What is the DAT Test?

What is the DAT Test?

The Dental Admission Test, commonly referred to as the DAT, is a dental school admission test intended to provide dentistry programs with the means to determine the potential success of the candidates. It is conducted throughout the year by Prometric Test Centers in the United States, its colonies (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) and Canada.

The test consists of multiple-choice questions outlined in the English language and is designed according to test specifications. The DAT exam is conducted to consider the abilities of students seeking entry to dental school. Dentistry schools use this information to determine decisions on admissions.

While all dental universities require candidates to partake in the DAT program, the results of the DAT are only one consideration included in determining the ability of the applicant for admission. Legitimacy studies have found test scores in tandem with academic results help forecast success in dental schools. Each dental school defines the importance of these factors in the admissions process.

DAT Test Format and Structure
The DAT comprises of 280 multiple-choice questions in four DAT sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. The DAT is a computer-based test (CBT) lasting roughly five hours and 15 minutes, which includes an optional 15-minute break.

Sections Allotted Time No. of Questions Subsections
Optional Tutorial 15
Survey of Natural Sciences 90 100
  • Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
Perceptual Ability Test 60 90
  • apertures
  • view recognition
  • angle discrimination
  • paper folding
  • cube counting
  • 3D form development
Scheduled Break (optional) 30
Reading Comprehension Test 60 50
Quantitative Reasoning Test 45 40
  • Mathematical Problems
  • Applied Mathematics (Word) Problem
Optional Post Test Survey 15
Total 5 hours and 15 minutes 280

DAT Test Scoring System

DAT scores are documented to be scale scores. Such scale scores are neither raw scores nor percentages. The conversion of raw scores to scale scores is obtained using psychometric equations. Through scale scores, it is easy to compare the results of one applicant with the performance of all applicants. The DAT score range from 1 to 30.

Several test questions are exploratory and are unscored. The data obtained on the unscored items will be used to assess whether the problem is suitable to be used in future test implementation. Unscored questions appear the same to the applicants as the questions rated.

Eight ratings will appear when you receive your official score report: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning, Total Science, and Academic Average. The Total Science Score is the amount of your primary, raw performance in Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry, which are then averaged and converted into a scale of 1–30 score, regardless of your individual scores in these areas.

To elaborate, Total Science is not the average of your weighted ratings in the Natural Sciences Survey. The Academic Sum is the average rating for all categories except PAT. The score report will also tell you about your percentile ranking in each segment. The percentile ranking represents the number of test participants scored around or below your level.

DAT Cost and Fees

  • Examination Fees

Payments shall be non-refundable and non-transferable. All of the payments are in US dollars. The following demonstrates the DAT testing fee:

Type Description Amount
DAT Fee Includes administration and official score reporting to all dental institutions chosen at the time of application; an official score report released at the testing center (no other report will be sent); and a score report to the pre-dental counselor of the applicant (if chosen on application). $475
Score Report Fee (optional) Covers score report requests made after the time of application. There’s no extra charge for requests for score reports obtained at the time of application. $45 per recipient
Score Audit Fee (optional) For a duration of 30 days following a test appointment, the DAT Program can check the results of the DAT applicant. $65
Eligibility Extension Fee Candidates can prolong their eligibility span for a fee. The extension is for a total of 45 days within the specified test window and is valid once for every application. $125
  • Rescheduling Fees

The fee for the rescheduling of a test date shall be based on the amount of the notice issued. The rate for rescheduling is as follows:

Number of Days Before Testing Appointment Fee
1 to 5 business days before the test date, and at least 24 hours before the start of the appointment. $125
6 to 30 business days before the test date. $125
31 or more business days before the test date. $125

Note: Saturdays and Sundays are not business days.

