NEW Non-Patient Based Exam Questions (7)

Yes. You can find our updated exam manuals on our website at the links below:

Dental Exam Manuals

Dental Hygiene Exam Manuals

No. Your retake will not need to be patient-based or non-patient. You have the option of deciding which exam type you prefer to take. Prior to registering for any exam, you should check with the appropriate state board to verify current licensing requirements.

You can request to be placed on a waiting list by sending us a message through our “Waiting List Request” form. With one message, you may request to be placed on multiple waiting lists. Please indicate which specific waiting lists you would like to be placed on. Exams with Wait Lists are noted in the Status column of the Exam Calendar. Being placed on a waiting list does not affect your account status.

No. Once your school has established a new date for the clinical exam, your registration will automatically be moved to that new date.

This means that your school has decided to postpone their original exam date. Once a new date has been established, the date will be posted on our website as well as on your CDCA account.

Please review our Acceptance Map. This map is for illustrative purposes of the ADEX examination only and is updated with the intention of providing the most accurate information available. State laws/board rules can and do change from time to time. Prior to registering for any exam, you should check with the appropriate state board to verify current licensing requirements.

If you have registered for an exam site that offers both a patient and non-patient exam, please send us a message through our Contact Us page. You will need to identify yourself as a Licensure Candidate, and select “Scheduling” as your topic to let us know your preference. There is no need to choose an exam type unless your school is offering both patient and non-patient examinations.

Profile Questions (8)

Yes. Simply leave them blank, and do not enter anything else. Social Security Numbers and DENTPINs are not required to take the exam. You will also be able to enter a Social Security Number and/or DENTPIN when you have one.

To ensure that your profile is accurate we ask all candidates to personally create profiles and upload relevant documentation.

A candidate whose name has legally changed after creating a profile but before attempting any part of the ADEX examination series must FIRST ensure that all of their IDs reflect their new name. Candidates are required to present two forms of identification (one must be a photo ID) when checking-in to the testing center for any computer-based exam, as well as during candidate registration at either the manikin or patient-based exams. Once the identifications have been changed to reflect the new name, a Name Change Document must be uploaded in the candidate’s online profile. If your profile has already been verified, your profile will require re-verification in order to ensure that the documentation you uploaded is acceptable.
Once the correct documentation is uploaded, you must contact the CDCA (https://www.cdcaexams.org/contact/)to indicate that you are requesting that your name be changed and that you have uploaded the document to your profile.

Please provide us with an email that you check regularly. We do not share your email address with anyone. We suggest that you do not use a school email address as you may lose access to it after you graduate and at times our emails are blocked by school firewalls. We also recommend candidates do not use AOL email addresses, as AOL frequently blocks our email.

Please do not create a duplicate profile. If you can’t get into your profile, first try the “Reset Password” link on the log-in screen. If that doesn’t work, then contact a team member and we will help you get back into your profile.

A few reasons why your profile hasn’t been verified yet:
  • Have you uploaded a photo? (A photo is mandatory.)
  • If you are still a student, have you put down the correct school and date of graduation?
  • If you have graduated, have you uploaded proof of graduation?
  • If the name on your diploma is different from the name you’re applying under, have you uploaded proof of the name change?

If you can say yes to all of the questions that apply to you and your profile is still not verified, then please contact a team member to inquire about verification.

Normally verification only takes 2-3 business days once all required documentation and photos have been uploaded.

Candidates who are “partially verified” may only take computer based examinations.  If you need to take a clinical examination and your graduation date has passed then you must upload proof of graduation to your profile.

Registration Questions (8)

Clinical exams are given at certain times of the year and there will be times when there are no sites open for registration. Some sites are also open only to current or former students, and those from outside the school will not be able to register for them. Please consult our Dental Exam Calendar and Dental Hygiene Calendar for the latest information.

Some exam sites are open only to current or former students of the school. This is a decision made by the school administration, not by the CDCA. These sites are called “Closed Sites” and are marked with an asterisk (*) on the website schedules.

Please contact contact a team member and we will assist you in finding a site that is acceptable.

If you want to be placed on a waiting list, contact a team member and we will take your name and alert you if a spot opens.

No one is required to have scheduled or taken the computerized exam by the registration deadline. You are not required to take the exams in any particular order. The only requirement is that all portions be passed within 18 months of starting.

Payment Questions (10)

Yes, you will be responsible for paying the retake fee for portions of the exam you need to retake.

