You've almost become a Dental Assistant, so don't give up now. You been through elementary, grade school, high school and maybe some post secondary education. You've completed theoretical and clinical studies approved by an NDAEB recognized program . . . you can almost touch that certificate. Highlighted below are seven important things you can do to prep for and ace your NDAEB exam.
- Start your exam day off right - This tips sounds simple but there is much more to it. It actually starts the night before. Ensure you get a good night sleep. In order to do that, go to bed early and avoid alcohol or caffeine 2 hours prior to sleeping. I would avoid alcohol the entire day before since you'll probably be practicing some sample exam questions or reviewing flashcards. When you get up, eat a breakfast that will keep you full for the duration of the exam. Avoid sugary menu items like donuts or muffins that may make you feel sluggish come 10 a.m.
- Arrive Early - Plan to show up at 8:30 am. This will give you some extra time should you get stuck in traffic or if the exam room changes last minute and you're redirected to another building or floor (this has happened to me before). Pack your 2 HB pencils, photo ID, and letter of admission the night before.
- Types of Questions - the Candidate Handbook tells you that you'll face stand alone items, vignettes and matching item questions. This information describes the format of the multiple choice questions (MCQs), but doesn't tell you what you need to do. What most MCQs are asking you to do is to either: 1) Recall (knowledge), 2. Application (comprehension and application), 3. Critical thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation). So, don't try to 'wing it' and think that you can critically think your way out of all questions. You need a good foundation of knowledge and comprehension too.
- Watch out for MCQs Tricks - One common trick is when the exam writer is given a double negative. This can confuse you and waste valuable exam time. For instance, “Was the Dental Assistant not unfamiliar with the customer's chart?” Try to interpret such questions in a positive way - “Was the Dental Assistant familiar with the customer's chart?” Another helpful tip is to answer the questions without glancing at the options. On you have the answer in your head, look at the possible answers and match it up.
- Follow the syllabus - Sometime, examinees deviate and study literature that is not covered in the exam. Match the Exam Scope (called the Domain Description in the Candidate Handbook) to the different sections in your 3 textbooks and don't waste time on chapters or material that is not covered.
- Move On - The NDAEB Written Exam is a timed exam. If you don't understand a question move on and come back later. Other questions further along may spark the answer of the question that you skipped. Simply put a mark beside the question and return later in the exam.
- Practice Sample Questions - having the ability to practice sample questions will help you do a couple of things. Firstly, it will help you pace yourself though the 4-hour NDAEB exam. Secondly, it will help you to identify sections of the exam scope where you need to study more. This is critical to learn before the exam rather than in the exam.
If you have written the NDAEB exam and would like to suggest an improvement to this page, please visit our contact page above and we will gladly update this page so that it can contain the best and most useful tips from past writers.
For more information about how to pass the NDAEB exam in Canada, feel free to check out our Dental Exam Prep Course, which is filled with lots of great tips, helpful advice and a full practice exam with solutions. Happy studying!