DAT Registration

The following are the detailed steps to register for DAT Test:

  1. To submit an application to take the DAT, visit the ADA website (Non-refundable fee is involved).
  2. Applicants must secure a Dental Personal Identification Number (DENTPIN) before applying for the DAT or applying for admission to the schools of their preference. Sign up for a new DENTPIN or obtain an existing DENTPIN from ADA.org/DENTPIN.
  3. Once a DENTPIN has been obtained, applicants can submit an application via the Examination Program website. A new application must be filed before another test attempt is made.
  4. Receive the letter of eligibility from the ADA.
  5. After you have received the letter of eligibility, you may make an appointment to take the Prometric Evaluation evaluation. You must schedule the test 60-90 days ahead of time of the day you want to test it.
  6. When you require special testing facilities, please visit the Special Accommodations tab of the Prometric website.

DAT Eligibility Requirements

Below are the minimum eligibility requirements aspiring dental school students should meet to be qualified to take the Dental Admission Test:

  • Applicants are required to obtain a total of one year of college education. This includes classes in general and organic chemistry and biology.
  • The DAT program does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, gender, impairment, sexual preference, or marital status.
  • All DAT candidates are required to appear in the examination prior to admission to the dental school.
  • Anyone seeking admission to Canadian dental schools must check the acceptability of the DAT score by the authority involved before applying for DAT.

For candidates who wish to take the DAT test again, they need to submit a new application and pay testing for every retest. They will have to wait for at least 90 days after their last attempt to take the exam again. It is important to note that there are no exemptions to the 90-day waiting time.

In the case that you have appeared in DAT three or more occasions, you must seek permission from ADA for the retest. In this context, you shall send a request in writing to datexam@ada.org along with one of the following documents:

  • Copy of the duly completed and submitted ADEA AADSAS application
  • Rejection letter from a dental school
  • Letter on school letterhead from the Dental School Admission Officer
  • Letter on school letterhead from health profession advisor or instructor of a college or university

Frequently Asked Question

How should I prepare for the DAT?

  1. When you’ve decided when to take the DAT, submit your application 60 to 90 days ahead of time.
  2. Read the guide to the DAT. Check out the latest DAT Program Guide to get a good grasp of the exam.
  3. Make use of the DAT practice tests offered in the DAT program.

Which test should I take, the MCAT or DAT?

The DAT is essential for entry to dental schools, while the MCAT is specific to medical schools. If you’re pursuing a dentistry career, taking the DAT would be suitable for you. However, if you want to work in a broader range of medical disciplines, you can take the MCAT.

For dental school, what GPA do you need?

Admission to dental school is so challenging that a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) is the minimum you’ll need to have a chance of getting in. A 3.3 GPA or higher will set you apart, and you should strive for the same GPA in your science courses.

What’s a good score on the DAT?

The highest potential score on the DAT is 30, and the mean score is 20. The 18 is commonly considered to be the minimum score for admission to any dental school.

How much is a dental school going to cost?

For the most part, four-year dental school costs in the U.S. vary from $21,600 (in-state) to $64,800 (non-resident) in public school in Texas to almost $300,000 for high-priced private institutions.

DAT Test Prep and Test-Taking Strategies

It is doubtful that even someone who has a perfect understanding of all DAT science and mathematics will attain a high score without appropriate testing strategies. Knowing the format of the test questions and having a clear strategy for solving each problem can be as critical as knowledge of the material. Using DAT practice tests, DAT practice questions, and study guides will make a difference in DAT prep along with effective strategies.

By using strategies, you can make use of the test structure and find the right answers even without a thorough understanding of all the contents. The following are a few DAT test-taking strategies you can use to your advantage and apply throughout the DAT.

  • Stop

The very first move in endeavoring any question is to STOP: do not fully read the question or answer options, but instead triage: dissect the topic of the item, the length, and the difficulty of determining whether to deal with it immediately, afterwards or not at all. For most of the items, you may use this chance to describe the answer choices briefly. This step lets you make the most out of the limited period you have left.

  • Think

After you have identified the question stem and answer options and decided to address the problem, the next move is actually to read the question — but don’t read the answer options yet. When reading, don’t just read it passively; rather, paraphrase it as you read it so that you can decide what the question really is. If you misinterpret what the question is asking you to do, you won’t be able to answer the question accurately, so don’t underestimate the significance of this phase. This step guarantees that you will not rush through the problem, possibly leading to the extra effort that is not needed.

