Mentor Advice ForumCategory: QuestionsDisqualified from board exam and need some advice.
Guest User asked 8 months ago

I took my board exam on Sunday and was disqualified due to patient selection, and I was not the only one. Most of my classmates even had to go to third submission and my school had a 100% pass rate last year. My program director said these were the hardest examiners she has ever seen. I am so heartbroken and devastated and would love to hear your advice.

2 Answers
Pamela Overman, EdD, RDHPamela Overman, EdD, RDH Staff answered 8 months ago

Having spent many years working with both dental and dental hygiene students, I know that this is heartbreaking. The practitioners who run the exams do their best to calibrate their examiners, but, with an exam based on treating live patients, these situations do happen. Dentistry and dental hygiene are one of the few professions that require the use of patients for a licensing exam. Many are working now to replace those types of exams with alternatives, such as objective structured clinical examinations and portfolios.

That doesn’t help you in the here and now! I would go to the examining board website, read all the rules about retakes, and find out the soonest you can take the exam. I would work toward getting this behind you. In my experience, our students pass on the retake!

Jacquelyn L. Fried, RDH, MSJacquelyn L. Fried, RDH, MS Staff answered 8 months ago

I can understand you’re upset. As a faculty, we have had student failures before—often some of our stellar clinicians. If I were you, I would not wait until July to retake the exam. I would start looking now for qualifying patients and be willing to go a little distance to take the boards as soon as possible—just so there will not be a long lapse in time. If you can keep your “hands wet” at your institution until July, then wait until then. Also, see if you can make some kind of arrangement with your school so that you can bring patients in for screening prior to any exam that you take. Although now it does not feel this way, this too shall pass. The second time has been the charm for many of our students who have had to retake the exam.