“Case studies were the most important for me.”
Let’s go right to the point. I have seen students struggling to prepare for the NDHCE (National Dental Hygiene Canadian Board Exams) case studies.
You spent years in dental hygiene school. You put your life on hold to study and practice to become a dental professional. The last hurdle (aka National Boards) will challenge you. You will see:
- 200 questions (multiple-choice)
- Simple items
- Case studies
This is what the NDHCB official guidelines say:
5.2.2 “Test items can be a stand-alone and independent question, or part of a Case study (description of a scenario within clinical practice, community health, health education, …) where a series of five to seven multiple-choice test items are asked on the particular scenario. Items are developed to reflect current practice and may include, parts of a dental chart, picture(s) or radiograph(s).”
The #1 mistake I have seen students make when solving case studies (skipping the obvious of not preparing enough) is to read the case ONCE, then solve the 5-7 questions. You CANNOT do this. With every question, go back to the case. Our brain is tricky, it creates the illusion that we know all the details. In most cases, that is absolutely NOT the case. Your mind forgets the details quickly. If you assume that you remembered in the case study that the patient was taking amlodipine, when in fact, it was Procardia, you may get the answer wrong.
Being in a hurry to PASS the NDHCE, we read the case fast, and only once. That is completely normal because we are more focused on finishing on time. The good news is, MOST students thought they have enough time to finish the exam. In other words, you can spend 3 more seconds to refresh your memory about the case.
Try to memorize those words in a sequence: maple, honey, yoga, ocean, 15, pink tulips, hypertension, albuterol. But read them only once. Can you recall all the words? It is normal that we cannot remember everything, especially in a stressful environment like the National Boards. My point is, be aware that your brain does not completely know the case until you read it again and again.
“Mistakes are extremely costly.”
See this example provided by the NDHCE website as sample questions:
Client Profile: Mrs. Darwin, 70 years old, presents for her initial dental hygiene care appointment. She is accompanied by her daughter. Mrs. Darwin resides in a long-term care facility. Mrs. Darwin’s daughter is concerned about the status of her mother’s oral health.
Chief Concern: Mrs. Darwin’s is pleasant and cooperative, but anxious about dental care.
Health History: Mrs. Darwin has atherosclerosis and moderate dementia. She has high cholesterol and a blood pressure reading of 135/85 mmHg. She is currently taking a prescribed antidepressant and cholesterol lowering medication.
Dental Health History: Mrs. Darwin wears a complete maxillary denture that is ill fitting. Six months ago, she received a new partial lower denture to replace the molars.
Intraoral Assessment: There is generalized materia alba and dental biofilm present on all teeth and dentures, with moderate, supragingival calculus on the mandibular anterior teeth. The gingival tissue is red, bulbous, bleeds on probing and there is generalized gingival recession of 2 – 3 mm. The mid-palate has a 2 x 3 mm lesion that is red, raised, smooth and asymptomatic.
Questions 46 – 50 refer to this case.
46. Which one of the following conclusions can be made regarding the tissue condition on the palatal?
(A). It is most likely associated with oral psoriasis.
(B). It is most likely due to a vitamin B deficiency.
(C). It suggests the presence of blood dyscrasia.
(D). It suggests chronic atrophic candidiasis.
“Read the case again and again.”
To help you practice case studies for the Canadian Dental Hygiene National Boards, I created a short document with 10 questions in case study formats. This is for your own practice, it is 100% FREE. Enter your email below to download it!
I wish you the best in everything you do!