Everything you need to know about the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) exam
A dental assistant is a healthcare professional who works closely with dentists and dental hygienists to provide support and assistance in various aspects of dental care. Dental assistants perform a wide range of tasks, both administrative and clinical, to ensure the smooth operation of a dental office and the delivery of quality dental care to patients. This guide provides comprehensive information on how to study for the RDA exam, including eligibility requirements, registration information, subjects covered in the exam, and study tips.
Learn more on how to become a dental assistant if you want to learn about the responsibilities, educational requirements, and job outlook of dental assistants.
What is the RDA Exam?
How Long is the RDA Exam?
The Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam is a professional certification examination for individuals seeking to become registered dental assistants. The exam is designed to assess the knowledge and skills necessary to perform various tasks and responsibilities in the field of dentistry. The length and number of questions on the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam can vary depending on the specific jurisdiction or organization that administers the exam. The exam may be divided into multiple sections or components, each assessing different areas of dental assisting knowledge and skills.
Generally, the RDA Exam is a timed examination that lasts a couple of hours and typically consists of multiple-choice questions, but it may also include other question formats such as fill-in-the-blank, matching, or scenario-based questions. There are generally over 200 questions, but there could be a range.
The exam application fee costs range from $120 to $135, depending on the organization administering the exam, but often the training program may include the exam fee in the tuition.
RDA Exam Eligibility
The eligibility requirements for the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam can vary depending on the jurisdiction or regulatory body responsible for administering the exam. However, here are some common eligibility criteria that are often required:
- Education and Training: First, candidates need a high school diploma or equivalent. Then individuals need to complete a dental assisting program from an accredited institution. The program may be a diploma, certificate, or degree program, and it should cover the necessary knowledge and skills required for dental assisting.
- CPR Certification: Many jurisdictions require RDA candidates to hold a valid certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life support (BLS) techniques. The certification must be obtained from an approved provider, such as the American Heart Association (AHA) or the Red Cross.
- Work Experience: Some jurisdictions may require a certain duration of work experience, ranging from one to three years.
- Jurisdiction-specific Requirements: Each jurisdiction may have additional specific requirements for RDA Exam eligibility. This can include documentation, background checks, and fees. It’s important to consult the regulatory body or dental board in your specific region for the detailed eligibility criteria.
How Do I Register for the RDA Exam?
To register for the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam, you will typically need to follow these general steps:
- Determine the Exam Administrator: Identify the organization or regulatory body responsible for administering the RDA Exam in your jurisdiction. This information can usually be obtained from the dental board or regulatory agency overseeing dental assistant certification in your area.
- Review Eligibility Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the eligibility requirements for the RDA Exam. Check if you meet the education, training, work experience, and any other criteria specified by the exam administrator.
- Gather Required Documentation: Prepare the necessary documentation as specified by the exam administrator. This may include proof of education or training, CPR certification, work experience verification, identification documents, and any other documents required for registration.
- Submit Application: Complete the registration/application form provided by the exam administrator. Ensure that you provide accurate and complete information as required. Pay attention to deadlines and any associated fees.
- Schedule the Exam: Once your application is processed and approved, you will receive instructions on scheduling your exam. The exam administrator may provide options for selecting an exam date, time, and location based on availability.
- Prepare for the Exam: As the exam date approaches, engage in thorough exam preparation. Review relevant dental assisting concepts, practice exam questions, and familiarize yourself with the format and content of the RDA Exam.
How Do I Study for the RDA?
Sample Multiple Choice Questions You Might Find on the Exam
Studying for the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam requires a comprehensive approach to cover the various topics and skills assessed in the exam. Here are some general tips for studying:
- Obtain the content outline or exam blueprint provided by the exam administrator. This will give you an overview of the topics and areas that will be covered in the RDA Exam. Use this as a guide for organizing your study materials.
- Gather study materials such as textbooks, dental assisting manuals, online courses, or review guides specifically designed for the RDA Exam. These resources can provide you with the necessary knowledge and help you become familiar with the exam content.
- Practice answering multiple-choice questions similar to those that may appear on the RDA Exam. This will help you become comfortable with the question format and improve your ability to select the correct answers. The exam administrator or third-party resources may offer sample questions or practice exams.
- Consider enrolling in review courses or workshops designed for RDA Exam preparation. These courses can provide structured guidance, additional study materials, and opportunities for interactive learning and discussion with experienced instructors and fellow candidates.
- Develop a study schedule that allows you to allocate sufficient time for each topic. Break down your study sessions into manageable chunks and set specific goals for each session. Regularly review and revise the material to reinforce your understanding.
These 5 sample questions give you an idea of the format and content you may encounter on the RDA Exam. However, it is essential to refer to the official exam materials, study resources, or practice exams specifically designed for the RDA Exam to get a more accurate representation of the actual exam questions.
After the premature loss of a primary tooth, which special fixed appliance is worn to maintain a space for the permanent tooth.
- a) Bracket
- b) Space maintainers
- c) Headgear
- d) Activator
__ means that the tooth is in a distal to normal position.
- b) Distoversion
- c) Mesioversion
- d) Infraversion
__ means that the tooth is tipped toward the lip or cheek.
- a) Torsoversion
- b) Labioversion
- c) Transversion
- d) Linguoversion
The teeth are retained in position through the process of __, which created and deposits new cells.
