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The brain is extremely powerful; we can store almost an unlimited amount of information. But is there a daily limit? The quick answer is yes. Due to its finite size, there is a limit to how much new information the brain can store per day.


“The brain has a daily limit.”


How much time should I spend studying daily for the Dental Assisting Boards?

It is hard to say. But not more than 6 hours a day. Why not 10 hours? Why am I stopping you from studying more for the dental assisting board exams (CDA®, NELDA®, COA®, CPFDA®, CRFDA®) that will determine your life’s path?


Because it is scientifically proven that our brain has a daily limit. Studying is like sports and physical activities. In fact, the brain takes 30% of our energy, that’s a lot! At the end of the day, we are out of energy, just like your phone runs out of battery.

Is it scientifically proven?


Angelika Dimoka, director of the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University, conducted a study that measured people’s brain activity while they were solving problems. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure changes in blood flow, she found that as people received more information, their brain activity increased in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region behind the forehead that is responsible for making decisions and controlling emotions. But when the information load became too much, it was as though a breaker in the brain was triggered, and the prefrontal cortex suddenly shut down.


If you are trying to fight a brain that has shut down, you are wasting time. You may feel like you are studying, but in reality, you are just staring at the material.


“Don’t wait until the last minute. Read and study a little every day.” – Jessica


What can I do as a dental assisting student?

One of SmarterDA’s respectful users, Jessica, shared us her advice after successfully passing the dental assisting boards. “Don’t wait until the last minute. Read and study a little every day. It will be beneficial in the long run!”


But what is a little every day? To be realistic, it is 3-4 hours/day. You have school, chores, and social obligations. You know that a lofty goal of 6-8 hours is rarely achievable. But start with 1-2 hours/day, at a predictable pace. This is much better than fluctuating schedules of 0-8 hours/day.


“Only count the time you spent purely on studying.”


Am I trying to sabotage your success?

You may still wonder why I am trying to stop you from studying more. Here is the key to my article. Quality over quantity. When I say 3-4 hours/day, I mean uninterrupted moments of high-intensity focus. If you looked at your Instagram and Facebook during that 3-4 hours/day, then you are cheating.


Even if you went to get some coffee, that is cheating. Only count the time you spent purely on studying. Use a timer and pause it every time you perform a task other than high-focused studying. I think now you understand what I mean by quality over quantity.

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Anything else that can help you pass the dental assisting board exams?


  1. Take a calendar and see how many days you have left to the dental assisting boards.
  2. Write down in detail what you will achieve day by day. The key is to make a consistent schedule that will look the same every day.
  3. Challenge yourself to perform a predictable schedule for 21 days in a row. For example, after school, before turning on the TV, spend 1-hour Then you shower and relax. The next morning, squeeze in another 1 hour before school. The key is to have a routine. Once your mind and body absorb the new pattern, the new task will not be new anymore. It will become part of you.

 “Challenge yourself to follow a predictable schedule for 21 days in a row” – Claire (Founder of SmarterDA, expert coach in dental assisting exams)



One thing you can do TODAY is signing up for SmarterDA Weekly Vitamins. These are Mini-reviews that will help you prepare for the dental assisting board exams. They will come to your email every week.


The Dental Assisting Boards are seriously challenging. You will be pushed to a limit you have never experienced before. But try to adopt Jessica’s strategy – A little every day. I promise your performance will increase.

If you have any questions about the dental assisting boards, email me anytime.


Author: Claire RDH, MS

Claire is the founder of StudentRDH and SmarterDA – exams prep solutions for the dental hygiene and dental assisting students. The online solutions deliver content of the highest quality through the latest e-learning technology. According to some students, studying is now “addictive!” Prior to her career in the dental field, Claire Jeong was an education specialist at Boston Children’s Museum. Claire is licensed to practice in the United States as well as Canada. She provides personalized mentorship and can be reached at ClaireJ@SmarterDA.com and support@SmarterDA.com.


Do you love topics like this? Click here to read another super helpful article about Focus Management at StudentRDH. The Dental Assisting Boards are demanding, and you need strategies.

DisclaimerDANB®, CDA®, NELDA®, COA®, CPFDA®, CRFDA® are registered trademarks of the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (“DANB”). This article is not sponsored or endorsed by or affiliated with the DANB.