Month: March, 2016

saturday surf

Saturday Surf 1

Hello, hello! I am in Boston for the weekend and am awaiting the birth of my nephew!!! Until then, Zooey and I are breaking all the rules and eating ice cream before dinner. Spoiler: Yes, it really does ruin your dinner. While we are awaiting the newest Merz, let’s browse the interwebs together:

I am getting this for Zooey next winter.

Uhm is it bad that I love dad jokes? Teehee.

Interested in trying this Greek dish skordalia.

The commonality of plastic surgery in South Korea is shocking.

There’s an app for everything these days, including niche dating.

I had Nashville hot chicken at KFC and now I want to make it via this recipe.

I feel like everyone is moving to Texas these days and the stats agree with me.

Here’s something for a party of one: homemade single serving mac and cheese.

Have you been watching The People vs. O.J.? I haven’t but I’m intrigued. Here’s Marcia Clark thoughts on it.

There is a conundrum when you call for help for a friend who ODs on drugs and this issue needs some serious fixing.

Yes, the premise behind this “super-secret world of L.A.’s coolest girls” sounds absolutely ridiculous but everyone needs and wants a support system. And that system will always be flawed because, hey, it will be made of humans.

Pictured above is the Paloma at Genuine Liquorette in Little Italy, NYC, NY.



brisket hamantaschen


To all those celebrating, happy Purim! I was recently told the story which is about Haman (bad guy) vs. Mordecai (good guy). To sum up: man dislikes Jews, Jews fight back and win, let’s celebrate! Supposedly hamantaschen are an imitation of Haman’s ears? Or his hat? My big question is why are we eating something reminiscent of the bad guy? Shouldn’t there be a celebratory treat commemorating Mordecai? Or really Esther who convinced the king to save the Jews? If someone knows the answer, let me know. ANYWAY, ears and hat analogy aside, hamantaschen are adorable three-pointed pastries.

I love a sweet treat but this recipe for a savory hamantaschen inspired me. Let’s take that tri-cornered cookie south and fill it with a mouthwatering, saucy brisket. And, baby, this brisket was dolled up so it’s got some heat on it. You have been warned. It’s not cartoon forest-fire-on-your-head hot but it’s got a slow building kick.

Now the brisket recipe is all about the slow burn. Turn it on in the morning and it’ll be ready when you get home from work. The dough isn’t a crumbly cookie but a soft bread. Think calzone. Bonus: it has a quick turnaround so you could make this within an hour or less if you wanted!

brisket hamantaschen

  • 1 pound brisket
  • 1 18-ounce bottle BBQ sauce (I used TJ’s Bold & Smoky Kansas City Barbecue Sauce)
  • 8 serrano chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 0.25 ounce package (or 2 1/4 teaspoon) of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Place brisket in slow cooker on low heat. Add bbq sauce, chili peppers and liquid smoke. Cook 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Once done, shred using a knife and fork. Let cool.

Combine yeast, sugar and water in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for ten minutes.
Add flour, olive oil and salt. Mix well. Cover and let sit for five minutes.
Lightly flour a clean countertop. Roll out dough until 1/4 inch thick.
Cut into circles using a biscuit/cookie cutter.

If you’re like me and MacGyvering it, you can use a Tecate beer can and a glass with a defined edge for a rolling pin and cutter. I keep it class, ya’ll.

Remove brisket from the slow cooker. Drain and roughly chop.

Lightly brush the beaten egg on the inside of the dough. Place a tablespoon of brisket in the center. Pinch the dough at three corners of the dough, making sure the pinches are equal distances from each other. Pinch tightly!

Place a teaspoon of sauce in the center of the dough pocket you’ve created. Lightly wash the outside with the beaten egg, especially the seams.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

lamb casserole


When my mom came two weeks ago, she does what she always does: feverishly buys me food because, duh, food is love. Also she is under the impression that I don’t eat vegetables (I do.) and I won’t buy meat because it’s expensive (I don’t.). The final tally of groceries after a weekend with my mom had me doing refrigerator tetris but I can’t say I wasn’t excited by the five pounds of lamb she bought. There have been lamb tacos and roast lamb but my favorite so far, especially in this brisk weather, is the casserole.

