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THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

Preparing for the NBDE I

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Well…I just finished taking the NBDE I just two weeks ago. The exam was certaintly difficult but mostly I am just feeling relieved to be done with it. It took a lot of hard work and preparation to get ready for it. At the University of Washington School of Dentistry, we have blocks called the “Foundations” that are supposed to prepare us to take the board exam. Each block covers a different body system. For example, we had one block called “Lifecycle and Reproduction”, another block called “Blood and Cancer”, and another block called “Cardiac, Pulmonary, and Renal”. Each of these “Foundations” classes goes into extensive detail on the topic, preparing us to answer any sort of question we may get. What is nice about these block classes is that we were divided into small groups to discuss all the topics. This allowed us to get more one-on-one help with certain topics and to feed off of each other’s knowledge. These classes served as a fundamental base for my board prep. We spent 1.5 years in these “Foundations” classes where I learned all the topics covered on the board exam. Then, in the summer before taking my board exam (I took it in December), I began additional preparation of my own. This consisted of reading the First Aid and Mosby NBDE I prep books…EVERY page of it! I also went through the Dental Decks and anytime I got a question that I didn’t know, I wrote it down so that I could come back to it later. Writing down certain facts that I don’t know really helps me to learn it…It may take more time to do this, but it definitely works for me! By the time the beginning of November rolled around, I had finished reading both textbooks and going through every question in the Dental Decks. The next month and a half consisted of just doing research. I would think of a certain topic that I knew I was pretty weak in and I would consult many different resources to learn all about that topic. For example, I knew I was missing every question involving the gastrointestinal system in the Dental Decks, so I took a few days to research it on my own. Besides doing that, I actually took the last month pretty calmly….I had been studying for months already and I didn’t want to psych myself out, so I actually didn’t do too much studying that last month…plus I had final exams for class to worry about at that time…This was pretty different than what a lot of my peers did…I know some people who told me that they didn’t start studying until after we finished final exams and only two weeks before taking the boards!!! Whatever works I guess! On testing day, I would recommend to stay calm and don’t study at all that day! It’s not going to help. Just relax, believe in yourself, and just be glad that in a few short hours it will all be over! And when it is, do what I did and go out and celebrate afterwards! You deserve it!