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bigdental

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To all you D1+, what have been your experiences with the types of exams given in dental school? How do they compare with undergrad exams/midterms...
 

3rdMolarRoller

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There is no comparison! The level of detail they ask is unreal...and its not detail for a few things but 100's of things. I remember hearing that after your first year of dental school you will learned 10,000 new facts!

Now remembering them is another story...
 

aphistis

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Originally posted by Brocnizer2007
There is no comparison! The level of detail they ask is unreal...and its not detail for a few things but 100's of things. I remember hearing that after your first year of dental school you will learned 10,000 new facts!

Now remembering them is another story...
Ditto. You can't even compare. It's like asking the difference between a high school homework assignment and a college final.
 
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I visited a dent school this week and talked with some D1-D4s, and according to them, although the exams are absolutely horrible, there is no homework assigned (or there's a little bit and it's trivial): that is, all you do is prepare for exams.

This was music to my ears, especially since in grad school the homeworks first year would take us 40 hours per week easily, and then studying for exams was on top of all that.

For me, preparing for dental school exams will be very tough because of the amount of detail you're expected to know, but I think it's a much more pleasant way to do things than to have tons of homework to worry about.

It's arguable, of course, that having homework sets due and having exams just as frequently are equivalent situations, but I think I'd like the frequent exams better.

I dunno; that's just me. :D
 

aphistis

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Originally posted by trypmo
I visited a dent school this week and talked with some D1-D4s, and according to them, although the exams are absolutely horrible, there is no homework assigned (or there's a little bit and it's trivial): that is, all you do is prepare for exams.

This was music to my ears, especially since in grad school the homeworks first year would take us 40 hours per week easily, and then studying for exams was on top of all that.

For me, preparing for dental school exams will be very tough because of the amount of detail you're expected to know, but I think it's a much more pleasant way to do things than to have tons of homework to worry about.

It's arguable, of course, that having homework sets due and having exams just as frequently are equivalent situations, but I think I'd like the frequent exams better.

I dunno; that's just me. :D
My experience is the same as the people you talked to; all exams, no homework. There's lab work, too, of course.
 

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once i was able to get a copy of an exam from some dental school online. i just remember doing a search for it on yahoo and somehow i was looking at a 25 page microbio exam from some detanl school.


i had just finished my midterm exam for mico in undergrad and so it was very interesting to see this exam online. i tried doing the test and failed it i think.:laugh:


seriously, it was like 25 pages long and the type of questions asked was unbelieveable.
 

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I thought the consensus was that undergrad was more difficult than dental school??
 

3rdMolarRoller

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Originally posted by Dentaldream
I thought the consensus was that undergrad was more difficult than dental school??
No way!

Not only is the material more intense...imagine taking 28 credits in one term!!!
 

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ugrad is cake compared to dental school.

In ugrad you can wake up late, skip class without worry, never study till 2 days before the exam, or the night before, whenever. You can stay up till 4 shooting the sh** with your buddies, and you won't feel guilty about it. You can take 20 credits and have class only 3 days a week, and those 20 credits really feel like 10.

In dental school, you wake up at 6 am to get to class by 8, or wake up at 7 to get there by 9. You get out of class/school at 5, but sometimes you have lab work to do, so you don't leave for home till 8...PM! You study an hour - 3 hours a night. You constantly feel like you're missing some minor detail, but it's really not that big a deal.

In the end, your 5 or 9 classes during that semester come out to be 40 hours of in class time plus study time on the side. With operative or gross anatomy type classes, you're looking at 50-80 hours of work per week.

How's that easier than ugrad? Now, the material isn't harder. It's the fact that you learn so damn much in so little time. Time management is the name of the game.

That given, exams are not harder than ugrad if you know what the heck to do. Learn what you'll be tested on, and you'll pass. Not much effort is really needed to pass. All that is asked for a passing grade is to keep up with the material and make sure you pay attention to what the prof is asking for...if you go to lecture. Lecture attendance isn't mandatory at all schools, but it is recommended.

To get an A, you pretty much have to be a machine. Scoring big on exams here is much harder than ugrad because of the amount of material you learn. Again, it isn't content that's hard.

For an example, I will use gross anatomy, supposedly the hardest class the first year (though, I find others harder). One exam question will be what is the embryologic origin of this tagged structure? This type of question does two things. (1) You need to know what the heck you're looking at first! It isn't as simple as it sounds. You CANNOT touch it, move it, or manipulate it in any way. Sometimes the prof will place the arm or body in an odd configuration as to throw off your set points of reference. (2) You need to remember what pharyngeal arch, pouch, embryologic tissue, etc this structure came from. And trust me, they have so many overlapping names and there are so many stages in embryo dev that it makes this a pain.

