMG😱

Those eight words can inspire anxiety, if not panic, in the boldest beauty student, the most courageous cosmetologist-in-training.

 Don’t get scared. Get prepared.™

Start studying for your cosmetology state board test when you start school. Continue studying and practicing throughout your program. That way you won’t be cramming at the last minute.

Cramming doesn’t work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re an artist. This is your career. Your future.

Don’t procrastinate.

If you work twice as hard now, you’ll enjoy twice as much success later. So start preparing for this important, required licensing exam. Three easy steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Practice
  3. Prepare

When you plan, practice, and prepare, you’ll perform. You’ll walk in confidently—and crush it. Cosmetology state board? Yeah, whatever. More like state bored.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these three steps.

Step 1. Plan for the cosmetology state board test.

Plan time for studying

First, plan time for studying. Every day. Think about your daily schedule. When do you have 10 minutes?

“Nope, I’m waaaay too busy all the time.”

We hear you. We get it. But surely you have 10 minutes a day? C’mon …

  • You’re aimlessly refreshing Instagram.
  • You’re vegging on the couch. 
  • You’re deep down the TikTok rabbit hole.

You know you can redirect 10 minutes of that time for state board prep. You want to be great, don’t you?

Day-by-day. Month-by-month. You’ve got to learn cosmetology to earn a cosmetology license. That’s right. Learn it. To earn it.™

Schedule your exam in advance

Second, make absolutely sure you schedule your exam within the time frame your state sets.

If you don’t, you could be forced to retake classes. Or worse, your entire cosmetology program from the beginning.

Talk about taking an L.

Some states require that you take your cosmetology state board test within months of completing your training. Other states give you more time. And each state decides how many hours of instruction must be completed before you’re eligible to take the state board. Be sure to check your state’s CIB (short for Candidate Information Bulletin) to get the information.

Get the best cosmetology state board app

Be sure to get a state board app that’s worth your precious time. 

If you’re studying for your cosmetology state board, get for a state board app that actually shows you what you need to know for the written exam and how you need to perform at the state board practical exam, not an app that just gives you a bunch of questions in the same order over and over.  (And charges you extra money for each new set.)

The best cosmetology app will have step-by-step how-to and cosmetology theory films, UNLIMITED, randomized practice tests (for one price), helpful feedback on your practice test answers (both right and wrong), a built-in cosmetology exam book full of need-to-know cosmo info, state-specific laws and rules questions, a read-out-loud option, a glossary of cosmetology terms, and flashcards. Got all that?

Also, you want a cosmetology state board app that’s smart, sleek, and really beautiful. Who wants to work with ugly, clunky technology when they’re learning to make people look beautiful for a career?

We are happy to make a recommendation on the best cosmetology state board app😊

Step 2. Practice for the cosmetology state board test.

The cosmetology state board test has two parts: written and practical. They’re both hard. You’ve got to practice. We’ve got you covered.

Get ready for the WRITTEN cosmetology state board test

In most cases, the cosmetology written exam has 100 multiple choice questions that you have to answer correctly within a set amount of time. (Usually about one minute per question.)

These questions cover a wide range of cosmetology topics, including state-specific laws and rules. There’s no shortcut or easy way out here. Studying is required if you want to succeed.

Here’s an example of how you can study with the Filmbook® State Board app:

Practice cosmetology state board test question on spoon nails shown on iPhone from Filmbook State Board app.
Do you know the answer? This is the kind of multiple-choice question you will face on your timed cosmetology state board test.
Answer to sample question on spoon nails as practice for the cosmetology state board test, shown on an iPhone and part of the Filmbook State Board app.
Here’s the answer to the multiple-choice question on spoon nails, with helpful feedback to ensure you can remember the answer: Koilonychia. Answering practice questions like this, every day, can really help you get prepared for the cosmetology state board test.

Download Filmbook Cosmetology on the App Store

Know your cosmetology terms

Okay, there’s more to the cosmetology state board test. And it’s hard. You have to know LOTS of cosmetology terminology.

