smatic

5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2015
22
27
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Physical Therapy
Roughly one year ago, I wrote a post about how to pass NBDE Part 1, here is the link:

You want to pass NBDE Part 1? Read this DETAILED post.

Now I am back with advice on how to pass NBDE Part 2!

As I mentioned in my post last year, if you want to get right to what I used to study, scroll all the way down to the bottom. To get the most out of this post however, you’re going to want to read it all!

Right off the bat:
*I realize that the test is changing very soon and it’s going to be integrated but this post can still be helpful.
* If you handled Part 1, you can handle Part 2.
* Don’t let anything in this post scare you, just take my advice and you will be completely fine.

My relationship with this exam:

Typically dental students take this test in their 4th year. For whatever reason, our school nudged all of us 3rd years to take it as soon as possible (before 4th year). Needless to say, I was not happy about that because I still felt like I had residual fatigue from the whole NBDE Part 1 experience. But after seeing a lot of my classmates go into study mode right away, I decided to begin studying too. I guess you could say I felt peer pressured. And let me tell you, taking this test as soon as possible is the best way to go. This test is something you just want to get out of the way sooner rather than later so you can focus on patient boards and applying for jobs in your 4th year.

Another reason why taking it in your third year is better is because NBDE Part 2 is mostly material that is applicable to your clinic life. So why not reinforce those concepts as a 3rd year student so you can be a confident and competent 4th year student, ya know?

With that being said, as with any standardized test, regardless of when you decide to take it….. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. Give yourself the best chance to pass the exam on your first attempt. Having to take the exam again would be a major pain. It’s not the end of the world if you have to, but it certainly is a big inconvenience.

Rumors about this test:

1)“NBDE Part 2 is overall easier than NBDE Part 1”. FALSE. Most people would agree that part 2 is easier, but let me tell you, it ALL DEPENDS ON LUCK. My testing experience for NBDE Part 2 was BRUTAL. I can confidently say my NBDE Part 1 experience was wayyyyyy better. So I guess I was in the minority. Regardless, I’m telling you this so you don’t get a false sense of security by thinking NBDE Part 2 is a cakewalk. Your NBDE Part 2 could very well be easier than your Part 1….but by no means is that a guarantee.

2) “You can avoid studying certain topics because your clinical experience will be enough to help you answer those questions”. Again, FALSE. Sure, clinic knowledge is helpful but the vast majority of questions on this test are specific and require actual didactic knowledge. So give the appropriate amount of attention to each section.

3) “Patient Management questions are self-explanatory”. FALSE. Do not neglect the Patient Management section. You should study for it like you would for any other section. They ask weird questions about cohort studies and p values and other stuff like that. I realize this point is similar to #2, but I wanted to point out this section in particular because people think it’s simple.

4) “Some people have an easier day 1 than day 2, and vice versa.” TRUE. Which version you will get again depends on luck.

5) “Pharmacology has the least number of questions so I can spend the least amount of time studying for that” FALSE. Well, if you’re some pharmacology expert, then maybe you can spend less time on this section. But if you’re a regular person like me, give it the same amount of study time you would for any other section.

The test itself:

Endodontics

Periodontics

Prosthodontics

Orthodontics/Pediatric Dentistry

Oral Pathology/Radiology

Operative Dentistry

Oral Surgery

Patient Management


NBDE Part 2 is a 2-day test. The multiple day aspect of it is just……disheartening. After the first day, I just wanted to sleep and relax but I knew I had to go back the next morning, so it was rather frustrating. But your adrenaline will carry you through, so don’t worry.

Day 1: 400 questions total.

Breakdown:

100 questions

15 minute optional break

100 questions

30 minute optional break

100 questions

15 minute optional break

100 questions


The distribution of questions on this day is completely randomized. For a lot of my friends, their first 200 questions were rather simple and the last 200 were quite difficult. For me, the first 100 questions were RIDICULOUS. I kept pressing “next” hoping that easy questions would appear. It just felt so unfair. Either I had no idea what the question was talking about OR I did have an idea but all the answer choices sounded correct. I’m pretty sure I got 40-50 max out of those first 100. So it all depends. The key is to stay even-keel; don’t get too high or too low. After this day, chances are you’re going to feel like you only knew half the material and that’s ok.

Day 2: 100 case-based questions total.

Breakdown:

50 questions

15 minute optional break

50 questions

My day 2 was definitely better than my day 1 (although again, it’s different for everyone. Most of my friends had better day 1’s). This day still wasn’t great for me though. I felt the pictures and radiographs were really hard to analyze because they were so unclear. And the questions again had really similar answer choices. Just do your best and go with your gut.

USE. YOUR. BREAKS ON BOTH DAYS. You don’t have to use up every minute but trust me, give your brain a chance to relax. Eat something, drink water. I even drank a red bull at the halfway point of Day 1 because I did not want fatigue to set in.