This is only one question in which you have 1 min to answer. Keep in mind that you have had other questions before this one, and you may have needed to think back to other questions that you couldn't answer in their respective minutes. You can't walk back to your previous questions, so you need to make sure you noted it well on your answer sheet or retained the question in your head clearly. A lot of students felt that there was an overwhelming amount of info.

This is the general rule for most classes in dental school. It's just scary in retrospect when you look at how much you learned in the previous two weeks. It defintely eclipses anything you learn in ugrad.

ADD:
Oh yeah, I forgot to add the fact that exams in dental school typically come at your like stormy waves. You setup well for one, and you finish with that wave, but prepping for the next wave takes more effort. Or, you don't get to setup for the next one well enough and it just pounds you over and over and over. Soon enough, you start wishing for a vacation, and a three day weekend ends up being the best thing since sliced bread. And this is only from my D1 experience. 2nd year is a stronger storm of waves, I'm told.
 

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I think for the most part the material in dental school is easier than in my undergrad experience (both at the same school). The challenging thing about dental school is the volume of work, which is a change from undergrad. But for the most part (there are exceptions of course), the courses are easier because they don't have as much time to get really in depth. For example, my biochem class in undergrad was much more difficult than in dental school, it went into much more detail and we had the class more so we had more time to get into things.

There's nothing about dentistry that is that hard to understand conceptually. It certainly is a lot to learn, but there isn't much that you have to read five times to grasp. Compare this to say, an upper level chemistry or physics class, where sometimes things are very abstract and conceptually difficult to understand.
Again, there are of course exceptions, but this is just my thoughts on your question.
 

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Originally posted by DcS
I think for the most part the material in dental school is easier than in my undergrad experience (both at the same school). The challenging thing about dental school is the volume of work, which is a change from undergrad. But for the most part (there are exceptions of course), the courses are easier because they don't have as much time to get really in depth. For example, my biochem class in undergrad was much more difficult than in dental school, it went into much more detail and we had the class more so we had more time to get into things.

There's nothing about dentistry that is that hard to understand conceptually. It certainly is a lot to learn, but there isn't much that you have to read five times to grasp. Compare this to say, an upper level chemistry or physics class, where sometimes things are very abstract and conceptually difficult to understand.
Again, there are of course exceptions, but this is just my thoughts on your question.
The majority recently graduated dentists I have talked to say basically the same thing. Dental School moves alot faster than undergrad, so your long-term memory doesn't have to be as good. You memorize like crazy, get tested, and move on. Correct me if I'm wrong d-school students.
 
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aphistis

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Dental school is much more difficult simply *because* of the volume involved. I'm in with everyone saying undergrad was a cakewalk.
 

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By volume do you also mean that it is more detailed? I am under the impression it is just like undergrad courses(in level of detail) but rushed. So dental school is a 4 yr cram session?:confused:
 

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Originally posted by blankguy
By volume do you also mean that it is more detailed? I am under the impression it is just like undergrad courses(in level of detail) but rushed. So dental school is a 4 yr cram session?:confused:
It will be both. Way more detail and way more volume. Just wait until you get to anatomy
 

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I'll add other different subtopics of dental school exams. Although much have said/discussed about the level of difficulty in dental school exams, but not much have said about the format or the frequency of dental exams.

FORMAT:

Majority of our exam questions are multiple choice questions, I'd say about 95% of all our exams in all of our courses. Courses such as:

Biochem
Micro
Physio
Neuro
Dental courses (Ortho, Oral Surgery, Operatives, etc.)
[in some dental course exams, you'll have to identify slides and/or radiographs on projectors and select the correct multiple choice on the exam (courses such as Radiology, Oral Histo, etc.)]

The remainder 5% are made up of the following:

Fill-in the blanks: Courses such as:
(identifying labelled/tagged speciments and write your answer(s) down on the answer sheet)

Gross Anatomy lab practical/exam
Histology lab practical/exam

True/False and Double T/F questions:

A lot of our exam questions are "Double True/False multiple choice" questions! I've never seen this question format before until I got here to Nova Dental! Here an example of a "Double True/False" question:

1) I am addicted to SDN. SDN is very helpful in finding out info to many US dental schools.

a) Both statements true
b) Both statements false
c) First statement true, second statement false
d) First statement false, second statement true

All of our exams in the dental courses, you can expect this type of question! Essentially, it's two T/F questions fused into one T/F question, which means you really need to know your sh!t. As we all know about T/F questions, one little key word can throw the entire question off track!