I just finished off the last of what I made and, even still, the rich scent lingers in the bowl, wafting over and making me salivate. It’s a hearty thing, plied with vegetables and chunks of luscious lamb. I would recommend it with a bowl of whole wheat pasta. Perhaps a dish to consider making for all my fellow Northeasterners as another winter storm is predicted to hit?

Stay warm and happy Monday.

lamb casserole

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb shoulder, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 28 ounce can of peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Wait until hot to add lamb. Brown the lamb. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Let cook until onions almost translucent. Add tomatoes, wine, water and chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil before turning down to simmer. Mix in thyme, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 30-60 minutes. Serve with pasta.

sunday funday


It’s officially spring but, man, it still feels like winter. I am hustling it these days in clinic trying to graduate in time but this weekend was great because my oldest and dearest friend from Texas came and visited. It was a hard moment when she left because I had forgotten how much I missed having her around. I’m recuperating from my feels with a large mug of hazelnut coffee, meal prepping for the week and surfing the web:

Roman stew featuring ox tail.

Italian recipe for this week: bolognese sauce.

An almond brownie recipe to play around with.

Female heroes are even more important for boys than girls.

When I move, I’m going to try out this method of folding my clothes.

We shy away from the word abortion but it can mean different things.

Seeing my bestie reminded me of this article about female friendships.

Let’s consider how hard it is for the other person: what’s it like to be that fat person sitting next to you on the plane.

This election year is both fascinating and terrifying. Seeing things from different perspectives in The Great Unsettling.

I feel very mature liking this cereal. It has 24% of your daily fiber requirement and 4 grams of protein! I know it looks healthy-aka gross-but it’s lightly sweetened and surprisingly addictive.

pasta alla puttanesca


This is my guilty pleasure. It’s my quick and dirty comfort food. Besides who can resist a pasta that is made “in the style of a prostitute”? Carbs in a heaven of savory salty goodness. You slut.

pasta alla puttanesca
serves 2-3

  • 1/2 bag of pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • cheese to garnish (optional)- I used Trader Joe’s Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Cheese.

Boil water for pasta. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. You want the pasta al dente. Drain and return pasta to the same pot.

While the water boils, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and anchovies. Let the anchovies melt into a paste. Add the capers, tomatoes, red pepper, oregano, pepper and salt. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon. Simmer until the pasta is ready to be drained.

Add sauce to pasta and toss over low heat.

Serve with cheese.

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saturday surf

NineWhy women compete with each other. Let’s stop taking each other down a peg to makes ourselves feel better.

Read by Famous. I doubt I’d buy one of these books but I find the concept intriguing.

I found love because I got lucky, not because I changed myself. You be you, boo.

I’ve watched some of these movies and the rest are on my to watch list now.

Financial from one millennial on how I tripled my savings in three months.

A tedious but supposedly amazing chocolate chip cookies recipe.

Oatmeal latte!? Combining my loves breakfast and coffee.

The woman behind I F*cking Love Science.

Babka is in my near future.

This color test!

Pictured above is baked eggs in roasted butternut squash + spinach.


Happy hour picks

Four years of dental school means four years wandering the grid of Center City. I have a little more time before I move to explore but here are the places I’ve come to love in this city:


  • See the Liberty Bell.
  • Go to a beer garden. (PICKS BELOW)
  • Walk the Mural Mile.*
  • See Boat House Row.
  • Ride a bike along Kelly Drive.
  • Run up the Art Museum/Rocky steps.
  • Get local produce deals at the Italian Market.
  • Bring your puppy to the Schuylkill River Dog Run.
  • Ooh over medical oddities at the Mutter Museum.*
  • Bring out your inner kid at the Please Touch Museum.*
  • Look up at tigers walking above you at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • Check out the Rittenhouse Square farmers’ market on a Saturday.
  • Visit Reading Terminal Wednesday-Saturday when the Amish are there. (PICKS BELOW)
  • Visit the Eastern State Penitentiary for a look into Al Capone’s first prison sentence.*


  • Drury Beer Garden at Opa (Center City)
  • Frankford Hall (Fishtown)
  • Independence Beer Garden (Old City)
  • Spruce Street Harbor Park (Old City)