Click on one of the links below to review exam fees:


Dental Therapy

Dental Hygiene

Dental Auxiliary (EFDA)

No, your exam fee covers malpractice insurance only for the examination.

For security reasons, we do not take payments over the phone. Please use the online registration service to complete your payment.

No, just be sure, in all cases, that the cardholder name and billing address are accurate.Only Visa and Mastercard are accepted for payment.

No, our payment system cannot handle such transactions. Payment must be completed in full. We only accept Visa and Mastercard.

The system is set up so payments must be made within 72 hours of registration. We cannot grant extensions. You will need to register again in the future.

No, it is a supplemental exam that must be registered and paid for separately. Only candidates seeking licensure in Florida should register for this exam.

Payment by check must be received by the registration deadline.

Payable to: The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments
Address: 1304 Concourse Drive, Suite 100
Linthicum, Maryland 21090
Note: Add your CDCA candidate # and the exam you are registering for
Attn: Jean Parker/Shirley Nolan

You must include your name and the exam you are paying for in a letter that should go along with the check or money order. If a school is paying for several students, a list of all students names and exams must be included with the payment.

Please contact a team member if you have any questions.

Host schools charge for the use of their facility, or may require a refundable deposit. Site usage fees must be paid to the school before you take the exam. The “Facility Fee and General Information sheet” will provide detailed information about the facility fee and instruments provided by the school. You can download this information from the “calendar” tab on the CDCA main website.

* Please note: Some schools have requested the CDCA to collect the facility fee payment on their behalf. For those schools, the facility fees will be automatically added to the candidate account upon registration. If you have any questions, please Contact Us.

Exam/Re-take Questions (12)

Candidates must submit required documents indicating that they are qualified to participate in the ADEX exam series. Depending on your status—still in school, graduated, in a post-graduate program, internationally trained, already practicing, or any other status—there are required documents that must be verified as part of the online profile creation process. Please read through the following requirements carefully to ensure that you upload the correct documents.

A. Internationally-trained Candidates:

1. Currently NOT enrolled in a CODA or CDAC post-graduate program: Candidates with an undergraduate dental degree from a non-U.S. or Canadian educational program must be authorized to take the examination by at least one state or jurisdiction that accepts the results of the ADEX examination as an initial licensure exam in that jurisdiction. Therefore, graduates of international dental programs must contact the jurisdiction in which they are seeking licensure and have that state draft a letter (on its official letterhead) in writing to indicate that the candidate is authorized to attempt the licensure exam in order to apply for licensure in that state only. Results are sent to that individual state only.

2. Currently enrolled in a CODA or CDAC post-graduate program: There are special protocols that the CDCA will assist you with. Please contact the CDCA once your profile has been verified (https://www.cdcaexams.org/contact).

Internationally trained candidates do NOT receive ADEX Status.

B. Proof of Graduation/Letter of Authorization:

1. Candidates who have graduated from a CODA or CDAC school: a copy of your diploma or a copy of your transcript is required. If neither a copy of your diploma or a copy of your transcript is available, a letter from your school (on official school letterhead) confirming graduation is required.

2. Candidates who have not yet graduated: If the CDCA does not currently administer an exam at your school of record, a letter from the school on official letterhead confirming that you are authorized to participate in a clinical exam, as well as your expected graduation date, is required.

Once you take any portion of the exam, either Dental or Dental Hygiene, you have 18 months from that date to pass all portions. If you do not pass all portions within that period, or fail a section three times, you have to take the entire exam over.

Please contact a team member. Include documentation, such as a doctor’s note, accident report, family member’s death certificate, etc. If not available before the exam takes place, please send documentation as soon as possible after the exam. We will review your documentation and inform you of a final decision. If the documents provided to support your claim are approved, we will carry the fees forward and you will be allowed to take the exam at a later date. Candidates may be required to pay a processing fee or a reduced fee, depending on the circumstances.

Log into your profile, click on the “Registration” tab, and register and pay for the exams you need to retake.

Click below to review exam fees:


Dental Therapy

Dental Hygiene

Dental Auxiliary (EFDA)

If you fail any portion of the ADEX exam three times, you will have to take the entire exam over.

Yes, as long as they meet the patient guidelines.

CIF exams are designed for current fourth-year dental students at that particular school; residents, graduate students, or faculty at those schools, will require authorization from the school. In other cases, graduated dentists should register for Traditional format exams.

CDCA does not locate patients. We suggest that you talk with your school about whether patients of record at your school are used for exams or if you need to seek an outside patient.

