Unit 2

Unit 2 is a practical dancing examination, which assesses rhythmic movement; accurate footwork and handing; use of correct steps for specific movements; accurate dancing of formations; accurate phrasing and covering; co-operation and teamwork; the ability to maintain poise and deportment; and a thorough knowledge of the 12 prescribed dances.

Helpful information and guidance is offered here.

It is necessary to attend a 15-hour course of tuition for Unit 2, which is often combined with a Unit 3 course. A regular schedule of courses and examinations is offered annually at the RSCDS Summer School at St. Andrews. Some other schools run courses and Branches run courses according to local need; ideally these should take place over a number of weeks. The Unit 2 examination must be held no later than four weeks after the end of the course. Guidance to Branches on examination procedures can be found in the form X2X3-06, including information on minimum allowable candidate numbers and related costs. Branch organisers must notify the RSCDS of their intention to hold an examination at least three months in advance and submit an examination application form no later than six weeks before the proposed examination date.

Summer School

For Summer School 2022  the courses for Units 2 and 3 are taken in sequence over the first two weeks, with the examination for Unit 2 held at the end of the second week, with some preparation for Unit 3 beginning in the later part of the first week.

Tutors of Unit 2/3

Because of the physical demands of Unit 2, tutors of the combined Unit 2/3 course need to manage the sessions in ways that maximise the opportunities to dance and improve the personal standard of dancing but minimse the risk of injury. 


Candidates’ applications, with fees, must be received at the RSCDS office:

  • No later than six weeks before the date of the examination to sit Unit 2 at a Branch or approved centre
  • No later than 1st February to sit Unit 2 (and Unit 3) at Summer School

In the examination each candidate will be required to dance three of the prescribed dances (a Jig, a Reel and a Strathspey) twice as first couple with a partner and in others of the dances in a supporting role for fellow candidates, demonstrating teamwork. Candidates must also be able to give a concise reminder of each prescribed dance before it is performed, although this will not be marked. They may in addition be asked to dance simple exercises to demonstrate the required steps and formations. The assessment form gives an indication of what examiners are looking for and their mark scheme.


The results of the Unit 2 examination will normally be sent out within six weeks of the examination; when Units 2 and 3 are taken as a combined course, the results are not made available until after the examination for Unit 3 has taken place. 

Candidates who fail the Unit 2 exam may make two attempts to re-sit it, separated by intervals of at least six months, during which they are expected to take steps to improve their performance, for example by attending Scottish dance classes with an emphasis on technique. 


Each track from Unit 2 has been professionally videoed and is available to watch on our YouTube channel. We hope you enjoy these walkthroughs!

Watch the Unit 2: Prescribed Dances

Teaching tracks

For each of the Unit 2 Teaching Exam tunes there are available a set of ‘teaching tracks’, which consist of the dance broken down into sequences of bars that teachers are likely to use in teaching the dance (for example, Bars 1-8, 9-16, 1-16, etc).

To download the tracks please head to our music resources page.

Unit 2 Teaching Tracks

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