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11 March, 2024

When to Start Studying for the INBDE?

The INBDE is a standardized exam to obtain licensure and practice dentistry in the US. In this article, we will discuss when to start studying for the exam.
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The Integrated National Boards Dental Examination (INBDE) has recently replaced Parts I and II of the National Boards Dental Examination. This change was to address the concerns regarding the relevance of the information tested separately by the two separate parts of the exam. The INBDE is a two-day exam, although the two days do not have to be consecutive, with the first day consisting of 360 stand-alone and case-based questions and the second day consisting of 140 questions in a case-based format. Prior to beginning studying for the exam, confirm the exam dates for both days since spots are limited and make a study timeline. Additionally, it is important to be familiar with the topics covered to create a comprehensive study schedule.

This examination is required for licensure in the United States. There are two situations in which candidates opt to take the exam:

  1. Enrolled in a United States dental school
  2. Internationally trained graduates/dentists planning to enroll in a CODA-accredited advanced standing program or directly to residency specialty programs

🏫 Enrolled in a United States dental school

As the exam is required for licensure, dental students opt to take this exam prior to graduation. Some schools may require students to earn a passing grade on the exam by a certain date, while others may not provide a timeframe at all. Typically, the exam is taken at some point during or after the third year of dental school, by which time students have completed almost all the courses in their curriculum. Schools may have a prerequisite for which classes should be completed before attempting the exam in order to best aid the students’ preparation.

Typically, the preparation time for examinees still enrolled in dental school is about 1-4 months. This is due to the active enrollment in dental school and recently completing (or ongoing) coursework, which is meant to be aimed at exam preparation.

Students are usually completing their clinical requirements when attempting the examination. It is important to consider this when creating a study schedule. Many students plan to take the exam during a break so that they will have more time to prepare in the days or weeks leading up to the exam. Additionally, keep in mind that the score is released 3-4 weeks after exam completion in case examinees are planning to apply to training programs with the score.

🎓 Internationally Trained Dentists/Graduates

Foreign-trained graduates/dentists who want to practice dentistry in the United States must take this exam in order to apply to advance standing or residency specialty programs. Commonly, these competitive programs require the passing of the board’s examination (previously NBDE Part I and II). The timeframe for these examinees may be longer (4-8 months) due to the increased time out of school or practice and the required re-familiarization with boards relevant topics as well as different materials and techniques used, laws, and procedural details.

Many examinees may have other jobs or duties while preparing for the exam, so it is important to consider the amount of time that will be available to prepare. Additionally, keep in mind that the score is released 3-4 weeks after exam completion in case examinees are planning to apply to programs with the score.

🧍 Conclusion

To determine when to start studying for the INBDE, it is important to consider the amount of time required to prepare based on the candidate’s enrollment or application status, previous training and/or courses completed, and current personal and professional responsibilities. Our recommendation is to begin planning a study schedule after confirming the dates of two exam days.