At this time there is no nationwide dental or dental hygiene examination. Those wishing to practice dentistry or dental hygiene must adhere to the requirements set forth by the state they wish to practice in. The CDCA cannot override state requirements.

Sharing patients, while not recommended, is permitted. You and the person you are sharing a patient with MUST contact the CDCA or the school coordinator by the registration deadline to request to be placed on opposite schedules. Requests received after the registration deadline will be denied. Once your schedule is confirmed, you must inform the Chief Examiner on the day of your scheduled exam that you are sharing a patient. Each candidate must complete an individual Medical History Form and Patient Consent Form for the patient. The shared patient’s radiographs are evaluated independently for each candidate, so each candidate must have his/her own set of qualifying radiographs in order to attempt the exam. Copying radiographs for use by a second candidate rather than re-taking the radiographs is highly recommended.

Please be advised that depending on total numbers at an exam site there may not be both a morning and afternoon session.

We can carry forward your fee to a future examination, or you may withdraw and if eligible, receive a refund. For either option a $100 processing fee will apply. You have up until 72 hours before the first exam day to contact a team member to request a forward or withdrawal; after that, we cannot process such requests. * Please note: All request for date change are subject to capacity/available space and whether or not the future location you select is willing to accept your registration.

The CDCA does not release old examinations for review and there is no approved review course for either examination. However, you may visit our Test Prep page for links to videos and other tools that may be helpful. For additional information on Dental and Dental Hygiene Examinations, please click on the appropriate link.

Exam Scores/Licensure Questions (9)

All score release estimates are listed below. Scores can be viewed in your CDCA online profile. You will receive an email when your scores have been posted.

Dental Hygiene Patient Treatment Clinical Examination Scores
  • Scores are released approximately 2-3 business days after the exam.
Dental Hygiene Manikin Treatment Clinical Examination Scores
  • Scores are released within 2 weeks.
Dental Perio/Restoratives Scores
  • Scores are released approximately 2-3 business days after the exam.
Dental Endo/Pros Scores
  • CIF Examinations taken in August thru October are released within 3 weeks of the examination.
  • Manikin examinations taken in November and December are released within 3-4 weeks of the examination.
  • Manikin examinations taken at any other time of the year are released within a week of the examination.
Computer-Based Examination Scores
  • Scores for candidates taking any computer-based examinations will be posted to your online profile within 10 business days of completion.

All scores, including computerized scores, are reported in your profile; you will receive an email when your results are posted. The CDCA cannot give scores out over the phone. Your scores are also reported to all CDCA member jurisdictions via an online database.

The CDCA is required to report all scores we have on file including failures.

We are unable to offer any assistance other than administering exams and reporting your scores. Contact information for our member states can be found on our website at https://www.cdcaexams.org/about-the-cdca/cdca-member-jurisdictions/.

New regulations state that exams are scored on a pass/fail basis only. Numeric scores are no longer issued.

The CDCA is not a licensing body; our role is to administer exams. When your scores are reported to you, they are also reported to all CDCA member state boards via an online database. After scores are reported, candidates should personally apply for their license with their state board.
Please note: If you are a graduate from a non-accredited school outside of US or Canada and took exams based on one State Board authorization, your scores will be reported to that State only.

For information concerning examination content and process, or to file an appeal of a score, please review the manuals here (Dental and Dental Hygiene) and then fill out the Score Certification and Appeal Form on our website here. For any further questions and additional information, please contact a team member.

Computerized Exam (OSCE) Questions (13)

For dentists: the DSE OSCE(ADEX) and the Florida Laws & Rules.

For hygienists: the CSCE (ADEX), the Florida Laws & Rules, Local Anesthesia, and Nitrous Oxide.

Sedation exams: Minimal sedation, Moderate sedation, Deep sedation, General Anesthesia and Pediatric Sedation.

Candidates register for computerized exams through the “Registration tab” on their online CDCA candidate profiles. After selecting the exam you wish to register for, you must click on the “Prometric (third-party)” on the next page in order to continue registration. Prometric is the only third-party administrator of the CSCE, LA, NO and FLR exams, so it will be your only choice. Do NOT select a state. You will receive an email confirmation within 1 business day with additional instructions for scheduling. Please do not attempt to schedule your exam prior to receiving the authorization email. Click here for additional information.

Once your results are posted to your CDCA account, there is no waiting period. As soon as you get a notification that your scores have been posted to your CDCA account,  you are free to register for a retake at your earliest convenience.

