Overseas educated dietitians – Examination stage
The purpose of the examinations is to assess the competence of overseas qualified dietitians to practise dietetics in Australia. The examinations are based on the National Competency Standards for Entry Level Dietitians in Australia (NCS) (2015). Dietitians who pass both the written MCQ and oral examinations will be eligible to join the DA and the APD program. Both the MCQ exam and Oral exam can only be sat a total of 3 times each by any one candidate.
A DSR assessment is valid for 3 years, failure to join the APD program within this period will result in the applicant having to re-complete the DSR process including any examinations they have previously passed. Any prior sittings will be counted in the limit of 3 sittings per exam.
The next MCQ exam will be held Wednesday 3 March 2021. Applications for the March 2021 MCQ will close 22 January 2021. To be eligible to sit the exam your stage 1, application for assessment, must be submitted to the DA by 15 December 2020. Applications for the March 2021 MCQ are now open.
2020 Oral examinations have been scheduled for November 2020. A full list of the dates and venues can be found under the Examination venue and dates tab below.
Ad hoc Oral exams can be arranged outside the scheduled dates by contacting the DSR Administrator.
Please see sections:
Written Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) Examination
Once you are assessed as eligible to sit the examination you will be able to apply from the Apply online and Mentoring section of this page.
The MCQ examination sittings are organised by an external examination provider, therefore late applications cannot be accepted and a cancellation fee will be applied if candidates withdraw from an exam.
The MCQ Examination in Dietetics will be offered as a secure online examination delivered to your personal devise using WebLock browser proctoring. It will be available to all DSR candidates eligible to sit the MCQ examination. The MCQ exams are offered twice a year in March and September.
Applications are now being accepted for the March 2021 MCQ examination. Applications for the March 2021 MCQ exam will close 22 January 2021. To be eligible to sit the exam your stage 1 application (desktop assessment) must be submitted to the DA by 15 December 2020. The MCQ exam will also be offered 1 September 2021.
Oral Counselling Interview Examination
On successful completion of the written MCQ examination you will be eligible to sit the next available sitting of the oral examination. Oral Exam sittings will be available in most Australian capital cities (Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney and Wollongong), as well as Canada and the UK. All sittings will be determined according to demand. You are able to apply from the Apply online and Mentoring section of this page.
Candidates wishing to sit the Oral examination in Canada are required to contact the DSR Administrator for more information.
Applications are now being accepted for the November Oral examinations. Applications will close Tuesday 20 October 2020. To be eligible to apply to sit DSR Oral examination you must have sat and passed the MCQ component of the examination process.
Please note: Due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions, some oral examination may have to be conducted via virtual video conferencing. You will be notified if this is the situation once applications close on 20 October 2020.
2020 Oral examination have been scheduled for the following dates;
Adelaide – Thursday 12 November 2020
Brisbane – Thursday 5 November 2020
Canberra – Thursday 5 November 2020
Melbourne – Thursday 5 November 2020
Perth – Thursday 5 November 2020
Sydney – Thursday 5 November 2020
Surrey – Wednesday 4 November 2020
Wollongong – Friday 13 November 2020
Additional days may be added if needed. You will be contacted directly if an alternate date is required.
Please note: Sitting dates may change during the year due to University scheduling, please keep an eye on these dates leading up to the exams. You will be notified directly if there are any changes to dates or venues if you have already applied to sit an exam.
Ad hoc Oral examinations can be arranged outside the scheduled dates by contacting the DSR Administrator.
There are two separate dietetic examinations.
- 150 minute written Multiple-Choice Question examination; and
- 60 minute oral examination.
You must pass the written examination to be eligible to sit the oral examination at a later date. Both the written and oral examinations must be passed within a three year period or before the expiry of your assessment.
Copies of examination papers are NOT available for study. However, the following sample questions and answers are available, they will provide an example of the examination style and format and indicate the depth of knowledge required. They do not necessarily represent the degree of difficulty of the examination or the issues to be covered.
Format of exam
The Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ) Examination in Dietetics is a 150 minute written examination consisting of 120 questions.
- All 120 questions are to be answered.
- All questions are of equal value.
- There is only once correct answer for each question.
The examination is a ‘closed book’ online examination and candidates are not permitted to refer to any reference materials during the examination. You will be allowed a blank piece of paper and a non-programmable calculator during the exam.
The online exam will be conducted by an external provider, EPEC. Candidates will be required to download the required visual remote proctoring software to their personal device, as well as complete a short 15 minute trial exam around 2 weeks prior to the date of the actual exam, you will be contacted by EPEC directly. The trial exam has a dual purpose, it will allow you to familiarise yourself with the interface and also to test the installation of the secure browser WebLock. Your device must be equipped with a camera function and have internet access to be able to complete the exam. All candidates will be monitored via the virtual proctoring during the exam to safeguard against dishonest behavior, if detected their exam will be terminated and the the DA will be notified.
In order to pass the MCQ stage of the dietetics skills recognition process you must achieve a pass across the domains of practice. Once candidates have passed the MCQ stage they can then progress to the Oral examination stage.
Scope of exam
The multiple choice questions within the exam may be drawn from all areas of dietetic practice and cover all aspects of the NCS for Entry Level Dietitians. The examination is designed to assess the minimum level of competency required to practise dietetics in Australia. The questions have been validated against entry-level practitioner standards. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate competency across a range of practice settings.
Assessment of exam
The questions are validated against the performance of entry-level practitioners in Australia. Candidates must demonstrate sufficient competency in all areas of practice and in all aspects of the dietetic process to pass the examination. The pass mark is based on the difficulty of the questions on a particular examination, and therefore can vary between exams, in order to represent the same standard of competency.
Reading multiple choice questions
Candidates should read all questions carefully. There are no trick questions. Incorrect answers (known as distracters) are designed to reveal lack of knowledge, incorrect knowledge or incorrect application and a lack of critical thinking. There is only one correct answer for each question based on the information provided.
Types of multiple choice questions
There are different types of multiple choice questions used in the exam.
i) Stand-alone MCQs – each question covers a specific topic
ii) Case-based MCQs – case-based questions provide a more detailed scenario and require the candidate to consider all aspects of the case to make a judgement based on the information which is provided.
iii) Extended matching questions – involving several questions based on a common list of options.
Frequently asked questions – MCQ
An MCQ asks a single question (the stem) and provides multiple options for an answer. Candidates must choose the correct answer. There is only one correct answer in the options provided.
Questions are designed to test competency across a range of settings including individual case management, community and public health nutrition and food service management. Questions will cover all aspects of the dietetic process in Australia from assessment and planning through to implementation and evaluation. Some questions test a single concept or item of knowledge while others will test the application of this knowledge.
Properly constructed and carefully validated MCQs are better able to cover a wide range of competency areas and practice settings. Validated MCQ questions also ensure that there is no subjectivity in the marking of correct answers. This means that the questions have been developed and reviewed by a team of experts, and extensive marking is subsequently not required.
You will only need to be familiar with and interpret those ranges which an entry-level dietitian would be expected to understand (e.g. blood glucose levels, lipids etc). You will be provided with specific reference ranges for less common tests.