Workforce, training and education
East of England



National Examining Board for Dental NursesNational Exam Board for Dental Nurses

110 London Street
In order to enter the National Certificate Examination, a candidate must be in employment as a trainee/student dental nurse. The candidate is required to undertake a theoretical course of training at an NEBDN Accredited centre and complete a work-based Record of Experience; this requires the support of a dentist who will be required to validate workplace activities.

In order to be awarded the qualification, a candidate must complete the equivalent of twenty-four months full-time employment as a dental nurse in addition to passing the National Certificate Examination.

The exam consists of:

Written Paper Part A:

  • 15 Multiple-choice question
  • A diagram and short questions
  • Short-answer questions
  • Charting questions

Recommended time for completion 30 minutes

Written Paper Part B:

  • All four answers carry equal marks;
  • Most of the questions consist of more than one part;
  • Pure essays are not necessary;
  • Neatly laid out note-form answers with sub-headings are acceptable;
  • Diagrams wherever relevant are acceptable.

Written paper – 2 hours

Spotter test

In the Spotter the candidate is asked to identify in full 20 items arranged in groups of 4. The candidate may pick up any item to examine it but must replace it carefully in its original position. Shortened terms often used in daily practice (eg Cryer’s) are not sufficient for examination purposes and full marks would only be awarded for “Cryer’s elevator”.

1 minute is allowed for each group of 4


Candidates are required to carry out 2 practical tasks from a selection of 4 tests. Candidates are advised that:

  • if they are uncertain of the scope of the tests or the equipment available, they should
  • ask the examiner for clarification;
  • examiners may ask relevant questions during the tests;
  • they could be asked to repeat a test;
  • refusal to carry out a chosen test will gain no marks.


Candidates undergo oral questioning to assess their depth of knowledge and understanding.

13 minutes are allowed for the Practical/Oral - up to 5 minutes for the Practical tests and the remainder of the 13 minutes for the Oral.

Work-based Record of Experience (RoE)

Completion of a portfolio of evidence

The examination is held annually on the third Saturday of March and November at a centre organised by NEBDN; there are a selection of National Certificate examination centers in the East of England region

  • Chelmsford College, Essex
  • North Herts College, Hitchin, Hertfordshire
  • Epping Forest College, Loughton, Essex
  • Barnfield College, Luton, Bedfordshire

Latest News from NEBDN - National Certificate Re-sits

During 2009 NEBDN has taken action to review and upgrade our qualifications to ensure that we maintain the high quality of our awards. Part of this work includes a full scale review of the National Certificate by an external Educational Advisor to ensure the qualification remains fit for purpose and continues to follow the General Dental Council’s guidelines with regard to Dental Care Professionals’ education and training.

Re-sit Candidates – November

As part of the review of the National Certificate marking process, it has been decided that all candidates who have failed the November examination will be able to re-sit just the sections they have failed in the following May rather than sitting the whole examination. This ruling will also apply to candidates sitting future National Certificate examinations.

Candidates will have the opportunity to successfully complete the failed sections within the three year period their Record of Experience is valid (Note – this is from the date of purchase of the Record of Experience). Should they not be successful during this time, it will be necessary for candidates to undertake the whole of the examination.

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