What you should use to study:

Like I said last year, it all depends on how you study best. If you benefit from a textbook, use Mosby’s. If you like the flashcard method, use Dental Deck’s. If you benefit from videos use Mental Dental Videos (on youtube). I felt like Mosby’s and Dental Deck’s have way too much detail and they make it difficult to focus on key concepts. So I opted to use Mental Dental Videos as my main source of information. I would refer to Mosby’s or simple google searches to fill my gaps in knowledge. I also used Tufts Pharmacology.

I used the MASTERY APP for practice questions. I would say, it was beneficial overall and I would recommend it. However, the pharmacy and prosthodontics questions on mastery were way too detailed and difficult. I would avoid those two sections on mastery entirely. Everything else is good practice however.

Tufts Pharmacology was good practice. I used it after I went over the Mental Dental pharmacology section.

I’m dedicating a separate paragraph to Mental Dental because the gentleman who records those videos is a HERO. At this point in time, he has videos on every section except Orthodontics. But judging by how thorough he is, I would imagine he’s going to make ortho vids sometime soon.

I would take detailed notes off his videos and go over my notes multiple times.

His oral path section in particular was amazing.

I would also ask upper classmen if they have any old ada exams or any documents with repeated questions because that is also good practice.

Concluding thoughts:

I felt awful coming out of the exam and I was certain that I had failed. I seriously felt like they gave me a harder version compared to most students.

Admittedly, I’m not sure how the grading works but I’m pretty sure there’s no specific number of questions you need to get right in order to pass. I had heard all kinds of crazy numbers ranging from 275/500 to 375/500 needed in order to pass. It all depends on how other students do on the version of the exam you take, hence the term “standardized”. So just do your best to get as many right as possible but don’t get lost in the numbers.

While I waited 2+ weeks for my test score to come out, I definitely agonized over questions I knew I missed and looked online for how many correct questions I needed to pass.

Finally my ADA account updated and notified me that I passed the exam and I was so relieved.

YOU WILL BE FINE, the passing rate on this test is very high. Those who fail are the ones who don’t take it seriously.

What I used in an organized fashion (each of these resources helps with every section):


  • MENTAL DENTAL VIDEOS
  • Tuft's Pharmacology
  • MOSBY’S and GOOGLE to fill in gaps in knowledge
  • MASTERY APP
  • Old ADA exam questions
 
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smatic

5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2015
22
27
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Physical Therapy
That’s for the post,very informative! How long would you recommend in terms of studying for the exam? Thanks

I would say 2-3 months is a safe bet for most students. I know some people claim they only studied for 2 weeks, but I would not recommend that study strategy.
 
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nancylidhar

5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2015
2
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Dental Student
Roughly one year ago, I wrote a post about how to pass NBDE Part 1, here is the link:

You want to pass NBDE Part 1? Read this DETAILED post.

Now I am back with advice on how to pass NBDE Part 2!

As I mentioned in my post last year, if you want to get right to what I used to study, scroll all the way down to the bottom. To get the most out of this post however, you’re going to want to read it all!

Right off the bat:
*I realize that the test is changing very soon and it’s going to be integrated but this post can still be helpful.
* If you handled Part 1, you can handle Part 2.
* Don’t let anything in this post scare you, just take my advice and you will be completely fine.

My relationship with this exam:

Typically dental students take this test in their 4th year. For whatever reason, our school nudged all of us 3rd years to take it as soon as possible (before 4th year). Needless to say, I was not happy about that because I still felt like I had residual fatigue from the whole NBDE Part 1 experience. But after seeing a lot of my classmates go into study mode right away, I decided to begin studying too. I guess you could say I felt peer pressured. And let me tell you, taking this test as soon as possible is the best way to go. This test is something you just want to get out of the way sooner rather than later so you can focus on patient boards and applying for jobs in your 4th year.

Another reason why taking it in your third year is better is because NBDE Part 2 is mostly material that is applicable to your clinic life. So why not reinforce those concepts as a 3rd year student so you can be a confident and competent 4th year student, ya know?

With that being said, as with any standardized test, regardless of when you decide to take it….. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. Give yourself the best chance to pass the exam on your first attempt. Having to take the exam again would be a major pain. It’s not the end of the world if you have to, but it certainly is a big inconvenience.

Rumors about this test:

1)“NBDE Part 2 is overall easier than NBDE Part 1”. FALSE. Most people would agree that part 2 is easier, but let me tell you, it ALL DEPENDS ON LUCK. My testing experience for NBDE Part 2 was BRUTAL. I can confidently say my NBDE Part 1 experience was wayyyyyy better. So I guess I was in the minority. Regardless, I’m telling you this so you don’t get a false sense of security by thinking NBDE Part 2 is a cakewalk. Your NBDE Part 2 could very well be easier than your Part 1….but by no means is that a guarantee.

2) “You can avoid studying certain topics because your clinical experience will be enough to help you answer those questions”. Again, FALSE. Sure, clinic knowledge is helpful but the vast majority of questions on this test are specific and require actual didactic knowledge. So give the appropriate amount of attention to each section.

