What is the NBDE Exam?

NBDE Practice Test
National Board Dental Examination

The National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) is a comprehensive dental exam for students and professionals in dentistry in the United States. It is a requirement for dental licensure in the United States and may also be required when applying for postgraduate studies after completing a dental degree. Foreign-trained dentists also must take the NBDE to earn admission into advanced standing programs in U.S. dental schools.
NBDE is intended to fulfill the written examination requirement. It is designed to assess the expertise of the candidate in basic biomedical and dental sciences. The examination is carried out almost daily in 300 centers in the United States and Canada.

NBDE Parts I and II were established and administered by the ADA Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. Actual tests are carried out by federal or national testing boards. Currently, all U.S. licensing authorities accept NBDE results. Such territories shall include all 50 States, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

The NBDE dental consists of two parts: NBDE part 1 and NBDE part 2. The purpose of these tests is to assist the national boards in assessing the credentials of dentists seeking a license to practice dentistry. The tests evaluate the ability to comprehend vital information from the biomedical and dental sciences as well as the ability to implement this information in a problem-solving context.

Take the NBDE Preparation Test Now!

NBDE Test Format and Structure

NBDE 1

The first portion of the NBDE exam is usually taken during the second year of dental school. Part 1 is administered in two 3.5 hour sessions with an optional one-hour lunch break in between. It consists of 400 questions: 80% are stand-alone questions, 20% are testlets consisting of a patient scenario, patient history, and a set of items.

It covers basic biomedical sciences, including:

  • Anatomic Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Dental Anatomy
  • Occlusion
TopicsSubtopicsNumber of Questions
Biochemistry – Physiology
  • Biological Compounds
  • Metabolism
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Connective Tissues
  • Membranes
  • Nervous System
  • Muscle
  • Circulation
  • Respiration
  • Renal
  • Oral Physiology
  • Digestion
  • Endocrines
  • Professional Ethics/Patient Management
100 Items
Anatomic Sciences
  • Gross Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Oral Histology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Professional Ethics/Patient Management
100 Items
Microbiology – Pathology
  • General Microbiology
  • Reactions of Tissue to Injury
  • Immunology and Immunopathology (at least 3 on oral immunology)
  • Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology of Specific Infectious Diseases (at least 8 on oral diseases)
  • Systemic Pathology
  • Growth Disturbances
  • Professional Ethics/Patient Management
100 Items
Dental Anatomy and Occlusion
  • Tooth Morphology
  • Pulp Cavity Morphology
  • Calcification and Eruption
  • Principles of Occlusion and Function
  • Clinical Considerations—Tooth Morphology and Anomalies
  • Professional Ethics/Patient Management
100 Items
NBDE 1 Test Format
SectionAllotted Time
Tutorial15 minutes (optional)
Subject-based, stand-alone items (100 items)3 hours and 30 minutes plus 15-minute optional scheduled break
Break
Subject-based, stand-alone items (about 60 items)
Three to five testlets (about 40 items)
Break30 minutes (optional)
Three to five testlets (about 40 items)3 hours and 30 minutes plus 15-minute optional scheduled break
Subject-based, stand-alone items (about 60 items)
Break
Subject-based, stand-alone items (100 items)
Post-examination Survey15 minutes (optional)
Total8 hours and 30 minutes

NBDE Part 2

The second part of the NBDE is a two-day comprehensive test comprising of 500 test items. It consists of 80% stand-alone items and 20% interdisciplinary and case-based items. Each case consists of a patient scenario and history, along with a set of items relevant to the scenario. The discipline-based component of the test has 400 items, while the case-based part has 100 items. The first 400 items must be completed within 7 hours on the first day, and the remaining 100 items must be completed in three hours and 30 minutes on the second day.

NBDE Part 2 covers the following disciplines:

