How to Pass the INBDE exam on the first attempt.

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It has been over a year and a lot of data has been released regarding the new INBDE exam. The questions are why is there still a surprisingly high number of students still failing the exam. One of the reasons may be that students are trying to study the old way of the NBDE exam. Another thought is that many students are not utilizing the right critical thinking skills during the exam. By far the most plausible reason that students are failing the INBDE exam, is they just don’t have the right content and they don’t know where to find it.

In this blog we will hear from three MDI Prep students who were able to pass the INBDE on the first attempt. Their methods were very similar, but you will see there a few differences that you will want to play close attention to:

Student 1

(Luana a foreign trained dentist) – Luana graduate in 2014 from dental school in India. It has been many years since she reviewed any basic science material, and she has been a dental assistance in the U.S. for the past 3 years. Luana joined the MDI Prep online class in October 2020 and studied for 4 months before taking her exam. She stated that most of her INBDE exam was Pharmacology, Ethics, Patient Management and Oral Path. According to Luana the best resources for her were the interactive classes with MDI Prep, where she could ask the instructors questions. She also mentioned that the Mosby book, INBDE Bootcamp and Dental Mastery App were helpful in practicing questions. The MDI Prep Q bank and patient boxes really helped understand how to integrate the basic science and clinical science cases.

Her recommendation: Don’t take the exam until you are ready. Make sure you are scoring at least 85% on practice questions and find a course to help you organize and put everything together.

Student 2

(Jacob 4th year dental student) – Jacob was the first to admit that he didn’t have a lot of time to study for the INBDE exam. Between his 3rd and 4th year of dental school, he had about four weeks to prepare for the exam. He did the MDI Prep private one on one classes to help him focus on the items he didn’t understand well. He met three times per week and completed exams every third day to test his knowledge. Jacob was averaging between 75-80% on practice test. In addition to the MDI Prep material, he also used INBDE Bootcamp, Dental Board Mastery and the Mosby book.

His recommendation: “Make sure you really understand lab values, because the INBDE expect you to understand basic values. Some of the values on my exam were INR, PT and PTT, sodium levels, just to name a few. It was also a good idea to review the ADA pdf for ethics principles. There wasn’t a lot of basic science on the exam, other than some Dental Anatomy and Microbiology related to oral cavity. Overall know your patient management and know it well. There were over 20 questions on the exam that related patient management to pharm and oral pathology.

Student 3

(Diana foreign trained dentist) – Diana graduated from dental school in Egypt in 2018. She decided to take the longer approach to preparing for the INBDE exam. First, Diana studied with the MDI Prep program for 6 months and continued an extra 2 months for review. She used the INBDE Bootcamp, Dental Mastery App, Mosby book and MDI Prep live lectures.

Her recommendations: Don’t take the INBDE test lightly. My exam was loaded with Oral Pathology, but many of the questions were not straight forward. Dr. Sutton taught us to understand pathology from every angle which helped a lot. When they mentioned herpangina, a cyst or some other pathology, you must immediately think to yourself, how do I treat this. Also, you must consider what caused this to happen. What really made this challenging was medications and how they interacted with other medications. The MDI Prep pharmacology lectures are good at showing drug to drug interactions. MDI Prep provided all the resources such as INBDE Bootcamp, Dental Mastery App and Mosby book. It would also be helpful to look at Dentin for Oral Path. Some of the things that you want to focus on related to the Pharmacology are warfarin (coumadin), INR ratio, bisphosphonate, Naltrexone (thanks Dr. Sutton for the mnemonic), GERD treatment and antibiotic prophylaxis. The INBDE review sessions that MDI Prep gave us at the end of the course really helped me pass the exam.


These students are no different from you. They study hard, they are smart, and they are dedicated to dentistry. Just like they were successful on the INBDE exam, you will also. The key is to find the best study tools for you. To determine what you will need to be successful on the exam, answer the following three questions and give them the point values attached.

Complete the quiz below and get your free evaluation.

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