  • Anatomy topics—like abductor hallucis. Greater occipital nerve.  Metacarpals.
  • Chemical topics—like ammonium thioglycolate.  Disulfide bonds. Lanthionization.
  • Sanitation topics—like acetone. Diplococci. Staphylococci.
  • Scalp diseases and disorders—like pediculosis capitis. Carbuncle. Faruncle. Tinea favosa
  • Nail diseases and disorders—like koilonychia. Leukonycia. Onchatrophia


No worries. We’ve got you covered with a 1,200 word glossary that’s built right in.  And you can filter it by topics like those above.

Can you pass the cosmetology state board test? You have to know cosmetology terminology. Cosmetology glossary shown on iPad and iPhone, Filmbook State Board app
Glossary with 1,200 cosmetology terms defined! And you can filter it by 32 topics, including anatomy, human biology, chemistry, electricity, hair diseases, nail diseases, skin diseases, sanitation and more.

Oh, and get this: You can tap on terms in the built-in cosmetology exam book and the definition pops up. So if you see a word you don’t understand, the Filmbook State Board app defines it for you! On the spot!

Haircutting principles showing finger angle and the word "occipital" defined as part of studying for the cosmetology state board test using Filmbook State Board app on iPad and iPhone
Need a tricky cosmetology term defined? Just tap. The definition pops up. Shown here is the definition of “occipital.” Here’s the definition: “an area at the back of the head. Also, the curved bone at the back of the skull.”

Study with cosmetology flashcards

You can also test your knowledge of cosmetology terminology with flashcards. Right in the app! The Filmbook State Board app has over 1,200 flashcards to help you get prepared for the state board exam. No more carrying around all those pesky paper notecards. Or writing them out. (That’s tedious.) All the flashcards you need are already in the app, on your iPhone!

Use the read-out-loud option

Want to know how to pronounce a cosmetology term? You can turn on the read-out-loud option to hear how to say the word.  Being able to say a word can help you remember its meaning.

Studying for cosmetology state board test using finger angle page of Filmbook State Board app shown on iPhone with arrow pointing to the read-out-loud option.
Here’s how to turn on the read-out-loud option on the Filmbook State Board app. It’s a big help for studying!

Understand cosmetology theory

Cutting hair is one thing. Understanding cosmetology theory is another. Do you understand the theory of finger angle, finger position, elevation, and overdirection? 😰

Here’s an example of how you can see cosmetology theory in action with the Filmbook State Board app.

On mute? Here’s the video transcription:

“For a guest with a protruding occipital, you’d angle higher to remove weight and create visual flatness.

“Then cut.

“You have the ability during the cut to adjust your finger angle according to the head shape.”

That’s not just a film. It’s also quiz questions and a cosmetology exam book, built right in.

You’ll see what you need to know. Why you need to know it. And how to do it. And that’s how an artist really learns.

Here’s another example from the built-in cosmetology exam book. It shows the correct finger angle for a round layered haircut:

Correct finger angle for a round layered haircut, part of preparation for cosmetology state board test using Filmbook State board app on an iPhone.
Need to understand cosmetology theory? Like finger angle? Here’s an example of the easy-to-read, need-to-know info you get on the built-in cosmetology exam book that is part of the Filmbook State Board app.

Ah, and there’s one of those tricky cosmetology terms. “Parietal.” What the heck does that mean? Just tap on the word and the definition appears, as shown here:

Correct finger angle for a round layered haircut with a definition of the word "parietal," part of preparation for cosmetology state board test using Filmbook State board app on an iPhone.
What does “parietal” mean? Tap on the word and the definition pops up. Parietal is “the area near the side and top of the skull.” No need to carry around a textbook! The Filmbook State Board app has a built-in cosmetology exam book. You can study on the go!

Wait? How do you pronounce “parietal”? Tap the microphone and you can turn on a read-out-loud option, for any or all of the book. It’s built right in.

Get ready for the PRACTICAL cosmetology state board test

Let’s start with the state board haircut. Learn what it is and how to perform it. Flawlessly. Fearlessly. 

Here’s an example clip that gives you a preview of what the best cosmetology state board study app should give you. (We’re not modest, OK.)

Got your volume turned down? Here’s the video transcription:

Create a one-inch horizontal parting. Clip up the remaining hair.

“Start on the left side of the section. Take a half-inch vertical subsection. Use a portion of your interior guideline and gently pull the hair straight out from the head.

“Cut the hair to meet the guideline.

