Completing the RACDS Primary Exam can help to set yourself apart in a crowded dentistry market.
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, demonstrate their thinking process and understanding in written papers and viva voce examinations. The Primary Examination is one of the pathways to Fellowship with the College.
The Primary Examination is held annually in November/December with the written component being held at a number of locations across Australasia including Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Singapore.
The viva voce is held in Sydney, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Note: a minimum number of candidates is required to confirm each test centre.
| Primary Examination
Date: 2–4 Dec 2019
10–12 Dec 2019, Sydney
14 Dec 2019, Hong Kong
16 Dec 2019, Malaysia
Friday, 13 Sep 2019
for those sitting the viva voce in Hong Kong or Malaysia
Friday, 11 Oct 2019
for those sitting the viva voce in Sydney Australia
| If you have any enquiries or need assistance for the enrolment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Primary Examination consists of two parts:
- Written paper of two hours duration for each subject
- viva voce examination of 10 minutes duration for each subject
The six subjects for the Primary Examination are:
- Cell Biology and Biochemistry
F.G. Christensen Memorial Prize
The candidate who passes all six subjects and achieves the highest overall aggregate mark will be awarded the F.G. Christensen Memorial Prize. This prize consists of a Medal and a monetary award of AU$500, acknowledgement in College publications such as the Yearbook and College News, and the medal is presented to the winner by the President of the College at the following Convocation Opening Ceremony. For detailed information please refer to the GDP Handbook.
How To Apply
You will need to first subscribe to the College. Find out all you need to know about General Dental Practice pathways in the GDP Handbook.
|Fellowship - General Dental Practice (GDP)
1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019 Fees (in AUD)
Enrolment - all subjects (for subscribed candidate, fellow/member)
|Enrolment - all subjects (for non-subscribed candidate, non-fellow/non-member)
|Enrolment - per subject (for subscribed candidate, fellow/member)
|Enrolment - per subject (for non-subscribed candidate, non-fellow/non-member)
|Primary examination (viva voce in Australia)
Enrolment - all subjects
|Enrolment - per subject
|Primary examination (viva voce outside of Australia)
Enrolment - all subjects
|Enrolment - one subject
|Enrolment - per additional subject
|Application for exemption from sitting the primary examination
- Subscription is valid for a period of six (6) years and is not refundable.
- The orientation course is held in Australia. A USB flash drive of lecture notes is provided on enrolment and covers the following subjects: anatomy, histology, physiology, cell biology and chemistry, pathology and microbiology. Daily meals (i.e. morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea) are included in the fee.
- Fees marked with asterisk (*) denote GST inclusive. Fees marked with pound/hash (#) denote GST free.
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the requirements for the Primary Examination in General Dental Practice?
The Primary Examination is a rigorous assessment of a candidate’s knowledge of the fundamental principles of the basic health sciences as they relate to dentistry. Exemptions from the examination may be granted for candidates with appropriate qualifications.
The examination is also open to non-dentists.
2. What is the structure of the exam?
The Primary Exam is made up of 6 subjects of the examination:
- Cell Biology and Biochemistry
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.
The exam consists of a written paper and a viva voce. There
are no live patients for this examination.
|Week 1: 6 Written Papers
||Morning: 1 x 2-hour paper
Afternoon: 1 x 2-hour paper
|2 Examiners per subject
|Week 2: 6 viva voces
||2 x 10min sessions per day*
|*Except Hong Kong – 1 day: 3 x 30min sessions
3. Why should I complete the Primary Examination?
The Primary Exam is the first step to achieving Fellowship in General Dental Practice. Benefits in obtaining Fellowship with the RACDS include:
- Developing a strong foundation of knowledge for clinical practice
- Professional development
- Professional recognition
- Develop a career pathway in education and examination
4. How do I prepare for the Primary 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 an Orientation Course which runs over 2 weeks in July.
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. Up to 60 hours of CPD is awarded for this
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
Should a medical/personal situation arise that prevents you from undertaking a portion of the exam, please contact RACDS immediately.
6. Will I receive feedback if I don't pass the exam?
If you have failed 4 or less subjects, you may be given credit for the subjects
you passed. This credit is valid for three years. 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.
7. Are there study groups or support services?
Yes – RACDS provides Candidate Advisors in each region that can assist
candidates with study groups, tutorials and general direction.