How to Read an NBDE Score


The National Board of Dental Examiners (NBDE) test comes in two phases. Dental students typically take NBDE Part 1 after their second year of dental school, whereas NBDE Part 2 takes place after finishing the third year of dental school. All dental students who want to get their dental license must earn a passing NBDE score. Reading an NBDE score is fairly straightforward.

  • Understand how scores are calculated. The NBDE score is based on the number of questions you get right and the score scale conversion. In other words, your overall score is standardized according to how well you understand basic biomedical and dental sciences. It is not standardized according to how well other students did.

  • Learn the scaling of NBDE score report. Exam scores will range between 49 and 99, with 99 being the highest score. A score of 75 or higher is passing. Use this range to gauge how well you are doing.

  • Use the previous steps to gauge scores on both the NBDE Part 1 and NBDE Part 2. The scoring is exactly the same for both exams.

  • Note that the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations, or JCNDE, will provide you with results that include raw scores in the four examination areas: Anatomic Sciences, Biochemistry-Physiology, Microbiology-Pathology, and Dental Anatomy and Occlusion. The data will include the number of correct responses the student obtained in each area, as well as the total number of questions in each area. You can use this information to determine your areas of strength and those areas where you may need additional review.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are no penalties for wrongly answered questions. This will not factor into the NBDE score.


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