National Board Dental Examinations

The National Board Dental Exam

The purpose of the National Board Dental (Part I & Part II) examinations is to assist state boards in determining qualifications of dentists who seek licensure to practice dentistry. These examinations assess the ability to understand important information from basic biomedical and dental/dental hygiene sciences and also the ability to apply such information in a problem-solving context.

Qualifying to take the National Boards

Under the regulations of the Council of the National Board of Dental Examiners, a student must receive a passing grade in all courses that are covered on the Board examinations. For the Part I exam & Fall trimester of the second year specifically, this requires the receipt of a passing grade in the Microbiology & Systemic Path courses. Academic Affairs works intimately with course directors at the end of the trimester to ensure that all students have passed prior to taking the exam.

Note that failing to meet the academic requirements to sit for the Part I National Boards has consequences. Please refer to the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine Student Handbook for additional information.

When to take National Board Dental Exam

Part I - Second Year of Dental School

Taking the National Boards Part I examination at the end of the Fall trimester allows every student an opportunity to take the exam two additional times, prior to the start of the Junior year fall trimester which is July 1st. As per our school's National Board policy students are required to pass the Part I examination in order to enter the fall trimester of the third academic year. The Joint Commission on Dental examiners mandates a three month/90 day re-examination period between each exam. Students are allowed a total of three trials for the Part I exam. Therefore the first attempt for students is (late) December, the second attempt is March, and the third & final attempt is June a schedule that works perfectly to support the goal of entering the Junior Year Fall trimester in July. Following 3 failed attempts the Joint Commission mandates a one year (12 month) wait period before taking again.

Part II - Fourth Year of Dental School

Taking the National Boards Part II examination at the start of the senior year (August) allows every student an opportunity to take the exam two additional times prior to graduation which is in May. As per our school's National Board policy students are required to pass the Part II examination in order to graduate. The Joint Commission on Dental examiners mandates a three month/90 day re-examination period between each exam. Students are allowed a total of three trials for the Part II exam. Therefore the first attempt for students is in August, the second attempt is November, and the third & final attempt is February a schedule that works perfectly to support the goal of completing Part II board requirements before graduation. Following 3 failed attempts the Joint Commission mandates a one year (12 month) wait period before taking again.

Preparing to take the National Board Dental Exam

Please note that you are provided with access to board review lectures in preparation to take the National Board Dental Examinations. The lectures are made available via Lecture Capture and can be accessed via the MOODLE site. A great advantage of this new avenue of presenting board reviews is that you have access to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration of your time at the dental school. To facilitate faster access to the appropriate reviews for your class year, Board Reviews lectures are divided between Part I and Part II, although you are provided access to all of them.

The Rutgers University Libraries have licensed exam prep question banks for both the NBDE Exam, parts I and II.  These products are linked from the Smith Library web site and are available 23/7, both on and off campus, from any computer connected to the Internet.

First-time users do need to register and create an account while connected to a computer on the Rutgers network/IP range.  This can be done from any campus computer, including those in the library.  The registration form requires very brief information from the user, such as name and e-mail address.  The user will create a password which will be used on each visit to the question bank.

Users will connect to the exam prep resources from the Smith Library home page, http://libraries.rutgers.edu/smith.  Under the “Library Resources” section on the left side of the page, there is a link to “Health Sciences Databases,” http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/health_sciences/health_indexes.  The exam question banks are listed in alphabetical order so users should click “N” (for NDBE) to find the link to each product.  This will lead first-time users to register and returning users to enter their password information.

Each question bank contains roughly 1,200 questions.  Most follow a similar format; they contain a brief narrative scenario presented to the user, followed by possible multiple choice answers to be selected.  Once an answer has been selected, users may view a detailed explanation of why each possible choice is correct or incorrect. 

Part I contains the following broad sections of questions, which reflect the sections appearing on the actual exam.  They are:

  • Anatomy, Embryology, and Histology, Biochemistry, Dental Anatomy and Occlusion, Microbiology

NDBE II sections include:

  •          Endodontics, Operative Dentistry, Oral Surgery, Oral Diagnosis, Ortho and Pedo, Patient Management, Behavioral Sciences, Perio, Pharmacology, Prosthodontics

Applying for the National Board Dental Examination:

Before you can apply to take any of the examinations, you must obtain a DENTPIN. If you have taken Part 1 of the National Boards you should already have a Dentpin. Click here for more information on the Dentpin. The name on your identification card(s) (IDs) must match exactly with the name in your DENTPIN record.

Applying to take the National Board Dental Examination is done on-line and requires the use of a credit card to process payment. NOTE: If the credit card that you use to pay for your exam is registered to your permanent address - i.e.; your out of state parent's home address and not your current address at school the results will be sent to your permanent address. Score results are distributed by the Joint Commission 3-4 weeks following the completion of your examination. Submit your on-line application to take National Boards Part 1 or Part II at the following links:

Part I

Part II

Application Turn Around Time

Once Academic Affairs has been alerted of your application submission, there is a 7 day turn-around time from the time you submit your on-line application to the date you can call Prometrics to schedule your exam. You will be notified to contact the Dean's office for approval or to obtain a Certification of Eligibility. You do not need to do this, our office monitors the website to certify applicants that have submitted an application. The 7 day turn-around is needed to allow both the ADA and Prometrics time to download your information into their systems.