Why should I do the Primary Dental Sciences Examination?

  • Enjoy full Membership rights as a Member of the College
  • Use of post-nominals MRACDS(PDS)
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Prepare for postgraduate specialist training
  • Improve your knowledge and skills
  • Professional and peer recognition
  • Challenge yourself and build a strong foundation of knowledge for clinical practice
  • Join a community of like-minded practitioners

Read more about becoming a Member in Primary Dental Sciences MRACDS(PDS) here.

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Subjects Assessed

The Primary Dental Sciences Examination assesses theoretical knowledge in the six (6) basic science subjects that are the foundation of sound clinical dental practice. The examination is held annually and exemptions from the examination may be granted for candidates with appropriate qualifications. The examination is also open to non-dentists.

The six subjects assessed in the Primary Dental Sciences Examination are:

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

Examination Format

The Primary Dental Sciences Examination consists of two parts:

Further details are provided upon enrolment.

Preparation for the Primary Dental Sciences Examination

The College offers a preparation course for candidates enrolled or planning to sit the Primary Dental Sciences Examination.

The preparation course covers all six (6) science subjects assessed in the Primary Examination (GDP), with lectures and resource materials provided by Primary Dental Sciences Examination examiners to set you up for success in passing the examination.

Candidates who attend the preparation course will be awarded CPD hours upon completion. Registration for the Primary Dental Sciences Preparation Course for 2024 is now closed. Click below to indicate your interest in the 2025 Preparation Course.

Examination Recognition

The F.G. Christensen Memorial Prize is awarded to the candidate who passes all six subjects and achieves the highest overall aggregate mark in the Primary Dental Sciences Examination. The prize consists of a Medal and a monetary award of AU$500. The awarded candidate will be acknowledged in College publications such as the Yearbook and College News and presented the Medal by the President of the College at the following Convocation Opening Ceremony.

For detailed information please refer to the GDP Handbook.


The Primary Dental Sciences Examination is open to dentists and non-dentists however the College requires all candidates to hold current Affiliate membership (or current Subscription) which is only open to dentists with current registration (in good standing) in their country of residence.

If you are interested in sitting the Primary Dental Sciences Examination but are not a dentist or not yet registered to practice, please contact the Education Officer at [email protected].

How to Enrol?

Enroling is easy!

Please ensure that you have read and understood the requirements and fees for the Primary Dental Sciences Examination and then follow the steps below:

  1. Check you are eligible for the Primary Dental Sciences Examination
  2. Apply for Affiliate membership
  3. Enrol via the button above

You MUST be an Affiliate member prior to registering for the examination.

For more information, please refer to the GDP Handbook or email [email protected].

Primary Dental Sciences ExaminationOverseas Resident Australian Resident
Affiliate Member Annual fee (FY 1/7/23 to 30/6/24)$238$261*
Preparation for Primary Dental Sciences Examination
Enrolment – all subjects$1,495*$1,495*
Enrolment – per subject$350*$350*
Primary Dental Sciences Examination
Enrolment – all subjects$2,821$2,821
Enrolment – per subject$653$653
Application for exemption from sitting the Primary Dental Sciences Examination$1,304$1,304
Reconsideration fee$260*$260*
Review fee$610*$610*
Appeal fee $7,302*$7,302*
Membership Fees
Admission to Membership$355.45$391*
Annual fee (FY 1/7/23 to 30/6/24)$695$765*
1. All fees are in $AUD.
2. Fees marked with asterisk (*) denote GST inclusive, otherwise fees are GST free.
3. The annual fee is payable on the 1st day of July each year. All unpaid annual fees by the 31st of August each year will attract a monthly late payment surcharge. Members or Fellows who are elected to Membership or Fellowship during the year will pay a pro rata annual fee based on the whole months remaining in the financial year (FY).
4. For the 2023/2024 financial year, the Board has again approved a 33% discount on Annual Fees for Fellows/Members residing outside of Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, the Board has approved further discounts for Fellows/Members living in countries classified by the World Bank as either upper-middle, lower-middle or low-income countries.
5. For more information, please refer to the RACDS General Dental Practice (GDP) Handbook and other relevant policies (including refunds) which are available on the website.

Exemption from the Primary Dental Sciences Examination

Candidates who have completed a university higher degree in research or a degree leading to a specialist qualification in the health sciences which is no less than two (2) years full-time study or its equivalent may be eligible for an exemption from the examination.

If you are granted an exemption from the Primary Dental Sciences Examination, you must pass the Fellowship Examination (GDP) to be awarded FRACDS(GDP). You are not eligible to apply for Membership in Primary Dental Sciences.

Read more about the Primary Dental Sciences Examination Exemption here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Candidate Advisors are available in each region to assist candidates with study groups, tutorials and general direction – Find your Candidate Advisor here.

The GDP Handbook includes a guide to study and suggested reading list. Candidates also have access to ‘ClinicalKey’, an online library via their membership dashboard which will provide them with journals and articles to assist with your study.

Once enrolled in the Primary Dental Sciences Examination you will be provided access to past papers, study groups and Candidate Advisors. You are also encouraged to enrol in the preparation course to further your study preparations. The preparation course provides candidates with an opportunity to meet examiners and gain valuable information on treatment planning, written paper and viva voce skills.

The examinations are delivered entirely online and can be sat from the candidate’s home or other preferred location.

Yes, candidates who do not have subject credits from the previous attempt are required to present for all six (6) subjects at the examination.

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 that subject.

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

Candidates who have failed the exam will receive a performance report from the examiners. If you have failed 1-2 subjects only, you may be given credit for the subjects you passed. This credit is valid for three years.

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