Orientation Course for the Primary Dental Sciences Examination

Dr Elizabeth Fanning Orientation Course Scholarship

RACDS is committed to supporting the dentists of tomorrow. Each year we offer two scholarships for a final year dentistry student and an early career dentist.

The scholarship covers the full registration cost of the Orientation Course for the Primary Dental Sciences Examination. Attendance can be deferred one year.

How to Apply
To be considered for this incredible opportunity, you will need to submit a letter outlining in 800 words:

  • Why you are pursuing a pathway to RACDS Fellowship (25% weighting)
  • Any notable accomplishments you have achieved while completing your primary dental qualification (50% weighting)
  • Your plans for the future of your career in dentistry (25% weighting)

Please include you prefix, first name and last name.

Submit your application via the “Apply Now” button below.

Eligible Applicants
Current dental students in their final year or dentists within 2 years of registration in their jurisdiction from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East are encouraged to apply for this scholarship.

The Primary Dental Sciences Examination Orientation Course Scholarship will cover the full registration cost of the Orientation Course.

Applications are now closed for 2022.

The Primary Dental Sciences Examination assesses theoretical knowledge in six basic science subjects from a clinical dental perspective. The focus is on the candidate’s ability to effectively communicate knowledge in written papers and viva voce examinations. Candidates will not be required to carry out clinical treatment.

The subjects of the examination are:

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology & Biochemistry
  • Histology
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Physiology

Candidates should also be familiar with standard statistical methods and Pharmacology.

Note: while not examined as a separate subject, Pharmacology is relevant across all disciplines and may be examined. Two hours of lectures on Pharmacology are included in the Orientation Course and notes.

Read more about the Primary Dental Sciences Examination.


Written Papers
Written papers are the first component of the Primary Dental Sciences Examination. The objective of the questions is to assess the candidates’ knowledge and understanding in a fair and impartial manner.

There are six written papers, one in each subject. The papers are of two hours duration each and conducted over three days. Written papers will be short-answer or essay format only with no multiple-choice questions. The number and structure of questions will vary according to the individual subject. There may be one or more questions, from which there may be optional and/or compulsory sections.

viva voce (oral) examinations
The viva voce examinations are the second component of the Primary Dental Sciences Examination. The purpose of a viva voce is to assess the ability of a candidate to effectively communicate their knowledge and demonstrate their thinking process. A viva voce of ten minutes duration is conducted in each of the six subjects.

Exam ComponentDurationSpecificsExaminers
Week 1: 6 Written Papers3 DaysMorning: 1 x 2-hour paper
Afternoon: 1 x 2-hour paper
2 Examiners per subject
Week 2: 6 viva voces3 Days10min per viva voce1 Examiner
1 Observer
Except Hong Kong and Malaysia – 1 day: 3 x 20min sessions

Note: While every effort is made to ensure that candidates have a fair spread of viva voce examinations across the three days, there is no guarantee. Candidates may sometimes have to complete more than two viva voce examinations in one day.