The NBDE, or National Board Dental Examinations, are tests given to prospective dentists and dental hygienists who are seeking a license to practice dentistry. They assess the ability to understand basic important information about dentistry and the ability to apply that information in a problem-solving context. By knowing how to study for these exams, you can create a plan for yourself that will ensure that you will walk into you exam fully prepared and confident.

Read the NDBE Guide published by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE). This guide can be downloaded free on JCNDE's website, and it will give you information about the format of the test, how to register for the test and the rules of the test. Familiarizing yourself with this information will not only help you properly register for the test, but it will give you an idea of what to expect on test day, which should reduce anxiety. It also includes sample test questions, so you can familiarize yourself with the format of the questions.

Register for your test well in advance. You will have a better chance of obtaining your preferred testing location if you register 60 to 90 days in advance. This will also give you a set time frame in which you have to study.

Gather a list of the materials that you need to study. Many dental schools have resources that can help you. For example, Baylor University's dental school provides a full set of study materials to its students on reserve in the library. Use these lists to help familiarize yourself with the content areas that will be on the test.

Take a full-length practice test exam before you begin to study. Analyze your areas of strength and weakness. This will help to guide your studying, as you should concentrate on areas of weakness. You can obtain official, released editions of actual NBDEs at the online store at

Sign up for a review class if you need structured review and motivation. Kaplan is one company that offers a review course that can be taken online or in a classroom. It includes online test banks, exam explanations, video lectures and test-taking strategies. The responsibility of attending class may help you to stay on track with your studies.

Purchase your study materials if your school does not provide them or if you are not taking a review course. One of the most popular and valuable NBDE materials that many students use are Dental Decks. These "decks" are organized into color-coded sections according to topic and cover broad concepts as well as minor details that are tested on the NBDE. You may be able to find these used online or for sale on bulletin boards at your dental school.

Create a realistic study schedule and stick to it. You do not want to cram everything into the week before the test. Give yourself plenty of time to take practice tests and study your material, but also make sure to give yourself time to relax as well.