|Hallmark of professional commitment|
|Saturday, 01 January 2011|
In November 2010, over 200 candidates sat the Dental Faculty’s MFDS Part 2 – its largest diet ever. After 12 years as Convener, Dr Ann Shearer explains what makes the exam so popular
According to the examination regulations, ‘The MFDS examination is intended to provide evidence of knowledge, experience and clinical competence beyond that recognised by the primary dental qualification’.
Why would anyone who is recently qualified want to sit further examinations? In the UK, MFDS is no longer an essential requirement for entry to specialty training. There are limited places for training and not everyone who sits MFDS wants to be a specialist. What sitting and passing the examination indicates is a high level of commitment to the profession and to learning and development as well as a desire to demonstrate this level of attainment to patients and colleagues.
"Our examination is increasingly popular with young graduates, both at home and overseas, and this year 350 candidates entered for Part 2 MFDS RCSEd"
Our examination is increasingly popular with young graduates, both at home and overseas, and last year 350 candidates entered for Part 2 MFDS RCSEd. Why is our examination so popular? There are probably many reasons: I believe it is a very fair examination which we deliver in as pleasant a manner as possible. This is due to the enormous commitment of our faculty of examiners and of the College staff and support from medical education experts. The examination is promoted by our existing Fellows and Members around the world and by the College at dental schools, national dental meetings and local events.
What does the MFDS examination involve? The current MFDS RCSEd is a bicollegiate examination with the dental faculty of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. The examination has two parts: Glasgow has responsibility for managing part 1 and Edinburgh for part 2. Part 1 comprises two written papers each of three hours duration and includes a mixture of styles of questions. Part 2 is a two-hour OSCE with ten clinical scenarios, including an actor as a patient at each of the ten stations. Candidates affiliate with the College where they pass part 2 of the examination.
How do we deliver the examination? Part 1 is held in four centres in the UK: Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and Croydon and ten centres overseas: Abu Dhabi, Alexandria, Baghdad, Bahrain, Bangalore, Brunei, Cairo, Karachi, Singapore, and Trinidad. Part 2 is held in Edinburgh and in Croydon and overseas it has been held in Dubai and Cairo. The Part 1 written papers are held on the first Monday in October and in April. The multiple choice question paper is marked electronically and the MSA papers are marked over one day by the faculties of examiners of both Colleges meeting together in Glasgow. Running the Part 2 OSCE for 200 candidates at a time involves four circuits running twice a day over two days: using approximately 50 examiners, more than 40 actors, and a high number of the Examinations Department staff. The faculty of examiners work hard producing questions for the written papers, marking the papers, standard setting questions and papers, putting together scenarios for the OSCE and marking the OSCE stations.
It has been my pleasure (most of the time) to be involved with MFDS since 1998. I have seen some of the first candidates become MFDS examiners: it is time for me to stop and our largest Part 2 diet ever, of 203 candidates in November 2010 was my final examination.
Dr Ann C Shearer, Convenor for MFDS Part C/Part 2 1998-2010 and Vice Dean, Dental Faculty