It’s been a minute. My apologies. I had quite the last couple of months, from nonstop studying for Finals in April to Boards which I took May 20, to just life in general (struggled passing a class, car got towed $$$$, fiancé moved in etc) Like I said LIFE. I’m almost traumatized from how much was going on but I’m so happy I made it through. Even happier to say I PASSED part 1 of the NBDE , results posted I think 16 days after I took it. Honestly still cant believe it. Yes it was THAT hard… for me. (I give all glory to GOD because when I tell you how that exam tried me in ways I did not know existed…. SMH) I walked out knowing I failed, cried for days and as I told my loved ones how I felt, they poured into me, positivity and optimism. And I decided their mentality was right, no reason to waste energy worrying about something that had not be decided yet. Though I know how I felt leaving the exam, I decided that if I did fail, it wasn’t the end of the world- I’d just take it over. (LIKE MANY PEOPLE DO, despite everything swearing up and down everyone passes lol.) If I didn’t fail, I’d know that it was all God, and that he carried me through that exam! Either way I trusted whatever fate He had for me and got rid of the cloud I had over my head. But it really was one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever done.
So how did I prepare?
Duration: I studied for 3 weeks about 6-8 hours 80% of the days. The first week was spring break, so literally from sun up to sun down I studied. It was hard to wrap my mind around where to start, but I just had to jump in it and figure it out from there. The last 2 weeks, I was technically in school, but the thing about being a D3 and taking boards in the summer is …3 days out the week I don’t have classes and can schedule patients. So, I just didn’t schedule patients and was able to use the entire day to study and maximize my time. The 2 days I had classes, I was done with school around 5 and would study from 6 to about 11. I cut off most if not all (fun /extra) things, parties, lunch/dinner dates, graduation celebrations, nights out, I minimized communication / social media, cut off all discussion about the wedding lol it was tough.. but my Fiancé was by my side the entire time. And he is a huge reason I stayed sane. So thankful for him and his unwavering support.
Resources: I used a lot of different materials actually. Mostly because I didn’t know where to start but also because, different things contributed to my understanding in different ways.
-First aid pt 1 book- read for foundation of concepts that I was completely unfamiliar or rusty with. Did not read entire thing but referenced it often.
-Dental mastery app (faithfully)- did almost 200 questions each day. Eventually, I went through all the questions on the app so I did repeats and studied the ones I couldn’t grasp. For the ones that I didn’t understand or common concepts that I knew were huge, I wrote them in a notebook, like little facts and had a section in the notebook for each category on the exam, so everything was grouped together and not random. I would read these in the morning or at night for refreshers. I loved the app, because of its convenience obviously but also because it wasn’t just information to read it was question/ answer format allowing you to quiz yourself at any time.
-side note: I made a notebook full of mnemonics that I came across in the app, or while watching the pass the boards videos and some were ones I created myself. I studied those and my book of notes regularly as well.
– Old Dental Decks (sometimes)- helped expand my understanding of how questions asking the same thing could be worded differently , had great explanation (actually too great..dental decks are super dense) but the set I had was old, so I wasn’t super into it. But it was nice to switch up momentum when I was tired of the monotony of the app, the book and my notebooks.
-Pass the dental boards videos on youtube (faithfully) – loved these, straight to the point and had mnemonics and facts that would help for memory. I took notes on these videos and would review notes on these too.
-notes from class, for dental anatomy and head and neck anatomy, etc. (helpful especially my document of head and neck exceptions from d1 year)
-Old exams released by the ADA – helpful towards the end, when you want to test yourself but also learn new info and the writing style and popular concepts.
What I wish I did differently?
I wish I timed myself when doing practice exams because I found that during the actual exam, I was ALWAYS, running out of time!! Idk if it was the nerves but I would look up and time was running out and I still had a lot of questions to get through. It was scary and stressful and super frustrating, to know I could have managed time better. But all in all, I guess it worked out.