- a) Resorption
- b) Deposition
- c) Transposition
- d) Disposition
__ are placed in the contact area between the teeth, forcing the teeth to spread to accommodate the orthodontic bands.
- a) Separators
- b) Plastic rings
- c) Brackets
- d) Springs
How Do You Pass the RDA Exam?
What is the Passing Score?
To pass the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam, it is important to prepare thoroughly and familiarize yourself with the exam content. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of passing the RDA Exam:
- Understand the Exam Format: Familiarize yourself with the format and structure of the RDA Exam. Understand how many sections or components are included, the types of questions you will encounter, and the time limits for each section.
- Study Exam Content: Review the exam content outline or blueprint provided by the exam administrator. Focus your studying on the specific topics and areas that will be covered in the exam. Use textbooks, study guides, online resources, and practice exams to reinforce your knowledge.
- Practice with Sample Questions: Practice answering sample questions, including multiple-choice questions similar to those that may appear on the RDA Exam. This will help you become familiar with the question format, improve your time management skills, and enhance your ability to select the correct answers.
- Time Management: Develop good time management strategies to ensure that you allocate sufficient time for each section of the exam. Practice answering questions within the time limits to improve your efficiency and pacing during the actual exam.
- Focus on Weak Areas: Identify your areas of weakness during your study preparations. Devote extra time and effort to these areas to improve your understanding and performance.
All candidates who pass the exam will receive a score of 75%. On the other hand, all candidates who fail will receive a score of 55%. Written examination results are given at the testing site directly after the exam is completed. The Dental Board can only provide pass/fail results (the actual score on the exam is not released).
Subjects and Procedures Covered in the RDA Exam
The subjects and procedures covered in the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam can vary depending on the jurisdiction or regulatory body responsible for administering the exam. However, there are usually four different competencies or focus areas with each section covering a range of topics related to the daily tasks of a high-performing dental assistant.
The dental sciences work area of the RDA exam is the most extensive and academically intense. It covers topics such as dental terminology, patient education, local anesthesia, medical emergencies, and infection control.
The clinical procedures work area is another significant portion of the exam. This section tackles topics related to performing clinical tasks, such as instruments and equipment, chairside procedures, dental specialties, and laboratory safety and equipment.
Dental imaging work area covers just under a quarter of the exam. There are generally four sections covering various aspects of radiographic procedures, such as principles and theory, techniques, radiograph film processing and mounting, and safety.
Office Assisting Skills
This work area may be the smallest, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. You’ll cover practical topics, such as office procedures, patient management and communication, and ethics and professional conduct.
Educational and Training Options to Prepare for the RDA Exam
To prepare for the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Exam, there are several educational and training options you can consider. These options can help you gain the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the exam. Here are some common educational and training options:
Dental Assisting Programs
Enroll in a dental assisting program offered by accredited colleges, universities, vocational schools, or dental schools. These programs provide comprehensive education and training in dental assisting, covering both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Completion of a dental assisting program can fulfill the educational requirement for eligibility to take the RDA Exam.
Consider online courses specifically designed for RDA Exam preparation. These courses provide flexible learning options and cover the relevant subjects and topics tested in the exam. Online courses may include video lectures, interactive modules, practice quizzes, and study materials to help you prepare effectively.
Study Guides and Review Books
Utilize study guides and review books that are specifically designed to help you prepare for the RDA Exam. These resources often include comprehensive content reviews, practice questions, and tips for exam success. Look for reputable publishers or resources recommended by dental professionals.
Take advantage of practice exams specifically designed for the RDA Exam. These practice exams simulate the format, content, and timing of the actual exam, allowing you to assess your knowledge and identify areas that require further study. Practice exams can help you become familiar with the question format, improve your time management skills, and build confidence for the actual exam.
Continuing Education Courses
Participate in continuing education courses or workshops that focus on the subjects and skills covered in the RDA Exam. These courses can help you deepen your knowledge, learn about the latest advancements in dental assisting, and stay updated with best practices in the field.
If possible, gain practical experience through internships, externships, or dental assistant positions. Clinical experience allows you to apply your knowledge and skills in a real dental setting, reinforcing your understanding of dental procedures, instruments, and patient care. Additionally, some jurisdictions may require a certain amount of practical work experience as an eligibility requirement for the RDA Exam.
How Many Times Can You Take the RDA Exam?
You will have to retake the RDA exam if you receive a failing score. You’ll be eligible to retake the exam after 45 days and pay a $100 retesting fee for each additional attempt. You’re limited to just four attempts at the exam.
Renewing RDA Certification
Here are some general steps and considerations for renewing RDA certification:
- Know the Renewal Period: Be aware of the renewal period for RDA certification in your jurisdiction. Certification is typically valid for two years, and you will need to renew it before it expires.
- Fulfill Continuing Education Requirements: Most jurisdictions require RDAs to complete a certain number of continuing education (CE) hours during each renewal period.
- Submit Renewal Application: Complete the renewal application provided by the regulatory body. Include all required information, such as personal details, certification number, and documentation of completed CE hours.
- Pay Renewal Fees: There are usually renewal fees associated with maintaining RDA certification. Ensure that you submit the required payment along with your renewal application.
Learn more on how to become a Dental Assistant, and explore educational programs, such as the Dental Assisting program at Brookline College to gain the relevant skills and knowledge to pursue a career in dental assisting. In addition, check out the best entry-level medical jobs to see all the available options for a career in the healthcare profession.