To tell you the truth I didn't know what to expect. When I walked out of the test hall on July 15th, I was sure I did okay on the Biochem and Dental Anatomy sections, but I felt somewhat uncertain about Micro/Path (had to guess on a number of questions), and REALLY uncertain on the Anatomical Sciences section (had to guess on a LOT of questions).
I'm surprised to have passed them all.
My advice to anyone taking the NBDE I next year: The Dental Decks are NOT detailed enough for Anatomical Sciences and Micro/Path. DO NOT rely on them alone-- Do old tests, review things out of textbooks that are sure to be on the test, like muscles and AVNs of the head and neck.
There is a classmate of mine hanging around these boards -- Griffin04. She probably kicked ass and I imagine she's probably out celebrating.
After the test, I didn't know what to expect in terms of score. And the really long waiting period didn't help either. When I walked out of there, I thought Biochem/Physio was the worst and my scores seem to support that. I was definitely guessing on many questions. It was nothing like the old tests or decks and I don't even know how I would have prepared for that section differently. I had reviewed lots of pathways and reread a good chunk of my biochem notes. I also read a physio review book to brush up b/c I thought my physio was weak. This section was just out of left field, in my opinion. I got an A in both of those classes yet my score doesn't exactly reflect A level knowledge.
Dental Anatomy - did only the decks and old exams and used my articulator and tooth models to make sure I knew and understood everything on the old exams and decks. Then again, I think our school really prepares us well all throughout second year for this section.
Anatomical Sciences - again, did decks and old exams. Looked up all the muscles/nerves/blood vessels listed in the decks in Netters. I felt like this section was sorta like the old exams, but there were more dental applications (for example, how to block certain nerves in giving anesthesia). Also looked up lots of the old questions to see where the wrong answer choices came from and learned a lot of Histo not covered in the decks this way. Read some Neuroanatomy review material and old Neuro notes b/c I didn't really feel like I had mastered this stuff.
Micro/Path - this section definitely had stuff on it I had not seen on the decks or old exams. Besides decks/old exams, I read First Aid for the USMLE (a book all med students use for their boards) and felt it was really good for this section. I recognized a number of facts on the exam that I had only encountered in First Aid and not on the exams/decks. Also looked up incorrect answer choices on the old exams to better learn the questions.
I had also read the Anatomy/Histo/Biochem/Physio sections of First Aid, but I really think the Micro and Path sections were very applicable to the Dental Boards. The other sections were a bit weak for the dental boards, esp Anatomy and Histo.
With the exception of using First Aid, my friends all studied similarly to me (using decks, old exams, and some notes & books) and all scored somewhat similarly - b/w 88 and 92.
The back of the paper lists something about converting the score into a percent but I don't quite understand it. It lists: 87 - 89 as 79% yet a 90 - 92 at like 91%. A 93 - 95 is a 96%. 96 - 98 is 98% and a 99 is 100%. Maybe someone can shed some light on it. Overally, I am cool with my score b/c it is in line with how I have always done in the past on standardized tests - not at the very top, but still a respectable score.
To celebrate, I ordered a chicken finger sub and skipped going to the gym. Now I am at the library reading all the Pharmacology and Oral Mucosal lectures I have slept through the past two weeks. What an ordeal this has been - two more years to go!
Hey there classmate, I knew you'd kick ass. Hell would have frozen over if you didn't, heh heh.
Anyway, that scoring column you were looking at was the Cumulative Percent figures, and I think it tells you what percentage of all the test takers did you do better than. For example, anyone who scored 99 did better than everybody else (100%). Your 93 means you did better than 97.1% of all the test takers.
The Percent column in the middle tells you what percentage of the test takers got the range you are in, for example only 5.9% of all the test takers got a score in your 93-95 range.
"Respectable?!??" It must be hard to be humble. Sorry to tell you this, but you ARE at the top of the pyramid! Sheee-oot, you did better than 97% of all the test-takers.
My class as a whole must have done pretty good on the Part-I. I'm usually in the middle of the bell curve on exam scores here at my school, so my educated guess says my class average would be around a 90, give or take one or two points. I'll find out for sure tommorow.
There are 90+ students in my class and I'm sure a few must have taken a prep course like Kaplan, but I think the majority of us did not. I studied for about 6 weeks for the national boards, out of the Dental Decks and old exams. I should have paid more attention to the old exams and the obvious textbook material (particularly gross anatomy). I readily admit the majority of my class probably did better than me. So I'm a chronic underachiever... I'm just happy I passed heh heh..
nug - our class average was 87.6. The national average was 85.4. Our dean thinks this will put us 6th or 7th nationally when ranking schools by Part I scores. Pretty good for a state school with 92 students in our class. I am very proud of my class.
