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August 18, 2022

Everything You Need to Know about the Pennsylvania State Board Exam

Are you a cosmetology student or graduate studying for the cosmetology state board practical exam in Pennsylvania? Sitting for your state board licensing exams is the last step to becoming a licensed cosmetologist. You’ve put in the work and now it’s almost time to start your career as a cosmetologist! 

Here at Queen Beauty Institute, it is our goal to help prepare our students for their futures in the beauty industry. We’ll help you prepare to sit for your state board exams by teaching you the technical skills you need to pass and by helping you review. If you’re ready to start your cosmetology journey, contact us today!

Steps to the Exam

Before you can take the exam, there are a few things you need to do. Obviously, school is the first step, then graduation. Once you’ve graduated with the required hours for Pennsylvania, here’s what you need to do:

  • 1. Set up PALS (PA Licensing System) with an instructor and verify your account
  • 2. Receive a temporary license
  • 3. Submit your application. There is a $10 one time application fee and a $93 feel for the test each time you take it.
  • 4. Receive Eligibility (from PALS) and approval to test notification (from Pearson VUE)
  • 5. Schedule the examination

student writing on exam

The exam is proctored by Pearson VUE and can be taken up to 12 months after your temporary license is issued. Don’t wait to take your exam, though! Take it as soon as possible so everything you learned in school is fresh in your mind.

Pennsylvania State Written Exam

Now that you’ve finally reached the exam, there are some things you should know! Each state has different requirements for both its exams. Some states require both written and practical exams, but here in Pennsylvania, only a written exam is required for licensure. Before hitting the books, you’ll want to know what your state requirements are to help you better prepare. In Pennsylvania, you will take the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology Written Examination.

Exam Day

Before the exam, practice some gentle self-care, get enough sleep, and eat breakfast! Set yourself up for success. Arrive at the test center thirty minutes before your scheduled
examination starts. You will need 2 forms of ID, and at least 1 of those has to be Government Issued with your picture (Driver’s License, Passport, Real ID). You can’t bring anything into the exam room, except the key to a locker provided to you by Pearson VUE. You’ll be locking everything else away while you take your exam! Your exam will be online, but don’t worry, Pearson VUE will also provide a sheet for you to take notes/work problems out on paper.

What to Expect

students taking an exam

The Pennsylvania written exam is a 2 hour 15 minute multiple choice exam that is separated into the following categories:

  • Rules, Regulation, and Safety (27-32%)
  • Trichology (5-8%)
  • Shampoo/Scalp Analysis (4-6%)
  • Styling (5-8%)
  • Haircutting (9-11%)
  • Haircolor & Lightening (13-15%)
  • Permanent Waving (12-14%)
  • Chemical Straightening & Relaxing (12-14%)
  • Esthetics (5-7%)
  • Nails (5-7%)

Like most exams, the best thing you can do to prepare is study. Be sure to use any study guides or resources given to you by the school. You can also find studying material online, like these practice tests or flashcards

Testing Policies

If you are late for your scheduled examination, or do not bring all of your required materials, you will not be allowed to test and your examination fee will not be returned. So be on-time and keep track of your materials. Electronic devices and other personal belongings are not allowed, as well as food or drink. So eat a big breakfast, and hydrate yourself before. There will be lockers at the testing center to store your belongings.

Score Reporting

blank exam sheets

Pearson VUE will provide you with your official examination results on the day of testing. You’ll know right away if you pass or fail; when you check-out, you’ll be handed a piece of paper with the results. IF YOU PASS, way to go! Your license will be sent to you in the mail in about 10-14 days. IF YOU FAIL, that’s okay! You have to wait 24 hours to reschedule, but when that time is up, do so immediately! If you wait too long, the information you’ve spent lots of time learning may just escape you. Use the time between tests to study and don’t beat yourself up. Humans make mistakes and tests are intimidating. You got it next time!

Start Your Beauty Journey Today!

Are you looking to start a career as a cosmetologist? Queen Beauty Institute offers hands-on training in cosmetology and other programs. We can help you learn the skills necessary to sit the extensive State Board exam. If you would like to learn more about the cosmetology program at Queen Beauty Institute, visit our website today!

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