INBDE Demystified: What's Tested?

Author image
Reviewed by
Dr. Joel Meyerson
Key Takeaway
  • The INBDE is meant to test your knowledge learned from dental school but what exactly should you focus on?
  • Tested over two days, the INBDE covers many different question topics that are presented in variety of unique ways such as through patient boxes, standalone, or case sets.
Table of Contents

    The INBDE is a multiple choice exam comprising 500 questions. The exam takes place over two days: the first day is eight hours (360 questions), and the second day is four hours (140 questions). Each day begins with an optional 15-minute tutorial, and the second day ends with an optional 15-minute survey. 

    Exam questions may have associated patient boxes or dental charts, and questions either standalone or are part of case sets. 


    INBDE Day One Schedule
    INBDE Day Two Schedule

    Patient boxes

    Most INBDE questions are accompanied by a patient box. The patient box introduces the patient’s chief complaint, medical history, medications, allergies, dental history, and current findings. The patient box often includes extraneous information that isn’t always relevant – you must determine the applicable information needed to correctly answer the question. 

    Here’s an example of what this may look like: 

    Patient boxes example

    We can now focus in on the most important information:

    Patient Boxes 2

    Recognizing rivaroxaban (Xarelto®) as a novel oral anticoagulant medication that inhibits factor Xa, we can correctly answer choice D. 

    Dental charts

    Some INBDE questions are also accompanied by images or charting information. This includes radiographs, clinical photographs, periodontal charts, and odontograms. Sometimes these are needed to answer the question, and sometimes not (don’t assume because it’s there, it’s needed). 

    INBDE Pro-Tip: It can be overwhelming to see a question with a detailed patient box and multiple dental charts. Before looking through all of the supplemental information, it’s helpful to first look at the question being posed so it can direct you to the applicable information.  

    Here’s an example periodontal chart provided on the INBDE: 

    Perio Chart

    And an example odontogram: 


    Standalone questions

    Questions either are standalone or are part of case sets. Standalone questions are independent of each other, meaning each question is unrelated to the next. On the INBDE, the first day consists of 360 questions. The first 300 of these are standalone questions. Standalone questions can still contain a patient box.

    Case set questions 

    Case set questions are a series of questions that all focus on the same patient. On the INBDE, the first day has 60 case set questions. The second day of the INBDE is 140 questions, all of which are case set questions. 

    Case set questions usually have a number of provided dental charts, such as periodontal charts, odontograms, radiographs, and clinical photographs. With all of this provided information, the INBDE can ask a number of associated questions.

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    Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student