The DAT Test Guide

The DATTest Summary
What: Examinations that help evaluate a candidate for dental school.
Who: Prospective dental students.
Where: Tests are administered at Thomson Prometric Testing Centers.
When: Year round.
How: Computerized.
Type: On computer.
Why: For admission to dental school.
Time: Lasts a few hours.
Language: English.
Preparation: DAT requires one year of college with relevant biology and chemistry courses.
Cost: $205

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a standardized evaluation that is typically required to gain entrance to dental schools in the US. The exam is multiple choice, is administered via computer at Thomson Prometric Test Centers year-round and can be taken after registering through the American Dental Association.

Applicants are expected to have completed at least one year of college with some experience in biology and organic chemistry. The exam fee is $205. The number of correct answers is translated into a standardized score ranging from one through 30. The mean score is set at 17, and a score of 20 to 22 is generally considered acceptable for admission at most schools.

The DAT is designed to assess comprehension of science, academic aptitude and perceptual ability. Four distinct sections comprise the DAT: quantitative reasoning, perceptual ability, reading comprehension and natural sciences.

The natural sciences section covers a broad scope of information such as cell and molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, nuclear reactions, laboratory procedures and mechanisms of organic chemistry. A full 90 minutes are allotted for this section, which contains 100 questions.

For the perceptual ability section, students will be tested on angle discrimination, orthographic projections, apertures, paper folding and form development cubes. A total of 90 questions must be answered within one hour.

A fifteen-minute break is typically given after the perceptual ability section, after which reading comprehension is administered. Reading comprehension is a one-hour session with 50 questions. The candidate will be given a total of three dental or academic texts to evaluate for meaning, tone and supporting facts.

Quantitative reasoning focuses on math problems including: number calculations, algebra, probability, number conversion, geometry and trigonometry. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and algebra, and there are a total of 40 questions to be answered in 45 minutes.

Scores will be calculated immediately after completing the computerized version of the test and can be sent to three institutions of the student’s choice.

If you are planning on taking the DAT, take a look at our DAT Test Directory of test prep information and resources.

Source: American Dental Association; ada.org


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