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Studying is easier when the weather is miserable

March 9, 2011

Midway through D2 year, the thought of boards starts to loom over students’ heads. The National Board Dental Examination Part I to be specific. It’s a seven hour exam that covers almost all the courses we’ve taken so far including biochemistry, microbiology, dental anatomy, head and neck anatomy, physiology, histology, salivary glands, pharmacology, etc.

We are expected to schedule this examination at our own convenience so I consulted upperclassmen for advice. I chose to take the test early. I was used to studying around the clock for IMS (our all encompassing science course that we took from the beginning of our curriculum until last December) and word had it that our upcoming course load was relatively light. My thoughts: I wanted to maintain the study habits that I had from my former semesters of dental school, I didn’t want to forget anymore information than I already had and I flat out wanted to get it over with.

Once the school authorized me to take the NBDE, I considered my options. I decided to take it during our spring break at the end of February. Once finals were done in December, I gave myself a week off then hit the books. This gave me just over two months to study intensely for the boards.

One of the hardest parts was balancing boards with my schoolwork. I tried to get a few hours in every day during the week, and a few more on the weekends. I got to school early to get about 30 minutes of studying done before class started, 30-45 minutes over lunch so by the time I got home at night I had a good chunk done for the day. On weekends, I planted myself at a library, the Union or a local coffee shop to chip away at whatever resources I could get my hands on.

My advice is to get a study-buddy, make a schedule and stick to it. I had to sacrifice nights off and most of my weekends but I’m hoping it will all be worth it.

Barbara Zickgraf is a D2 who is relieved to have the NBDEs off her plate.  Well, part 1 anyway.

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