I am wishing that everyone is taking care of themselves and keeping safe amidst the uncertainty created by the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. For the 2020 CAAPID cycle, most of the dental schools have extended their deadlines keeping in view the current scenario. It’s not really clear at the moment whether bench tests will be held in-person or virtually but nevertheless, we should be prepared for every possibility!
Most of the dental schools conduct a bench test as a part of the admission process. Schools want to make sure that you have basic clinical knowledge and acumen for hand skills. It makes sense as well since most part of dentistry requires refined hand skills for precise procedures. If you have applied to a university that conducts a bench test, you should start gathering the typodont and other required materials as soon as you have applied. I recommend that you start preparing for the bench test before the universities send out invitations since it takes a lot of practice to get the ideal preparation.
Related Article: When To Start Bench Test Preparation?
Usually, candidates think that getting an invitation is enough but don’t make the mistake of undermining the value of the bench test. Even though this is the last step, it’s one of the more difficult ones. Through your interview and bench test, you have an opportunity to really stand out among others and demonstrate your skills to the school’s admission committee.
Bench Test Items You’ll Likely Be Tested On
There are certain exercises that applicants are consistently tested on each year that you should practice. Some universities inform the candidates well in advance about the exercises they’ll be asking on the bench while some universities keep it as a surprise. Some schools are known to ask particular things on the bench while some schools ask for different exercises each year.
Commonly asked exercises include:
- Class II amalgam prep on a lower first molar
- FM and FGC prep on upper and lower first molar
- PFM prep on upper anterior
The grading criteria for the preps include many parameters like dimensions, taper, outline form, preservation of proximal contacts etc.
Some schools ask for specific preps like:
- Amalgam restoration on a prepped tooth
- Composite build up on incisor, molar
- Wax carving on molar
- Provisional restorations with composite
Some schools might ask preps specific to a specialization which include:
- RPD Designing
- Endo Access opening on any teeth
- Gold onlay prep on a molar
One has to be thorough in making these preps keeping in mind the guidelines you have been taught in your dental school. You shall learn more about the details with every prep you make, hence it is important to practice a lot and practice well in advance.
Please keep in mind that the candidates are not always given the ideal work conditions during a bench exam. Some schools place restrictions on burs used for preps, some schools only allow dry cutting, and some schools place the typodont set on a rod or pole instead of a mannequin. Some dental schools will provide you all the dental materials you will need during the test whereas some dental schools will ask you to bring all the material required on your own. It is best to enquire in advance about the bench test conditions either from the dental school itself, from current students, or from candidates who have tested in the past.
Graders also keep a check on the ideal ergonomics while you are testing for the bench exam. Hence, every aspect of the bench exam is significant in getting you a step closer to the admission.
Mastering the basic preps first like Class II amalgam and full coverage crowns will help you stabilize your hand and develop a working style that’s comfortable for you. Also learning new preps will be easier.
All the best with your preparations this year! and take a bench test mastery course if interested in good results!