Frequently Asked Questions

  

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FAQs in General Dental Practice (GDP)

MRACDS
General Dental Practice

Primary Examination (GDP)
Final Examination (GDP)


FAQs Membership and Fellowship in Specialist Dental Practice (SDP)

Membership by College Examination (SDP)
Membership by Conjoint Examination (SDP)
Fellowship Exmination (SDP)
General FAQ's - Specialist Dental Practice


Subscriptions
 

1. Is subscription to the RACDS compulsory?

Subscription is not compulsory for all course and events; however it is a prerequisite for enrolling in any examination or course which will lead to Membership or Fellowship in General Dental Practice or Specialist Dental Practice.  Please note that potential candidates who have not yet subscribed will not receive any RACDS correspondence such as news on upcoming courses and reminders for closing dates.


2. Is there a close off date for subscription applications?
There is no close off date and you may subscribe at any time of the year. If your subscription has lapsed, you will be sent a reminder six weeks prior to expiry date.  No further correspondence will be received until your subscription is renewed.

3. How do I subscribe?

Please click here for instructions on how to subscribe.


4. What are the benefits of subscribing?

Subscribing to the RACDS is a prerequisite for the pathways to Membership and Fellowship. Benefits include receiving correspondence about future RACDS exams and courses, news and updates. This will soon also include access to selected general resources on the online Learning Management System (currently in progress).

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MRACDS


1. How do I enrol in the MRACDS(GDP) Program?

Subscription to the College is a prerequisite for enrolment. Enrolment for the following year’s intake open in September. Program enrolment forms are available for downloading.


2. How and when are MRACDS assessments conducted?

Assessments are conducted three times a year. They consist of open book short answer questions (SAQs) and case reports. SAQs are emailed each Friday evening during the assessment periods (February, May and September) and must be completed and returned via email 48 hours later. Case reports may be submitted at any time.

Three viva voce exams are conducted in March, July and November of each year. These currently take place in Sydney, although this may expand to more cities in the future.


4. Is there an orientation day for the MRACDS course?

An orientation day is held in late January or early February each year. The induction day covers essential elements of the program and gives candidates the opportunity to meet each other, and key RACDS representatives and mentors.

 

5. Is the MRACDS program open to dentists residing outside Australia?

Currently the MRACDS General Dental Practice Program is open to registrants residing in Australia and New Zealand only.

6. How many places are there in the MRACDS(GDP) program?

Each year there are up to 30 places available.

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General Dental Practice (GDP)

1. Is the GDP program right for me?

The GDP program is intended for general dentists. If you are a practicing dentist and wish to structure your professional development and gain a recognised qualification at the same time, then this is the program for you.

2. What is the difference between GDP and Specialist Dental Practice (SDP) Programs?

You can become a Member or Fellow in GDP through:

  • Primary and Final exams leading to Fellowship; or
  • Membership GDP Program - MRACDS(GDP)
  • Final exam for Fellowship

The SDP program provides the opportunity for Membership or Fellowship in eight specialist areas. Candidates who wish to pursue SDP must become a Member before presenting for the Fellowship exam. Membership can be awarded via prior recognition, examination or conjoint examination with one of our University partners.
 

3. If I am already a Fellow or Member in General Dental Practice, can I proceed with the Specialist Dental Practice?

If you are a Member or Fellow in General Dental Practice you can still pursue Specialist Dental Practice. Specialist Dental Practice is intended for people practicing as specialists. A general dentist who is interested in a specialist discipline but who does not hold any specific qualifications in that field is not advised to seek Membership in Specialist Dental Practice. The RACDS has many Members and Fellows who have chosen to undertake Membership and/or Fellowship in both fields.

 

4. What is the difference between the MRACDS(GDP) and the Primary Examination?

  • The Primary exam consists of six exams in the basic sciences: Anatomy, Cell Biology & Biochemistry, Histology, Pathology, Physiology and Microbiology. The exam is held annually in November/December and comprises a written paper and viva voce in each of the above subjects.
  • The MRACDS(GDP) program consists of a series of short answer question assessment, submission of case reports, completion of CPD hours and a viva voce exam. The program is two to three years in duration which allows candidates to study and submit assessments at their own pace. On completion of the program, candidates will be admitted into the RACDS as Members in GDP, and will be entitled to use the postnominal MRACDS(GDP).

    Both the Primary Exam and the MRACDS(GPD) program lead to eligibility to present for the Final examination, FRACDS (GDP)

5. How do I choose between the Primary Examination and the MRACDS Program?

  • If you would like to get into a specialist program then the Primary Exam demonstrates higher level learning achievement.
  • If you are a practicing dentist and want to expand your knowledge, and structure your professional development, the MRACDS program may be more suitable.
 
