Changes made to the ADC written examination

Changes made to the ADC written examination

26 May 2021
Student sitting at computer

The Australian Dental Council (ADC) is pleased to announce the release of the revised written examination for general dentistry, which will replace the existing written examination for general dentistry from September 2021.

Key features of revised written examination will include:

  • a reduction in the number questions,
  • all questions in the scenario-based, single-best-answer multiple choice question format,
  • a revised blueprint, aligned to the current Professional competencies of the newly qualified dentist that indicates the target percentage of questions to be included in each examination for each discipline, domain and sub-discipline, and
  • a change from a pass required per paper to a pass required per domain cluster.

The revised written examination is designed to provide you with a greater opportunity to showcase your application of knowledge of the science and practice of dentistry in a clinical situation and to pass the examination by your performance across the entire examination, rather than by paper.

A snapshot of the differences between the revised written examination and the existing written examination are shown in the table below.

A note for candidates

The ADC understands that any change in the examination pattern can be stressful. We would like to assure you that the ADC will be closely monitoring candidate performance in the revised examination and providing some allowances.

Key resources

The ADC has prepared a range of key resources for candidates intending to apply for the revised written examination during the application period commencing 31 May 2021.

The revision of the written examination

As part of a comprehensive assessment strategy, the ADC is committed to delivering a fair, responsive, valid, and defensible assessment process to candidates in an evolving environment. As part of this commitment, we formed an Assessment Review Working Party (ARWP) in 2018 to comprehensively review all elements of the ADC assessment process, taking into consideration a wide range of procedural and statistical information, as well as advice from external consultants.

The ARWP determined that:

  • The revisions to the written examination format are in line with best practice nationally and internationally.
  • The comprehensive review of the examination blueprint, which is mapped to the Professional competencies of the newly qualified dentist, also reinforces that the standard of the examination is in line to the minimally competent recent Australian dental graduate.
  • The review also takes into consideration outcomes of the 2019 Candidate Feedback survey, which indicated a preference for scenario-based questions and a reduced number of total questions per paper.

More information

We are committed to keeping all candidates updated on any changes to the dental practitioner assessment process. All candidates, regardless of their place in the assessment process, are strongly encouraged to monitor the ADC website for up-to-date information on examinations and assessments.

If you have any further questions on the introduction of the revised written examination, please contact us.

Written examination