Actual exam question example: (from Removable Prosthodontics)

1) When carving the gingival margins of the wax denture, the maxillary canine gingival margin is the highest (most apical) in the maxillary arch. The maxillary lateral incisor gingival margin is the lowest (most occlusal) in the maxillary arch.

a) Both statements true
b) Both statements false
c) First statement true, second statement false
d) First statement false, second statement true

Imagine having 30 of these type of questions out of a 50 question exam, man, it's no fun, I tell ya!

In my close to two years of dental school, we've only had ONE essay question in one of our exam. That was in Occlusion final exam. ONLY ONE TIME, that's it! I don't believe essay question exams are common at all in dental schools!

FREQUENCY:

Well, what can I say? Remember in undergrad, you have a final exam week? And during that week, you'll only have about 4 or 5 finals at most? Well, dental school is NOT like that! Dental schools have two major exam frequency formats:

1) Exam Blocks - where you have all of your exams together within a week or two of time (no classes, just 15-20 exams in a row). Some exam blocks will even schedule on Saturday mornings!

2) Exams through out the semester - where exams are spread out through the semester. For example, you'll have like 20 exams within 6 weeks of time, at least two exams a week for 6 weeks. You still have classes to attend on top of exams being scheduled!

Needless to say, the frequency of examination in dental school make undergrad final exam week look like a warm up during a football game!

This may sound horrible or crazy, but you all will get through it. Your brain will go into this robotic super mode after test after test and you'd be amazed and surprised how the hell you got through that all! Couple of things will make dental exams easier to handle or more manageable:

1) old exams (exam banks, upper classmen, etc.)
2) enjoy your free time, when you do have them
3) reviews given by course directors and/or faculty prior to exams dates (this is super helpful, half of the time, our faculty cites the actual exam questions word of word during the review)

Alright, I've written enough...
 
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the big wand

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a) Both statements true
b) Both statements false
c) First statement true, second statement false
d) First statement false, second statement true
We have one more option to choose from on our exam. e) Both statements are true, but the 2nd one does not explain the 1st.
 

ItsGavinC

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Originally posted by Dentaldream
I thought the consensus was that undergrad was more difficult than dental school??
I agree with this statement in part.

In terms of sheer amount of hours required, I probably put in more during undergrad. But like a previous poster mentioned, most of this was due to homework. Also, I was an English major, so at any given time I probably had 2 or 3 major papers (15+ pages) in the works.

Also, the subject matter in undergrad was generally more difficult. That is, with many of the classes I found that the material really was a sticking point for me. I, for one, found understandiung physics to be difficult. I also found some upper-level calculus classes to be difficult.

I have yet to come across any difficult stuff in dental school (with the exception of our cardiopulmonary module). Mostly it's just TONS of facts that need to be memorized. The concepts behind all of it haven't been difficult at all. I mean, there isn't anything rough about learning occlusion, it just has to be learned.

So dental school is difficult in it's own right, but it isn't the kind of "difficult" that I dealt with in undergrad. It's the "learn millions of facts and then be tested on the 25 you didn't have time to memorize" type of difficult.

:D
 

the big wand

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For me, anything involved calculations is easy. You just memorize the important equations and then you're done. You apply the equations to whatever scenarios are given.

Medical science courses are very different and require memorization all the time. Pharmacology is bad; all those long wierd hard-to-pronounce names....

I found that our exam questions are very clinical. Most of them are case scenarios and we are supposed to come up with a diagnosis/treatment for each scenario. It's not just memorization, but also your ability to synthesize a conclusion based on numerous facts.

The following questions are of the clinical type (I made them up; they're not very good, but you get the idea).

Case 1: Mr. David Spleet, a 70-year-old man, arrives in the Emergency Room. On physical examination, heart rate is 85bpm. No abnormal heart sounds, and no history of short of breath or chest pain. No family history of congenital heart diseases. The JVP is at 3cm above the sternal angle. His left arm pressure is 110/80 and right arm pressure is 60/40. He does not smoke or have any history of TB or hypertension. What's the most likely etiology? Or, what's the next step to confirm the diagnosis? Answer: aortic dissection; echocardiogram/CT scan.

