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What is the NBDE Part II

The National Board Dental Examination Part II (NBDE II*) is a two-day examination administered on computer. Most students take the exam in their final year of dental school. It consists of a comprehensive 1½ day of examination. To be eligible, students must have passed the NBDE Part 1. For more information about the NBDE Part I and II, visit the American Dental Association website.

Test Day

The National Board Dental Examination Part II consists of 500 test items. The discipline-based component (Component A) includes 400 items and the case-based component (Component B) includes 100 items based on 8-10 case problems. Part II examinations will include test items (approximately 30 percent) that have references pertinent to the basic sciences A multiple-choice test item consists of a stem, which poses a problem, followed by a list of possible answers. The stem of a test item is usually either a question or an incomplete statement. For National Board use, an item must have at least three and not more than five possible answers. Only one of the possible answers listed is correct.

The first day is divided into morning and afternoon sessions. Each session is approximately 4 hours long and consists of 200 questions each. These questions are taken from a wide range of topics, including Operative Dentistry, Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Periodontics, Pedodontics, Orthdontics, Oral Surgery, Pharmacology, and more.

The second day consists of a morning session with approximately 100 questions divided among a group of case studies. The case studies represent patients with a medical history, dental history, charts, x-rays, models, photographs, etc. Questions are centered on appropriate premedication, treatment, patient management or social aspects of patient treatment. The National Board Dental Examination Specifications for Part II can be found here.

Your NBDE Part II Score

Like Part I, the National Board Dental Examination Part II is scored on a scale of 49-99. A scaled score of 75 or above is considered a passing score. You will receive four individual scores for the subject areas covered, as well as one combined average score. These scaled scores are produced from your raw score (the total number of questions you answered correctly). The scaled scores can be easily converted into percentiles using information received with your score report.

You will receive your score report approximately 6-8 weeks after your exam date. The dean of your dental school will also receive a copy of your scores. Additional copies are available upon written request.

How to Register for the NBDE Part II

To be eligible to sit for the NBDE Part II, you must have passed the Part I exam. For more information, to request a Part I or Part II Candidate's Guide, or to receive an application to take the exam, contact:

For more information, to request a Part I or Part II Candidate's Guide, or to receive an application to take the exam, contact:

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 600
Chicago , Illinois 60611-2637

Sample NBDE Part II Question

Directions: Read the following question and select the best answer from the choices below.

Which of the following analgesics are most likely to cause seizures in an individual with renal insufficiency?

  1. Acetaminophen
  2. Ibuprofen
  3. Meperidine
  4. Morphine
  5. Propoxyphene

Answer & Explanation:

The answer is C.

Individuals with renal dysfunction are at a particularly high risk for developing toxicity secondary to the accumulation of compounds normally excreted through the kidneys. Meperidine is a narcotic analgesic used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. In renally compromised individuals, its hepatic metabolite (normeperidine), which is normally excreted through the kidneys, can accumulate resulting in the development of myoclonic seizures. Although dosage adjustments of the other analgesics have to be made in patients with renal dysfunction, they are not associated with the development of seizures in patients.

Acetaminophen (choice A) is a non-narcotic analgesic indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate pain. It is commonly found in many narcotic analgesic combination products.

Ibuprofen (choice B) is a non-steroidal antinflammatory drug (NSAID) used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain caused by inflammation. The use of NSAID's in renally compromised individuals is not recommended since they can decrease renal blood flow.

Morphine (choice D) is a narcotic analgesic used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Morphine can accumulate in renal failure patients; however, the resulting toxicity is typically respiratory depression and sedation.

Propoxyphene (choice E) is mild narcotic analgesic used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain. It can also accumulate in renal failure patients resulting in sedation and respiratory depression.