  • Endodontics
  • Operative Dentistry
  • Prosthodontics
  • Pharmacology
  • Periodontics
  • Patient Management
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Oral Diagnosis
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Pain Control
TopicsSubtopicsNumber of Questions
Endodontics
  • Case Clinical Diagnosis, Case Selection, Treatment Planning, and Patient Management
  • Basic Endodontic Treatment Procedures
  • Procedural Complications
  • Traumatic Injuries
  • Adjunctive Endodontic Therapy
  • Post-Treatment Evaluation
41 items
Operative Dentistry
  • Dental Caries
  • Examination, Diagnosis, & Treatment Planning
  • General Operative Procedures
  • Preparation of Cavities
  • Restoration of Prepared Cavities
59 items
Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery/Pain Control
  • Surgery
  • Anxiety and Pain Control
  • Medical Assessment and Emergency Care
  • Treatment Plan
  • Diagnosis
61 items
Oral Diagnosis
  • Oral Pathology
  • Oral Radiology
54 Items
Orthodontics/Pediatric Dentistry
  • Individual Tooth Pathology
  • Supporting Tissue Pathology
  • Dentofacial Variations
  • Behavior
  • Systemic Pathology
62 items
Patient Management
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Anxiety and Pain Control
  • Health Behavior Change
  • Disabled and Medically Compromised
  • Epidemiology
  • Prevention of Oral Diseases
  • Evaluation of Dental Literature
  • Infection Control
  • Materials and Equipment Safety
  • Professional Responsibility/Liability
  • Practice Management
65 items
Periodontics
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Pathogenesis
  • Treatment Planning
  • Prognosis
  • Therapy
  • Prevention and Maintenance
57 items
Pharmacology
  • General Principles
  • Central Nervous System
  • Autonomic
  • Cardiovascular
  • Local Anesthetics
  • Chemotherapy
  • Endocrines/Immunosuppressants
  • Analgesics
  • Antihistamines and Autocoids
43 items
Prosthodontics
  • General Considerations
  • Complete and Removable Partial Denture Prosthodontics
  • Fixed Partial Prosthodontics
58 items
NBDE 2 Test Format
Day 1
SectionAllotted Time
Tutorial15 minutes (optional)
Discipline-based, stand-alone items (100 items)3 hours and 30 minutes plus 15-minute optional scheduled break
Break
Discipline-based, stand-alone items (100 items)
Lunch Break30 minutes (optional)
Discipline-based, stand-alone items (100 items)3 hours and 30 minutes plus 15-minute optional scheduled break
Break
Discipline-based, stand-alone items (100 items)
Day 2
Tutorial15 minutes (optional)
Four to six patient cases (50 items)3 hours and 30 minutes plus 15-minute optional scheduled break
Break
Four to six patient cases (50 items)
Post-examination Survey15 minutes (optional)
Total8 hours and 30 minutes

NBDE Scoring System

NBDE is graded on a scale of 49-99. A weighted score of 75 or higher is considered to be a passing score. This scaled score is generated from your raw score (the total amount of items you answered correctly). Scale scores can be quickly converted to percentiles using the info you have obtained from your score survey.

You will get your NBDE score report about 6-8 weeks after the date of the test. A copy of your NBDE Part 1 results and NBDE Part 2 results will also be provided to the dean of your dental school. Additional copies shall be made available through written request.

The NBDE is a pass/fail test; grades are recorded only as a pass for candidates who have obtained passing scores. For remediation reasons, applicants who fail the test shall receive numerical ratings for each of the major areas covered by the test. The rating of “pass” is stated for candidates with a scale score of 75 or higher. The classification of “fail” is stated for candidates who have earned a score below 75.

239171821

NBDE Registration

To be eligible to take part in the NBDE I, the dental school must confirm that you have met all the required course requirements included in the test material. Graduates from foreign dental schools must have their approved dental school transcripts checked by the Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.

To register for the NBDE part 1 and part 2 tests, you may follow the steps below:

  • Read the NBDE Guide for Candidates. Familiarize yourself with the testing guidelines and the parts of the exam using the NBDE guides available on the ADA website. You may download a PDF copy of the guide or read it online. Reading it will give you a good grasp of the structure of the exam, testing protocol, and more.
  • Send your eligibility letter to the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCDNE). Either you or your school must submit a completed “Certification of Eligibility” signed by the dean to the office of JCDNE for each application submitted (Part 1 and Part 2 has different forms).
  • Obtain a DENTPIN and apply for the test. Before you can apply to take NBDE, you must register for a DENTPIN. If you did not receive your DENTPIN when you began your dental school, you can register using your legal name (the name that appears on your government issued I.D.). If you have already taken or applied any exams like DAT, NBDHE, or ADAT, you already have a DENTPIN can just use your existing one. Once you have it on hand, you can apply for NBDE Part 1 or Part 2 online.
  • Sign up for the date of the exam. Tests are conducted by Prometric Inc. at Prometric Test Centers. A lot of students take these exams around the same time and space is limited. Prepare in advance to ensure that you will be able to book the day you want, particularly with Part II, which needs to be taken on two consecutive days. Test appointments can be rescheduled up to 48 hours ahead of time.

NBDE Test Fees

Examination Fees
Fee TypeDescriptionAmount
NBDE Part 1 FeeIncludes official results reporting to you and the dean of an accredited dental school. Reports are reported electronically to dental schools through the Department of Testing Services Hub.$445 USD
NBDE Part 2 Fee$490 USD
NBDE Processing Fee for Non-accredited CandidatesApplicable to candidates who are students or graduates of a dental school not accredited by CODA.$210 USD
Results Report Fee (optional)Covers single results report for a recipient not selected at the time of application.$45 USD per report
Results Audit Fee (optional)The Department of Testing Services is able to check your NBDE reports if your appeal is submitted within 30 days of the reporting date from your =official results report.$65 USD
Eligibility Extension FeeCandidates may extend their eligibility period for a fee. The extension is for 45 days within the designated testing window and is available once per application.$125 USD
Rescheduling Fees
Number of days before testing appointmentFee
1 to 5 business days before testing day, and at least 24 hours before the scheduled appointment starts.$150
6 to 30 business days before testing day.$60
31 or more business days before the testing day.$25

NBDE Questions

Part 1 of the NBDE is one of the most difficult sections of your dental boards. According to the ADA NBDE Part 1 Guide, about 80% of the items on the NBDE Part 1 are stand-alone, with the other 20% being multidisciplinary testlet-based.

