Orientation Course (online)

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 online 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 Format

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.

Due to COVID-19, OC in the face-to-face format has been cancelled, and we are providing an alternative online delivery option with a lower fee. Pre-recorded lectures to be accessed online supplemented by live webinar sessions.

As at April 2020, the College has removed Subscription to the College, and will instead encourage dentists to become an RACDS member before enrolling in the Orientation Course.

  • RACDS will offer a 40% discount on the course fee for 2020 candidates
  • All lectures will be pre-recorded, supplemented by scheduled live sessions
  • All course content will be accessible as soon as it is uploaded – you will not need to wait until 7 July to review lectures
  • Each of the disciplines covered will have two live Q&A sessions during the course dates except for Pharmacology which will have one session
  • Live Question & Answer and Exam Preparation sessions will be held (tri-weekly), and will be recorded for you to access at a later time
  • Live sessions will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 6.30 pm – 8.00 pm AEST
  • An additional Exam Preparation and Tips live session is included in the course

Providers Terms

Please contact the Provider directly or follow the ticket selection button to the Course Provider Website for full terms and conditions.

RACDS Affiliate Membership $1,862Select
RACDS Affiliate Membership per Subjsct$309Select
Non Member$2,397Select
Non Member per Subject$402Select
Contact Hours:

80.0 hrs


Tue, 07 July 2020

Start Time:

6:30 PM


6 Live Sesions (July 7 - August 5)


Live Sessions and On-Demand Lectures





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