Tips for taking the DANB exam

desktop with computer and books

It’s normal to get nervous before a test, especially a DANB exam, but don’t let it throw you! To give you some exam day tips, we sat down with Kate Slagoski, DANB’s Assistant Director of Credentialing, to get an inside look at the secrets of the DANB exam.

Hi Kate, we’re glad you could chat with us! We often hear that DANB exams are very tough. Why is that?

Kate: Dental assistants often tell us that the DANB Certified Dental Assistant exam, or CDA exam, is the hardest test they have ever taken. But that’s because DANB’s exams are adaptive.

Adaptive? What does that mean?

Kate: It means that the test adjusts as you go along. For example, if you get a question right, the next question will be harder.

Wow! So if you’re doing well, the test gets harder?

Kate: That’s exactly right.

Why is that?

Kate: DANB is trying to figure out your level of knowledge. So whether you pass or fail depends on the difficulty of the questions you answer correctly, and not a percentage. DANB has a set pass point for each exam that everyone must meet in order to pass. That means you must answer enough questions that are as hard or harder than the pass point.

Good to know! What other tips would you give someone on exam day?

Kate: There are a few general tips that are very helpful:

  • Make sure you study from all the resources available, such as the DANB exam outlines, which outline the exam topics.
  • Read each question carefully and completely.
  • There are no trick questions, so try not to overthink the answer.
  • When answering questions, think about what is the best practice.
  • Take your time — many people get stressed about taking a timed test, but almost everyone finishes with plenty of time.

Thanks, Kate! This is all great stuff.

To learn more, check out this video.