Format and Content


The Dental Specialty Core Knowledge Examination (DSCKE) is administered in a three hour session. The Examination contains multiple choice type questions with one or more correct answers.

The DSCKE protocol provides specific details regarding the format and scheduling of the Examination.


The Examination Blueprint below gives the content areas and approximate percentage of questions in each of the content areas.

Scientific Literature Appraisal Skills  20%
Diagnostic Sciences    50%
Patient Management   30%

Sample Questions

One Correct Answer

For questions that indicate only ONE correct answer, always choose the MOST appropriate answer for each question.

Bluish-grey discolouration of the crown of a tooth following trauma is due to

  1. external resorption.
  2. pulpal hemorrhage.
  3. discoloured composite restoration.
  4. chromogenic bacteria.


One or More Correct Answer

For questions that have one or more correct answers, indicated by the direction “Select ONE OR MORE correct answers”.  Select all answers that are correct. The minimum score for any question is ‟0” (zero). The maximum score for any question is 3 (three). Part marks will be awarded if some, but not all correct answers are selected, provided no incorrect answer is selected.  Marks will be deducted for incorrect responses, but no question will receive a score less than ‟0” (zero). Some answers are neither definitely correct nor incorrect and have been given a value of ‟0” (zero).  Selecting one of these answers will not affect the score given to a participant. But, if a definitely incorrect answer is selected the participant will receive a ‟0” (zero) score for the entire question. 

The following is an illustration of the scoring system.  The score for each answer is given to the left of each answer.

Question: 1 (Select ONE OR MORE correct answers.)

There is radiographic evidence of caries on the

Value                                                           Value

 -1        A.      distal of tooth 2.3.                        .2        G.      distal of tooth 2.6.

 -1        B.      mesial of tooth 2.4.                      .2        H.      mesial of tooth 2.7.

  0        C.      distal of tooth 2.4.                        -1        I.       distal of tooth 2.7.

 .2        D.      mesial of tooth 2.5.                      -1        J.       mesial of tooth 2.8.

 .2        E.      distal of tooth 2.5.                           0       K.      distal of tooth 2.8.

 .2        F.      mesial of tooth 2.6.

Answer:  for full mark

Sample quetions for the DSCKE is available in the Reference Material and Resources section of the website.

DSCKE Protocol

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

Download the 2018 DSCKE Protocol in PDF format.

Passing Standard

The DSCKE is an admission test used by Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Programs (DSATP). There is no defined passing score, but a score of less than 75 indicates you may have significant difficulty completing a DSATP.

You can take the DSCKE two times.

Appeals and Rescores

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 Appeal Process view the NDEB By-laws & policies regarding assessments and examinations.

Manual rescore

What is a manual rescore?

Within three months of the release of results, you can request a manual rescore of your examination.  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.

How do I request a manual rescore of my examination?

Manual rescore requests must be submitted in writing and be accompanied by the manual rescore fee.

Participants cannot review their examination or scoresheets.