Dentist written examination


The written examination is the second stage of the ADC assessment process.

Assessments process diagram_written examination.png

The Australian Dental Council (ADC) written examination for dentists is a computer delivered examination designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of the science and practise of dentistry. The examination also assesses the application of clinical judgement and reasoning skills relevant to dental practise in Australia.

The two-day examination is delivered by Pearson VUE on behalf of the ADC. Each computer-based examination consists of four papers each containing 80 scenario-based and single-best answer multiple choice questions. The examination is held in multiple locations in Australia and overseas.

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

Timeframe: Approximately five months
Cost: AUD $2,000


Swipe for more >
Written examination application period     Approximately 3 to 4 months before the examination
Authorisation to test emails sent    8 weeks before examination
Pearson VUE bookings open    8 weeks before examination
Pearson VUE bookings close    5 weeks before examination
Notification of examination results    6 weeks after examination
Application for verifications and appeals close    28 days from notification of results


March 2021 written examination

The March 2021 written examination will take place on 3 and 4 March 2021.

The application period for this examination is from 23 November to 11 December 2020. Candidates with a valid initial assessment are eligible to apply for this examination.

For more information regarding the March 2021 written examination and the application period is available here.

Am I eligible to sit the written examination?

To be eligible to apply for a written examination you must have successfully completed the initial assessment process.

When can I apply for the written examination?

Two written examination sessions are scheduled each calendar year. These are usually held in March and September.  

Written examination application periods are advertised on the ADC website and usually occur three to four months before the examination date.

What can I do to prepare for the written 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.


2.1 Submit an application 

Applications for the written examination can only be accepted during published written examination application periods. 

To apply for a written examination, you must complete and submit a Written 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. The guidelines can be downloaded here. 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 written 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 written examination or that a complete application was not received during the application period.


2.2 Book a written examination

If your application is successful, the ADC will issue you with a Written examination authorisation letter. This letter contains information on the opening of your booking period and instructions on how to book your examination venue through the Pearson VUE booking system.

At the beginning of the booking period Pearson VUE will email authorised candidates an Authorisation to test email. This email provides login details for the Pearson VUE system and describes the process for booking an examination venue. Examination dates and venues will be available via the booking system.

You must book your examination venue during the booking period. 

Bookings are open for approximately three weeks from the date of the Authorisation to test email. Some examination venues have very limited capacity and are allocated on a first come, first served basis. You are required to select the same examination venue for both days of the examination. 

An indicative list of venues for the dentist written examination can be found here. Available venues may be subject to change at short notice.

During the written examination, all candidates will be required to abide by the terms in the candidate rules agreement. A copy of the candidate rules agreement for the written examination can be found here

Once a booking is completed, you will receive an email from Pearson VUE confirming the time, location and requirements for your examination. Pearson VUE will issue a reminder email seven days prior to the examination. 


Other important information

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

The Written examination handbook is available to help candidates prepare for the examination. If you are planning to sit the written examination you should read the handbook carefully. The handbook can be downloaded here

The handbook contains information about:

  • how to apply and withdraw from an examination
  • changing the location of your examination
  • what to expect on examination days
  • examination conduct and other policies
  • samples of multiple choice questions
  • useful resources 
  • the release of results. 

How do I get my examination results?

Written 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 written examination, candidates must pass all four papers in one examination session. Your results profile will provide a grade for each paper attempted. Grades A, B, and C are pass grades and D and E are fail grades. 

A pass in the written examination is valid for three years and there are no limits on the number of times you can attempt the examination. 

Verification of results

Candidates failing the written examination may request the ADC verify the accuracy of recording of their results. 

For more information on the verification of results, visit the appeals page

Appeals process

The ADC has a Written examination appeal policy

To find out more about the ADC appeals process, visit the appeals page.