Bench Test and Interview Preparation in a COVID-19 World

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With COVID-19 affecting our entire world, is it really worth it to take the risk to attend an in-person course in order to be well prepared for either a bench test or interview? We don’t think taking that kind of risk is necessary right now – effectively putting your parents, children, or spouse at risk – especially when you can do it all at home. Both of our courses, Bench Test Mastery and Interview Mastery are 100% virtual and they’ve been helping candidates ace their bench test and have an effective interview preparation for several years, starting pre-pandemic. 

Bench Test Preparation in a COVID-19 World

Just to be clear, we did not just recently convert our Bench Test Mastery and Interview Mastery into online courses, they’ve been virtual since the very beginning! 

Preparing for interviewing virtually is easier to wrap your head around, so let’s start there. Our course goes over the foundations of interviewing. It includes over 20 hours of instructional video on the secrets of interviewing, combined with personalized practice interviews, tailored to the school you’re going to along with feedback for improvement. Plus we’ve recently included a bonus module to cover how to master a zoom video interview. If interested, you can learn more about Interview Mastery here

Bench Test Preparation can also be done online. I’ve (Dr. Alyssa here typing this up) been helping candidates with their bench test preparation for several years now, 100% online. This includes candidates that have never done a crown prep in their life, candidates that haven’t touched a handpiece in over a decade, and everyone in-between. 

The course itself is pre-recorded so you can take only the parts you need, when you need it, and repeat as you need to. A core part of the course and what I get asked most about is how I evaluate your work, feedbacks as we call it. This is a fair question, so let me explain. 

In a nutshell, you take photos of your work (preps, restorations, wax-ups, whatever it might be), and upload them onto a page on our member area. Yes, I can see the details of your prep through photos, but more on that in a moment. On the Feedback Submission form, you’ll answer some questions, like which tooth did you work on? What kind of prep is this? And if you’d like, you can rate your work and give it a pass or fail. I pull the up on my computer, talk into a mic while using my mouse as a pointer, and recording my screen. This becomes a video for you to review. In the video, I don’t just talk about what deviated away from ideal. I focus more on why that happened and how to correct it going forward. This is important – it’s easy to point out why a preparation isn’t ideal, you can just pull up a list of criteria it needs to meet, go down that list and see if it meets it or not, one by one. But knowing why that happened so you can prevent it from happening going forward is the basis of improvement. If you’ve practiced for the bench test, you know; it’s easy to go through lots of teeth but be unsure of how to improve. That’s where I come in.

You might be wondering how well I can identify details of prep through photos, and I understand where you’re coming from. Prep is a trail that a bur has left behind on a tooth. I assume you’re using the burs I suggest you use in your preparation, which are the standard burs given at a bench test. I know the shape and dimensions of the bur and I’m very familiar with typodonts, so when I see photos of your prep I can tell how the bur moved around. I can see how you moved your hands to get the results you’ve achieved. Accurate photos are important for me to be able to provide a full evaluation, so there is a guide about that inside the member area as well. No fancy camera needed, your phone is sufficient, and photo-taking isn’t difficult. 

Because we work together for a long time – much much longer than the length of time you’d be spending at an in-person course – you’ll get advice for a longer duration of time, which is important. 

See, often candidates who’ve been to in-person bench test preparation courses join Bench Test Mastery. While most of our members rely on our course as their sole means for bench test preparation, some people initially decide to go to a live course. They often come to me afterward because as they continue to practice after the completion of the live course, they lose touch with ideal preps again and find they need someone to guide them back on track. They need someone to point out mistakes and shed a light on why it’s happening and how to prevent it. I’m sharing this with you to illustrate the importance of long-term mentorship. If you want to be prepared well, bench test preparation is a long game. 

One last thing, if a program decides not to hold an in-person bench test and test you online instead, there’s a big chance you’ll be shown some photos of preparations and/or restorations and be asked to point out mistakes. I’ve been asked how to prepare for a test like this many times. To train your eye to evaluate preparations (or restorations), the best way is to watch somebody else evaluate them, and lots of it. I’ve been providing online evaluations for several years now and we have over 2,000 at this point. All of this is available for you to view inside Bench Test Mastery the moment you join, and I’m unaware of a resource better than this to prepare you for a test like that.

If you’re interested, you can learn more about Bench Test Mastery here.

It’s been rough several months for everyone with too many lives lost to the virus and so much suffering coming not just from the virus itself, but also from the secondary effects of the pandemic. We hope we’re near the end of this, but if COVID-19 doesn’t improve by the time bench test season comes around, each program will have to make their own decision in regards to how they administer the bench test or whether they’ll administer it at all. I know this is deeply personal to you, so I’d like to share a replay of a workshop I hosted about this topic. If you’re wondering how programs may go about selecting applicants, feel free to watch the workshop on Bench Test and Interview Preparation during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Stay safe but keep on doing your bench test and interview preparation . We’re here to work with you virtually while you stay home. 

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