Unit 1

Unit 1 is a two hour theory paper that tests the candidate's knowledge and understanding of Scottish country dancing. Candidates are assessed on their knowledge of the History of Scottish dancing and the RSCDS,  Scottish country dance music and their knowledge and understanding of dancing, including steps and formations, use of hands, general characteristics and particular features. All this material is covered in the Manual, and the precise areas that are examined are specified in Appendix A of the Teaching Certificate Syllabus.

Except in unusual circumstances, Unit 1 must be taken before Units 2 or 3; together these three exams form Part 1 of the Teaching Certificate.

There have been two updates to the Unit 1 Exam in March 2024:

  • The Exam became Open Book meaning that a copy of the Manual can be taken into the Exam for reference. 

  • There will now be an option to sit the Exam online. 



The fee required for the Unit 1 exam can be found here,  Exam Fees. These are paid at the time of Application.


Upcoming dates 

The Unit 1 Exam usually run in March and October each year.

Current dates are:

  • 9th March 2024
  • 12th October 2024
  • 1st March 2025
  • 11th October 2025



The Syllabus lays out the requirements of the RSCDS Teaching Certificate and gives specific advice on Unit 1.


Provides useful advice for candidates taking the Unit 1 exam. Further helpful information and guidance is also offered here.

It is important that a candidate familiarise themselves with the Syllabus and Guidelines for Candidates before applying for Unit 1.


Candidates should apply to sit Unit 1 Exam using this Application form:

Candidate Application Form

Applications should be made at least six weeks prior to the chosen Exam date. In circumstances when a paper needs to be translated candidates should apply at least 12 weeks prior to the chosen Exam date. Translated papers are only available for the Paper exam format.

If you have any more queries, please contact examhelp@rscds.org.

Preparation for Unit 1 may be undertaken by self-study through reading and thoroughly digesting the Manual, although it is strongly advised that at least part is undertaken by supervised instruction. It is expected that Branches will help candidates prepare either by running a short course or by arranging guidance from an experienced RSCDS teacher.

Samples of questions, two mock papers and their mark schemes are also available for candidates to consider and can be found below.


Mock Paper A

Mock Paper A Online


Mock Paper B

MOCK paper B online


Questions Bank

There are two main ways to organise and sit the Exam: 

  • With a Branch or Affiliated group 

  • Sole Candidate 


This gives all the information you need for organising Unit 1. Please familiarise yourself with this before applying to organise a Unit 1 Exam.


Branches and affiliated groups should apply to run a Unit 1 Exam using this Application for.

Organiser Application Form

Sole Candidates should apply solely using the Candidate Application above.

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There are 159 RSCDS Branches and over 300 Affiliated Groups in more than 50 countries around the world, located on all continents (except Antarctica).

They organise and run classes, dances and other social events in their own areas and are committed to helping develop Scottish Dance and Music for future generations.

We encourage you to try Scottish Country Dancing for yourself to see just how much fun it can be, so please come along and learn how to 'Dance Scottish'. 

Wherever you are in the world there is most likely Scottish Country Dancing.

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