Exam Experiences of Dental Students

Exam Experiences of Dental Students


What is NBDE? How can I apply? When should I take it?

Exam Experiences of Dental Students

Exam Experiences of Dental Students

Exam Experiences of Dental Students


Find out about the dental students who have their valuable experiences on the Exam.


Exam Experiences of Dental Students



Frequently asked questions will be posted here.

Introduction to the Exam

Let me introduce to the basics of this exam.


NBDE: National Board of Dental Examination

  • NBDE PART 1 
  • NBDE PART 2  

  1. Started in 2012, the NBDE exams are now graded on a PASS/FAIL basis only.  
  2. 75% above is a pass. 
  3. The exam can be taken at any Prometric center in the U.S. 

NBDE Part 1  is a one day exam of 7 hours and consists of 400 multiple choice questions emphasizing basic sciences:     

  • 1. Human Anatomy, Embryology, and Histology  
  • 2. Biochemistry and Physiology  
  • 3. Microbiology and Pathology  
  • 4. Dental Anatomy and Occlusion.

Steps for taking NBDE Part I and 2

1. Read the NBDE Guide by ADA.
Be familiar with the NBDE testing guidelines for each part of the exam. Because of the changes to the exam one should read the guide before taking it. Click below to download the guide. Reviewing it will give you an idea of testing protocol, exam structure and more.

2. Send your eligibility letter to JCDNE.
Either you or your school must send a completed "certification of eligiblity" signed by your dean to the JCDNE office for each NBDE application submitted (there is a different form for Part I and Part II).

3. Obtain your DENTPIN and apply for the exam.
Before you can apply to take NBDE Part I, you must register for a DENTPIN. Once you have it handy, apply for Part I or Part II online.

4. Sign up for a test date.
The tests are administered by Prometric Inc., at Prometric Test Centers. 

Retaking the Exam

According to the JCDNE, you must wait 90 days between examination attempts. You will not receive your eligibility information nor will you be able to contact Prometric to schedule an appointment until the 90 day waiting period is over. Candidates who have received a passing score may not retest unless they provide evidence that they must retest for purposes of licensure. Candidates are limited to successful completion of an examination within five years of testing or five examination attempts, whichever comes first.

Upcoming Changes to NBDE

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) will combine the NBDE Part I and Part II into a singular Integrated National Boards of Dental Examination (INBDE). This exam is in development and scheduled for implementation in 2020.

Attempts and Validity

There are five attempts allowed, the exams don't expire. However, schools prefer them to be within 5 years.

International Dentist Experience

Giving you my tips and experience of my NBDE preparation and Exam day.



 Okay, here I begin with my experience!      

  • As an International dentist I never knew anything about the NBDE exam process; however, I started studying for it. That was my first mistake, so please if you don't know about the process to apply for NBDE Exam I have everything explained on the other page "Steps to Dental licensure." Get an idea of everything that will happen in your life if you are about to start this Exam and also my personal thought about how to begin your process.  


I had started with Dental anatomy and occlusion. Because that was the easiest one I found. In my view, it would be an excellent start for building confidence and interest to study.    

Kaplan got some lecture videos for different subjects. It was easy and interesting to watch a professor teach you instead of you studying all the basics again.    

If you dont have access to Kaplan; there is no need to worry. Just focus on the material which you got. I have some thoughts about the Part 1 materials later down in this section.

As an International dentist, I had to do so many things, like setting up my Dentpin, ECE, Visa, Prometric date. To know the application process for all these things go to the page of applications: "Steps to NBDE exam and DDS." 

Now the time had come so near to my exam. Being in a new place and adjusting to the new environment would be a bit challenging in the beginning. But I wiped off all my thoughts to focus on the last days of my revision.          


  • 6 months of preparation 

(TIP: It's about ones choice of taking enough time. Usually it will take 3-8 months of study. Just think how you have your basics)

  • Group studying  

(TIP: Study with a group it makes you remember a lot.)      

  • Facebook groups     

This is one of the important fuels to crack NBDE. Why I say this because: you will know the repeated questions as you get considerably good amount of them in the test. There are various files (Super Important) in the groups but these files change constantly, you should find which ones are currently important through the recent exam takers.


