Unit 1 is a 2 hour written paper that tests the candidate's knowledge and understanding of Scottish country dancing. Together, one fifth to one quarter of the questions on the paper are concerned with history (both of Scottish dancing and of the RSCDS) and Scottish country dance music (notably its history, characteristics and appropriate use). The remaining three quarters to four fifths of the paper examines 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 B of the Teaching Certificate Syllabus and in a separate document. Samples of past questions and of past papers and their mark schemes are also available for candidates to consider and can be found below:

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.

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

Appendix A of the Syllabus (page 13) provides useful advice for candidates taking the Unit 1 exam. Further helpful information and guidance is also offered here.

Upcoming dates

There is a fixed schedule of dates for the examination annually. Future dates for the Unit 1 written paper include:

  • 11th March 2023
  • 24th October 2023

Please contact info@rscds.org if you are interested in applying.

Organisation of the examination

Branches may apply (use form X1-05) to hold the examination locally on one of the above dates; there is no minimum number of candidates. Two invigilators are required to supervise the examination.

Candidates who do not have a Branch nearby may sit the examination as a sole candidate, in which case at least one of the two invigilators must be a person of official standing in the local community (see: Guidelines for Organisers and Invigilators X1-13; paragraph one of this sets out the restrictions on who can act as an invigilator).

Detailed guidance on setting up and conducting the Unit 1 exam are given in the procedures document along with how to submit the completed Answer Script(s) (see: Submission of Answer Scripts X1-14) which must been completed after the examination has taken place. For candidates whose first language is not English, arrangements may be made to have the question-paper and answer-script translated (see: Guidelines for Translation X1-09): a request for translation must be submitted at least nine weeks before the date of the examination.

Applications to sit Unit 1, with the appropriate examination fee, must be received at the RSCDS office no later than seven weeks in advance of the date of the examination.



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