Dental students score higher than Canadian average on board exam

Rigorous program, preparation pay off as dental students continue tradition of excellence on licensing exam.


(Edmonton) The University of Alberta’s dental students made a strong showing on the national board exam, scoring higher than the Canadian average.

The examination from the National Dental Examining Board of Canada tests the students’ science knowledge, applied clinical knowledge and judgment. Students from all 10 Canadian dental schools write the exam each year, and passing is a requirement to practise dentistry in Canada.

Students study for months to prepare for the difficult exam, which brings together the accumulated knowledge and skills from all four years of their program.

“Our students’ average on this exam was at the top end of the range,” said Steve Patterson, associate chair (academic) and professor in the U of A’s School of Dentistry. “Over the last few years, we have seen fairly consistent performance by our students at this level. These exam scores—plus a recent highly successful accreditation of the dental program—tells us that we are preparing our dental students very well for their future contributions to the dental profession.”

Patterson noted that students admitted into dentistry are extremely prepared academically, and when they focus and put their mind to something, it’s incredible what they can achieve, both in their studies and in their patient care.

“We start talking about the NDEB in their first year of dentistry,” said Patterson. “They are aware of the high standards required of dental graduates in Canada and they work hard to learn and to prepare for their future practices.”

He also noted that the dental class for the 2014 admission year had a mean grade point average of 3.9.

In 2014, the U of A’s dentistry program had 429 applications and enrolled 32 students—17 females and 15 males.