What is the DAT?
The Dental Admission Test (abbreviated DAT) is a multiple-choice standardized test taken by potential dental program students in the United States and Canada. The DAT is a computer based exam is administered nearly any day of the year. Tests can be taken at Prometric testing hubs throughout the United States after the introductory application through the American Dental Association (ADA) is completed.
Dental program admissions boards use your DAT score in combination with your academic record to evaluate whether you have the academic groundwork upon which to build a effective dental career. Consequently, a high score on the DAT will have a helpful impact on your dental program application process.
The DAT is intended to provide dental programs with common measures for linking the credentials of applicants. The test measures general academic ability, understanding of scientific material, and perceptual aptitude. The exam is offered exclusively on a computer and contains of a series of four distinct tests: Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning.
Many students find that using test preparations books help to improve their scores.
|Survey of Natural Sciences||100 Questions||90 Minutes||Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry|
|Perceptual Ability Test||90 Questions||60 Minutes||Keyhole, Top/Front/End Visualization, Angle Ranking, Hole Punches, Cube Counting, Pattern Folding|
|Reading Comprehension Test||50 Questions||60 Minutes||Read Comprehension, Passage Grasp|
|Quantitative Reasoning Test||40 Questions||45 Minutes||Math, Word Problems|
DAT Scoring Structure
Directly after the conclusion of the exam, eight standard scores on a scale of 1-30 are calculated and passed on to the student. The first six scores come directly from the test: perceptual ability, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. The remaining two scores stated are summaries of the previous six: the Academic Average is the average of five scores rounded to the nearest whole number: quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. The Total Science score is a standard score based on all 100 questions in the biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry tests. Dental programs frequently summarize their applicant’s scores by listing the academic, science, and perceptual ability (PAT) scores they characteristically see in their enrolling classes.
The average score for any scored section is set at 17, with the exclusion of the reading comprehension section, in which the average score is a 19. Scores above and below this represent fractions of standard deviations from the mean.
The mean academic average score for U.S. dental school admissions is commonly 19. There are changing perspectives on the relative importance of sections, wherein the PAT or reading comprehension can be seen as the most significant or conversely, ignored. The PAT in particular is most often seen as a threshold score, and consequently is the only score not encompassed in the academic average; the threshold fluctuates between 16 and 18.
The DAT is offered year round at exam centers operated by Prometric testing centers. Upon endorsement of your application to take the DAT by the ADA, you will be informed via email to visit Prometric or contact them to schedule a testing appointment.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you may retake the test 90 days after your last try, up to a maximum of three times per year. Candidates with more than three tries will require authorization from the ADA to retake the DAT. If entitled, you may be permitted to retest once for every twelve-month period.