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Primary Examination (GDP)

 

1. What are the requirements for the Primary Examination?

Subscription to the RACDS is a prerequisite. Potential candidates in the final year of their dental degree may enrol for the examination, provided that they obtain a letter from the head of program confirming their status.


2. What does the Primary Examination involve?
Completion of a two hour written paper and ten minute viva voce for each of the six exam subjects.


3. What if I live overseas?

Written papers are offered in a number of Australian regional centres as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, Auckland, Malaysia. The viva voce exams are offered in Sydney, Hong Kong and Malaysia. (Minimum candidate numbers must be achieved for centres outside Australia)


4. What support is provided?

The RACDS has a number of student advisors in each Regional Committee, who conduct tutorials and functions to support exam candidates. Candidates who attend the Orientation Course will have an opportunity to meet others presenting for the exam, and contact details will be made available for all in attendance.


5. How do I prepare for the Primary Examination?

 

A two week Orientation Course is held in Sydney. Lectures will be given in the basic sciences. Candidates will have the opportunity to meet the lecturers and candidates from other regions. A guide to study and suggested reading list is available from the GDP handbook.

 

6. What happens if I fail a subject?

 

If one or two subjects are failed, credit will be retained for up to three years to pass those subjects. If three or more subjects are failed, all six subjects must be repeated on future attempts.

 

7. How do I obtain my results?

 

Exam results will be made available one week after the exam, on the RACDS website listed by candidate ID number.  Results will also be mailed to candidates.

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Final Examination (GDP)

1. What are the requirements for the Final Examination in General Dental Practice?

To be eligible for the Final Exam candidates must satisfy completion of one of the following:

  • RACDS Primary Exam
  • MRACDS Program
  • Exemption granted from the Primary Exam (please refer to the GDP Handbook)

Candidates must also have completed their undergraduate degree three years prior to enrolling, have a minimum of two years clinical experience and hold registration to practice dentistry with a recognised registering body.

 

2. What is the structure of the exam?

The Final Exam is made up of two sections: General Dentistry, and an elective option:

  • Restorative Dentistry and Periodontics
  • Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
  • Oral Medicine, Oral Surgery and Oral Pathology

The general dentistry exam consists of a written paper and a viva voce. The elective exam consists of a written paper, clinical and oral examination, and viva voce examination. There are no live patients for this examination. 

This exam is at the level of a General Practitioner.

 

3. Why should I complete the Final Examination?

The Final Exam is the final step to achieving Fellowship in General Dental Practice. Benefits in obtaining Fellowship with the RACDS include:

  • Professional development
  • Professional recognition
  • Develop a career pathway in education and examination
  • Discounts to Convocation and RACDS CPD programs


4. How do I prepare for the Final Examination?

The GDP Handbook includes a guide to study and suggested reading list. Candidates should have access to current journal articles and maintain an individual resource library in preparation for the examination.

The RACDS offers a Final Exam Workshop which runs over a weekend in June. This provides candidates with an opportunity to meet examiners and other candidates, and gain valuable information on treatment planning, written paper and viva voce skills.

There is also an online Web Based Education Program. This consists of two online segments that enables candidates to practice their case evaluations, treatment and diagnostic skills.


5. I have completed all of the written sections of the exam but am unable to complete the vivas. Will I be given credit for what I have completed?

Both the written and oral sections of the exam must be completed.  If you complete the written sections only, and do not present for the vivas you will receive a fail grade for the entire section of the exam i.e. you will fail the elective section of the exam.

Should a medical/personal situation arise that prevents you from undertaking a portion of the exam, please contact the RACDS immediately.

6. Will I receive feedback if I don't pass the exam?

If you have failed one section and passed another, you may be given credit for the section passed. This credit is valid for three years.  Candidates who have failed the exam will receive an performance report from the examiners.

7. Are there study groups or support services?

The RACDS has a number of Student Advisors in each Regional Committee that run student tutorials and functions.
 
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Membership by College Examination (SDP)

I am a registered Specialist Dental Practitioner in Australia. What are my options for Membership?

The College offers Membership in eight different specialities. If you have completed a three (3) year postgraduate qualification in Australia or New Zealand you may be eligible to undertake the Membership examination in your chosen Speciality.

I graduated from my Specialist qualification outside of Australia. Am I still eligible to apply?

If you have completed your qualification outside Australia or New Zealand, you are still eligible to apply for an Assessment of Eligibility to sit the Membership examination however you will need to provide additional documentation e.g. evidence of program accreditation in your country of study.

