The General Dental Council has responded to comments raised by the Resident Dentists Group regarding changes to the International Qualifying Exam (IQE).
The three-part test has been changed to a two-part Overseas Registration Exam (ORE), while transitional arrangements have been made for those who were already in the middle of their exams at various stages of the IQE.
The Council’s chief executive and registrar, Duncan Rudkin, wrote in a letter to Dentistry: ‘I write in response to the article ‘Resident group responds to registration exam’ [published on this website 22 August 2007]. In this article the Resident Dentists Group has raised a number of important issues about the new exam and in particular the transitional arrangements which I will address below.
‘Our purpose is to protect the public by ensuring that dental professionals are, and remain, fit to practise. The Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) is designed to examine candidates’ understanding, knowledge and skill to the same standard, and in the same way as a BDS or BChD course tests a dental student in the UK. We are pleased that the new exam will be commencing shortly and are confident that it will provide a robust test of a dentist’s skills and knowledge.
‘I would like to assure all candidates that the ORE has been devised on the basis of examinations best practice and as a result of a full review of its predecessor the International Qualifying Examination (IQE). We have implemented robust transitional arrangements for candidates in order to allow current IQE candidates who wish to transfer to the new exam to do so and to allow those who wish to remain with the IQE a fair opportunity to do so.
‘The Residents Dentists Group states that ‘candidates are being bullied into switching to the ORE’. This is not true. The transitional arrangements allow fair provision for existing IQE candidates to remain with that exam in preference for the ORE offering two attempts at each sitting before candidates are transferred to the new exam.
‘The group is correct when it states that limitations have been set on the number of attempts at each stage of the new exam. This is in line with undergraduate dental courses in the UK where students are required to pass exams within a limited number of attempts and within a sensible timeframe.
‘We will be conducting a pilot study of Part 2 of the new exam to ensure practicality and fairness. This pilot is scheduled to take place in November, with the first sitting of ORE Part 2 planned for January 2008. The results of the pilot will be released on the GDC website in December.
‘The first sitting of Part 1 of the new exam for 300 candidates (130 new candidates and 170 candidates transferred from the IQE) will be taking place in the next few weeks. We have recently provided detailed information to candidates about the format and contents of the ORE. This information can be found on the GDC website at www.gdc-uk.org in the potential registrant section. I encourage all ORE candidates to refer to the GDC website or telephone the Examinations team on 020 7344 3735 if they have any queries about the transitional arrangements or the new exam.’