I didn’t get much advice on what it would be like to walk into Ontario College of Trades hairstylist licensing exam, and I was a little thrown off by the novelty and surprises of it all, so I thought I’d share my experience with you so at least you have a better idea of what to expect.
Don’t panic if the building is locked!
I like to be early for things, sometimes ridiculously early. My exam was scheduled for 8:30am on a Friday in Toronto, and I made sure I was there by 8:00am since I was commuting from outside of the city.
I walked up to the doors, excited to grab a seat and review my notes just one final time…..but when I went to grab the handle, the door didn’t budge.
I started panicking – “I swear this is the address from the email!”, “Am I in the right place?”, “I am gonna be sooooo late if I’m the wrong place!”, “How quickly can I Uber to the right address?”
I pulled out my phone and verified that yes, this is the right building. Then I noticed a guy standing not too far from me having a cigarette. He didn’t have that hairstylist “look,” but I decided to ask him if he was here to write an exam. And he was, but not for hairstyling.
So this leads me to my next point….
It is not just hairstylists in the exam room
Out of the, I’d say, over 20 people who were writing exams that day, only 2 of us were hair stylists. Basically anyone writing a licensing exam through the Ontario College of Trades may be writing their exam in the same room as you.
I was the only woman in the room and only one of 2 hairstylists.
Everyone else was writing their exam were pipe fitters, plumbers, electricians, truck mechanics, etc. Yeah, no study buddies to be found.
Be prepared not to be able to ask questions
There were 2 invigilators in the room, and I figured that since I was one of only 2 hairstylists in the room, they were just invigilators – not hairstylists themselves.
So, if you don’t know what a question is asking you, I’d say try to figure it out on your own. I don’t think the invigilators are in much of a position to be able to help you out. You most likely know a lot more about hair than they do.
Once you get into the building, you need to stand outside of the exam room, which is also locked, until they are all set up and ready to let you in.
A little after 8:30am, they opened the doors, and everyone was invited to grab a seat in a main reception room. In front of us was a long counter divided into smaller desk sections.
They began doing attendance. When our name was called, we had to walk up to the desk and show them our photo ID to prove that we really are the person who is registered to be writing the exam that day.
Once attendance was complete and everyone was seated in the reception area, they began to call us into the examination room. They did so by calling one trade at a time. When they called hairstylists, myself and a gentleman stood up. When we walked into the room, they instructed us where to sit. I was seated directly in front of him.
Make sure you bring the following 2 items on your exam date:
- Your valid photo ID
- Your receipt of exam payment
What you can bring in the room with you
You can bring most of your personal belongings into the room with you, but just know that you are not allowed to bring your bags and phones to your desk. So be prepared to leave a lot of your valuables at the front of the room and be considerate of which valuables you would like to bring.
What they provide to you
You will be given the following when you are seated:
- A question/answer booklet. You are not allowed to write in this.
- A diagram booklet
- Your Scantron page
- A pencil
- An eraser
- A calculator
- Scrap paper
What you may have at your desk with you
Most personal belongings, such as your bags and cell phones, need to be left at the front of the room.
You are not allowed to use your own calculator.
Fill out both sides of your Scantron sheet
Read the instructions on the Scantron sheet carefully. Fill in the circles correctly.
Make sure you are not accidentally skipping a row when you are answering questions.
Before you start answering questions, make sure you fill out any personal information that they ask of you on the front and back sides of the scantron.
I believe we were permitted only one bathroom break, which would be escorted by an invigilator.
I was given 3 or 4 hours to write my exam. But it’s multiple choice so I was done in an hour and a half. I could see the electricians/mechanics/plumbers in the room crazily punching away on their calculators and writing a bunch of notes down, but I really didn’t need to do that much background work to answer the hairstyling questions.
I hope these little tidbits help you to be better prepared for your exam date so you’re not taken by surprise and can just focus on picking the best answer!
Stay tuned for more exam writing help!