MFDS Explained - What is the MFDS

MFDS Explained – What is the MFDS?

What is the MFDS?

The Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) is an internationally recognised qualification which demonstrates competence in basic postgraduate training. The syllabus for the exam is typically based around the Dental Foundation Training Curriculum. The exam is linked to three main colleges – The Royal College of Surgeons of EdinburghThe Royal College of Surgeons of England and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RSPSG). Upon passing the exam, the candidate is entitled to become a member of one of these colleges.

The MFDS is also important for further career progression, for example in specialty training where it contributes to your portfolio mark (though it is not necessary for application). 

There was previously also the Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties (MJDF), however this has its last sitting in 2021. However, there may be replacement exams in the future. 

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

Who is the MFDS for?

Any qualified dentist can sit the MFDS from the first-year post-qualification. It helps demonstrate knowledge and career progression.

What is the structure of the MFDS?

The exam is divided in to Part 1 and Part 2. Currently, Part 1 is mainly being sat online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Part 1 is a written exam that aims to assess a range of knowledge and understanding associated with basic dentistry and patient management. The exams have slightly different structures:

  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh & RSPSG – 180 Single Best Answer (SBA) questions in three hours
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England – 150 SBAs within three hours

The full syllabus for the Part 1 can be found online. However, to summarise, Part 1 is aiming to assess your problem-solving skills, evaluation of evidence and knowledge of up-to-date guidelines and theory. Examples of content include:

  • Anxiety control measures
  • Periodontitis management
  • Oral medicine
  • Oral surgery
  • Restoration of teeth
  • Ethics
  • Dental development

The questions are each worth one mark and there is no negative marking. Furthermore, all questions carry equal marks. 

Part 2 is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The OSCE is designed to test your clinical competence in real-life clinical scenarios. Your communication skills will also be assessed, along with your knowledge and management of common conditions/presentations. 

  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and RSPSG – 10 OSCE stations along with rest stations
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England – 14 OSCE stations, usually of which 11 are assessed and others are rest stations

Some of the broad topics covered in Part 2 include:

  • History-taking
  • Explaining diagnoses and treatment planning
  • Interpreting information
  • Breaking bad news
  • Managing complaints or anxiety

There is no fixed ‘pass mark’ for every year so comparison is difficult. There is a five-year timeframe to complete both parts of the exam. You may attempt Part 1 a maximum of six times and Part 2 a maximum of four times. Exam results are usually released around 3 weeks after the exam. 

When can I sit the exam?

Candidates can sit Part 1 at any time following completion of their dental degree. There are two requirements for sitting Part 2. Firstly, the candidate must have passed Part 1. Secondly, they must have completed a minimum of 12 months of postgraduate experience in clinical dentistry.

Check the College websites for the latest dates for exams.

Where can I sit the exam?

Depending on the college, there are venues across the world to sit the exam. Check the College websites for more details on these. 

How much does the MFDS cost?

Depending on the college, there are venues across the world to sit the exam. Check the College websites for more details on these. 

The price of the MFDS varies slightly between the Colleges. 

 Part 1Part 2
England£535£672
Edinburgh£540£730 (for UK locations)
Glasgow£540£730

You can book the exam directly on the chosen College website. 

Preparing for MFDS Part 1

Most of the knowledge for Part 1 is that which you would have required for dental school finals. Additionally, some key resources for helping prepare for the exam include:

Preparing for MFDS Part 2

As MFDS Part 2 is OSCE based, practicing OSCEs is crucial. Daily clinical work will be excellent preparation for Part 2 because many of the scenarios are classic clinical cases. Additionally, ExamineDental can help you prepare with OSCEs and model answers.

The BEST resource!

The best resource for practicing questions is ExamineDental. There are hundreds of up-to-date, evidence-based questions and answers, in addition to fully answered OSCEs, perfect for the MFDS exam, with new questions uploaded regularly. If you want personal tutoring, there are also the 1-to-1 sessions that you can book. 

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