After The Exam


1. What Happens After the Examination?

The examinations are computer-scored. You will receive one point for each correct answer. You receive no points for omitted answers. Examination questions that do not meet statistical standards will not count toward your total score. The examination also contains experimental questions that are being assessed for future use. Your answers to these questions will not count toward your score.

2. When to Expect the Exam Results

Each candidate was assigned an identification number on the picture-ID card they received at the exam site. Following each examination, a list of all successful candidates will be posted ("Unofficial Results"), by ID number, in the "Latest News" section of the NDHCB website as soon as it is available from the Testing Agency. Unofficial Results will be Pass, Fail or Under Review. Candidates must avoid taking action (i.e., career, move, etc.) before receiving a positive official result in the mail.


Please note that the NDHCB has up to six weeks after you write the certification examination to report your official results. Your official result will be reported as pass or fail. Results will not be given out over the telephone. The NDHCB will under no condition fast track examination results for any reason.

3. How is the Exam Scored?

The passing score is set by the NDHCB Examination Committee which is composed of dental hygiene experts from across Canada. This Committee includes educators, experienced practitioners, administrators and a psychometrician. The Examination Committee establishes a passing score, based on a proven standard setting method, that represents the expected performance of entry-level practice dental hygienists.

To ensure the integrity and security of the NDHCE, every exam form has a unique combination of items. Thus, no two versions or “forms” of the exam are the same, although all forms conform to the same test specifications (see NDHCE Blueprint in Quick Links) and are created to be similar in terms of difficulty level. To ensure fairness in the examination scoring process, a statistical method called equating is used to account for differences in exam form difficulty and to calculate a scaled score. 

4. What is a Scaled Score?

A scaled score is a mathematical transformation of a candidate’s raw score (i.e., total number of items correct) on an exam to a common scale. This scaled score allows for valid comparisons of results across exam administrations even if there are differences in the difficulty of the exam taken. Interpretation of the raw score and the scaled score will result in the same conclusion in terms of a candidate’s pass/fail status.

5. Why are Scaled Scores Useful?

Scaled scores are particularly useful for reporting results given that there is always some variability in the difficulty of different versions of an exam. Scaled scores therefore make these differences across forms disappear so that a particular score has the same meaning across time.

For the NDHCE, the scaled score range is from 200 to 800 with a passing score of 550. Candidates whose total score is at or above 550 pass the exam. Candidates whose total score is below 550 do not pass the exam.

6. Example of Using a Scaled Score

Suppose that one candidate takes a relatively easy version of an exam and receives a raw score of 137 over 170. At the same time, a second candidate takes a relatively more difficult version of the exam and receives a raw score of 134. Is the first candidate really more competent than the second? If only raw scores were used, then the answer would be yes. However, the difficulty of the two exams may differ. In order to control for this difference and make an accurate comparison, their raw scores need to be converted to scaled scores. Once their scores are converted, it may be that the second candidate in fact performed better.

7. Next Steps

If you are successful, you will receive your National Dental Hygiene Certificate with a unique National certification number, with your results letter. Please note that the NDHCB does not register or issue licenses to practice dental hygiene. Please contact the dental hygiene regulatory authority in the jurisdiction you wish to practice, for information about registration/licensing procedures.

The maximum number of times you can attempt the NDHCE is three (3). This means that, if at first you are not successful on the certification examination, you may re-apply at another NDHCE administration and rewrite it up to another two times before you pass. 

Candidates who fail the examination will be provided with a report about their general performance over the tested blueprint categories as well as information on rewriting application procedures.

A candidate who is applying for their final attempt of the NDHCE will be requested to return to the NDHCB office a signed, written statement verifying their understanding that this final attempt is their last attempt of the NDHCE.

A candidate who has failed three attempts of the NDHCE is no longer a candidate for the NDHCE unless they successfully complete again all of the dental hygiene course requirements of a recognized dental hygiene program and meets the eligibility criteria in effect at the time of the new application to write the NDHCE.

8. Rescoring and Appeals

Candidates who are unsuccessful can request a rescoring of their answer sheets (see "Quick Links"). Please note that the re-scoring process will only verify the candidate's exactness of their examination score, and will not allow them to challenge or review the content of the examination, or to seek further content related feedback on any area.

Candidates can also request an appeal of their examination attempt if they believe they were treated unfairly or if there were any other irregularities in the examination process.


Please see the "Quick Links" for more information about the Rescoring and Appeal Policy and associated forms.