In addition to successfully completing the state board haircut, you also need to know how to do the following: 

  • Apply virgin relaxer
  • Use foils
  • Dry hair with a round brush
  • Work with a curling iron and a flat iron
  • Use blow dry brush

Got all that? Good.

Then, learn how to perform every step your state requiresin order.

Memorize these steps because you can’t bring reminders in with you.  You will lose points if you don’t complete tasks or fail to do them in the order as set in your state’s requirements. 

All the cosmetology state board test topics!

If you want to save time, get an app that actually covers all the cosmetology state board test topics. And has films on them!

  • Four corners of the head
  • Round vs. square layers
  • Finger angle and position
  • Elevation
  • Overdirection
  • Guidelines
  • Base placement for perms
  • Virgin relaxer
  • Foiling: weaving and fixing
  • Fingerwaves
  • Pincurls: flat, volume, indentation
  • Round brush
  • Curling iron
  • Blow dry brush
  • Flat iron

Get an app that builds your confidence and your competence as you use it. An app that’s designed by artists for artists. You!

Get the app that gives you more—way more—than all the other bland, basic state board apps out there. Get the best cosmetology state board app. The app used by tens of thousands of cosmetology students. The app with a great rating and great reviews on the App Store. That app is Filmbook State Board. Get it here.👇

Download Filmbook State Board app on the App Store

Step 3. Prepare for the cosmetology state board test

There are strict guidelines about what’s allowed during state board. Be sure to follow the rules or you won’t be able to complete—or pass—the test.

Refer to your state’s Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB). And follow EXACTLY what’s outlined there about the exam. By the way, the Filmbook State Board app has links to every state’s CIB right in the app. (You’re welcome.)

In general, you’ll need to demonstrate you know things like:

  • Safety and sanitation: How to properly store, label and discard products
  • Implements and tools: How to use, maintain and store them safely
  • Hair care: Draping and services, including haircutting, styling, chemical waving and relaxers, haircolor and lightener
  • Skin care: Services including facials, waxing and tweezing
  • Nail care: Services including manicures, pedicures, artificial nails and massage techniques

Do this before the cosmetology state board test

The practical portion of your state board requires that YOU supply your own cosmetology equipment. Here’s what you need to do BEFORE you go:

  • Prepare your kit by placing items you need for each task in bags or containers labeled “sanitized.” This will be spelled out in your state’s CIB. Read it carefully!
  • Put all these items in a large unmarked bag (no school logos) for easy transport.
  • Pack extra items for exam day as backups … in case you drop or break something.
  • Don’t overlook what you’re required to wear.
  • Bring a valid ID. Some states require that you bring a photo ID. Others require a photo ID and proof of training hours or citizenship. Messing up on simple things like these will disqualify you from taking the exam.

The overall point of the cosmetology state board practical exam is to demonstrate that you know what is required to work in a salon and that you’re competent in performing services.

Do this during the cosmetology state board test

Here’s what you need to do ONCE you are there. Remember, small easily avoidable mistakes can eat into your overall score: 

  • Set up your workstation exactly as required.
  • Sanitize your hands before beginning.
  • Put used materials in the trash, not on the floor.
  • Recap all bottles.
  • Keep your work area tidy and clean throughout the exam.

So … Are you ready to pass the cosmetology state board test and get your cosmetology license?? Yes! You’ve got this, and the Filmbook State Board app is right here for you.

Pass your cosmetology state board test!

The Filmbook State Board app can help you pass your cosmetology exam. No matter what cosmetology school you go to, and no matter what state you live in

When you subscribe (for just $4.99/month) here’s what it includes:

  • ALL state board topics
  • Over 1,600 state board practice questions
  • Laws and rules quiz questions specific to YOUR state
  • Unlimited, timed multiple choice state board quizzes
  • Step-by-step state-board films
  • Cosmetology theory, clearly explained
  • A built-in cosmetology exam study book
  • A read-out-loud option
  • A cosmetology glossary with over 1,200 terms
  • Over 1,200 flashcards, built right into the cosmetology glossary

This is the most state board content for the best price. It’s affordable and effective!

Still not sure? Want to try it first? Of course! Just download your FREE 100-question state board practice quiz questions on the preview version of the Filmbook State Board app!

Download the Filmbook State Board app on the App Store
See you on the App Store! Until then …

Keep a kind heart.

Look out for one another.

And never forget that the world needs your artistry.