You were anxiously waiting for three weeks to get the results of the INBDE exam and finally the results are in. You open the email, and you see the word “Fail” and a score that is less than the 75%. The immediate response is one of disappointment, hurt and fear. You are wondering what went wrong, asking yourself if you are really cut out for this. Thinking and shouting, “can I pass this exam so I can get my U.S. dental license”. All the doubts that may run through your mind is not uncommon. Many others before you have asked those same questions. Despite everything that is going on in your mind, there are five things you must do if you want move past the failure and finally PASS the INBDE exam.

Release the failure

Over the years many smart individuals have come through the doors of MDI Prep crying because they have failed an exam. One dentist comes to mind. Her name is Rinkal. She was committed to practicing dentistry in the U.S. and knew she had to pass her NBDE exam to begin the process. Unfortunately, she failed on her first attempt, and she sat in our office with tears of frustration. After listening to her for about 15 minutes talk about quitting and all the hurt she was experiencing, I leaned forward and asked her one question, “So what are you going to do now”?

She gazed at me as if I asked a super hard question. What I wanted Rinkal to understand was that no amount of crying was going to change the score on the exam. I wanted to know was she ready to quit or continue her pursuit of passing the exam. She said she was not going to quit. She looked at me with the tears slowly drying up and said, “What do I do now”? First you must find a nice peaceful place away from family and friends to meditate, reflect and release the failure. Parks, beaches, or places which allow you to experience the beauty of nature are great places to meditate and release the failure.

During this time of reflection, you should spend a maximum of 5 minutes thinking about your failure and more than 45 minutes thinking about everything that is positive as you move forward. You are alive (positive). Taking the exam again is an option (positive). You realize some of the mistakes you made on the exam (positive). According to SACAP – Self-forgiveness is key to overcoming failure. Finally, you need to close your eyes and keep them closed until you can clearly see two things (you are passing the exam and you practicing dentistry in the U.S.). Do not open your eyes to those two things are crystal clear.

Inventory of what went wrong

How cool would it be to know some of the questions that may appear on your INBDE exam. Very cool we could assume. Guess what, you have the benefit of having seen some of the questions before and now all you must do is remember what they were. During the inventory stage you should get any material you used to study for the exam, the mosby book, dental decks, dental mastery app and start going through the pages of materials to see if any of those items were on your actual exam. Put everything you remember in a notebook labeled “high yield”. Secondly try to think of anything that you may have done the day before the exam or during the INBDE exam that may have affected your score. Sometimes we do a food inventory of our students to make sure they are eating properly the weeks leading up to the exam and on exam day.

Seek out an advisor to guide you

This is where MDI Prep comes in and can be of the most benefit to you. Finding out how to understand set up a study schedule and creating a question bank that really test your knowledge of the material is something MDI Prep has been doing since the INBDE exam began. It all starts with speaking with one of the MDI Prep advisors at: There are several companies that offer resources for the INBDE exam. Keep in mind, if you are retaking the INBDE exam, you will want to take an INBDE course that offers a live interactive online course that allows you the opportunity to ask the instructors questions. Be sure to contact the companies to ask them about the resources they offer. Here are a few of the companies – (Kaplan), (Dental Decks), (Dentin), (Board vitals).

Execute the plan 

Once you have decided upon how you will proceed with your preparation for the INBDE, the next step is to execute the plan. MDI Prep will give you a structured syllabus and schedule to follow and encourage you to also create a study calendar. One interesting blog about executing a study plan can be found at the Meritstore Blog. It gives some good advice on the do’s and don’ts of executing a plan.

Show up and shine

The final step comes 3-6 months after you have studied hard, completed all the quizzes, and reviewed the INBDE content. It is now time to take the exam and PASS. This is the Show up moment (you come to the testing center prepared for any question that comes your way).  The Shine is when you are literally a INBDE exam master. The questions will seem to be written just for you.

MDI Prep motivates each person in our class to believe in themselves. We teach our students the strategies on how to conquer the exam and to remove all doubts. While you may be reading this blog because you failed the exam in the past, does not mean you will fail the exam again. In fact, we know you will not fail the test again if you follow the guidelines we have listed. One thing to always keep in mind that from the ashes of failure RISES monuments of success. You will RISE and you will Shine. Feel free to join one of our INBDE courses.

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