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5 Helpful Tips to Ace the NDAEB Exam


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You've reached the finish line.

After countless hours spent in class, at the library, and studying at home, you've nearly accomplished your goal of becoming a dental assistant. Before you can begin celebrating and job hunting, though, one final challenge lies before you: the NDAEB exam. Created by the National Dental Assisting Examining Board, this challenging test puts your future career on the line. Pass the exam and you'll be on your way to a new job. Fail to earn a high enough score and you'll be stuck in dental assisting purgatory.

If you're looking for an edge on your NDAEB exam, you've come to the right place. Follow these five tips to ensure you pass the very first time you attempt the test!

Master the Format

In order to perform at the highest level possible, you'll need to fully understand what's being asked of you on the NDAEB exam. After all, it's impossible to know which answer is the right one if you're unsure of the parameters of the question. The NDAEB exam handbook outlines three types of questions: vignettes, matching, and stand alone items.

Stand alone questions are easy to understand. These multiple choice items ask you a straightforward question and list four possible options. Vignettes are a little more complicated. These questions present a scenario and ask test takers to respond accordingly. Matching questions are similar; a short vignette lists out a common real-world challenge faced by dental assistants. To answer correctly, test takers must select the matching answer that best applies to the situation.

Be sure to practice with these different types of questions ahead of your NDAEB exam. If your first experience with a vignette is on the day of the test, you may be thrown for a loop. By familiarizing yourself with the format of the NDAEB exam, you'll be able to answer questions more quickly.

Identify Keywords

In a perfect world, you'd know all the answers to the questions on the NDAEB exam without wavering between the possibilities. In reality, however, you'll inevitably face a question without an obvious correct answer. When faced with such an item, it's important to identify key phrases and vocabulary terms to narrow down your answer.

Keywords help us understand the goal of the test question while eliminating confusing background noise. NDAEB exam questions are written by humans, not robots – you'll find both inadvertent and intentional hints in the question itself. Practice identifying keywords in your NDAEB exam prep and you'll easily ace the real thing!

Make the Most of Your Time

The NDAEB exam is timed. This fact creates a sense of urgency in many aspiring dental assistants. While the clock is indeed ticking, the reality is that many examinees finish with time to spare. You'll have four hours to answer 200 questions, which gives you a little over one minute to answer each item.

While you might be tempted to speed read each question and race to the finish line, four hours is a long time. In the days leading up to the NDAEB exam, take some time to practice answering questions with a timer nearby. You'll be surprised at just how long a minute feels when answering test questions! By understanding just how much time you really have, you'll feel more relaxed and prepared on the day of the exam.

Practice Makes Perfect

You wouldn't show up to the DMV to take your driver's license exam without practicing first, so why register for the NDAEB exam without taking a few practice tests? Be sure to incorporate plenty of them in the weeks leading up to your NDAEB exam. They can help you understand the content of the test, familiarize yourself with the structure of the questions, and allow you to quiz yourself on the content.

By taking practice tests, you'll gain a new understanding of what the NDAEB is looking for on their exam. Practice tests can teach you just as much about yourself as they can about the subject matter! It's incredibly satisfying to see your practice test scores increase over time, and the confidence boost you'll gain along the way is sure to give you an edge.

Study Smarter

Studies have shown that practice tests are one of the most effective ways to prepare for an exam. Such tools can indeed help you understand the timing and format of an exam, but they also provide you with unique insight into your chances at passing. By all means, study using your favorite strategies – flashcards, chapter outlines, and other resources can be very useful – but make sure your studies are informed by your practice test results.

Consider the gaps in your dental assisting knowledge. Some are obvious; maybe you missed the unit on diagnostic casts while you were home sick with the flu. Other blind spots aren't as apparent. It sometimes takes a practice test score to highlight the subject areas most in need of your attention. The good news? Exam Edge's practice tests include detailed explanations for why a given answer choice is the right one. Use this information to build out more effective study guides and you're sure to find success.

Get a Free Sample Practice Test Now

If you're ready to ace the NDAEB on your first attempt, it's time to try a practice test! Our sample practice exams offer a peek behind the curtain so you can see how helpful they truly are – when you're ready to get started, simply click here!