The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected almost every working sector including dentistry; putting it a halt too. Most of the dentists around the world are treating only emergencies. We hope that we all stay strong and support the government in fighting this pandemic. And let’s plan, how and when to start bench test preparation.
For foreign-trained dentists applying this year to the International Dentist program, it’s not going to be an easy cycle. Interviews might be conducted online, deadlines might be delayed; It is really hard to predict right now about the trajectory of events which shall lead to securing a seat in the coveted DDS program in the United States.
However, endurance and positivity in difficult times can be really helpful. We must not lose hope since we all are in this together. Let’s focus on what we have in our hands and work on it!
Many candidates ask us about the ideal time to start preparing for the bench exam. In this article, I’ll be sharing my personal views.
When To Start Preparing for the Bench Exam?
You’ll probably be coming across varied viewpoints whenever you seek guidance about the topic of this article;
- A month before the exam
- A week before the exam
- A night before the exam (Just watch some YouTube videos; they are only testing your basic skills)
- A bench test preparatory course is sufficient
And a lot more….!
In my opinion, you should start preparing for the bench test as soon as you have applied to dental schools.
The bench exam is the most crucial deciding factor in your admission to dental school. It is a greater determining factor than the interview and one should take it seriously. Getting an invite is in itself an achievement but the competition gets tougher from there. What keeps you forward is your performance in the bench test!
Why Start Early With The Bench Test Preparation
I say that you should start preparing for the bench examination as soon as you have finished applying to dental schools because of the following reasons:
- The armamentarium and the equipment used in the US dental schools are mostly different from the one used in your native school. For example, most US dental schools will provide you with a four-hole hand-piece or an electric hand-piece and it takes time to set your hands rightly on them. The more you get used to the instruments, the better will be your performance.
- Preparing ideal crown cuttings, cavities, wax carving, etc on a typodont is much tougher than actually doing it on a patient. You might be having excellent clinical skills but preparing ideal preps is no child’s play. Dental Schools strictly adhere to the ideal measurement range.
- If you are a fresh graduate or have limited clinical exposure, you’ll need all the more practice.
- In case you plan to join an online bench test preparatory course or an in-person one, you’ll have more time to clear your doubts and practice if time is not a restriction. Performance under pressure might hamper your learning skills. Why panic at the end?
- Last but not the least, practice makes a man perfect! Don’t compare your speed or the time you have been practicing for with others. Just focus on keeping your concepts clear and getting that ideal prep!
If you are planning on waiting for the interview call and then start the bench test preparation, it might lead to panic and under-preparation. The usual time frame between the interview call and the bench exam is mostly a month for most of the US dental schools. You have to prepare for the interview as well, get your itinerary organized and plan everything in this time-frame. Also, you have to arrange for all the armamentarium. Hence, it is better to start preparing for the bench well in time!
Do let us know your queries in the comments below. Best of luck!