  • Beiler’s Bakery- My favorites are the blueberry fritter + maple bacon.
  • DiNic’s- Everyone goes for the roast pork with broccoli rabe + provolone but I’m all about the sausage.
  • Downtown Cheese- The cheese can be a bit pricy but the cheesemonger! He is so sweet and passionate about the cheese! Because of him alone, I would choose here over Salumeria, a cheesemonger down the aisle.
  • Famous 4th Street Cookie Co.- NOTE: Towards the end of the day, all cookies are $1! Huge. Love the black and whites.
  • Iovine Brothers’ Produce- Discounts for students Wednesdays and Sundays. Best for a variety.
  • Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties- I come here for my dolmas fix. Also for smoothies.
  • Miller’s Twist- Best. pretzels. ever.
  • O.K. Produce- They sell bags of random produce for $1. AND have senior/student discounts everyday! Just make sure to pick out your produce carefully if you get the $1 ones!
  • The Head Nut- For all those spices you need


  • Nomad- M-F 4:30-6:30 PM; F + Sat 10PM-12AM
    • Order the Trenton pie
  • Sampan- Everyday 4-7PM
    • Order the kim chi fried rice, crispy brussel sprout, pork bahn mi, kobe slider, spicy chicken wing (in that order)


  • Capogiro Gelato- for unique gelato flavors; the citrus ones are my favorite
  • DiBruno Brothers- my FAVORITE place to go for cheese; ALSO my favorite cheesemonger is Samantha
  • Dim Sum Garden- for soup dumplings
  • Dizengoff- for hummus
  • Famous 4th Street Deli- This is my go-to. Huge deli sandwiches, best free rye studded bread + vinegar slaw, and free mini chocolate chip cookies at the end of your meal! They cinched my love with all the free things but they are also really freaking good.
  • Kim’s Restaurant- for authentic Korean BBQ
  • Knead Bagels- They’ve got your traditional and non-traditional bagels.
    • My go-to is an everything bagel with sausage, egg and cheese.
    • My second favorite bagel is the togarashi bagel.
  • Nam Phoung- for Vietnamese food
  • Paseano’s- for Philly style sandwiches
  • Sabrina’s- for a classic brunch; tip: call to be placed on the waiting list and arrive in half the time (aka waiting time of 1 hour? call ahead, place your name and come 30 minutes beforehand)
  • Tavern on Camac- for a chill night
    • Order the grilled cheese sandwich or the burger
  • Tria- for apps and beer
    • Order the truffled egg toast


  • I-TEA – Order the korean fried chicken
  • Ratchada- Order the pad thai


  • Falling Water– if you like architecture*
  • Linvilla Orchards- for fruit picking
  • Longwood Gardens- if you like plants
  • Morris Arboreteum- if you like plants
  • Sesame Place- if you have kids*
  • Wave Hill (New York)- free on Tuesdays, Saturdays (9AM-12PM)- if you like plants
  • Wissahickon Valley Park- if you like nature

These reviews are focused on a place for a student to study at. The ideal location includes: moderate noise levels, available-and comfortable- seating, availability of outlets, wifi quality and, for a hardcore study session, food and drink options. I also notate pet friendly places that have been okay with me bringing Chibi in with me because I feel like a guilty dog mom when I abandon her at home for long periods of time! 

  • Bodhi Coffee- Spacious, spotty wifi, back garden with seating
  • Cake & The Beanstalk- a kooky cute cafe cozied next to a garden; small outdoor seating area; pet friendly
  • Chapterhouse- Spacious, good wifi, provide food + drinks; pet friendly
  • Elixr- communal + individual seating; free wifi
  • Greenstreet- Best dirty chai (housemade!), friendly baristas, free wifi, limited seating, great for sitting outside to people watch
  • Good Karma- Spacious, good wifi, provide food + drinks; back garden with seating; pet friendly
  • La Colombe (Penn Square)- low tables, few outlets; come early for your pick of croissants
  • Plenty- provides food + drink, free wifi; limited seating
    • Order the pancetta hash
  • Rival Bros- limited seating
  • Saxby’s (Center City)- plenty of outlets, low tables
  • Square One- good for studying; lattes are best; not a fan of the iced coffees


  • Maha Yoga- My favorite instructor is Jen; Tip: Try out a Community Hour class. It’s pay as much as you can. The suggested amount is $5. Classes are smaller and you feel more personalized attention.

If you have any places you recommend I try before I move, please let me know! I’ll continue to add to this list as I find more places I love.

*Indicates places on my own personal to do list that have come highly recommended!

