Esthetician Exam Practice Test

People with skin problems will often seek out a specialist for treatment. Specialists at the top of their field have taken the National Esthetics Theory Examination. It’s a licensure test developed by the Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). It certifies that these professionals understand complex subjects such as areas of the face that include muscles and bones, the neck and shoulders, and even understand skin microbiology. There’s a lot to this challenging test, and this guide provides an exam overview. We also have an outstanding Esthetician Exam study guide that can help you prepare for the exam.


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What’s on the National Esthetics Theory Examination?

The test has two sections: Scientific concepts and skin care and services.

Scientific concepts contain 55 percent of all test questions, and includes:

  • Infection control procedures knowledge as it relates to: Microbiology (bacteria, viruses, etc.); Controlling infection, including infection control levels and methods; and Guidelines for safety procedures, which include what to do when exposed to blood
  • Basic understanding of human physiology and anatomy as it relates to: Cell structure, growth and reproduction; Tissues (connective, nerve, etc.); Organs, systems and their functions
  • Skin histology and physiology, including: Layers of the skin and glands (structure and function of both); Hair follicle structure; Skin functions
  • Demonstrates knowledge of body hair composition, including: Hair structure and growth; Hair growth abnormalities
  • Chemistry as it relates to cosmetic products, including ingredients, labeling and more.

Skin Care and Services accounts for the other 45 percent of the test with these content areas:

How to perform a client consultation with appropriate documentation. That includes:

  • The analysis of the skin, including type and condition
  • Handling the records of clients, including intake and consult charts
  • Protocols involving treatment
  • Skin services to withhold (contraindication)

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These content areas are also included:

  • Cleansing procedures understanding
  • Knowledge of steaming procedures, including towel and steam
  • Exfoliation procedures, including chemical and physical
  • Extraction procedures knowledge
  • The effects of massage movements
  • Using various masks, including clay/mud and gel
  • Methods and procedures related to hair removal, including waxing and tweezing
  • Makeup application principles and procedures including face shapes and features analysis, applications and color theory
  • How to use equipment during skin services covers items that include lamps (magnifying and Wood’s), facial steamer/vaporizer and LED therapy.
  • Understands services related to body treatments and eyelash extensions

How long do I have to complete the National Esthetics Theory Examination?

Candidates have 90 minutes to finish the exam.

What items are prohibited in the testing room?

As with most tests, there is a long list of items that candidates can’t bring into the testing room. They include mobile phones, tablets, computers, cameras — really, any electronic device. No printed materials or notes are allowed. Make sure to check for a complete list of banned items.

What materials should I bring with me on the day of the test?

Candidates must bring three containers, each with a specific label. Those labels are “to be disinfected,” “soiled items,” and “trash.”

Additionally, the Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology recommends candidates bring supplies they’ll need during the exam. Those supplies include hand sanitizer, paper towels, astringent or toner, gloves and tweezers. Consult the Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology website for a complete list of supplies.

Are all tests the same?

No. States may have different test requirements. For example, some states require the use of a model or mannequin during the exam. Make sure to check your local jurisdiction’s requirements.

What identification should I bring on the day of my exam?

Bring your candidate admission notice and present a government-issued ID that contains a photo and a signature.

How much are the exam fees?

Fees will vary by state, so check with your licensing board.

This is the career I want. What are the best study materials I can buy?

Mometrix has the material that will help you prepare for the National Esthetics Theory Examination. Our materials include a study guide that will walk you though what you can expect on this test. From tips on how to solve test problems, to insights on how to get through questions with ease, this study guide has it all. We also have a flashcard system that’s invaluable for candidates who must study on the go. These portable cards provide practice test questions and answers. Combined, these are the two best study tools you can get.

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Esthetician Exam Study Guide

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: September 6, 2022