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Posted 17th Jan 2024

Our Guide to Passing Your Level 7 DOPS Exam

TOP BOX DOPS Guide Level 7 Diploma Injectables Exam

Harley Academy trainees, let’s get you over the finish line with our guide to passing your Level 7 DOPS exam!

Direct Observation of Practical Skills (DOPS) is the practical assessment element of the Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Fillers. Alongside the Short Answer Questions (SAQs), the Literature Review and the Theory Exam, these make up your Level 7 Diploma assessments.

The Level 7 Diploma is seen as the gold standard in aesthetic medicine. Here, at Harley Academy, we pride ourselves on providing aesthetics training that is JCCP-approved and Ofqual-regulated. We’re committed to establishing safe and ethical medical aesthetics practitioners.


What is DOPS?

DOPS is a video-recorded assessment that’s part of your Level 7 examination. It requires injectors to administer filler or toxin treatments, supervised by their mentor.

This guide will help you to understand what’s expected of you during your DOPS and how you can successfully pass it!

When and where will the assessment happen?

Your DOPS takes place at one of our City of London training clinics, unless you are one of our Fast Track students, who complete DOPS at their own clinics. When you reach your 10th supervised case for botulinum toxin and for dermal fillers, this will be your DOPS.

Keep an eye on how many filler and botox cases you’ve completed by detailing them in your logbook. It’s always good to ensure this is up-to-date after each mentoring session so you know where you are. This also enables you to anticipate when your DOPS will be. You can find out how to do this on our eLearning platform.

Depending on when your 10th cases fall, your toxin and filler DOPS may be completed in one mentoring session or spread across separate days. If you have completed all of your mentoring sessions already and just need one or two more cases so you can perform your DOPS, the student support team can help you book in an additional session. You’ll need to let us know with at least 4 weeks notice so we can do our best to ensure you have the right patients on the day!

What do I have to do for my Level 7 DOPS?

In your DOPS you need to be able to demonstrate your injecting skills. To pass, you need to demonstrate the same skills you’ve developed in your mentoring cases and deliver safe practice.

As you inject, you’ll need to narrate what you’re doing in detail to demonstrate your anatomy, product and safety knowledge. This needs to be thorough, so make sure you’re explaining clearly and concisely!

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed on whether you’re able to administer treatment safely, with a comprehensive consultation and narration.

Your DOPS will also be checked against the assessment criteria, based on your mentor’s observations and a review of the recording.

Obtaining your patient’s informed consent

Before you begin your DOPS, you must obtain informed consent for both the treatment and the session recording.

Consult with your patient as normal regarding their treatment plan. Furthermore, explain why the appointment is being recorded. You may want to reassure your patient that the recording is purely for assessment purposes!

TOP BOX DOPS Guide Level 7 Diploma Injectables Exam

How to narrate your DOPS

Failing to properly narrate what you’re doing is the most common reason Level 7 trainees need to resit their DOPS.

When narrating your DOPS, there are certain criteria we recommend you adhere to.

Once the recording starts, you’ll need to talk through the introduction, pre-treatment and treatment steps as follows.

Explain everything you’re doing, from washing your hands to keeping an aseptic technique. Note the depth of the needle and the anatomy of where you’re injecting. This is key as the assessor may not be able to see each detail. Therefore, having verbal signposting throughout ensures you’re practising medical aesthetics safely and ethically.

Use the following guidance as a point of reference for your narration.

Top tip: When in doubt, explain what you’re about to do as you’re doing it.


You’ll need to set the scene, introduce everyone in the room, and contextualise the treatment.

1. Introduce yourself, the patient and mentor

2. State the date

3. Summarise the treatment plan

4. Note that you’ve carried out a consultation

5. State that the patient is suitable for treatment, with no contraindications

6. Ask the patient to confirm their consent for the treatment and recording.


This is also a great checklist of what you need to do before you can inject. Here you’ll be setting up the treatment.

Talk through:

1. Patient positioning and photography

2. Washing your hands, gloving up and cleansing the patient’s skin

3. Marking up, if required

4. Checking product details including expiry dates

5. Reconstitution (if doing toxin treatment) or selection of filler products.


Once you’re ready to begin, focus on creating a calm, safe and informed environment. Your ability to be safe is what’s being assessed, rather than the aesthetic result.

Talk through:

1. How you’re maintaining an aseptic and safe technique

2. Administering treatment, narrating each time you inject, the number of units injected, the anatomy of the injection site, needle angle, plus any other relevant information

3. Safely disposing of sharps.

4. Following your treatment plan.


Once you’ve administered the botox or filler treatment, you need to go through post-treatment aftercare details with the patient. This is still part of your DOPS.

Talk through:

1. Aftercare advice, including signs and symptoms of adverse events to monitor

2. Post-treatment review arrangements, if applicable

3. Taking post-treatment photographs

4. Confirm that you’ll be recording the treatment details in your logbook.

At this point, the recording will end and you’ve completed your DOPS!

When will I get my results?

The Assessments Team will provide you with your DOPS results, usually within three weeks.

Once you’ve completed all the elements of your Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Fillers, our exam board, VTCT, will moderate the marking.

Please note that marks can change during the moderation process.

Can I resit my DOPS assessment?

Yes, this is entirely possible. Please be aware that resit fees apply.

If, for whatever reason, you need to resit your DOPS, please contact studentsupport@harleyacademy.com and we can arrange a time that suits you.

Keep calm and trust your training!

Assessments can be daunting, even for successful, experienced medical aesthetics specialists!

By this point in your aesthetics training journey you’ll have learned all the skills you need to successfully pass your DOPS exam. So, above all else, remember to remain calm and trust your skills as a #HarleyTrained aesthetics practitioner!

All information correct at the time of publication

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