Browser Cookies
This site uses cookies necessary to properly function. By closing this popup, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies. View our policies.

NDHCE™ Preparation

NDHCE™ Policies and Procedures

The following documents and information should be reviewed by candidates:

  • NDHCE™ Eligibility Criteria: describes who is eligible to write the exam
  • NDHCE™ Application Information: describes the process and terms of an application to write the NDHCE™
  • NDHCE™ Administration Information: includes information on exam attendance, security, scoring of the exam, and examination incidents.
  • Exam Accommodations: for candidates requiring accommodations due to a diagnosed disability that affects their learning/testing.
  • The NDHCE™ Blueprint: The purpose of the Blueprint is to describe how the examination is to be developed. It is not designed explicitly for study purposes but does provide valuable information about the examination content.

Reference Material

The FDHRC offers a list of some reference materials to assist you in preparing for and taking the NDHCE™: NDHCE™ Reference Materials.

Sample Questions, Answers, and Rationale

The sample questions illustrate the types of questions found on the certification examination and give an overall idea of how they may relate to day-to-day dental hygiene practice. They also familiarize individuals with the question format, the rationale behind them and the competency they refer to.

Preparation Tests

The FDHRC™ offers four different 75-item Preparatory Tests available online.


The English/French Lexicon was developed by the French Focus Group as a tool to assist for the translation of the Examination. It will also provide a list of most terms used within the examination.

Exam Format

There are 200 multiple-choice questions on the NDHCE™. The questions are divided in two back-to-back sessions. Each section is distinct - once you have completed and submitted one section, you cannot return to those items. The schedule is specific to each writing centre and/or virtual proctoring candidate. It is recommended that candidates show up 30 min. before the start of the exam. Experienced dental hygienists created the questions to reflect the common oral health situations that a dental hygienist may encounter. Each question has an introductory statement followed by four possible answers. These questions may appear as cases (i.e., an introductory text followed by four to six questions), or as independent questions (i.e., single questions unrelated to other questions). You will record your answers onscreen.

FDI Numbering System

The FDI (Fédération dentaire internationale) two-digit tooth numbering system (below) is used in all examinations. 

FDI Numbering System for Permanent Dentition

18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38


FDI System for Deciduous Dentition

 55  54  53 52  51
 85  84  83  82  81
61 62 63 64 65
71 72 73 74 75


Useful Tips

Understanding multiple-choice questions will allow you to apply your dental hygiene knowledge and skills to the testing situation effectively. A multiple-choice question is constructed so that only one option appears to be correct to someone who has mastered the subject. To someone who lacks a firm grasp of the subject, other options look equally plausible. The following suggestions may help you prepare and feel more comfortable on the examination day. Learn and use a few of these techniques:

Read the Questions Carefully

  • Read the question carefully and understand it. Use your dental hygiene knowledge and skills to try to deduce the correct answer before looking at the choices.
  • Concentrate on what is actually being asked and relate it to the data provided. Try to understand the client’s oral health situation and the oral health care the client is likely to require.
  • On the examination, each question has four possible answers. Select the answer that you think is correct, or the best of the four alternatives.
  • Avoid reading too much into the question.
  • In the introductory text of a case or in a question, pay attention to the most important details to remember. Reread the question before picking your answer.

One Question at a Time

  • Deal with each question separately. Try not to let a difficult question make you anxious when you read the next one.
  • Limit your time on each question so you can finish the examination.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, bookmark it, skip it, and return to it later using the "Navigator".

Consider Types of Questions

  • Examination questions will relate to dental hygiene competencies and will test certain knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and judgments.
  • Although you may not have experienced oral health care situations exactly like those on the certification examination, you should be able to apply the specialized knowledge and skills acquired while in your education program or working in your practice.
  • Try to prepare for questions that test your ability to recall information and facts, to apply principles and procedures to the dental hygiene process of care, and to use your judgment about dental hygiene care.
  • Some questions may refer to an image (X-Ray or photograph).

Use the Process of Elimination

  • Focus on the key idea in the question.
  • If, after reading a question, you are unsure of the correct answer, try to eliminate the absolutely incorrect options. Make a note in the electronic note-pad on screen.

Guessing and/or Changing Answers

  • There is no penalty for guessing. You will not lose marks for an incorrect answer; use your experience to choose what you think is best or most correct.
  • If you decide to change one of your answers, just go back to it and select a different one.
Territory Acknowledgement

The FDHRCTM office stands on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. The Algonquin peoples have had a special, reciprocal relationship with this territory since time immemorial, and this relationship continues today. The FDHRCTM recognizes without qualification the inherent lands and territory rights of the Algonquin peoples as articulated in Section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada 1982, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which is enshrined in various legislation in what is now commonly called Canada.

See the FDHRC’sTM full territory acknowledgement here.