NBDE PART 2
EXAMINATION CONTENT AND TEST PREPARATION MATERIALS
Scope of the Examination
The NBDE Part II is a comprehensive examination. The NBDE Part II is comprised of 500
multiple-choice items, with a discipline-based component and a case-based component.
Examination items are selected by test construction committees composed of subject-matter
experts in accordance with examination specifications approved by the JCNDE.
The American Dental Association Universal/National tooth notation system is used on all
National Board Dental and Dental Hygiene Examinations. This system is a sequential tooth
numbering system, designating the permanent dentition (numbers 1-32), and the primary
dentition (letters A-T).
The NBDE Part II consists of 500 test items. The discipline-based component (Component A)
includes 400 items and the case-based component (Component B) includes 100 items based
on 8-10 case problems.
Discipline-Based Component (400 items)
The test items that comprise the discipline-based component are derived from the following
2. Operative Dentistry
3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery / Pain Control
4. Oral Diagnosis
5. Orthodontics / Pediatric Dentistry
6. Patient Management
Case-Based Component (100 items)
The case-based component of the NBDE Part II presents events dealing with actual patients.
The patient cases are developed to include the following approximate distribution: Adults
(70%), Children (30 %). A minimum of 15 percent of Component B test questions will address
the medical management of compromised adults and children. A compromised patient is
defined as a person whose health status requires modification of standard treatment.
Each case presentation in the examination consists of:
1. synopsis of a patient's health and social histories,
2. patient dental charting,
3. diagnostic radiographs, and
4. clinical photographs of the patient (when necessary).
Each case contains from 10 to 15 questions about various aspects of this patient's dental care.
These questions, totaling 100 for all of the cases, might derive from any of the basic sciences
and clinical disciplines, including Patient Management. The proportion stemming from any
particular discipline depends upon the nature of the case itself. For example, the case of an
elderly adult might be based upon Maxillofacial Surgery / Pain Control, Prosthodontics, and
Operative Dentistry; whereas, a child's case might derive from Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry,
and Patient Management.
In responding to case-based items, the candidate must:
1. Interpret the findings and information provided.
2. Identify the problems and make diagnoses.
3. Select materials, technique, and armamentarium.
4. Apply treatment.
5. Evaluate progress and complications.
6. Establish procedures for prevention and maintenance
Generally taken after your first or second year of dental school (after the basic science curriculum is completed).
Subject areas focus on basic sciences:
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.
Performance is scored as pass/fail
Generally taken during the third or fourth year of dental school.
Subject areas focus on clinical dentistry:
Oral Surgery/Pain Control
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.
Performance is scored as pass/fail
Steps for taking NBDE Part I & II: 1. Read the NBDE Candidate Guide.
Be familiar with the NBDE testing guidelines for each part of the exam. The guides are available on the ADA website (you can also download the PDFs here: Part I and Part II). 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 eligibility" 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. If you didn't receive one when you started dental school, register for one here. 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. Do not wait too long to schedule the test — many students often take these exams around the same time and spaces are limited. Plan ahead to ensure you are able reserve the date you want, especially with Part II which needs to be taken on two consecutive days. Sign up here. Test dates may be rescheduled up to 48 hours in advance. The more notice you give, the less expensive the rescheduling fee will be (i.e. $25 for 31+ business days prior to testing appointment, $100 for one to five business days prior to the testing appointment).
Study Materials & Tips Take Practice Exams: ASDA sells released examinations with actual questions from the NBDE. Time yourself when you take these exams and learn from incorrect answers. It is against NBDE policy to use or distribute unreleased or remembered questions.
Study Tools/Guides: ASDA's 2012-13 Council on Communications developed a list of resources that are available to help you study. ASDA does not endorse any product other than the released examinations for sale in the online store. Members receive a discount on items highlighted in red.
Review Sessions and Study Groups: set these up yourself and bounce thoughts off each other. Being able to explain concepts to others is a great way to learn something.
On test day:
Bring two original, current photo IDs (e.g. driver's license, passport, social security card). The name on your ID must match the name you put on your application.
Know where your test center is and how long it takes to get there.
Wear comfortable clothes.
Nothing can go into the test with you — no cell phones, watches, etc.
Pack a nutritious lunch — you have an optional 1-hour break half-way through the exam.
How long do I have to wait to retest?
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. National Board candidates who have failed the NBDE Part I three times must wait 12 months before retesting. 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 (this does not include testing attempts prior to January 2012). Get more information.
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 Board Dental Examination (INBDE). Are you curious how this will effect you?Read this blog post from ASDA's Mouthing Off. You can also visit the Integrated National Board Dental Exam website.