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Licence in Dental Surgery (LDS) FAQ

Below we provide answers to frequently asked questions about the LDS exam. Alternatively, please read our general exams guidance.

  • Are there any qualifications that would allow me to move straight to LDS part 2, with exemption from part 1?
  • I am a UK dentist. As I need to have passed the BDS to be eligible to take the LDS, what further benefits will LDS qualification bring?
  • I am a European Economic Area (EEA) national with a qualification recognised as equivalent to BDS and, as such, am entitled to practise within the UK. What further benefits will LDS qualification bring?
  • I have heard that in the past, it was possible to take the LDS before completing the BDS qualification. Do I really have to have the BDS or a recognised equivalent EU qualification to be eligible to take the LDS exam?
  • I am an overseas qualified dentist. If I pass the LDS, can I be certain this will lead to GDC registration and employment as a dentist in the UK?
  • I have been asked to provide evidence of 1600 hours hands-on clinical dental experience. Is there any restriction on how long ago this can have been done?
  • I have been asked to provide a current certificate for Basic Life Support (BLS). I am concerned that if waiting lists build up, the certificate which is current when I apply will be out of day by the time I sit the examination.
  • What Basic Life Support course certificate will be acceptable?
  • I have been asked to provide original documentation with my application. However, because I am also on the waiting list for the ORE examination, these original documents are with the GDC.
  • I have an Academic IELTS certificate. What is the required level for LDS entry?
  • What about TOEFL?
  • Are there other English language proficiency tests which I may submit, instead of Academic IELTS or TOEFL?
  • My English language skills are superior to those tested by the IELTS, as is evident from my qualifications and work experience gained in the UK. Am I exempt from the IELTS requirement?
  • What happens if I register for the exam and then wish to defer to a later sitting?
  • What happens if I register for both parts of the exam and then have to defer the part 2 sitting because I do not pass the part 1 at the first attempt?

Are there any qualifications that would allow me to move straight to LDS part 2, with exemption from part 1?

No. Although there are other exams at an equal or higher level, it has been decided that other qualifications previously considered for exemption do not cover ALL the learning outcomes for LDS part 1. Therefore candidates must pass both part 1 and part 2 in order to pass the LDS

I am a UK dentist. As I need to have passed the BDS to be eligible to take the LDS, what further benefits will LDS qualification bring?

Although you are already on the GDC register, there are benefits of being LDS qualified. The qualification shows that you are licensed by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. This gives you the status associated with the Royal College and its reputation for high standards. Once you are a licentiate of this College, you are also eligible to become an Enrolled Member if you so wish.

I am a European Economic Area (EEA) national with a qualification recognised as equivalent to BDS and, as such, am entitled to practise within the UK. What further benefits will LDS qualification bring?

As for UK dentists, LDS qualification brings benefits for EEA dentists. Although your qualification allows you to practise in the UK, the LDS offers you the opportunity of gaining a UK qualification. The LDS is highly valued by employers around the world, and is a worthwhile addition for those who already hold a BDS qualification or an EEA equivalent to the BDS. The qualification shows that you are licensed by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. This gives you the status associated with the Royal College and its reputation for high standards. Once you are a licentiate of this College, you are also eligible to become an Enrolled Member if you so wish.

I have heard that in the past, it was possible to take the LDS before completing the BDS qualification. Do I really have to have the BDS or a recognised equivalent EU qualification to be eligible to take the LDS exam?

It is not now possible to sit the LDS exam without having first completed a primary dental qualification. The LDS exam has been brought up to date, and new regulations have been approved by the GDC. The criteria for entry to the LDS exam form part of these new regulations.

I am an overseas qualified dentist. If I pass the LDS, can I be certain this will lead to GDC registration and employment as a dentist in the UK?

Passing the LDS exam will make you eligible to apply for registration with the GDC.

It should be noted that simply being on the GDC Register does not give you the right to work in the UK. Other factors to be considered are: your Visa and UKBA restrictions, clinical experience and qualifications, EEA employment laws and competition for posts. 

I have been asked to provide evidence of 1600 hours hands-on clinical dental experience. Is there any restriction on how long ago this can have been done?

No, there is no restriction but if you do not have recent clinical experience you are unlikely to be able to pass the LDS exam.

I have been asked to provide a current certificate for Basic Life Support (BLS). I am concerned that if waiting lists build up, the certificate which is current when I apply will be out-of-date by the time I sit the exam.

You are advised to wait until you have been allocated an exam date before taking your BLS. Your BLS certificate can be dated anytime in the 6 months before or the 6 months after you pass LDS Part 2.

What Basic Life Support course certificate will be acceptable?

Any course that is recognised by the Resuscitation Council (UK). If in doubt, a course run by one of the NHS Deaneries is a good example of a recognised course.

I have been asked to provide original documentation with my application. However, because I am also on the waiting list for the ORE examination, these original documents are with the GDC.

In order to register for the LDS, you will need to submit your original or certified documents to the College whichever the application form specifies for a particular document.

I have an Academic IELTS certificate. What is the required level for LDS entry?

You need an overall score of 7, with no less than 6.5 scored in any of the individual sections as follows: Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading.
 

What about TOEFL?

TOEFL is an acceptable alternative to IELTS. The required standard is 100 score overall with no less than 24/30 in each individual section.

Are there other English language proficiency tests which I may submit, instead of Academic IELTS or TOEFL?

No, only Academic IELTS or TOEFL will be accepted.

My English language skills are superior to those tested by the IELTS, as is evident from my qualifications and work experience gained in the UK. Am I exempt from the IELTS requirement?

The important issue here is whether or not you are an EEA national. If you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area or entitled to be treated as such (through derived rights) you are exempt from language testing. If you are not an EEA national but sat your undergraduate dental degree within the UK, you are exempt from language testing. However, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the linguistic competence to sit the LDS exam.

What happens if I register for the examination and then wish to defer to a later sitting?

This will be treated as a cancellation followed by a new booking. You would therefore be charged a cancellation fee. There is no guarantee that you would be allocated a place in the following sitting. Your application would be added at the bottom of the list, to be allocated a place in the next diet with available space.

What happens if I register for both parts of the exam and then have to defer the part 2 sitting because I do not pass the part 1 at the first attempt?

Candidates are unable to apply for both sections of the exam during the same diet all candidates have to have passed part 1 before entering for part 2.

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