Dentist practical examination


The practical examination is the third and final stage of the ADC assessment process.

Assessments process diagram_Practical examination.png

The Australian Dental Council (ADC) practical examination is the platform for candidates to demonstrate that they are competent to practise safely as a dentist in Australia. The practical examination assesses candidates across the range of the Entry-level competencies of the newly qualified dentist. The competencies can be viewed here

The examination is held over two days; a technical skills day and a clinical skills day. Examinations are held most weeks of the year at the ADC examination centre.

Upon successful completion of the practical examination, candidates are eligible to apply for registration with the Dental Board of Australia (DBA).

You should carefully read the Practical examination handbook for dentists for a comprehensive description of the format and requirements of the practical examination. The handbook can be downloaded here

Timeframe: Approximately six to nine months
Cost: AUD $4,500


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Practical examination application periodApproximately 3 months prior to examination
Notification of application receiptWithin 2 weeks of receipt of application
Notification of allocated practical examination date     Within 6 weeks of practical examination application period
Notification of examination results    6 weeks after examination


Am I eligible to sit the practical examination?

You are eligible to sit the practical examination within three years of successful completion of the  ADC written examination


When can I apply for the practical examination

The table below outlines the upcoming, open, and closed application periods for the practical examination. 

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Open application period

You can apply for an examination place during these dates if you hold a valid initial assessment and you were successful in any of the following examinations:

September 2017

March 2018

March-April 2021

9 – 26 November 2020

Upcoming application periods

You can apply for an examination place during these dates if you hold a valid initial assessment and you were successful in any of the following examinations:

September 2018

March 2019

May - June 2021

25 January -
5 February 2021

Closed application period



Practical examinations postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19 are rescheduled for January to March 2021. Out of fairness to all candidates, candidates who opted-out of a rescheduled examination or who were booked into a rescheduled examination are not eligible to apply for the application periods listed above.

Please note. Examination dates and application periods are subject to change. 

Applications for practical examination places are only accepted during the application periods listed above. In fairness to all candidates, the ADC cannot consider applications received outside the listed periods, or from candidates who do not meet the eligibility criteria for that application period. 

Additional information on practical examination dates and application periods will be available in via the ADC website. 

If you have any questions regarding the application periods, contact the ADC via the contact us page

How do I book a seat in the practical examination?

To apply for a practical examination, you must complete and submit a Practical examination application form, along with the relevant supporting documentation and full payment.

The application should be downloaded and printed as a hard copy prior to completion. Please make sure that you are using the current version of the application form. The application form contains detailed guidelines to assist you in completing the form.

All supporting documentation must adhere to the ADC certification of document guidelines. Incorrectly certified documents will result in delays, or in the application being declined. 

Post your application and supporting documents to the address specified on the application form. You will receive an email notification when your application has been received.

Once your application has been assessed, you will receive an email from the ADC advising of the outcome of your application.

There are three possible outcomes:

  1. Your application was successful and you are authorised to sit the practical examination.
  2. Your application is incomplete and you are required to submit additional information or resubmit payment during the application period.
  3. Your application was unsuccessful because either you are ineligible to sit this practical examination or that a complete application was not received during the application period.

If your application is successful you will receive confirmation of your allocated practical examination date approximately six weeks after the application period closes. 

The ADC will provide you with additional instructions and information relating to the practical examination in the lead up to the examination date. 

Where can I find more information about sitting the practical examination?

The Practical examination handbook for dentists is available to help candidates prepare for the examination. If you are planning to sit the practical examination you should read the handbook carefully. You can download the handbook here.

The handbook contains information about:

  • how to apply and withdraw from an examination
  • the format of the examination
  • what to expect on examination days
  • what will be supplied at the examination
  • what you need to bring to the examination
  • the assessment process
  • examination conduct and other policies
  • the release of results. 

What can I do to prepare for the practical examination?

The ADC strongly advises candidates to use the information published by the ADC (e.g. handbooks and information packages) as their definitive source of examination preparation material. You can access these resources here.

The ADC does not recommend or endorse any proprietary or informal courses which advertise as preparation for the ADC written or practical examinations. Such courses are developed and run without input from the ADC. The ADC cannot be held responsible for the quality of training or advice provided at such courses.

How do I get my examination results?

Practical examination results will be released via the ADC candidate portal. Results are released approximately six weeks after the examination date. 

To be awarded a pass in the practical examination, candidates must pass both examination days in one examination session. 

Successful candidates will be awarded an ADC certificate confirming their eligibility to apply for registration with the DBA. The certificate will be available for download via the candidate portal. 

Successful candidates are eligible to apply for registration with the DBA. Candidates are advised to read the requirements for registration carefully. 

The ADC provides the DBA with a list of successful candidates following each examination.

Result verification

Candidates failing the practical examination may request that the ADC verifies the accuracy of recording of their results. For more information, visit the verifications, reviews and appeals page.  

Appeals process

The ADC has a Practical examination appeals policy

To find out more about the ADC appeals process, visit the verifications, reviews and appeals page