Pictured above is a Scorpion Bowl from Graffiti Bar. 

saturday surf


Happy Saturday! Today I’m spending alll day with my momma bear who came in town to see her favorite student dentist. We are brunching and traipsing through Italian Market this morning. Momma loves a good deal on fruits and veggies! I hope your Saturday is going well too! I hope this post finds you lazying in your PJs with a mug of coffee ready to muse over some of the internet’s offerings:

Apparently Cacio e pepe is the it pasta of the year.

Missing Texas hard when I saw this huevos rancheros recipe.

A new blog I’m following for inspiration.

Amazon’s “bestseller” status is apparently a complete sham.

Did you watch Chris Rock’s Oscar monologue? I can’t decide if I think these jokes are amazing or too much.

I definitely have some of these bad hair habits.

Is a surrogate a mother? Let’s all agree there needs to be more regulation of surrogacy clinics.

A classy deconstructed smore.

Upcoming food trends. I agree that I’m over simple salads costing $15.

What romance means after 10 years of marriage.

Pictured above are COOOOOKIE monster cupcakes.  

road to prince edwards island travel guide


Raised on the words of Anne of Green Gables, I was absolutely THRILLED when my sister and I finally planned a trip to Prince Edwards Island. We would finally see those verdant hills with our own eyes. Perhaps I would even get the chance to dismally sigh whilst in the depths of despair, weeping into the Lake of Shining Water, only to be comforted by my own sweet Gilbert Blythe… But I’m getting ahead of myself. There was a long road ahead and we began our journey with a late night drive from Boston, Massachusetts to Bar Harbor, Maine.


  • Bar Harbor Hotel// for lodging (3 out of 5)
    • Clean but sparse;
    • Provides an excellent free breakfast including yogurt and hard-boiled eggs!
  • Acadia National Park// for gorgeous views
    Key spots to hit: Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Point, Jordan Pond, Cadillac Mountain

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  • Lazy Lobster// for seafood (3 out of 5)
    We had: lobster roll, boiled lobster, grilled chicken pesto flatbread, tarragon chicken salad
  • Adelmann’s Bar & Grill// for custard

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20150912 PEI 68 of 467After lunch, we drove to St. John’s for the night.


  • Chateau St. John’s// for lodging (hotel) (3 out of 5)
  • Billy’s Seafood Company// for seafood (2.5 out of 5)
    • We weren’t particularly hungry and dined tapas style
  • To get from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia, we took the Fundy Rose ferry and LOVED IT. It was clean and spacious, offering a kid’s play area, and two movie areas (one for kids!) as well as a computer room and food options. It also gave our primary driver to take a well-deserved nap.

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NOVA SCOTIA// Digsby – Lunenburg – Halifax – Noel


What a charming port town! Things do close relatively early so plan accordingly.

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  • Smugglers’ Cove Inn// for lodging (2.5 out of 5)
    • The inn was on the bare necessities side and a wee bit snug.
  • Savvy Sailor// for food (3.5 out of 5)
    • We had: seafood appetizer, haddock chowder, scallop club po-boy, smoked salmon panini.
    • We liked everything and the waitress was so sweet!

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  • Salt Shaker Deli// for dinner (2.5 out of 5)

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  • Sweet Indulgences// for baked goods (3 out of 5)


  • Peggy’s Cove// for sightseeing
    Beware of the “black water” which is where the water hits the rocks. It’s very dangerous and many a person has been lost to sea this way!

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  • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic// for Titanic history

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  • Shangri-La// for lodging (5 out of 5!)
    We LOVED Noel. Our place was large and spacious. I would recommend picking up food prior to arriving so you can make dinner at home since there isn’t much nearby.

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PRINCE EDWARDS ISLAND// New London – Park Corner – Cavendish – Charlottetown – Red Point – Point Prim 

Finally we arrive in PEI!! So begins our L.M. Montgomery/Anne of Green Gables tour.

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  • Sou’West Bar & Grill// for seafood (4 out of 5)
    • Best oysters on the trip
    • Disappointed in the oyster o’boy BUT this is coming from native Louisianians.
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CAVENDISH, PEI// for Anne of Green Gables Museum
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  • Fairholm Historic Inn in Charlottetown// for lodging- a B+B! (5 out of 5)
    • Modern updated rooms
    • Kitchen available
    • GREAT free breakfast, including bagel + lox option!

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  • Terre Rouge (4.5 out of 5)
    • A local favorite, the restaurant had great staff and good food.

