How to Apply and Prepare for the INBDE

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Reviewed by
Dr. Joel Meyerson
Key Takeaway
Table of Contents

    When to take the exam

    Most dental schools provide recommendations to their students about the best time to take the INBDE. For some dental schools, this is some time during the spring semester of your third-year. For other dental schools, this is the summer between your third- and fourth-year. Some dental schools may not provide any recommendations, but require students to pass the exam before their graduation. 

    When to challenge the exam is determined by your didactic and clinical schedule. You want to be done with most (or all) of your didactic courses, and have enough clinical experience to be able to integrate the basic and dental sciences with clinical knowledge. If you’re unsure, sometime between your third- and fourth-year works for most students. 

    INBDE Pro-Tip: To choose the most successful time to take the INBDE, take a look at your dental school calendar. Do you have a summer break that provides time to study without distractions? If you plan to apply to residency programs, when will you be working on your applications, and will this interfere with your study schedule? 

    Residency requirements

    There are a few residency programs that require a passing INBDE score as part of their application requirements. Keep this in mind when planning your INBDE timeline. 

    When thinking about the best time to take the INBDE, take a look at ADEA PASS, the official postdoctoral application service for dental residency programs. ADEA PASS has a search engine of programs that lists program  requirements for any program you may be interested in.

    Applying for the exam

    Once you know approximately when you want to take the INBDE, it’s time to apply!

    The first thing you’ll need to do is find your DENTPIN®. If you took the Dental Admission Test (DAT) to apply for dental school, this is the same personal identification number you used then. The ADA has a webpage to retrieve your DENTPIN®. If you do not have a DENTPIN® (you did not take the DAT to apply for dental school), you can create one here

    Next, you can submit an application to the JCNDE. In the application, you will pay the examination fee.

    If you attend a dental school not accredited by the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), there’s an additional form you must complete. 

    After you submit your application, your dental school administration must approve your eligibility to take the INBDE. This process occurs behind-the-scenes, so there may be a short wait time between now and the next step. 

    If you’ve already graduated from dental school, you will need to submit proof of graduation from a CODA-accredited dental school to the ADA before your application can be approved.

    INBDE Pro-Tip: Once your application is approved, you have six months to take the INBDE. Don’t apply for the exam until you are certain you know when you want to take it. 

    Once you’re able to schedule your exam, you’ll receive an email from JCNDE with your eligibility information. You’ll receive a unique Eligibility ID (the same number as your DENTPIN®), which is required to schedule your exam. 

    Next, you can schedule your exam through Prometric, the official test taking center for the INBDE and DAT. To schedule your exam, visit Prometric’s website and enter the ADA as the Sponsor. Here’s a shortcut to the page. Select “Schedule” from the left hand side of the screen.

    Schedule Exam on ADA website

    You’ll be redirected to select the state you want to take the test in, then enter your Eligibility ID, select a testing center, and choose your exam dates! 

    INBDE Pro-Tip: Although the exam is two days long, you do not have to take the two days consecutively. After day one of the exam, you have up to one week to take the second day. Some candidates choose to take the two days consecutively, while others choose to have a few rest days between the two exam dates. 

    Once you have your exam dates scheduled, let’s plan a study schedule! 

    What is the best way to study? 

    So, what is the best way to tackle the INBDE? How do you master the basic, dental, and social sciences of dental school and apply them in the context of clinical practice?

    Studying for the INBDE isn’t like studying for any other dental school exam, or even for the DAT. It’s a lot of material, and you have to give yourself enough time to study for it to all be manageable. 

    Start early

    It isn’t easy to balance studying for the INBDE while also being a full-time dental student. There will be days you won’t be able to study as much as you hope to. You’ll have homework assignments, lab work, and dental school exams to keep on top of while also preparing for the INBDE.

    Fortunately, each day of dental school is also helping prepare you for the INBDE. Each day in the classroom and clinic gets you one step closer to mastering your INBDE material. But when your study days don’t go as planned, you’ll need to have built-in makeup time to your study schedule.

    Stick to a study schedule

    Ari from INBDE Bootcamp has a 45-day study schedule to pass the INBDE on your first attempt. Ari helped us tackle the DAT and get into dental school, and now we can count on him again to help us pass the INBDE.    

    Ari’s recommendations: 

    1. Follow a study schedule that goes over what you need to do day-by-day and stick to it. Feel free to adjust and change it based on what you think you need to study most.
    1. Take regular breaks. Try to study for 45 minutes and then take a break for 5-10 minutes. Take one day off a week to relax so you don’t burn out.
    1. Give yourself enough time. It’s tempting to try to just get the test done when you have other things on your plate (like dental school denture  credits to finish). When in doubt, it’s better to start early and give yourself more time then less. 

    Ari’s schedule recommends completing each INBDE Bootcamp question bank and supplementing topics you’re less confident with using Dr. Ryan’s Mental Dental videos. INBDE Bootcamp integrates Dr. Ryan’s most high-yield Mental Dental videos into each subject area, with additional Mental Dental “bites” to help test and master Dr. Ryan’s content. 

    Create good habits

    Now that you have a study plan and schedule, sticking to good habits will lead to success. Ari’s schedule builds in one rest day per week, but if you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, take time to refresh and evaluate your situation.

    Ask yourself some of the following questions:

    • Am I taking enough breaks?
    • Am I getting enough sleep? 
    • Do I have a support system?
    • Am I eating and drinking what I need to fuel my brain? 
    • Am I getting in daily movement? 

    INBDE Pro-Tip: If you feel like you need more time to study, that is okay! The ADA allows you to reschedule your exam for an associated fee. If you feel like this is the best choice for your mental and physical health, take advantage of the opportunity. 


    With INBDE Bootcamp, you’ll have access to Bootcamp’s comprehensive, high-yield question bank and practice exam. 

    INBDE Bootcamp has thousands of high-yield questions to practice and learn from. The team at Bootcamp updates their content daily, cycling in the most high-yield questions currently being tested. INBDE Bootcamp has everything you need and nothing you don’t to help you pass the INBDE. 

    INBDE Bootcamp emulates the same format as the INBDE, such as patient boxes, dental charts and photographs, and includes test-taking features like the strike out and highlight tools. 

    Sample Question on Bootcamp

    Highlight important information and strike-out distractor answer choices: 

    Highlight and Strike-out features

    INBDE Bootcamp explanations are concise, yet thorough, utilizing visual aids to help with material comprehension. 

    Here’s a look at a graphic outlining the different classifications of removable partial denture clasps:

    Removable Partial Denture Clasp Classifications

    And like stated above, INBDE Bootcamp integrates Dr. Ryan’s most high-yield Mental Dental videos into each subject area, with video updates listed, and additional Mental Dental “bites” that directly test your understanding and recall of information from his videos. 

    Take a look at how Mental Dental videos, updates, and “bites” are included in INBDE Bootcamp:

    Mental Dental videos and bites

    Track your progress by tagging questions as “learning”, “reviewing” or “mastered”, and bookmark questions you want to easily access again before exam day. You can come back and easily review these questions from the classroom page, based on your tagging (spaced repetition).  

    Tagging System

    And best of all? INBDE Bootcamp guarantees that you’ll pass the INBDE on your first attempt. 

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    Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student