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Licence in Dental Surgery Part 1

Exam overview

Part 1 of the Licence in Dental Surgery (LDS) is comprised of two papers: single best answer (SBA) questions and extended matching (EMQ) questions. Both Part 1 papers must be passed at one sitting for candidates to progress to Part 2.

The Part 1 LDS exam is normally held at least once per year in the UK.

Following feedback from our 2019 examination, we have updated our application process. Please ensure you read about the new procedure before applying.


An overview of LDS candidate eligibility is provided below. Read the LDS exam regulations and LDS Part 1 application guidance.

To be eligible to enter each part of the LDS exam all candidates must:

  • If registered on a course of study at a UK undergraduate dental school, produce evidence that they have satisfactorily completed a five-year curriculum as described and recognised by the General Dental Council (GDC) and have passed the dental schools final exams, and are registered with the GDC.
  • If in possession of a qualification awarded by an EEA university or licensing body that is recognised by the GDC for purposes of full registration in the UK, produce evidence of qualification, certificates of the courses of study attended and exams passed for such a qualification.
  • If holding a qualification awarded by an overseas university or licensing body that is not recognised by the GDC for purposes of full registration in the UK, produce evidence of qualification and a NARIC certificate. In addition, it is necessary to provide certificates showing that the studies and courses undertaken were in line with the standards described in the First Five Years: a Framework for Undergraduate Dental Education 3rd edition (interim) (General Dental Council, 2008). A NARIC certificate is required unless temporary registration with the GDC is current and can be verified.

Exam format

The LDS Part 1 exam is comprised of two papers, each of up to three hours duration. The format will be single best answer (SBA) and extended matching (EMQ) questions centred mainly on knowledge and its application to:

a) clinically applied dental science and clinically applied human disease

b) aspects of clinical dentistry, law and ethics, and health and safety

In order to progress to Part 2, both Part 1 papers will need to be passed at one sitting. If either paper is failed candidates will be required to re-sit all of Part 1.


Below is an outline of the major competencies/learning outcomes that may be assessed. These represent broad categories of professional activity and concerns that occur in the general practice of dentistry and are interdisciplinary in orientation and must embrace an element of critical thinking.

They may apply in differing ways to patients of all ages, including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.

a) Professional attitude and behaviour
b) Ethics and jurisprudence

Interpersonal, Communication and Social Skills
a) Communication

Knowledge Base, Information and Information literacy
a) Application of basic biological, medical, technical and clinical sciences
b) Acquiring and using information

Clinical Information Gathering

a) Obtaining and recording a comprehensive history of the patient’s medical, oral and dental state

Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
a) Decision-making, clinical reasoning and judgment
b) Education of patients and management of comprehensive primary care
c) Oral medicine management
d) Periodontal management
e) Caries and endodontic management
f) Surgical procedures
g) Pain and anxiety management
h) Restorative/prosthodontics management
i) Orthodontic management
j) Emergency treatment

Health Promotion
a) Improving the oral health of individuals, families and groups in the community

These major competencies are underpinned by sub-sets of more detailed supporting skills, understanding and professional values. The detail, along with associated assessment methods are set out in the Learning Outcomes document.

LDS Part 1

LDS Part 1 2021 - Date Amendment

Following feedback from candidates, please note that the LDS Part 1 2021 examination will now be held on 1 June 2021. The examination will also be held remotely online, for more information of how to sit the examination remote, please vist our Dental Online Examinations Guidance page.

Title Exam date Exam location
LDS Part 1
1 June 2021
Online Examination

LDS Part 1 April 2021

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Faculty of Dental Surgery have made the decision that the LDS Part 1 April 2021 examination will only be open to those candidates previously booked into the April 2020 examination. If you were booked for LDS Part 1 April 2020 and have not received direct communication regarding your April 2021 sitting, please contact us on 020 7405 3474 - Option 1.

We are working hard to establish when we will be deliver the next LDS Part 1 examination and an update will be provided on this page as soon as available.


Application Process

Owing to the number of candidates applying for the LDS Part 1 examination, places will now be granted through a random ballot system. The application process will be open for one week and candidates may apply at any point. No preference will be given to candidates who apply earlier in the week and no payment is required at this stage.

Candidates must have an RCS online account before application and apply during the one week application period. If you do not already have an account you can create one here. Applicants will be contacted within 5 working days of the closing date with the outcome of their application.

Candidates that are successful will be required to complete payment within 5 working days of receiving the confirmation email. Candidates are also required to post in all necessary documentation within 10 working days of confirmation.

All other applicants will be placed on a waiting list and may be contacted if any places become available.

Please ensure you have all required documentation and funds available before applying for the examination.

All online applications must be received by 5pm on the closing date.

LDS Part 1 can accept up to 120 candidates.

Up to four attempts are allowed for each part of the exam.

Paper applications will not be accepted.

All guidance documents are being revised and the website pages will be updated to reflect this. Candidates are advised to regularly check these pages for updated application information. Candidates should note that the supporting documentation requirements for Part 1 will remain the same.

Please read our LDS Part 1 online application guidance before applying.  

Contact the exams department



For general exam queries please call 020 7405 3474

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