  • Kaplan Notes (Revised thrice) 
  • Kaplan videos (Watched once) 
  • Dental Decks (Once) 
  • First aid Questions (Few of them) 
  • ASDA released papers (Once) 
  • Wheelers Tooth Morphology (For doubts) 
  • Achland DVD video lectures for anatomy (Once)         


  • I never really felt that I did the right things to pass my exam because I don't know what the right things are. I didn't know how people pass and how much time to dedicate nor the experiences of anyone. I was alone in the world. So I said to myself whatever happens just happens. Let's go.  

(TIP: Do not study I repeat DO NOT study the day before the exam.)            

(TIP: It is a waste of time and energy to do TOEFL in between your test. Finish off part 1 then take TOEFL and apply. If you think you have a weaker profile take part 2 immediately and later go for TOEFL.)    


•I took an egg sandwich and orange juice with me. Although I was super tensed, I kept myself cool!  Beforehand I took two large Snickers for my lunch.    

(TIP 1: Why chocolate? Because your endorphins release when you eat chocolate, also you will have so many calories that will keep your brain to get enough glucose! Buddy, your brain has to work intensely I mean "INTENSELY" for 8hours.)  

•My friend told me that I'm going to do well, I  felt relaxed, and he dropped me near the Prometric center. I wasn't very anxious because I already saw the place before, so I was bit relaxed and went inside.   

(TIP 2: Always see your exam place beforehand, because your anxious level increases in new places.)     

•When I entered, there was a guy who wished me and pulled out the paper to see my name in it. When he asked for Identifications that is two ID cards! I had my passport and my country govt. ID Card but there was no signature of mine on that, so he asked me another, so I gave my drivers licence. Then he let me go in.    

(TIP 3: Always carry proper ID's and two of them, Passport/US drivers license and Bank credit card with your signature on the back.)  

•The second entrance I found a lady who was checking my id's and filling my details in and took my biometrics (finger scanning) then she told me details about my breaks.   

(TIP 4: I know some people have a small bladder and pee extra times, don't worry you can take your ID and go out to the restroom but you can't access any of your lockers.)     

•Completely forgot, you get a locker before you enter, and can store your phone,food and other stuff.      

•Final stage I was into a room of computers I didn't find anyone there LOL!  I sat in the chair, and every emotion is in my head and running down till my finger tips. I was thinking that the five years of experience in dental field is going to be decided on this day!    

(TIP 5: Take a deep breath for some time and also before starting draw the Universal system of tooth numbering, occlusion relationship and side view for working and nonworking movements on the sheet they have given you. It would help you save a lot of time while working on questions.)     

•Started my exam; I didn't understand so many questions! Some of them were out of biology.(I thought so) What the fuck? Am I going to fail this?      

•I can't handle myself if I fail this test. I kept myself cool and answered whatever I could grab and guessed if I didn't know the answer. So that, I could quickly move to next question and keep my time proper for the rest of the exam.    

(TIP 6: Keep a note on timing one minute one question is the appropriate way to ace this test.)     

•Got a break to relax! Every person had a different exam in the prometric center. I was watching people around me. But realized, I should be prepared for the other half of the exam.  I almost fell sleep during my break time. That relaxed me and prepared for second half of the test. Even though it felt ok, my mind is not accepting for one more round of stress! Stressful isn't it?

(TIP 7: Too tired or having a headache just sleep for a couple of minutes, you don't know how relaxing this would be. you will be up again like a racehorse.)      

•Started with my other half of the test.      

•Felt happy that I had completed my test successfully but I was wondering, will I pass this one?       

•I had no confidence that I'll pass! I don't know what and how to say to my parents if I fail. Things ran in my mind, but wait a minute did I just finish the exam, yeah! My body went in the state of euphoria.   

(TIP  8: Don't over think how you did and find answers and stuff, it's done you can't go in to change the answers right? so just wait for other 20 days.)     

•I had different plans that I kept on postponing because of this exam. 

Now it's time that I dedicate time for my family and friends. They are the ones who supported me so much. "Go out and have fun" was my motto for few days.


Will get back to you on frequently asked questions.