Fourth-year UConn dental students recently participated in a “Mock” Northeast Regional Board Examination. The two-day preparation mimicked the clinical licensure exam that the seniors will take at the end of February. The Health Center is one of the sites where dental students from throughout the region can take the national licensing exam.
Dr. R. L. Monty MacNeil, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine, says the mock exam is a good example of the extra support UConn gives it students to make sure they’re as prepared as possible for these very important exams.
UConn does that by recreating as closely as possible the real exam. The students do several procedures on patient volunteers from the community who need dental work. For instance during the first day, the students might perform a periodontal procedure, such as an advanced cleaning, and two restorative procedures, such as a composite on the front tooth and an amalgam on a back tooth.
“This helps them because it allows them to get familiar with the process,” says Dr. Sarita Arteaga, assistant clinical professor in the dental school and one of several faculty members overseeing the mock exams. “Most of the students are nervous because they don’t know what to expect so knowing the process alleviates a lot of the anxiety for them.”
By the student’s side is a dental assistant from one of UConn Health’s satellite offices who will also be teamed up with the student during the real exam next month. The mock trial also benefits the dental assistants because it gives them a chance to become familiar with the clinical set-up at the Health Center.
Third-year dental students get a preview of what they can expect next year by acting as “runners” – passing along information and escorting patients to and from different clinical areas.
Dental school faculty members are always on hand to observe and give the fourth-years feedback – both positive and negative.
“I think we’re tougher on them, we score a little harder during the mock exam, but that way the students can look back and reevaluate and make sure they are fully prepared for the real thing,” adds Arteaga.