Dental school is a very arduous experience; and solely finishing school doesn’t actually get us what we want – not by itself anyway. To become a dentist in most states throughout the US, there are several requirements, which include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- A degree from an ADA CODA-accredited dental school,
- Passing the National Board Dental Examinations I and II,
- Passing one of the Regional Board Examinations
Though regional board exams are a point of controversy among many in the United States right now, they are still a part of our current situation…. So we have to be able to conquer them! This becomes a daunting process when you are looking to spend upwards of $3,500 and the first things you hear about boards may be tidbits like…. “I still have nightmares about those 2 days,” “I’ve never felt so much stress in my life,” “It was hell.”
So what was my first step? I assisted candidates taking both of the regional board examinations offered at our school, WREB and CRDTS, to help me decide which one to take. I can’t emphasize enough how great of a learning experience this was! Not only did I get to see and experience how nerve-wracking boards is, I got to watch a plethora of students make it through the process unscathed!
What did I gain from assisting? I learned that getting good patients is vitally important (including making sure the nearby teeth are also in good shape). I also learned how important it is to trust your instincts and skills! Another important piece of advice is to practice using all materials and instruments you intend to use on the day of - don’t try anything new you’ve never done before. Additionally, I learned that you should always do a final inspection of your preparation with the super-sharp explorer that is sent up with the patient, because that’s what your graders will be using. Finally, I learned how important it is to know the in’s and out’s of the specific test you are taking --- read and learn the instruction manual ahead of time!
Most importantly, I decided on which exam I will be taking. This is a different decision-making process for everyone because it depends on multiple factors such as where you intend to live and what your specific strengths/weaknesses are. So to all those 4th years who passed boards in the last few months – CONGRATS! To all my fellow 3rd years who will be taking boards less than a year from now – GOOD LUCK! To all of the 2nd and 1st years who still have some time – make sure to assist various boards exams, get some cash along the way, and see which exam suits you more.