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Places to go:
  • Anne of Green Gables Store
  • Cows Creamery// for amazing cow puns + ice cream


  • Eating at Water Prince// for lobster
  • Going to see the Anne + Gilbert the Musical (It was SOLD OUT on the day we could go; Amy and I had to make do with getting the soundtrack.)


  • Basin Head// for walking on a beach

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  • Point Prim Lighthouse

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  • Point Prim Chowder House (4.5 out of 5)
    • I’m rating this the same as Terre Rouge BUT we really liked this spot. The rugged Canadian who took our orders was also a bonus.
    • We ordered: tomato seafood chowder, steamer pot, deluxe lobster roll, oysters and a bread pudding
    • We HIGHLY recommend the steamer pot. Then I would recommend the chowder.

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NEW BRUNSWICK// Hopewell Cape – Barn Marsh Island – Alma


  • Hopewell Rocks// for rock formations sculpted by the tides

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  • Cape House Restaurant
    • We ordered: twisted caesar, raging chowder, lobster poutine, lobster tacos, sausage and peppers and seafood fettucini
    • We recommend: sausage and peppers. The hand rolled pasta was delicious and the sauce was worthy of being licked off the plate!

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  • Cape Enrage Lighthouse

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  • Captain’s Inn// for lodging (4.5 out of 5)
    • Very cute and cozy
    • Breakfast was made to order and lovely!

On our journey back, we stopped again in Bar Harbor. I didn’t mind at all because we got to enjoy more beyond the striking woodlands of Acadia National Park. This time around we got to enjoy the town. We began by browsing through the town’s boutiques. When we got hungry, we grabbed a bite of luxurious lobster mac and cheese at Side Street Cafe. We laid on the grassy knoll overlooking the harbor and lazily watching boats dock. On the way home, we stopped by Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium for a blueberry ice cream cone. Perfection.

  • Grand Hotel// for lodging
    • Great location
    • Free breakfast

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  • Press Hotel// for lodging (5 out of 5)
  • Standard Baking// for brioche
  • Arabica// for coffee
    • NOT recommended- I hate saying that but the coffee was okay and the server placed a bagel that someone returned back with the other bagels. EEK.

Consider eating at: Union Bagel. It was closed when we were there!

all the BIG exams in dental school and how to pass them


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I am licensed to drill, my friends. I can finally say to you that I have taken all the board exams in dental school and passed them. Now let me tell you what I did.

Let’s break this down:

Take the NBDE Part I.

Take the NBDE Part II.

Decide if you want to take the Northeastern Regional Board (NERB) or the Western Regional Board (WREB).

The NERB is now known as the CDCA so I’ll be using both terms interchangeably.
The CDCA consists of three parts:
1. The ADEX multiple choice exam
2. The clinical manikin exam consisting of  endodontics and prosthodontics
3. The clinical live patient exam consisting of two operative procedures (class II amalgam/composite + class III composite) and perio

The WREB consists of:
1. A free response treatment planning exam for three cases, including one pediatric case
2. A clinical section consisting of operative, endo and perio

I am taking the NERB. The WREB seems to be a much more relaxed exam. The most significant reason licensure-wise to taking the WREB is if you plan on practicing in California- among  a few other states-where it only takes the WREB.

Other notable differences:

  • For the NERB, you must do a class II amalgam/composite AND a class III composite.
    For the WREB, you can do a class II amalgam, class II composite OR a class III composite. The class III composite is not required.
  • For the NERB, you must access, instrument and obturate a plastic central incisor and access a plastic molar.
    For the WREB, you must access, instrument and obturate a single rooted extracted natural tooth and access, instrument and obturate one canal of a multi-rooted natural tooth.
  • For the NERB, you must prep a central incisor for an all-ceramic crown and a three unit bridge in which a premolar is prepped for a PFM and the molar is prepped for an all metal crown.
    The WREB does not have a prosth section.


  • What I did: NBDE I Mastery App
  • What others did: Dental Decks, First Aid
  • Note: Some people took it over winter break. I waited until after finals and it was horrendous. I would have rather sucked it up, studied during the break and taken it either at the end of break/in the first few weeks back.
  • UPDATE: I almost forgot. These videos online for dental anatomy were a godsend. BUT review third molar anatomy as well because that is also on the exam.

The NBDE II and ADEX exams contain similar information so I would advise taking the exams in a row and knocking it out while the material is fresh on your mind.

