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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 of single best answer (SBA) 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.


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 180 minute examination papers, each consisting of 150 single best answer (SBA) questions centred mainly on knowledge and its application to:

  • Paper A: clinically applied dental science and clinically applied human disease
  • Paper 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.

Apply for LDS Part 1


Please note that the LDS Part 1 May 2024 is only bookable to those candidates that have been granted a place on the examination.


Upcoming Exam Dates


The LDS Part 1 examination will be held remotely online. For more information of how to sit the examination remotely, please visit our Dental Online Examinations Guidance page.

LDS Part 1 May 2024

Applications are now closed | Exam Date: 29 May 2024 | Exam Fee: £900

Booking Process

The LDS Part 1 application will be delivered as a first come, first served online booking system which is currently only open to candidates who have been granted a place. At 12pm (GMT) on the application opening date, the "Book Now" button will become available in the booking portal, which will appear above.

Upon booking, candidates must complete payment of the examination fee.

Upon completing booking, your place on the examination is secured - however, as per the LDS Regulations, candidates must provide their eligibility documentation. Candidates must provide their eligibility documentation with-in two weeks of the completing their application via email. Scanned copies of your documents should be sent to - posted copies will not be accepted and we may be unable to return these to you.

Please note, candidates who have sat LDS Part 1 previously do not need to provide any eligibility documents.

Please read the LDS Part 1 Application Guidance for full information on what documents are required to be submitted upon securing a place on the LDS Part 1 exam.

To apply candidates must have an RCS online account. If you do not already have an account, you can register here. If you do not have an account, you will be required to register before completing your application which may significantly delay completing your application.

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 - Option 3

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