3) “Patient Management questions are self-explanatory”. FALSE. Do not neglect the Patient Management section. You should study for it like you would for any other section. They ask weird questions about cohort studies and p values and other stuff like that. I realize this point is similar to #2, but I wanted to point out this section in particular because people think it’s simple.

4) “Some people have an easier day 1 than day 2, and vice versa.” TRUE. Which version you will get again depends on luck.

5) “Pharmacology has the least number of questions so I can spend the least amount of time studying for that” FALSE. Well, if you’re some pharmacology expert, then maybe you can spend less time on this section. But if you’re a regular person like me, give it the same amount of study time you would for any other section.

The test itself:

Endodontics

Periodontics

Prosthodontics

Orthodontics/Pediatric Dentistry

Oral Pathology/Radiology

Operative Dentistry

Oral Surgery

Patient Management


NBDE Part 2 is a 2-day test. The multiple day aspect of it is just……disheartening. After the first day, I just wanted to sleep and relax but I knew I had to go back the next morning, so it was rather frustrating. But your adrenaline will carry you through, so don’t worry.

Day 1: 400 questions total.

Breakdown:

100 questions

15 minute optional break

100 questions

30 minute optional break

100 questions

15 minute optional break

100 questions


The distribution of questions on this day is completely randomized. For a lot of my friends, their first 200 questions were rather simple and the last 200 were quite difficult. For me, the first 100 questions were RIDICULOUS. I kept pressing “next” hoping that easy questions would appear. It just felt so unfair. Either I had no idea what the question was talking about OR I did have an idea but all the answer choices sounded correct. I’m pretty sure I got 40-50 max out of those first 100. So it all depends. The key is to stay even-keel; don’t get too high or too low. After this day, chances are you’re going to feel like you only knew half the material and that’s ok.

Day 2: 100 case-based questions total.

Breakdown:

50 questions

15 minute optional break

50 questions

My day 2 was definitely better than my day 1 (although again, it’s different for everyone. Most of my friends had better day 1’s). This day still wasn’t great for me though. I felt the pictures and radiographs were really hard to analyze because they were so unclear. And the questions again had really similar answer choices. Just do your best and go with your gut.

USE. YOUR. BREAKS ON BOTH DAYS. You don’t have to use up every minute but trust me, give your brain a chance to relax. Eat something, drink water. I even drank a red bull at the halfway point of Day 1 because I did not want fatigue to set in.

What you should use to study:

Like I said last year, it all depends on how you study best. If you benefit from a textbook, use Mosby’s. If you like the flashcard method, use Dental Deck’s. If you benefit from videos use Mental Dental Videos (on youtube). I felt like Mosby’s and Dental Deck’s have way too much detail and they make it difficult to focus on key concepts. So I opted to use Mental Dental Videos as my main source of information. I would refer to Mosby’s or simple google searches to fill my gaps in knowledge. I also used Tufts Pharmacology.

I used the MASTERY APP for practice questions. I would say, it was beneficial overall and I would recommend it. However, the pharmacy and prosthodontics questions on mastery were way too detailed and difficult. I would avoid those two sections on mastery entirely. Everything else is good practice however.

Tufts Pharmacology was good practice. I used it after I went over the Mental Dental pharmacology section.

I’m dedicating a separate paragraph to Mental Dental because the gentleman who records those videos is a HERO. At this point in time, he has videos on every section except Orthodontics. But judging by how thorough he is, I would imagine he’s going to make ortho vids sometime soon.

I would take detailed notes off his videos and go over my notes multiple times.

His oral path section in particular was amazing.

I would also ask upper classmen if they have any old ada exams or any documents with repeated questions because that is also good practice.

Concluding thoughts:

I felt awful coming out of the exam and I was certain that I had failed. I seriously felt like they gave me a harder version compared to most students.

Admittedly, I’m not sure how the grading works but I’m pretty sure there’s no specific number of questions you need to get right in order to pass. I had heard all kinds of crazy numbers ranging from 275/500 to 375/500 needed in order to pass. It all depends on how other students do on the version of the exam you take, hence the term “standardized”. So just do your best to get as many right as possible but don’t get lost in the numbers.

While I waited 2+ weeks for my test score to come out, I definitely agonized over questions I knew I missed and looked online for how many correct questions I needed to pass.

Finally my ADA account updated and notified me that I passed the exam and I was so relieved.

YOU WILL BE FINE, the passing rate on this test is very high. Those who fail are the ones who don’t take it seriously.

What I used in an organized fashion (each of these resources helps with every section):


  • MENTAL DENTAL VIDEOS
  • Tuft's Pharmacology
  • MOSBY’S and GOOGLE to fill in gaps in knowledge
  • MASTERY APP
  • Old ADA exam questions

Thank you . I gave part 2 a week ago and i feel like i will fail cuz it was so difficult i cant even tell. i prepared for 3 months and ended up crying after the exam . i feel awful
 
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