January 6, 2018
Hi everyone!!
Let’s all of us Believe in the saying:-
“Even the word IMPOSSIBLE says I’M POSSIBLE!“
Myself Sehar @dentabest.com, an online tutor for NBDE for last 6 years.

My blog is dedicated to all those hardworking foreign trained dentists (NBDE international students) who are trying their best to get licensed for practicing dentistry in the USA.

The Journey is not very simple but motivation with persistence is the key to success!!

I’m writing this in an attempt to make things simple for all those students who are trying to find some vital information on the NBDE part 1 exam.

My Students:

Being a foreign trained dentist myself, I cleared my US NBDE exams in 2012 and since then started online tutoring, teaching students of different spectrum ranging from fresh out of the school dental graduate to 50 years old students with a desire still need to be fulfilled.

My students are stay at home mommies, working students, students from American dental schools, professionals from healthcare and may others, all trying to realize their dream to pass NBDE exam.

The NBDE Exam:

The NBDE exam is conducted by JCNDE (Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations).

Best thing about NBDE exam USA is that it is conducted almost everyday of the year and that gives lots of flexibility to the students to choose the NBDE exam date as per their convenience.

Preparation for NBDE part 1 examination is the first step towards your journey to practice as a dental surgeon in the US.

Please go through the ADA website thoroughly before you start your journey.
Link is right here

Note: Please refer to the ada site directly for most up to date information on the exam. (www.ada.org)

The structure of the NBDE exam

The NBDE part1 exam is conducted on one day.

It’s a 7 hours exam, with 400 questions divided into two sessions of 3.5 hours each. Each session having 200 randomly based questions from all 6 disciplines of exam grouped into 4 sections. Each section has approximately 100 questions.

    The NBDE part1 sections are:
  1. Human anatomy
  2. Biochemistry and physiology
  3. Microbiology and pathology
  4. Dental anatomy & occlusion

Preparing and Planning for the exam:

This saying may be cliched, but I repeat - “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”!
    NBDE part 1 Study plan and schedule depends on three factors:
  1. Amount of hours you can spend each day in studying.
  2. Do you already have the exam booked?
  3. What’s your retention level of basic sciences?

Students who are working may need more hours for preparation as most of their day is spent outside and just get few hours in front of books. If this is your case, consider this factor while booking your exam as you might need a couple of months more to prepare. On an average a student takes 4-6 months but this time is extended in working students and shortened in students who are focusing only on this exam.

Decided to take the exam… but where to start!

    So let’s start now and note the steps needed to be followed:
  1. Send your dental school transcripts and degree certificate to ECE and get your GPA scoring done. https://www.ece.org/ECE

  2. The big Date - a word of caution!
  3. Once you get your ECE evaluation done, it’s a time to think that what is the date to give this NBDE exam.
    Be careful while taking this step of booking exam as once you fill your online application and pay the fees and send it to JCNDE, you are going to get the eligibility code.
    Once you have the code ,there is going to be only 6 months to appear for this exam, so watch out!!

  4. Gather Information! (It is even better to start this process in parallel to the first step mentioned, this will help evaluate your preparation and schedule for the exam).
  5. Go online, join some social groups to understand the level of exam and what all materials would be needed to prepare for this exam.

Study Materials:

    *Best Nbde part 1 study Materials are :
  • First aid for NBDE part 1(latest edition )
  • Dental decks (latest )
  • Kaplan dent essentials (3rd or 4th edition)
  • ASDA released exams
  • Kaplan q banks/subscription

First aid book I find very good in all subjects except the biochemistry (metabolic pathways chapter), micro being little brief than it should be and definitely occlusion section is not upto the mark.
Kaplan book for NBDE study material is a must when it comes to biochem metabolic pathways and microbiology section much more in details and explained as per the difficulty level of exam.
I came across many blogs on NBDE and read their suggestions of referring even dental school text books for preparation.
I personally, I’m not very much in favour of it and highly recommend using only the books that are meant specifically for this exam with purpose to stay more more focussed on NBDE exam pattern.

*I’m not paid by publishers of any of these books, my opinions and recommendations made here are from my own personal experience and from teaching others.

Study tips:

  1. Make a time table and study at least 6-8 hrs daily in starting stage of NBDE exam preparation.
  2. Number of hours would increase to 14-16 hrs as you approach closer to exams.
  3. Always start the subject which is easiest to you as it will give you a good head start once you finish that subject easily within few weeks and get it out of your way.
  4. Start your prep with DD and first aid but definitely you need to augment your prep using Kaplan dent essential especially for metabolic pathways of biochemistry as well as systemic microbiology.
  5. Just going through once might not be sufficient, so you definitely need to revise 3 times for all the study material to make it thorough.
  6. Practicing the questions is as important as studying subject content. In my personal opinion both ASDA papers and Kaplan q bank are very rich sources for a good practice phase of NBDE exam preparation.
  7. I advice my students to truly dedicate last 10 days before exams in only practicing as many Questions as possible to gain confidence !
  8. Appear for mock exams:
    I like “Crack the NBDE “for NBDE part 1 Q bank preparation. Try to take at least 3-4 full length mock exams and target for best scores .
  9. A day before exam just relax your mind and body with plenty of sleep so that you can wake up fresh on the day of exam.

So here you are,
All set to achieve your goal and cross this obstacle of NBDE part 1 exam.

Hope you find my this blog helpful.
If you find it too long, remember always that “there are no shortcuts to success “

Please feel free to drop any comments .

I Wish all the students very best of luck!!
Sincerely hope all dreams turn out into a great reality !!