You can sit for the test in FL before having an application approved??
Yes, you can sit for the exam prior to your application being reviewed by the Florida Electrical Contractors Licensing Board. However, if you lack the proper credtials, experience, credit, net worth, good moral character, your will not be approved and you will not get a license, just because you passed the exams.
Some people like to take the county exam as a preperation for the state exam. I took the Alabama State Electrical Contractors Exam, prior to my Florida State Electrical Contractors exam as a preperation and to pick up an additional license.
Your point is valid though, if you have a license in a large metro county, like Dade, Broward or Palm Beach, a State license don't gain you much, except for saving you a little money and the right to do alarm work. Also, you are never subject to the competency requirements of the local jurisdictions. Which I'm told can be a real headache in other parts of the State. I heard a real horror story about taking a registered electrical contractor's license from Seminole County to Orange County.
Maybe a Registered Electrical Contractor out there, will be kind enough to share a story about reciprocity....