All of the students I taught in dental anatomy a year ago are studying for Part I Dental Boards right now. Studying for this exam is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. There’s just no way you can cover all of the material as thoroughly as you would like to. You need an effective strategy that will get results (you passing and doing well on the exam). Here are some thoughts that I hope you find helpful.
1. Clock In, Clock Out. You could probably study for this exam forever. It’s a bit like the DAT in that way, but the material is more involved and after a year or two of dental school you’ve learned just how picky these exam questions can be. I would recommend 6 or 7 hours of solid studying per day. If you’re fast compared to your classmates, take 3 weeks. If you’re slower, give yourself 4 weeks. Take 1 day a week off. . If you know everything there is to know on a card and don’t need reminding, don’t look at that card again. Ever.
2. Develop a Strategy, Focus on the Highlights. There are only two things that are worth your time, The Dental Decks and released old exam questions. There’s not much point in going back more than 3-4 years with old exams, either. Set a goal for how many decks you can get through per day and try to go through all of them at least 2-3 times. Remember, some topics are more involved than others. Don’t try to knock out gross anatomy in two days unless you’re really knowledgeable on the subject.
3. Beware of Burnout. That week before the exam is tough, you’re probably already in burnout mode. It’s really hard to start digesting information for the first time in a while the week before the test. You should be in full on review mode by this point. Set your schedule up so that the final week you’ve already done every old exam question at least once and every dental deck card at least once or twice (depending on if you knew the material on the first read).
This final point won’t help you study, but it will help ease your mind during the test. There’s always several questions on the exam that are pilot questions. They’re usually comprised of material you’ve never heard of or didn’t see in any study materials. These questions are usually not factored in to your final score, so don’t dwell on them, just move on. Follow this simple strategy and you should do well. Good luck to you!