Orientation Course
Education Officer - Emily Guo
Orientation Course
Date: 6 - 10 July 2020
13 -17 July 2020
8:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Sydney
Venue: The Women's College University of Sydney 15 Carillon Ave, NEWTOWN, NSW 2042
Fee: View College Fees
CPD 59 hours

If you need assistance for enrolment or for any enquiries, please contact


Are you wanting to enrol in a postgraduate dentistry course at university? Or thinking about attaining Fellowship in General Dental Practice with RACDS to set yourself apart in a crowded market? Orientation Course enrolments for the Primary Exam are now open – reserve your place now.

The Orientation Course is an intensive two week preparatory course which will prime you for the Primary Exam and the first step on the way to Fellowship with the College.

Our Fellows and Members have attained the highest standard of education and recognition within the profession. The RACDS education programs provide world standard, evidence based education, training, examination and assessment. Becoming a Fellow can advance your career, provides you with outstanding CPD opportunities and promotes patient and peer recognition.

Primary Exam
The Primary 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.

Examination Format
Written Papers
Written papers are the first component of the Primary 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 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 Component Duration Specifics Examiners
Week 1: 6 Written Papers 3 Days Morning: 1 x 2-hour paper
Afternoon: 1 x 2-hour paper
2 Examiners per subject
Week 2: 6 viva voces 3 Days 2 x 10min sessions per day* 1 Examiner
1 Observer
*Except Hong Kong - 1 day: 3 x 30min 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.

Note: the closing date for enrolments is Friday 12 June, 2020 and applicants should direct their enquiries to Emily Guo at