The Assessment of Eligibility application will determine if you are eligible to sit the Membership examination and applications are assessed by the relevant Board of Studies on a case-by-case basis.

When is the Membership examination held?

The College Membership examinations are held annually in August. The location will be at the College offices in the Sydney CBD. It is likely you would be required to attend in person for 1-2 days. 

 

How and when are Assessments of Eligibility (AOE) conducted?

The cut-off date to submit an application for Assessment of Eligibility is 1 April each year. This leaves enough time for the College to make an assessment of your qualifications and experience and for you to submit case reports. Case reports are sent to examiners about four weeks prior to the examination. 

The form you need to submit is the MSDP02 – Assessment of Eligibility for Membership by Examination. The fees do change each year, so please refer to the College Fees document available for download on the College website homepage.

What happens after my eligibility is assessed? 

If you are assessed as eligible to sit the Membership examination, the College will write to you advising of this and you will be asked to submit a MSDP04 - Enrolment for the Membership Examination. A separate fee is required for this application.

You will also be asked to submit the required number of case reports as set out in the SDP Handbook.

Who covers the cost of my time in Sydney?

Each candidate is responsible for covering the costs associated with travel, accommodation and other expenses incurred while attending Sydney for an examination. Attendance will be no more than 2 days and all other parts of the process can be completed online. The College will be happy to provide general advice on location, accommodation and transport. 

What does the Membership exam include?

The Membership examination for Specialist Dental Practice includes a written paper, a viva voce based on unseen case/s, a viva voce based on previously submitted case report/s and a viva voce based on your chosen speciality with general discussion.

You may be exempt from the written paper component if you have completed your specialist qualification in Australia or New Zealand within the last 3 years.

SDP Handbook for specific information regarding the examination structure and content.

 

If I am already a Fellow or Member in General Dental Practice, can I proceed with the Specialist Dental Practice?

If you are a Member or Fellow in General Dental Practice you can still pursue Specialist Dental Practice. Specialist Dental Practice is intended for people practicing as specialists. A general dentist who is interested in a specialist discipline but who does not hold any specific qualifications in that field will not be eligible to sit a Membership examination in Specialist Dental Practice. The RACDS has many Members and Fellows who have chosen to undertake Membership and/or Fellowship in both fields.

Will I have to pay two annual fees if I have Membership or Fellowship in General Dental Practice (GDP) and Specialist Dental Practice (SDP)?

No, you will only need to pay one annual fee if you hold a qualification in GDP and SDP.

How will I be notified of the results?

The results of the examination will be published on the College website within a week of the exams taking place. A letter will also be sent to you advising of the results by e-mail.

What happens if I fail the Membership exam?

If you are unsuccessful, you will be notified at the same time as the successful candidates. The examiners will produce a report within six weeks of the exam with constructive feedback designed to assist you with future attempts. The Registrar - SDP will be available to discuss the feedback with you should the need arise.

There is no reason you cannot try again the next year, however you will need to submit a new Enrolment form. 

Why should I do this examination?

If you pass the Membership examination you would be invited to submit an Admission to Membership application and be able to use the Post-nominals in your chosen speciality.

Completing any of the College programs can contribute to professional development, recognition, career pathways and will give access to College events and opportunities for advancement to Fellowship (SDP).   

Members and Fellows enjoy a collegial experience and there are often opportunities to become actively involved with College activities. Members and Fellows may be invited to act as assessors, examiners, mentors or members of a Committee or Board of Studies.

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Membership by Conjoint Examination (SDP)

What is a conjoint examination?

A conjoint examination means the College holds an agreement with a separate University or international College to allow candidates to sit one examination and receive two qualifications. This agreement is called a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Which Universities hold a MoU with the College?

RACDS has a MoU with the dental schools of four Australian Universities - The University of Sydney, The University of QueenslandThe University of Western Australia and University of Otago 

Candidates who complete programs at these universities may apply for Membership examination conjointly with their exit examination from those universities. 

The College would send an examiner to contribute to your exam at the University, and if successful, you would be invited to receive Membership in your chosen Speciality.


Which Colleges hold a MoU with the College?

RACDS has a conjoint arrangement with the Faculty of Dental Surgeons of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. The conjoint examination MOrth/MRACDS(Orth) is held twice per year - June in Edinburgh and November in Adelaide

RACDS also has a conjoint arrangement with the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong for Dental Public Health (also known as Community Dentistry). The conjoint examination is usually held in January each year.

How do I apply for a conjoint examination? 

