One of the most challenging exams that gauge your qualifications to practice dentistry is the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE). After you’ve passed it, you’re on your way to taking your regional licensing exam. The NBDE is divided into two tests, and both Parts I and II must be passed in order to receive your clinical license:
- Generally taken after your first or second year of dental school (after the basic science curriculum is completed).
- Structured as a one-day exam: 400 questions to be completed in seven hours with 20% being grouped into testlets with interdisciplinary focus and clinical application.
- Subject areas focus on basic sciences:
- Anatomic Science
- Dental Anatomy/Occlusion
- Generally taken during the third or fourth year of dental school.
- Structured as a two-day exam: 400 questions to be completed in seven hours on the first day; 100 case-based questions to be completed in three and a half hours on the second day.
- Subject areas focus on clinical dentistry:
- Operative Dentistry
- Oral Surgery/Pain Control
- Orthodontics/Pediatric Dentistry
- Oral Pathology/Radiology
- Patient Management
NBDE Part I & II are Pass/Fail
Until January 2012, numerical scores were reported with indication of a passing or failing grade. Now, performance is only scored as pass/fail.
For more information about study tips and instructions for registering, see ASDA’s NBDE page for more information about the exam.