Case 2: David Small, a 15-year-old teenager, came to your clinic and complained about his high-pitched voice and lack of body/facial hair. When he was asked about his family history, it revealed that his mother had her menarhe at age 14 and his father had a history of short stature during his teenage years. What's the most likely diagnosis? Answer: he's healthy; no medical treatment is required.
 

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I think undergrad was actually harder because it was the first time I was really exposed to any sciences.
Again, it's the volume that gets you, not so much the detail or the difficulty of the course. In undergrad, they make you memorize stupid tiny details. I really don't see that anymore in dental school. You basically know what you need to study and don't have to memorize a whole book like in undergrad.
 

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Volume is definately the worst part. I went to two schools for my undergrad and one was way harder than the other. I think DS falls in between the two in terms of difficult tests. I find DS to not be as challenging having already received a solid science base in undergrad. When learning some hard science for the first time in undergrad it was a lot of work but everything makes sense and fits together when I learn it now. The other thing that makes it more difficult is everyone is very competitive. In undergrad I could get an 85 on a test and with the curve I woulld have the high, not so in DS for the most part.
 

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You take 28 units per term in dental schools, but how many of you took 28 units per term in your undergrad school? It's almost impossible, isn't it? So it's not accurate to say that undergrad material is easier.
 
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DcS

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Originally posted by tropicalwind
You take 28 units per term in dental schools, but how many of you took 28 units per term in your undergrad school? It's almost impossible, isn't it? So it's not accurate to say that undergrad material is easier.

What does the number of credits have to do with the difficulty of the material? Doesn't make any sense.
 

the big wand

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Learn more, but less time to review/study. Even worse, if the materials are also difficult.
 
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I would say that, overall, dental school tests are more difficult with respect to volume of material covered and even details. However, I find the format MUCH easier than undergrad tests. At my college, almost all exams were essay format, whereas dental school tests are all MC or TF. At least you have a chance if you don't know the answer!
Also, I've found that in dental school the profs are more generous with giving points back on tests and/or curving the results. Plus, we have taken several sciences with optometry students, and in our case, they have definitely "helped the curve."
If you're okay with making B's, dental school can be a lot of fun, and a social life is very possible. If you absolutely must make straight A's, good luck, but don't get bitchy with me when you stress yourself out 24/7.
 

the big wand

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Study with optometry students? Lucky you.....we study with medical students. :oops: Our exams are mostly clinical questions, based on real patients of those instructors. The class averages are always high, but usually meds are beaten by us. :p

I think when one judges the level of difficulty, the time and volume are important factors. Material in this context is not so critical. Everything is easy, as long as one is given enough time. I would say DAT is absolutely easy. What's so hard about it? Everyone can get 30 out of 30. It's hard because you have to answer a certain number of questions in a specified time. What's hard about a term paper? It's hard because people tend to write it in the last minutes when final exams are imminent; no wonder it's hard. So much about my junky philosophy....:p
 

tinker bell

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I just want to remind you guys. Number of units can be very irrelevant or misleading to the time that you have to spend studying.
For ex, at my school, histology is 4 unit, but I spend less time studying it than studying for the occlusion class, which is 1 unit.
And 6 units of anatomy is such a time consuming class, while 6 units of microbiology was a breeze.

And the restorative lab is one unit. And it has like 2 practicals, and one written final. However, the time I spend practicing each week range some where from 5-10hrs.

Don't be fooled by the number of unit. Look at the actual content of the schedule, and the professors too.
 

UNLV OMS GUNNABE

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Originally posted by tropicalwind
You take 28 units per term in dental schools, but how many of you took 28 units per term in your undergrad school? It's almost impossible, isn't it? So it's not accurate to say that undergrad material is easier.
I don't think you should comment until you have been able to experience it yourself to compare.
 

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OMS Wanabe,
I responded to a previous post mentioning taking 28 units per term in dental school. I mean a coursework of 28 units is huge no matter where you take it, undergrad or dental school. Of course, I believe dental school is more difficult with respect to volume of material covered. But I know some of my undergrad courses are very difficult. When I showed my molecular bio and biochem exams to my brother, a DS2 at UCLA, he shook his head wondering why my profs made those exams so hard. In my undergrad biochem, we also had a big research project in which we had to design our own experiment, (our prof said only technicians read a given instruction or procedure. Scientists don't; they make one). The prof hoped we could publish our paper at the time.
OMS Wanabe,
I think I'll choose UNLV. I don't know if they are going to send me info on housing. When do you think I should start looking for an apt?
 

