NBDE Part 1 Pass Rate for International Students

  • nbde pass rate for international students

In getting a license to practice dentistry in the United States, international dentists must pass both parts of the National Board of Dental Examinations (NBDE). Many international dentists wonder about the NBDE Part 1 pass rate and whether it’s easy to pass the exam.

NBDE part 1 pass rate for international students

What is NBDE part 1

The Joint Commission Of National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) is the body responsible for the development of both parts of the NBDE. In your journey to become a licensed dentist in the United States, taking the NBDE Part 1 is the first step.

The NBDE Part 1 exam is composed of 400 questions: 80% are stand-alone questions, while 20% are test based on different clinical scenarios. It is conducted in two 3.5-hour sessions with an hour of optional break in between.

NBDE part 1 pass rate / NBDE part 1 failure rate

The NBDE Part 1 has a pass/fail exam. A candidate’s final score is computed by producing a scale score based on the total number of correct answers selected by the candidate. Candidates who achieve a standard scaled score of 75 or higher get the “pass” status. With NBDE’s pass/fail grading system, it becomes harder for schools to choose a candidate fit for their program.

At IDC, a few international dentists have asked us about the passing rate for NBDE Part 1. While some American universities have given the statistics of 99.9% pass rate for their own students, it’s hard to predict the pass rate for NBDE Part 1 for international students.

NBDE part 1 failure rate

How to pass NBDE part 1

How to Prep and Pass Your NBDE part 1

The NBDE is a challenging exam for international dentists; the challenges being the following:

  • A different tooth numbering system in US
  • NBDE is an objective exam
  • NBDE is computer-based and a timed exam
  • Requires thorough understanding of concepts and developed reasoning

Preparing for the NBDE as an international dentist can be both an enlightening yet a nerve-wracking experience but it is certainly is not an impossible task. Rather than focusing on the passing rate for the exam, I would suggest putting your best foot forward and study smartly. Passing NBDE Part 1 is certainly achievable based on my experience and other international dentists as well.

Study Material for NBDE part 1

There is ample material available, but I would suggest sticking to one and supplementing it with other materials. Here are the study materials I  personally used:

  1. First Aid for the NBDE Part 1
  2. Dental Decks
  3. Released ASDA Papers
  4. Dental boards mastery app

Some other possibly useful materials could be

  1. Mosby’s Review for the NBDE Part 1
  2. Board Vitals
  3. Kaplan Lecture Notes and question bank

You have to choose the most effective combination that works for you. It is a personal choice.

dental residency programs for foreign trained dentists

The future of the NBDE

Another important update regarding this is the development of a new exam that would soon replace both NBDE Parts I and II. The new examination is called Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE). The JCNDE, the agency that has developed NBDE, is also the one developing the new exam. This will be available this coming August 1, 2020. Depending on when you’re planning to apply, you might want to consider taking this new exam.

Are you getting ready to take the exam? Hope you have found this article helpful and if you have questions about NBDE Part 1 Pass Rate, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below! 

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  1. Bijay Jaiswal July 4, 2020 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    sir i am bds student from
    nepal. i want oral n maxilofacial residency in US . what should be step n money expenditure reaching upto this residency.

    • Sherry Astorga July 5, 2020 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Bijay! There are many residency programs that are actually open to international dentists like yourself. However, this route is considered to be a lot more competitive than an advanced standing program. We recommend checking the requirements and tuition fees directly to the school you’re interested in applying to get the up to date information. Also, we have this article which include list of states that offers Oral and Maxillofacial programs here:


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