The MFDS or MJDF question is one of the most frequently asked by dentists looking to extend their qualifications and skills. Tom Bysouth discusses which, if any, is best?
1. How much do they cost?
We all know that looking at the numbers is not the whole story. Colleges will also offer revision courses which may come with exam discount, don’t just consider the cost of the exam. Also remember to check with your accountant about your ability to claim back these fees against tax.
2. Where can I take the exams?
As all fans of Kirstie and Phil know, location has a big impact in our choices in life. All colleges are looking to expand their scope of locations. The table below is a not exhaustive list and in no particular order. A quick trip to the college websites will show you there are many more overseas centres too.
So wherever you live there is probably an exam centre near you. I think it is highly unlikely that we will be able to see the same variety of locations for part two: an exam paper can be sat anywhere but moving an OSCE and a load of actors around is more of a challenge!
3. Annual membership fees
To keep your newly gained letters after your name, you will need to pay your chosen college each year for the privilege. As you can see above this varies quite vastly depending on where you live and between each college. Perhaps this is something to consider alongside exam fees - which qualification will cost more in the end?
It’s not all about the money though, the best college for you may be the most expensive one. Which one will offer you most value for money? The lists on the college websites are fairly generic – all giving you access to college libraries and research grants. You can also receive discounts on hotel rooms, tailored shirts and banking benefits. Some colleges enable you to take one exam and become a member of two colleges, whilst others offer CPD opportunities.
4. How quickly can I start?
Each college has a differing policy on when you can take the various parts of the qualification. For MJDF, you are only able to take part 2 once you have completed 12 months of postgraduate experience – so once you have finished Dental Foundation Training or Vocational Training.
Both the MFDS and the MJDF have their merits, to my current knowledge neither is seen as better than the other and it is not especially beneficial to take both. Each college will say their exam is the best, but it must be an individual decision at the end of the day.
I hope this gives you some useful information and helps to inform your examination decision-making process.
Tom Bysouth is an Associate dentist and Chair of Wales General Dental Practice Committee.