  • Predict

Once you get a clear sense of what the problem is and have all the knowledge you need to answer it, your next move is to visualize what the right answer would look like. Good prediction should answer the question as soon as possible; but, if you’re not sure what to expect from cryptic answer choices, or if you don’t have good content knowledge for the topic being evaluated, a simpler prediction can be almost as useful and always better than no prediction at all. Making prediction saves you time and automatically eliminates the wrong choices that could distract you and lead you in the wrong direction.

  • Match

After you’ve prepared a prediction, your last move is to choose the answer that matches your prediction. When matching, your objective is not to evaluate each choice of answer based on its validity, but rather to identify whether the choice conforms to the framework that you predicted


DAT Sample Questions

Question #1

All of the following are components of the Cell Theory EXCEPT the idea that

  • all living things are composed of cells.
  • all living things contain mitochondria.
  • cooperation among cells allows for complex functioning in living things.
  • all cells arise from preexisting cells.
  • cells carry genetic information in the form of DNA.

Question #2

Which of the following is NOT true about pyrimidines and purines?

  • Pyrimidines have a two-ring nitrogenous base.
  • Purines have a two-ring nitrogenous base.
  • Purines always bind to pyrimidines when a DNA helix is formed.
  • Purines and pyrimidines make up the “rungs” of the DNA ladder.
  • Purines and pyrimidines bind together using hydrogen bonds.

Question #3

In glucose catabolism

  • oxygen must be the final electron acceptor.
  • oxygen is necessary for any ATP synthesis.
  • inorganic phosphate is produced.
  • ATP is generated.
  • all of the above occur.

Question #4

Which of the following is appropriate to use for a procedure that involves simultaneously heating and distilling a reaction mixture?

  • Erlenmeyer flask
  • Erlenmeyer flask with a hose barb
  • Volumetric flask
  • Round-bottom flask
  • Either A or B

Question #5

A scientist wants to prepare AlCl3 by reacting a large excess of aluminum with exactly 3.0 moles of HCl dissolved in water. How should she measure the solid aluminum?

  • Weigh 27.0 g of Al (s) on a standard laboratory balance.
  • Weigh 27.00 g of Al (s) on an analytical balance.
  • Weigh 50.0 g of Al (s) on a standard laboratory balance.
  • Weigh 50.00 g of Al (s) on an analytical balance.
  • Add the Al (s) by adding double the amount of NaCl by eye.

Question #6

What is the name of the following compound?

  • 1-ethyl-3,4-dimethylcycloheptane
  • 2-ethyl-4,5-dimethylcyclohexane
  • 1-ethyl-3,4-dimethylcyclohexane
  • 4-ethyl-1,2-dimethylcyclohexane
  • 4-ethyl-1,3-dimethylcyclohexane

Question #7

Which of the following does NOT show optical activity?

  • (R)-2-butanol
  • (S)-2-butanol
  • A solution containing 1 M (R)-2-butanol and 2 M (S)-2-butanol
  • A solution containing 2 M (R)-2-butanol and 2 M (S)-2-butanol
  • A solution containing 3 M (R)-2-butanol and 3 M (S)-2-methanol

Question #8

Vasodilator nerve fibers that innervate teeth in mammals are found in

  • the trigeminal nerve.
  • the otic ganglion.
  • the cervical sympathetic chain.
  • the inferior alveolar nerve.
  • the superior alveolar nerves.

Question #9

A crate of apples contains 1 bruised apple for every 30 apples in the crate. Three out of every four bruised apples are considered not fit to sell, and every apple that is not fit to sell is bruised. If there are 12 apples not fit to sell in the crate, then how many total apples are there in the crate?

  • 270
  • 360
  • 480
  • 600
  • 720

Question #10

In the figure, how many cubes have three of their exposed sides painted?

  • 5 cubes
  • 6 cubes
  • 7 cubes
  • 8 cubes
  • 9 cubes

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