Most applicants think that just getting an invitation is enough, but it would be an enormous mistake. This may be the last stage, but it’s also one of the trickiest. You can make a great impression on the admissions committee and prove your worth to the school through your performance in the interview and bench test.
Most of the top dental schools conduct a bench test as a part of the admission process. It is imperative for dental schools to ensure that applicants possess fundamental clinical knowledge and dexterity in manual abilities. As a prospective dental student applying to a university that conducts a bench test, it is recommended that you begin collecting the necessary typodont and other required materials promptly after submitting your application. As a dental student applying for the program, we highly suggest beginning your preparation for the bench test in advance of receiving invitations from universities. It requires a significant amount of practice to achieve optimal readiness.
You should prepare by repeating the same exercises that are included in every year’s application test. Some schools give candidates extensive notice of the bench exercises they will be asked to complete, while others keep the information a secret until the day of the interview. While some schools are known to ask for the same exercises year after year, others are known to ask for specific things on the bench.
Some schools ask for specific preps like:
- Amalgam restoration on a prepped tooth
- Composite build up on incisor, molar
- Wax carving on molar
- Provisional restorations with composite
Some schools might ask for preps specific to a specialization which include:
- RPD Designing
- Endo Access opening on any teeth
- Gold only preps on a molar
Commonly asked exercises include:
- Class II amalgam prep on a lower first molar
- FM and FGC prep on the upper and lower first molar
- PFM prep on upper anterior
It’s important to take your time and follow the protocols you learned in dentistry school when you make these preparations. You will gain a deeper understanding of the finer points with each round of practice, so put in the time and effort required.
Remember that applicants taking a bench exam are not always provided with optimum working conditions. There are also variations in how the typodont set is displayed; some institutions only allow dry cutting, while others utilize a rod or pole in place of a mannequin. There are dental schools that will supply you with everything you need for the exam, and there are other schools that will require you to bring your own dental equipment.
Bench tests in U.S. dental schools can vary slightly depending on the specific institution. However, they generally assess a candidate’s manual dexterity, knowledge of dental concepts, and clinical skills. Here are a few tips on how to start preparing for your bench test.
- Investigate the Test Format: To begin, familiarize yourself with the format and requirements of the dental bench exam at the institutions to which you are applying.
- Simulate Test Environment: As the actual bench test approaches, you should strive to simulate the test conditions as closely as possible during your practice sessions.
- Create a Study Routine: Create a schedule of study that allows for regular practice and review prior to the bench test.
- Remain Calm and Certain: On the day of the bench test, maintain composure and self-assurance in your abilities.
Therefore, it is essential to investigate and comprehend the requirements of the institutions to which you are applying, and to tailor your preparation accordingly.
So how do you know what you need to prepare before your bench test??
Here are a few tasks which one needs to practice before the bench test:
- Restorative dentistry tasks: Bench exams commonly include restorative dentistry tasks to evaluate tooth preparation and restoration implantation. This may require cavity preparation, fillings, or interim restorations.
- Dental anatomy identification: You may be assessed on tooth structures, surfaces, and landmarks. Written or dental model identification is possible.
- Radiographic interpretation is part of some bench examinations. Dental X-rays and panoramic radiographs may be examined for abnormalities, dental problems, and treatment needs.
- Infection control: Dental practice relies on good infection control. Bench tests may include exercises on hand hygiene, PPE, and tool sterilization.
- Dental materials manipulation: Your ability to manipulate dental materials may be assessed. This could involve mixing dental materials, taking imprints, or making composite resin or dental ceramic restorations.
- Prosthodontics tasks: Bench testing may include removable or fixed prosthodontic activities. Dentures, wax-ups, and crown preparations are examples.
It’s important to note that the specific content and format of bench tests can vary between dental schools. It’s advisable to research the requirements of the dental schools you are applying to in order to have a clear understanding of their specific bench test expectations. Reach out to the dental schools directly or check their websites for detailed information on their admission process and bench test components.