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J Dent Educ. 2006 Mar;70(3):258-62.

Dental Admission Test scores and performance on NBDE Part I, revisited.

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Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Office of Dental Education, 188 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between performance on the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and Part I of the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE Part I) for students at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM). This study was a retrospective cohort study, examining HSDM students over an eight-year period. Data regarding DAT and NBDE Part I scores were obtained from the Office of the Registrar. Descriptive statistics were computed for all study variables. Multiple linear regression analyses were subsequently computed to examine the relationship between DAT subtest scores and performance on NBDE Part I subtests. Goodness of fit for the models was evaluated using the R-squared value. Statistically significant associations were those with p-value =0.05. Data were available for 244 students who matriculated at HSDM during the period of 1995-2002. DAT reading comprehension scores were statistically significantly associated with performance on all four subsections of the NBDE Part I. DAT general and organic chemistry scores were associated with performance on the microbiology and pathology subtest of NBDE Part I. Performance on the perceptual ability test was associated with performance on the dental anatomy and occlusion subtest. Performance on the DAT reading comprehension subtest was the most reliable predictor of performance on the NBDE Part I. However, the variability in NBDE Part I scores is not accounted for significantly by variability in DAT scores.

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