You will first need to subscribe to the RACDS. Once you have subscribed, you just need to submit a MSDP03 – Enrolment for Conjoint Membership Examination and indicate on the form which exam you are intending to complete.

Enrolments for conjoint examinations do not require a separate assessment of eligibility form.

Who sets the requirements for the examination?

The respective University or international College will set the requirements and be in charge of the structure of the conjoint examination.

Do I need to submit case reports to RACDS?

No. All the examination requirements, including case reports, are set by the respective University or international College.

Why should I do the Membership exam conjointly with my University exit examination?

By choosing this pathway, you are omitted from sitting a separate examination at the College. Other than submitting a form and paying a fee to RACDS, there are no additional requirements you would need to fulfil to receive Membership. 

There may be advantages to sitting exams while you are immersed in study at University, as opposed to when you are practising clinically and have not studied or been examined for some time.

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Fellowship Examination (SDP)

What are the requirements for the Fellowship Examination in Specialist Dental Practice?

To be eligible for the Fellowship examination candidates must satisfy completion of the following:

  • MRACDS(SDP)
  • At least five of specialist/restricted experience in the relevant discipline


When is the Fellowship examination held?
                                   

The College Fellowship examinations are held annually in August. The location will be at the College offices in the Sydney CBD. It is likely you would be required to attend in person for 1 day. 

 

How and when are Assessments of Eligibility conducted?

The cut-off date to submit an application for Assessment of Eligibility is 1 April each year. This leaves enough time for the College to make an assessment of your qualifications and experience and for you to submit case reports. Case reports are sent to examiners about five weeks prior to the examination. 

The form you need to submit is the FSDP01 – Assessment of Eligibility to sit the Fellowship Examination in Specialist Dental Practice. The fees do change each year, so please refer to the College Fees document available for download on the College website homepage.

As part of the Assessment of Eligibility to sit the Fellowship Examination form, you will be required to submit a CV and Clinical Logbook which details your specialist experience and achievements. See the SDP Handbook for specific requirements.

What happens after my eligibility is assessed?

 If you are assessed as eligible to sit the Fellowship examination, the College will write to you advising of this and you will be asked to submit a FSD902 – Enrolment for Fellowship Examination. A separate fee is required for this application.

You will also be asked to submit the required number of case reports as set out in the SDP Handbook.

Who covers the cost of my time in Sydney?

Each candidate is responsible for covering the costs associated with travel, accommodation and other expenses incurred while attending Sydney for an examination. Attendance will be no more than 1 day and all other parts of the process can be completed online. The College will be happy to provide general advice on location, accommodation and transport. 

What is the structure of the exam?

The Fellowship Exam is set at an advanced level and will require a broad and deep knowledge of the profession both theoretically and clinically.  A wide knowledge of international literature will be expected. The exam consists of a three-hour peer review in the form of a viva voce based on previously submitted case reports.

  

How will I be notified of the results?

The results of the examination will be published on the College website within a week of the exams taking place. A letter will also be sent to you advising of the results by e-mail.

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General FAQ’s – Specialist Dental Practice

Do my supporting documents need to be certified?

Yes, all supporting documents are required to be certified copies of the original. Please refer to the certification guidelines on the RACDS website. Please do not send original documents. 

Where can I find forms?

All RACDS forms are available for download on the website here.

Subscriptions need to be sent by post; however enrolment forms can be sent electronically. 

What are the fees to become a Member or Fellow in SDP?

Each year the College will publish a College Fees document on the home page of www.racds.org. Refer to the Membership – Specialist Dental Practice (SDP) or Fellowship – Specialist Dental Practice (SDP) sections. 

Will I be assigned a mentor? 

Enrolment in a Specialist Dental Practice examination does not include a mentor arrangement; however the College highly recommends you seek advice from senior specialists; particularly Fellows of the College for advice on case report preparation and viva voce examination techniques. 

Is Membership or Fellowship in SDP recognised by the Dental Board of Australia or the Dental Council of New Zealand?

If you obtain Membership or Fellowship in a specialist dental practice discipline, it does not mean you will be eligible for registration or to practice in Australia. Please contact the local regulatory authority in your country of practice for information about registration.

Who can I contact if I need further information?

Your first resource should be the Regulations leading to Membership and Fellowship in GDP and SDP followed by the SDP Handbook.

The College has a dedicated education team who will be able to assist you with any enquiry.

You can e-mail Ms Rachel Introna, Examination and Assessment Officer – SDP on racheli@racds.org or give us a call on +61 2 9262 6044 or 1800 688 339.

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