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Preparing for The NBDE Part 1 Exam

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There are excessive amounts of NBDE Part 1 review materials available to students. The most common materials are online review courses, digital flash cards, and the Dental Board Mastery App. Other resources include the NBDE Part 1 Secrets, Mosby’s NBDE Part 1, Dental Essentials by Kaplan, and previous copies of the exam from the ASDA website.

This is just a short list of what is available to us. You must determine how you want to learn the extensive amounts of material and what style of learning is best for you. It is also important to ask around and see what has worked for other students.

How Did I Pick Which Resource to Use?

The first thing that drew me in was how successful the materials are with my peers. Online review courses have had amazing success rates for WVU students. Many of my peers had no issues with the exam, so I knew online review courses will help me dominate the NBDE Part I.

The two principle materials I will be using are online review courses and digital flash cards. If you want an “all around” great resource for studying and guiding you through your preparation, online review courses are, in my experience, the best material.

For example, courses developed by B&B Dental have a “trifecta” overlay that has all the content we need: all released board questions incorporated and flash cards to make studying easy. The course is developed to study at your own pace within four weeks, but can be completed in as little as one week. I chose B&B because they have the most concise and comprehensive material available.

The digital flash cards are good for “passive” studying. You can pick flash cards from a set of more than 1,000 and go through them at your leisure.

How I Handle Classes and Studying for The NBDE Part I

Currently, I am in the most hectic semester in dental school, preparing to take the NBDE Part 1 in the summer. The best habit I have used to study is preparation. I set aside about two to three hours per day to prepare and review for exams.

I attempt to rank classes by priority. For example, a Pathology exam with new material takes a higher focus versus an Ortho exam that mostly requires review. I will give the Pathology exam the greatest priority. The greatest part about this method for the NBDE Part 1 is that the online review courses have in some ways already done this. They did the research and came up with the “Big 5” and the high-yield questions so that students know what subjects they should study first.

Scheduling Is Key

I highly recommend setting up a schedule to tackle the hours of studying. I will be setting aside three weeks to prepare for the exam. The first two weeks, for about four hours per day, I will go through the online review courses, videos, and flash cards. The third week is set aside to finish any material I did not get through and review.

I recommend also putting yourself around a good group of people to help you with studying and get you through dental school as a whole. I have a close group of friends that get along great, and I am fortunate to have them by my side throughout all the stresses of dental school.

Lastly, do not forget to have some fun! Set aside time for yourself to enjoy what you love. For example, I signed up for a golf scramble right in the middle of the three weeks I will be studying for the NBDE Part 1 in order to relieve some stress.

That’s how I am preparing for the NBDE Part I. How are you preparing?


Further Reading

Preparing for the NDBE Part I

Beating the NBDE with This New Mobile App

Board Studying Strategies