Most of us studied for about 4 or 5 weeks. We had 5 weeks off prior to the exam, so we treated studying like a job. I took the first week off and then went hard core for the next four weeks right up until the day before the test. I am not aware of anyone taking the Kaplan course in my class. I know of one student who bought the books from someone who had taken the course, but that's all. I also don't know if anyone bought the Q-bank they introduced this year. At least none of my friends and I used anything from Kaplan, and we all earned very respectable scores (between 88 and 95). We mainly focused on the decks, old exams, and reviewing any books/notes as needed.
I think whether or not you use Kaplan depends on how well your school prepares you in the basic sciences. Basic science at our school was pretty intense for dental students since we took most of our classes in the med school.
I may consider using Kaplan for Part II however, b/c I am aware that our school has slipped in Part II performance recently. Whether that is attributed to the school's teaching or the students (who have lost motivation by that point and know they just have to pass the exam with a 75 to graduate) is hard to tell. If you have the time and money go for it, but ask the students at your school what they feel is the way to go
I was just wondering if you are thinking about going into specialty. If so, which field are you interested in? I heard that 95% or better on the board makes you pretty competitive for any program.. would you agree? How much do you think other factors like class rank and recommendations count? Thanks.
I scored a 97 on the boards, and from what I've been told from program directors in Ortho and OMFS, the board score serves as a cutoff to narrow down applicants. Generally, they give priority to >95 on the boards and >3.75 cumulative GPA. Of course there are exceptions to this. Research experience, recommendations etc. come into play once you've made the numbers cut. Anyone else have a different take on this?
Hmmmm....I'm sure the programs would want the best students they could pick, but do you really think all the ortho and oral surgery programs are full of students with 95+ boards and 3.75 gpas? That would be the 250 spots in ortho and oral surgery (a very rough estimate) filled by the #1, 2, and 3 students from the approx. 50 dental schools. Who would be left to do endo programs then? Graduates have usually suggested 90+ on the boards and top 10 class rank for a realistic chance of acceptance in a competitive specialty, but I think you could still apply if you don't meet the "ideal characteristics." B/c it's possible that the 95/3.75 student is just really good at taking exams but has no personality at all - after the interview, you think the program would still want that student?
That's my take on it. I agree with Sanchez - numbers are important for the initial cut, but after that other factors become important such as essay, letters of rec, experiences, interests, and interview. Maybe my 93 score and less than 3.75 won't give me priority at Sanchez's programs, but there are LOTS of programs out there and I'm not afraid to try.
BTW - there are even some competitive GPR programs out there that have board cutoff scores as high as 90+. I read it on the website for one of the Boston area hospitals.
I m just about to join a Advanced Standing program, I scored 94 in part 1 and 91 in part 2. How competitive are these? i could not understand what those percentiles and cumulative frequencies meant.
Some help would be great!
I agree with you both Sanchez and griffin in that I do think realistically some programs do have baseline to cutoff, but I'm sure most programs are open to variety of applicants that may not have scored as well as >95 or >3.75 but are impressive in other ways.
But I have to tell you guys, with your scores (97% and 99%) I say you have a GOOD shot at any program you desire. So be proud, you deserve it.
Now I don't have GPA of >3.75 either, but I am interested in some of the programs that are considered competitive and I want to prepare well for the board part I. So please give me any advice you can give.
I certainly agree with Griffin04...there are always exceptions. If your stats are close to the cutoff level, I'm sure programs would extend consideration depending on the number of positions etc. With regard to preparing for the Part I exam, I believe the best indicator of performance on the exam is the level of achievement when taking the courses in the first place. If you aced all the subjects covered on the boards, you shouldn't have a problem doing well. On the other hand, if you didn't, I'd really focus on reviewing the materials. I'd start out with the dental decks and old examinations. The dental decks are simply an organized review of the old exam questions...so use them concurrently. Then I would hit the individual subject review books...the Lippincott's reviews are pretty good. After completing the subject reviews, I would go back to the old exams and make sure you completely understand the subject matter behind each question and answer choice. This will ensure you fully understand the core material prior to taking the exam. There really aren't any good focused reviews specific for the dental boards out there. You pretty much have to refer to multiple resources and be really organized in your review. It isn't hard to do fairly well on the boards..(a score of 85 is readily attainable with a moderate amount of review). However, if you don't have a solid understanding of the material to begin with, it will be considerably harder to score >90 without some serious studying. I hope what I've written helps...everyone is different though, so determine what works best for you. Good luck.