Format and Content

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a station type examination held in a morning and afternoon session. You will have five minutes to answer the questions at each station.

There are two types of questions in the OSCE. Most stations have two questions and require the candidate to review the information supplied (e.g., case history, dental charts, photographs, radiographic images, casts, models, videos) and answer extended match-type questions.  Each extended match-type question will have up to 15 answer options and one or more correct answers. Some stations require the candidate to review the information supplied and write an acceptable prescription for a medication commonly prescribed by general dentists in Canada. 

The OSCE Protocol provides specific details regarding the format and scheduling of the examination.


OSCE items are developed based on the Competencies for a Beginning Dental Practitioner in Canada.

The OSCE blueprint below shows content areas and approximate number of questions in each area.

The NDEB updates examination and assessments questions on a regular basis as new knowledge becomes available.




The NDEB is aware that the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has published a new disease classification in the Journal of Periodontology in June 2018. All NDEB examinations and assessments for 2018, the February 2019 AFK, the March 2019 Written Examination and OSCE, the May 2019 ACJ, the May 2019 Written Examination and OSCE will continue to be based on the 1999 AAP disease classification. 


NDEB examinations and assessments use the terminology adopted by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) in 2009.


The NDEB is aware of the most current guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis as published in North America and in the reference texts used by Canadian Dental Programs.


OSCE Protocol

Protocols contain important information regarding the OSCE. This document should be read carefully.

Download the 2019 OSCE Protocol in PDF format.



Score sheets are electronically scanned and processed. Results are then verified manually at least three times. An additional verification is done of all results close to the passing score before they are released to candidates.

A test equated, re-scaled score of 75 or greater is reported as a Pass. A test equated, re-scaled score of less than 75 is reported as a Fail and will include the test equated, re-scaled score. No further breakdown of results is available.


Passing Standard

In order to ensure the consistency of scores on all the versions of the examination, the NDEB uses a test equating and rescaling procedure. This procedure correlates the established passing score on a standardized reference examination with the current version of the examination and determines the standardized mark. The NDEB maintains a standardized passing score of 75 on all assessments and examinations. 

For more information regarding the processes used to select questions and analyze and test equate examinations, please download Information on test equating and question selection

You can take the OSCE a maximum of three times.

Appeals and Rescores

There is a compassionate appeal process and a rescore process available for candidates who took the OSCE.


Compassionate Appeal

What is a Compassionate Appeal?

If you feel you were disadvantaged by a personal circumstance beyond your control during an examination, you can make a request for a Compassionate Appeal to the NDEB. Compassionate Appeals must be received in writing within one week of the examination.

Where can I find more information?

For detailed information regarding the Compassionate Appeals Process view the NDEB By-laws & Policies regarding Assessments and Examinations

Manual Rescore

What is a manual rescore?

Two NDEB staff members perform a manual rescore by comparing the answers on your answer score sheet with the master score sheet. In most circumstances, this process confirms that no errors were made during the scanning and electronic scoring process. Candidates are notified of the result of their manual rescore by email within four weeks from the time of request.

How do I request a manual rescore of my examination?

Manual rescores are available to candidates who have failed the examination. Although it is unlikely that a result will change after a manual rescore, eligible candidates can request a manual rescore of their examination within three months of the release of results.  Manual rescores are requested through the “Other Services” tab in your NDEB online profile.

Candidates cannot review their examinations or scoresheets.