What the written examination of the New Zealand Dental Hygiene Registration Examination (NZDHREX) covers
Applicants for registration as dental hygienist must meet the dental hygiene competencies in order to be registered. You must be able to satisfy these competencies, a list of which can be found in the scope of practice competencies for dental hygienists.
Structure of the examination
The Written Examination consists of two 3-hour papers. It assesses your knowledge and understanding of the scientific bases of contemporary dental hygiene and how to apply that knowledge.
Paper A includes questions requiring essay and short written answers. Some questions may require you to demonstrate an ability to analyse and evaluate current knowledge. You should note the meanings of the following three terms frequently used in the examination:
- discuss: examine by argument. Involves logical critical appraisal of an issue
- describe: description of characteristics
- write (brief) notes on: short sentences or phrases. Tables, lists and/or diagrams may be used.
The last two terms are often used in questions that enable you to demonstrate your breadth of knowledge.
For paper A you will enter the examination room 15 minutes before you start to write. You will have five minutes to read the instructions and 10 minutes to read the examination questions.
Paper B is made up of one hour of 50 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and two hours of Visual Interpretation in the form of images and radiographs illustrating clinical conditions with questions requiring short written answers.
Resources for preparing for the examination
The publications we list do not form the basis of the examination. However, they may be used as a general resource.
Resources for the examination
Tips for preparing for the examination
To feel prepared for the examination, it is recommended that you:
- try to rest before the examination
- dress comfortably
- allow time for travel
- locate the venue for each component of the examination the day before the examination
- bring a watch
- practise your English.
If you are uncertain about any instruction or question from the examiners, ask for clarification.
- if you arrive more than 45 minutes after the examination starts, you will not be permitted to take the examination.
- you may only take only pens and pencils into the examination room
- you may not take any book, written or printed matter, electronic devices capable of storing or processing data, telephones, blank paper, or information in any form
- you must not communicate with anyone about the examination questions
- you must not copy from another candidate's answers
- you must not communicate directly with the examiners
- if your writing is not legible, your answers cannot be assessed
- if you break any examination rule, your paper will not be marked.
Clear, detailed instructions about seating, timing, labelling of papers will be given at the time of the examination which you must follow accurately.
Applying to sit the written examination
Applying to sit the examination
We will assess your eligibility to enrol in the written examination.
The examination fee is payable at the time of application. The fee is set at a threshold of 4 applicants writing the examination, which will reduce where there are a total of 5 or more applicants enrolled for the written examination. In this case, enrolled applicants will be refunded the difference after the registration closing date.
If you repeat the examination, you need to reapply, and pay the fee again.
If you cancel your application, you will forfeit a withdrawal fee, as below.
notice of withdrawal from examination received before closing date
20% of fee will be forfeited
notice of withdrawal from examination received after the closing date and at least 14 days before the examination date
50% of fee will be forfeited
notice of withdrawal from examination received less than 14 days before the examination date
100% of fee will be forfeited (unless a medical certificate can be supplied, in which case 40% of the fee will be forfeited)
Information about dates and place
When the examination is held
The written examination is held once per year. Please refer to the examinations timetable for the date.
Your assessment of eligibility application form must reach us by the closing date listed on the examinations timetable.
Where you can take the examination
The specific venue will be confirmed to you for each individual examination.
You will need to make all your own visa and travel arrangements. If you can’t sit the examination because you can’t arrange things like visas or travel, we’ll treat you as having withdrawn, and you will have to pay withdrawal fees.
You need to provide proof of identity, usually a passport.
To pass the written examination you must achieve passes (C-) in each of the two papers.
Receiving examination results
You will receive your results by email as soon as practical. This is usually 10 to 12 weeks after the examination date.
No results will be given by phone or fax.
Appealing examination results
To appeal a written examination result, you must write to us within four weeks from the date of the results.
If you fail the examination
You have three years from the date of first sitting the written examination and a maximum of three attempts to pass both the written and clinical parts of the NZDHREX.
If you fail the written examination, you must make another application, and pay a new examination fee.
If you have failed two attempts at the written part of the NZDHREX, we strongly recommend you undertake a course of re-training before you sit it for the third and final time.