Those looking to take up a career in Dentistry will almost certainly need to look into the MFDS qualification.
The MFDS is one of the UK’s foremost medical degrees, focusing on the world of Dentistry and broadening student’s knowledge, but just how does it work?
What is an MFDS?
MDFS stands for The Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery. The MDFS is an equivalent qualification to a postgraduate diploma and allows students to deepen their understanding and knowledge in the field of dentistry. Most who take the MFDS exam have already become a dentist or entered the dental industry.
It is a long-standing qualification which is internationally recognised as demonstrating foundation and basic postgraduate training in the dentistry field. The knowledge and experience necessary for the exams are acquired during vocational or dental foundation training.
An MFDS RCS is also another name for the examination that is studied at the Royal College of Surgeons, hence the abbreviation in the name, another name for the MFDS is MFDS Dentistry as well.
Who provides MFDS exams?
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is one of the oldest and largest of the surgical and dental colleges across the globe, after being created in 1505 in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.
Those who choose to sit both exams with the College will join the membership network of around 25,000 professionals in more than 100 countries worldwide.
The first part of the MFDS examination can be taken any time after you have obtained a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree.
What are the entry requirements to take the MFDS?
For MFDS Part 1, you must have a primary dental qualification which is accepted by the councils of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
For the MFDS Part 2, you will need written confirmation that you passed part 1, or proof you qualified for an exemption for the first exam. Further, you’ll need evidence you’ve completed 12 months’ experience in clinical dentistry prior to the closing date for the entry of the second exam.
What does the MFDS involve?
The diploma is managed by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. The two colleges have produced a single set of regulations. Candidates only need to apply through one of the colleges to take the exams.
There are two exams to the MFDS, the first is a written exam organised by both colleges jointly, followed by another exam with simulated real life patient scenarios, which is organised by each college separately.
The second MFDS examination is called OSCE, which is an ‘objective structured clinical examination’. Once you have passed both parts you are then accepted as a Member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, and allows you to become a member of a UK Royal College.
What is included in the MFDS exam?
The MFDS part 1 exam includes two papers which take three hours each. The MFDS questions test the range of knowledge and understanding that underpins patient care.
The first paper consists of 200 single short answer style questions, and the second includes multiple choice and extended-matching questions.
The MFDS course is designed to test your knowledge and deeper understanding, as well as the application of that knowledge in a clinical context. As for the second part, you can only sit the second part once you have written confirmation that you have passed the first exam.
The second MFDS exam questions are based around OSCE real life scenario questions that lasts two hours. It’s designed to test your clinical competence and assesses communication skills, knowledge, and the understanding and management of a range of common conditions. It normally consists of 10 stations which are examined, plus a number of rest stations.
Candidates have five years after passing the first exam, or an exempt passing qualification (which means they don’t have to physically take MFDS part 1), to pass the second part of the exam. The five-year period includes applying and taking the second exam.
MDFS stands for The Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery.
What are the MFDS examination fees?
As of 2021, it costs around £535 to take the MFDS part 1 and £730 for the MFDS part 2. This is subject to change on the exam centre and when it is being taken. Please check before you intend to take the tests.
They can also prove to be very popular and are on a first-come-first-served basis.
How are the MFDS results displayed?
You will either be awarded a pass or fail for the MFDS part 1 exam and the MFDS part 2 exam, which are displayed on the college’s webite and sent out via the post.
If you do not receive your results within the specified time limit, then speak to your MFDS provider and see what their policy is for getting results out to you.
What is the difference between MFDS A, B and C exams and MFDS Part 1 and Part 2?
The MFDS A, B and C exams were last sat in 2008 and have now been replaced by the MFDS which was introduced in October 2007.
Who can take the MFDS?
Dentists who work both in the private and public sector can benefit from studying the MFDS. The exam is set at the level of a good general practitioner who has a broad amount of knowledge, and passing the exam will prove this.
Obtaining MFDS will also show you have passed a postgraduate level exam and allow you to develop further in any field in dentistry. It will also let patients know you have completed this further exam.
Where is MFDS recognised?
MFDS is an internationally recognised qualification for dentistry. It is also recognised by all of the UK Royal Colleges, and is equivalent to the MJDF examination, which is offered by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
MFDS is an internationally recognised qualification. It is also recognised by all of the UK Royal Colleges. MFDS is equivalent to the MJDF (Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties) examination, which is offered by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Will you get letters after your name once you pass MFDS?
Yes, after passing the exam you are admitted as a member of a Royal College and entitled to use the letters, as an example, MFDS RCPS(Glasg) after your name. Or you can use the equivalent for other UK Royal Colleges.
This is particularly useful because not all medical degrees qualify you to have letters after your name, whereas the MFDS does.
Will passing MFDS allow entry to specialist training?
Successfully passing MFDS does not mean you have automatic entry to specialist training, however, it does meet the General Dental Council’s stipulation that you must demonstrate that you have broad-based knowledge to enter the specialist training.
If you pass the MFDS, the diploma represents a measure of your clinical practice and expertise. If you are unsure whether your MFDS qualification allows you entry to specialist training, please get in touch with your provider before applying.
When can I sit the MFDS exam?
The first part of the MFDS examination can be taken any time after you have obtained a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree. The second part of the exam can be taken after passing the first MFDS exam and having completed 12 months’ postgraduate experience in clinical dentistry. You will need to have proof you have completed this experience before applying to take the second exam.
The exams are formatted the same wherever they are held, and sittings for MFDS exam dates are held at least twice a year in centres across the UK.
The MFDS OSCE or known as part 2, is held twice a year in Edinburgh, Scotland, and once a year in Cairo, Egypt. The reason for the lack of exam centres for the OSCE is that it’s difficult to move ‘dentist stations’ and actors around the UK!
However, exams taken overseas are held according to demand. It is worth checking with your local exam centre.
The MFDS part 1 exam includes two papers which take three hours each.
What is the difference between MFDS and MJDF?
Both qualifications are postgraduate diplomas which are undertaken as a first step on the career pathway for dentists and dental surgeons. If you obtain one of these, it verifies you’ve gained the standard and level of experience which is expected after two years of full-time work in the industry.
You may be wondering, shall I take the MFDS or MJDF? Firstly, they are two different qualifications. MJDF stands for the Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties. It is a standard of a dental graduate who has completed a two-year foundation programme after successfully graduating as a dentist.
It is held by the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK). It also consists of two parts, similarly to the MFDS, with the first part taken during the first year after graduation. There is a written exam with multiple choice questions and multiple short answer questions. Then for part two, during the second year, is an OSCE, and structured clinical reasoning exercise. For the MJDF there is no requirement for a specific period of training.
Why should I take the MFDS or MJDF exams?
There are several advantages to taking the exams, with career development and enhanced job prospects after obtaining the qualifications. Although the MFDS or MJDF are not mandatory to gain entry to specialist training.
They also aid entry to medical school and set yourself apart from others who may be applying for the same training and/or jobs. They can open up more doors for future employability and set you apart from the crowd.
Lastly, both exams have their merits and one is not better than the other (although each college would want you to take their own). Both exams will offer you the same benefits and the decision on which one to choose is down to you.