The Policy Analysis section is a written exam that will assess a candidate’s ability to absorb information provided in a written document and to write and defend appropriate options for oral health policies to address the problems identified in the document. Candidates must complete the Policy Analysis using the template provided.
Candidates may attach appendices containing tables or other material but must not exceed the space allowed in the template. Please click here to download the Policy Analysis template.
It is suggested that candidates review the parts of an acceptable policy analysis. The following websites may be a helpful starting point:
This part of the Examination will take place the day after Part 1a (Policy Analysis). A candidate will be given twenty minutes to verbally present the analysis and recommended policy. Questions from examiners will follow (25 minutes).
Each defense will be independently scored by examiners. Equal weighting is given to Part 1a (Policy Analysis) and Part 1b (Oral Defense of Policy Analysis).
Part 2a (Overnight Assignment)
Following Component II Part 1a, a written problem statement will be given to each candidate, who will have until the next day to prepare a response.
Part 2b (Oral Defense of Overnight Assignment)
Candidates will be given 20 minutes to present their solution. Questions from examiners will follow (25 minutes).
For the presentation and defense of both the Policy Analysis and the Take Home Problem, candidates may bring written notes or presentation aids. These Components of the Examination are designed to evaluate a candidate's ability to understand a problem in relation to the information provided and formulate a reasonable solution. Candidates are asked to present appropriate solutions and alternatives based on the available information.
Examiners will use the following criteria in marking the Policy Analysis and the Take Home Problem:
Candidate's ability to understand the assigned problem(s) in view of the information provided.
Candidate's ability to identify any other significant problems embedded in the assignment.
The relevance of the criteria the candidate used to identify solutions to assigned problem(s).
The appropriateness of the options that were considered as choices for solving the various problems.
The rationale for selecting the choice of approach.
Candidate’s ability to justify the resources required (budget and personnel).
The candidate’s presentation skills.
Part 3 (General Competencies)
The third part of Component II is a 60-minute oral examination that evaluates general competencies in Dental Public Health. The questions relate specifically to current Canadian Dental Public Health issues and are drawn from the ten domains and their sub-domains. The questions are broad and require a discussion of responses; they are designed to elicit comprehensive, in-depth answers that demonstrate a candidate's understanding of the subject rather than specific facts or definitions.
The overarching criteria that examiners will use for evaluating all oral presentations are:
Was the presentation style clear and effective?
Were the candidate's responses organized, concise, thoughtful, and coherent?
If the candidate didn't know an answer, did he/she admit not knowing rather than responding with Irrelevancies?
Topics for Review
Critical Appraisal and Evidence-based Practice
Oral Epidemiology Measurement and Methods
Oral Disease in the Community
Community Oral Health Interventions
Health Status Monitoring
Dental Public Health Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
Oral Health Promotion
Health Program Management and Financing of Dental Programs/Care
Ethics and Jurisprudence
Current Issues in Dental Public Health
Candidate Study Guide
The intent of this guide is to provide the candidate with an understanding of the format in which questions may be asked during Component II of the National Dental Specialty Examination. The content used in these sample questions is used for illustrative purposes only, and should not be construed as an example of the level of difficulty of the examination questions.
Try to relax and listen carefully to the questions.
Notepads and pens will be available for note taking. All notes must be left in the Examination room at the end of the Examination.
When asked to describe something, do not skip to the obvious conclusion and ignore other important details. The examiners are interested in observing the process used by the candidate to critically assess the item. Do not stare at an image quietly; candidates should verbalize their thought processes and describe what they see.
The Examination cases have been selected to be representative of the skills and knowledge a qualified specialist with appropriate training should be able to personally manage. Whether candidates treat a particular type of patient in their practice or provide a particular procedure in their office is irrelevant.
Candidates should handle each case as though it were a patient presenting to his/her office, and answer the questions as if he/she was personally treating the patients in his/her practice.
Candidates may ask to have questions repeated and to see images again if needed. Candidates may also ask to see additional images. Once a case is completed and the Examination has progressed to the next case, candidates cannot answer questions on previous cases.
All the case material must be covered during the allotted time period. Answer the questions in a succinct and organized manner. Candidates that stall or ramble will be refocused to the original question by the examiners.
The examiners remain impartial and have been trained not to give candidates any indication whether their responses are correct or incorrect. This behaviour may appear unfriendly to some candidates, but it is essential to ensure that no candidates receive helpful positive reinforcement from examiners.
Do not argue or debate with the examiners in an attempt to elicit information or the correct response. If there are legitimate differences of opinion on how to treat a case within a specialty, select the mainstream option and then mention possible alternative approaches.
Remember that there are never any trick questions.