Unit 3 is the foundation teaching course, preparing candidates to teach a beginners’ class. They learn how to present and demonstrate handing, phrasing, steps and some formations (listed in the Syllabus, Appendix D), identifying teaching points; to observe and correct faults; to give clear instructions and coach rhythmically; to manage their class; to make good use of music; and to develop an enthusiastic, encouraging manner. The course tutor may also provide advice on Unit 4 (teaching practice) for candidates continuing to Part 2 of the Teaching Certificate (see form X3-28).

Course requirements

It is necessary to attend a 25-hour course of tuition for Unit 3, which is often combined with a Unit 2 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. The Unit 3 examination must be held no later than four weeks after the course ends, and candidates must take it no later than three years after passing Unit 2. Guidance to Branches on examination procedures can be found on form X2X3-06, including minimum allowable candidate numbers and related costs. Branch organisers must notify the RSCDS at least three months in advance of their intention to hold an examination and submit an application form no later than six weeks before the proposed examination date.

Summer School

For Summer School 2019 the courses for Units 2 and 3 are taken in sequence over the first two weeks: the Unit 3 examination will be held at the end of the second week, with the Unit 3 course beginning during the first week. 

Any candidate coming to Summer School to do only Unit 3, who has not previously done the course, must attend Summer School in time for the start of class on the Wednesday of the first week. This rule does not apply to candidates re-sitting the Unit 3 examination.


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

  • No later than 6 weeks before the date of the examination to sit Unit 3 at a Branch or approved centre
  • No later than 1st February to sit Unit 3 at Summer School

In the examination, candidates are required to present an assigned step and 16-bar phrase to a group of 16-18 notional beginners in a 25-minute lesson. They must teach the assigned step and identify and teach the formations involved and the transitions between them. Assignments (of which samples are available) are allocated in advance (see Syllabus p. 6 for details); candidates must then prepare a lesson plan, to present to the examiners and tutor at the beginning of the exam. The assessment form gives an indication of what examiners will be looking for and their mark scheme. Several documents provide other helpful advice.


The results will normally be sent out within six weeks of the Unit 3 examination. Candidates who fail may re-sit the exam twice, following an interval during which they should take steps to improve their skills.

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