UNLV OMS GUNNABE

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Originally posted by tropicalwind
OMS Wanabe,
I responded to a previous post mentioning taking 28 units per term in dental school. I mean a coursework of 28 units is huge no matter where you take it, undergrad or dental school. Of course, I believe dental school is more difficult with respect to volume of material covered. But I know some of my undergrad courses are very difficult. When I showed my molecular bio and biochem exams to my brother, a DS2 at UCLA, he shook his head wondering why my profs made those exams so hard. In my undergrad biochem, we also had a big research project in which we had to design our own experiment, (our prof said only technicians read a given instruction or procedure. Scientists don't; they make one). The prof hoped we could publish our paper at the time.
OMS Wanabe,
I think I'll choose UNLV. I don't know if they are going to send me info on housing. When do you think I should start looking for an apt?
I don't know if you saw my earlier post but in it I alluded to the fact that I believe many of my undergrad classes were harder than ones in DS. I agree with you wholeheartedly. As far as housing goes the sooner the better, but don't worry, there is no shortage of housing.
Good luck.
 
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THS

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I thought the consensus was that undergrad was more difficult than dental school??
I may be the only one that can understand where you're coming from. The hardest part is getting into dental school, without a doubt. But once you're in, you could (I don't recommend it, but you could) make strait C's in your sleep and still get through it. B's are super easy, I might study one hour a day to get a B. But A's are freakin' unreal. Like, I don't want to put in as much effort as it takes to get an A in a class like biochem or histology.
 

THS

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After joining school for DDS how many exams are there yearly in school?
I just looked at my schedule and counted 29 exams, practicals, and IDs from July to December. That isn't counting the countless daily quizzes for some classes, pop quizzes for others, online quizzes for others, writing assignments, journal articles, and presentations that we have to do.
 

Ferneezy

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Yearly? Dozens. Cumulative in D1 will probably be at least 50 projects, quizzes, tests, and presentations.
i bet you have more than that. someone in my class counted 25 exams/quizzes/practicals at the halfway point for this semester alone.

probably puts us on track for 100+ for D1
 

SCDP

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If you want to be a general dentist, what is the point of putting in extra effort in the classroom to get As/Bs vs not studying as much and getting Bs/Cs?

I mean, wouldn't your time be more valuable in the lab working on actual dentistry vs studying?
 
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At Tennessee, we have a single exam every few weeks that covers everything. I study hard (and I do mean hard) the weekend before the exam and get Bs/Cs. The people who get As are the ones who keep up with the material more consistently.

Also, kudos for reviving a 10 year old thread
 
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Oh and to address the initial question from 2004:

For me, undergrad was more difficult because I was gunning for straight A's, wheres my goal in dental school is merely to pass. Hence, it is easier to pass dental school than it is to ace undergrad.
 

free99

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i bet you have more than that. someone in my class counted 25 exams/quizzes/practicals at the halfway point for this semester alone.

probably puts us on track for 100+ for D1
Yeah you're probably right. When I made that post I was too spent from tallying ATP payout from beta oxidation reactions to tally dental school assignments. Suffice it to say - there are a lot.
At Tennessee, we have a single exam every few weeks that covers everything. I study hard (and I do mean hard) the weekend before the exam and get Bs/Cs. The people who get As are the ones who keep up with the material more consistently.

Also, kudos for reviving a 10 year old thread
Same, I work my ass off a few days before the next exam and have been pulling B's -- I want to be wherever @THS is... sleeping and getting C's sounds nice.
 
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THS

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If you want to be a general dentist, what is the point of putting in extra effort in the classroom to get As/Bs vs not studying as much and getting Bs/Cs?

I mean, wouldn't your time be more valuable in the lab working on actual dentistry vs studying?
Yes, it is. In my opinion, if you don't want to specialize, spend more time working on your lab projects than studying for didactic classes. C's and even B's are easy to get without too much effort. Put that effort into the clinical couses.
 

SCDP

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Yes, it is. In my opinion, if you don't want to specialize, spend more time working on your lab projects than studying for didactic classes. C's and even B's are easy to get without too much effort. Put that effort into the clinical couses.
Awesome to hear. Will make dental school less stressful and will hopefully make me a better dentist.
 

quocstazz

7+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2011
232
4
Status
Dental Student
Really depends if you want to just pass or want to specialized. The materials are hard but its not impossible, i'm having less stress in dental school then undergrad. I think the most important part of dental school is time management, if you can buckle down and plan out your schedule and follow it, you will be fine.
 
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