The exam is administered at university and lasts seven hours. The student’s understanding of dental science accounts for 80 percent of the exam, while the remaining 20% is more practical.

The NBDE Part 1 test has 400 questions, with 80 percent of them being stand-alone. Twenty percent of the questions are linked to a clinical scenario.

The NBDE part 2 test is usually taken in a dental student’s last year of study.

The following are the five fundamental stages to apply for the NBDE exam:

  • Step 1: Read the NBDE Part I Guide first.
  • Step 2: Apply for the examination and obtain a DENTPIN(r) (No Refund)
  • Step 3: Make an appointment to take the exam.
  • Step 4: Attend a Prometric Test Center to take the exam.
  • Step 5: Score Reports

The National Board Dental Examination Part I is graded on a scale of 49 to 99 points. Passing is defined as a scaled score of 75 or higher. Your raw score is converted into a scaled score (the total number of questions you answered correctly).

The NBDE score is valid for 5 years and cannot be revoked once obtained. There is no penalty for guessing.

Part 1 of the NBDE. Part 1 of the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) is a one-day exam with 400 questions from the basic sciences spread out over seven hours. About 20% of the test is divided into testlets with a clinical application and an interdisciplinary focus. Part 1 of the NBDE is a pass/fail exam.

The NBDE part 2 test is usually taken in a dental student’s last year of study. It takes two days, with the first day consisting of two 3.5-hour sessions separated by a one-hour optional lunch break. The second day consists of a 3.5-hour single-session test with 100 case-based questions.

The candidate is allowed to take the INBDE three times more. The INBDE is passed by the candidate. Because the candidate has tested on the INBDE, he or she is not eligible for NBDE Part I or NBDE Part II. Because the candidate has already passed the INBDE, he or she is not permitted to retake it.

Part I of the application costs $425. (Credit card payments only).

The results of the National Board can be found in My Account. Follow these steps to get access to your results. To order your exam results, go to the left menu and pick NBDE Part I and Part II Results Request.

Set a deadline for yourself. Examine your knowledge by taking a practice test. Concentrate on Testlets. Respond to the practice questions. Enroll in a Preparation Program.

Make the necessary preparations. Make a strategy of attack and stick to it! Distract yourself as much as possible. Change things up a bit. Examine questions and take practice tests. Make sure you’re ready for face-to-face meetings.

Your dental school must certify that you have completed all of the necessary course requirements included in the tested content of Part I, and graduates of international dental schools must have their official dental school transcripts verified by Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. to be eligible to take the NBDE Part I.

The NBDE (National Board Dental Examination) in the United States is not to be confused with the NDEB (National Dental Examination Board) in Canada (National Dental Examining Board). To be licensed in the United States, you must complete a recognized dental school, pass the NBDE Part 1 and Part 2 exams, as well as a clinical assessment.

Some of the most difficult aspects of your dental boards include NBDE Part 1. According to the ADA NBDE Part 1 Guide, about 80% of the items on the NBDE Part 1 are stand-alone, with the other 20% being multidisciplinary testlet-based.

Candidates who have failed the NBDE Part I three times must wait a year before retaking the exam. Candidates who earned a passing score are not permitted to retest unless they can show that they need to retest for licensure purposes.

The National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) is a comprehensive dental exam for students and professionals in dentistry in the United States. It is a requirement for dental licensure in the United States and may also be required when applying for postgraduate studies after completing a dental degree. Foreign-trained dentists also must take the NBDE to earn admission into advanced standing programs in U.S. dental schools.

The NBDE test is divided into two sections: Part 1 and Part 2. Before obtaining license, each of these components must be passed. Candidates used to receive numerical scores in their results. With the passage of time, this has altered, and exam results are now merely graded as pass or fail.

Part 1 of the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) is a one-day exam with 400 questions from the basic sciences spread out over seven hours. About 20% of the test is divided into testlets with a clinical application and an interdisciplinary focus.

NBDE Sample Questions

NBDE Part 1 Sample Questions

Question #1

Regarding the pathophysiology of shock, which of the following statements is true?

  • There is a decrease in urinary output
  • The patient becomes hypertensive
  • There is an increase in blood flow
  • There is an increase in cardiac output

Question #2

What is gum disease called when it becomes chronic and involves bone?

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Geographic tongue
  • Chronic stomatitis

Question #3

Which of the following tooth types has a labial ridge?

  • Incisor
  • Canine
  • Premolar
  • Molar

Question #4

What is the most common oral prosthetic complication?

  • Mandible misalignment
  • Gingiva malformation
  • Veneer fracture
  • Veneer attachment

Question #5

Leukemia is mainly treated with radiation and chemotherapy. What are the two types of chemotherapy used in the treatment of leukemia?

  • Induction and maintenance
  • Induction and delayed
  • Delayed and maintenance
  • Maintenance and latent

Question #6

Ginglymodiarthrodial joints connect the lower jaw to the skull. What type of movement do these joints display?

  • Sliding
  • Immovable
  • Freely movable
  • Gliding
Open