5 things every dental hygiene student should know before taking the NBDHE

September 29, 2014

We asked our friends at HygienistPrep to tell us some tips to share with dental hygiene students who are preparing to take the NBDHE and move further down the path toward becoming a full-time dental hygienist. Here are the 5 things they believe every dental hygiene student should know before taking the NBDHE.

We asked our friends at HygienistPrep to tell us some tips to share with dental hygiene students who are preparing to take the NBDHE and move further down the path toward becoming a full-time dental hygienist. Here are the 5 things they believe every dental hygiene student should know before taking the NBDHE.

1)Do not panic! If you have attended an accredited institution, you have already been presented with all NBDHE-relevant material.

Some students become overwhelmed at the thought of having to learn all that will be asked of them on their National board exam. In truth you have already been provided the material in class so it is a matter of reviewing what you have learned rather than starting from scratch. 

Furthermore, you are not alone in this journey. Seek out help by taking advantage of the services available to you. Though some programs leave review entirely up to the student, many dental hygiene programs offer a review course as part of their curriculum or bring in additional lecturers.

Whether you participate with your school in a review program or seek outside services, you will still need to study and practice exam taking on your own. Signing up for a service such as HygienistPrep facilitates your individualized study and practice.

2)  The best way to prepare for a standardized test is to practice answering questions like those you’ll find on the exam.

“Students can achieve the highest score possible through deliberate practice using real test questions to improve their overall test-taking skills.” -- Dr. Matthew Joseph, Temple University.

HygienistPrep offers more than 1,500 questions written to simulate the questions you will encounter on the NBDHE.

Dr. Joseph also recommends you give yourself adequate time to prepare, take practice tests under timed conditions, and practice using relevant practice questions.

HygienistPrep recommends you begin your concentrated study 90 days before your exam. This has proven to be the ideal amount of time to complete HygienistPrep content without starting so early you forget material prior to your exam.

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3)  Become aware of the exam timing and get comfortable with the amount of time you will be allotted.

The NBDHE consists of two sections with an optional lunch break in between. You will have 3.5 hours to complete 200 questions in the first section; this translates to just over 1 minute per question. In the second session, you will have 4 hours to answer 150 case-based questions, or approximately 1.5 minutes per question.

HygienistPrep offers both a practice and timed test mode. The timed mode mimics the NBDHE question-to-time ratio. It is very helpful to become familiar with how much time you spend presently on a typical board-type question. If you are going too quickly, you may miss key words or concepts within the question. Conversely, taking too much time may also affect your final score as you may not be able to complete the test in the allotted time. 

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4)  There are several different question formats that are used on the NBDHE. It is important to be familiar with the types of questions you will encounter.

Presently there are five question formats that will count toward your final score. In recent years, the JCNDE (Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations) has experimented with other question formats but so far has considered any additional formats as “pretest” and is still evaluating their effectiveness.

The five question formats that will count towards your score are:

1) Completion

2) Question

3) Negative

4) Paired True-False

5) Cause-and-Effect

HygienistPrep questions are written using the five formats above. Taking questions that are written in the exact format that you will be facing on the exam will ensure that you become acquainted with the wording and logic associated with each of the question types.

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5) The subject matter you are tested on is presented in a random fashion.

The questions on the NBDHE all fall within three main categories: Scientific, Clinical and Community Health. There are several subcategories under each of the main areas of focus. However, questions will not be presented in categorical order.

We recommend that part of your studying or test practice is conducted in a random order to prepare for this type of presentation. Often, students spend the majority of their time studying a particular topic and then want to take specific questions in that area to check their retention. This type of focused study should be balanced with random test taking to ensure your brain can switch gears from topic to topic effectively.

HygienistPrep offers the option of studying in one of the three main categories or using random mode which will help prepare you for the actual test experience.

Keeping these 5 points in mind as you prepare for your boards will not only ensure your success but help provide a stress free test day. No need to panic, with HygienistPrep…we got this!