  • What I would recommend: I used a ton of materials for NBDE II and ADEX. I read through Mosby’s (esp for Practice Management) and First Aid. I also used the Tufts Pharmacology Study Guide, which can be found online and provides a good overall review. The Pearls in the back of the ADEX/CDCA Boards Busters is especially helpful too.
  • What others used: Boards Busters, Dental Decks, NBDE II Mastery App

The only thing you can do to prepare for this exam is to practice. Prior to the day of the exam, I would write out all the materials you need so that you can get it all at once and not have to continually run up to the dispensary and wait in line. Also, if there are certain disposables that you like to use, prepare a week or so prior to the exam and BRING YOUR OWN. On my exam day, certain dispensaries didn’t carry some materials (i.e., 10 K-file, Enhance burs, etc.)

  • (ENDO) Be careful when heating your instruments. Although this is supposed to simulate a real endodontic procedure, these teeth are plastic and can burn.
  • (PERIO) Be careful of nicking the adjacent teeth. Use Interguards as a preventative measure.
  • (PERIO) Watch out for undercuts.


Most common failures are due to:

  • patient issues
  • improper paperwork
  • open contacts/margins

Tips + tricks:

  • Patient management is number one. Without a patient, you’ve failed.
    • Be upfront with your patient about the amount of time this will take. The average amount of time is 3 hours from patient approval to final check BUT this varies depending on wait time. My first patient arrived at 6:45 AM and didn’t leave until 11:30 AM.
    • Compensate your patients to ensure their arrival and emphasize it. What is a few hundred dollars (going rate per patient is $50-100) versus the price-and stress- of taking it again?
    • Thank your patients. You literally could not do it without them.
    • Note on patient selection: Choose patients that are timely, mild-mannered and ROOTING FOR YOU. If your patient has a history of being late, of being anxious during injections, of complaining while waiting for faculty to come by, THEN DO NOT USE THEM FOR BOARDS. My own patient had a great Class 2 lesion, confirmed on Wednesday, did not pick up her phone the two times I called her on Thursday OR the morning of my exam (Friday). This was no Cinderella story and my Prince Class 2 did not arrive to save me in the nick of time. THANKFULLY, a classmate found me a lesion. Otherwise, I would have had to re-take my Class 2 in April.
  • READ THE MANUAL. It is tedious and repetitive but very, very informative.
  • When in doubt about your next step, ask your CFE. Really, before you take any important steps (i.e. prepping or restoring), confirm with a CFE that you may do so. They aren’t your enemies! All the ones I interacted with were encouraging and helpful.
  • Find an assistant for the big day. An assistant makes the process more efficient and, more importantly, keeps you calm.
  • TRIPLE check you are prepping the right tooth. That sounds obvious until you’re in the thick of it.
  • Know beforehand if you are doing conventional or slot prep BUT be prepared to switch from slot to conventional.
  • When prepping, if you are concerned about nicking the adjacent tooth, use Interguards.
  • It is better to ask for a modification than not. You can fail due to a prep that is too conservative or has remaining caries.
  • For the same reason, when in doubt, go bigger.
  • You aren’t graded on your rubber dam placement but make it look nice. You could be asked to replace it before it can be evaluated. THAT WASTES TIME.
  • Also remember to include a periodontal probe when sending your patient to the evaluation station. It isn’t asked for in the manual but was asked for on the day on the exam.
  • Know how to handle a pulp exposure. (Direct pulp cap- Place dycal/vitrebond.)
  • Wedge the HELL out of your tooth. Perhaps try one of the wedging techniques like double wedging or wedge-wedging.
  • Check your contacts tactically (with floss) and visually. You don’t want to think you got contact but actually got caught on an overhang.

Below I have included pictures of the checklists that I wrote in my manual for my setup and for when sending the patient to the evaluation station. Prior to the exam, I prepared baggies containing the disposables I needed for each of the procedures. My numbers for the disposables were high but better to be more prepared if you’re farther from the dispensary!


20160313- CDCA Checklists (1 of 5)


20160313- CDCA Checklists (4 of 5)

OPERATIVE SET-UP CHECKLIST (with checkboxes for Class II and Class III)

20160313- CDCA Checklists (3 of 5)


20160313- CDCA Checklists (5 of 5)

Take a deep breath because these exams are milestones to getting that dental degree! Good luck!