If candidates wish to change their computerized exam date,  time or location they must reschedule or cancel their appointment directly with Prometric 1 calendar day or more before their scheduled date and time. Rescheduling of appointments can be accomplished via www.prometric.com or by calling 800-796-9857; both are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. CDCA cannot cancel or reschedule your appointment. Candidates that fail to cancel an appointment within at least 1 business day prior to their scheduled exam time will have a no-show result and the fees will be forfeited.

There is a $50.00 fee to reschedule or cancel an appointment if the change is made 1 to 5 days before the scheduled test date.
There is a $25 fee to reschedule or cancel an appointment if the change is made 6 to 29 days before the scheduled test date.

If you are rescheduling through the internet, you are encouraged to print out a hard-copy confirming your new appointment or cancellation.

Prometric policies and procedures – please refer to Prometric Information page.

PSI (EFDA) policies and procedures – please refer to the Candidate Information Bulletin.

Eligibilities IDs are good for one use only. To retake a failed computerized exam, you should register and pay for a retake through your profile, and receive a new eligibility ID.

Prometric policies and procedures – please refer to Prometric Information page.

Items in the DSE OSCE will include multiple choice (traditional/single response); multiple choice
(multiple response), extended match, drop down, fill in the blank, hot spot and drag and drop questions.

Information regarding special accommodations can be found by going to Step 1 – Exam Registration Instructions (DISABILITY PACKET).

This item format is similar to a multiple choice item; however, the multiple response item consists of a
question with more than one correct response. The question will always indicate how many responses
are correct. The examinee is asked to indicate correct responses.
The example below shows a multiple response question. (Click the image to enlarge)


In an extended match question, you will be asked to click and then match one column of questions to another. Directions are
provided in the question. Question tasks include matching responses to targets or placing responses in a specified order.
The example below is an extended match item. It asks the test taker to match the couples in literature. The test taker is supposed to click on a name in one column and match it with another. (Click the image to enlarge)

These item types will ask you to sort, order or group like items. In the example below, a diagram is shown with no labels, or some missing parts. Examinees will be expected to refer to the image and use the cursor to click and pick up, then drop the labels. This type of question could also be used to sort, order, or express relationships. (Click the image to enlarge)

In this item format, you will be presented with an image or a figure. You will then be asked to select a region on the image or figure that corresponds to the prompt in the question stem. To select the region,  click the correct region with the mouse. To change the answer, click on the existing marker and drag it to a different location.  You will not get to highlight an entire area on an image, so be as precise as possible when making your selection. You may move the cursor around and select another part of the image at any time before moving on with a final selection. An example of a hotspot question is shown below. In this example, a correct answer would be selected by clicking the pupil. (Click the image to enlarge)

Alternative item types are added to the DSE in order to further enhance the traditional multiple choice format. The alternative format helps ADEX more accurately and efficiently assess important areas of entry-level knowledge that are difficult to assess in a traditional multiple-choice format. Alternative item formats will allow examinees to effectively demonstrate important knowledge area competencies in a way different from the standard multiple-choice item format. Often, alternative item formats are more reflective of actual practice. For instance, the ability to make accurate diagnoses from a radiograph is a very important entry level skill. The examinee is not able to recognize or guess the correct answer from a set of provided response options when more than one condition is present and each is scored.

Yes. The alternative item types that will appear initially as pilot questions. Before any item appears on any ADEX examination, it is reviewed by a committee of subject matter experts to determine if the question represents current and valid entry-level knowledge. Like multiple-choice items, the alternative items are empirically evaluated during un-scored pilot testing before becoming a part of the operational question bank. Also, like multiple-choice items, the alternative items must satisfy stringent psychometric and statistical criteria before being included as operational (i.e., scored) questions on the examination

Misc. Questions (5)

The CDCA is the name of our organization (The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments). ADEX refers to the core Dental and Dental Hygiene exams we administer.

These are formats of the Dental exam; they cover identical material, but are administered differently. Traditional exams have all clinical portions taken over a two-day period, and are open to all qualified candidates. CIF exams have the clinical portions of the exam taken over a period of months, and are open only to current 4th year students at their school (or residents, graduate students, and faculty at those schools who have received authorization from the school).

For information on the CDCA’s Patient Centered CIF Model ADEX Examination, please visit our Dental News page.

The National Board Examinations (NBDE or NBDHE) are not prerequisites for the ADEX/CDCA exams.