Sit written examination

What the written examination of the New Zealand Oral Health Therapy Registration Examination (NZOHTREX) covers

Competencies required

Applicants for registration as an oral health therapist must meet the oral health therapy 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 oral health therapists.

Structure of the examination

The written examination consists of four two-hour papers - two relating to restorative activities and two relating to hygiene activities. It assesses your knowledge and understanding of the scientific bases of contemporary oral health therapy and how to apply that knowledge.
Two papers include 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 these papers 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. 

The two remaining papers both contain multiple choice questions and visual interpretation in the form of images and radiographs illustrating clinical conditions with questions requiring short written answers.  

Resources for preparing for the examination

Reference material

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.

Examination rules

  • 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.

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.

Closing dates

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. 


Passing criteria

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 NZOHTREX.

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 NZOHTREX, we strongly recommend you underFeestake a course of re-training before you sit it for the third and final time.