I assisted a D-4 with her CRDTS exam yesterday which is the regional licensure exam. Basically you MUST pass this exam to legally practice in the state of Illinois (and several other Midwest states). The 4th years just have tons of big exams to take – which leads me to believe that my upcoming third year of dental school really is the big time learning year without the stress of HUGE non-school given exams.
So this CRDTS exam was pretty intense. I arrived at 7:30am and didn’t leave until 5:00pm. There was no lunch break (or even bathroom break for that matter). There just is no time, as the assistant, it is namely my job to keep things running smoothly for the student. Helping to rapidly breakdown and re-bag the chairs between patients, getting/returning instruments from sterilization, walking the patient over to the grading station for evaluation or mod-requests, and so forth.
The ‘candidate,’ as the upperclassman is referred to by the intimidating test administrators, must complete two major blocks – perio and restorative. Perio was straightforward; the patient comes in and needs to have a quadrant scaled. Two teeth are randomly assigned for probing checks. After the start check (and verificaction that calculus exists on the surfaces to be tested), the student gets 90 mins to do the work. Barely finished on time because there was some really stubborn calculus.
The next portion is the restorative portion. You essentially get six hours to complete two procedures – a class III composite and a class II amalgam. Two patients are pretty much required because the odds of finding one with both lesions in perfect position is unlikely. Six hours is a long time right? It goes REALLY fast, and each trip to the grading station (requesting mods, prep grade, final rest grade) takes a good 15 mins.
I could go into details, but that isn’t the point – I learned a ton, and sort of freaked myself out a bit in the process. Failing this exam is quite common and I saw at least one student get sent home early for missing some decay on the prep. It isn’t the end of the world because you can retake it again in May, but that equates to finding more patients and repeating the entire test which is no good.
The student I assisted made it through the day and only had one evaluator created change (excess flash on the composite). This only docks her some points though, it doesn’t equal an immediate fail. I am taking this exam in two years, but I can already tell it will be the most stressful day of my life.
Now I have one last day of spring break to enjoy before hitting the homestretch (7 more weeks!) of D-2 year.