Test Prep for ADEX Computerized Examinations: OSCE

These examinations are based on concepts taught and accepted by educational institutions accredited by the American Dental Association or Canadian Commission on Dental Accreditation. Any current textbook relevant to the subject matter of the examination utilized in such institutions is suitable as a study reference.

What is an OSCE?

OSCE is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination. They are a measurement of diagnosis, treatment planning, and related clinical judgment skills of licensure candidates.  Simulation of patient situations is made through photographs, radiographs, images that can be enlarged or focused, charting, laboratory data, and other technology.

The CDCA delivers the ADEX computerized OSCE examinations to Dental and Dental Hygiene candidates. Delivered to candidates nationwide,  it is the oldest, continuously maintained, independent, third-party OSCE in dentistry. It was first computerized in 2001. This page will help prepare you for the computerized examinations. For information about clinical examinations, see Test Prep for Clinical Exams. For information regarding the Dental Therapy OSCE (DT OSCE) click here.


The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) delivers a high-fidelity ADEX Dental Skills Examination (DSE) OSCE.

The DSE OSCE is the didactic computerized portion of the five-element American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) dental licensure examination.

The DSE OSCE is divided into two sections with a 15-minute break in between each section. The two exam sections will assess the candidate’s abilities to recognize clinical conditions and situations encountered regularly in the general practice of dentistry, and identify the appropriate treatment options.

Candidates will be asked to demonstrate patient evaluation skills pertaining to Anatomy, Pathology, Radiology, Therapeutics and understanding of Systemic Conditions. Treatment scenarios pertaining to each of the fields of dentistry as seen in general practice will be presented.


Similarly, dental hygiene candidates taking part in the ADEX examination will face the Computer Simulated Clinical Examination (CSCE) OSCE.

The CSCE is one of two parts of the ADEX examination for dental hygiene licensure, the other being a clinical examination.

The CSCE OSCE utilizes a simulated true-to-life environment to demonstrate all aspects of dental hygiene other than direct hand skills, which are tested in the Patient Treatment Clinical Examination.

Candidates can expect questions to cover Medical and Dental Assessment, Intra and Extraoral Assessment and Charting, Evaluation of Soft Tissue, Bone and Tooth Pathology, Anatomy, Physiology, Radiology and Imaging, Treatment Planning, Materials, Patient Care including Periodontal Procedures, Medical Emergency Management and relevant aspects related to various dental specialties and Applied Pharmacology.

Item Types

Questions appearing on the ADEX DSE and CSCE OSCE are in the form of many item types. They include multiple-choice (single response); multiple choice (multiple response), extended match, drop down, fill in the blank, hot spot and drag and drop questions. The health-sector testing industry first saw AITs more than a decade ago. CDCA Subject matter experts and psychometricians have evaluated AITs, and believe with their inclusion, components of the ADEX blueprint will be presented in a context that adds increased fidelity with respect to the live practice of dentistry.

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Still need to schedule your exam?

Computerized examinations delivered by the CDCA take place at Prometric Testing Centers nationwide. Find one near you, or create your CDCA account now.