If you’re an aspiring dentist, you may be wondering, “What is the DAT?” To learn more about the test, DAT sections, and how to register for it, read on.
One of the most important parts of your dental school application is the DAT exam. All dental schools require the DAT and often weigh DAT scores heavily in admission decisions.
This guide will share everything there is to know about this critical dental school exam to ensure you’re prepared!
So, what is the DAT? The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a multiple-choice standardized exam required by all Canadian and U.S. dental school applicants. It assesses a candidate’s potential to succeed in dental school and in their career as a dentist or dental hygienist.
To increase your chances of scoring high, you should take time to build an excellent study schedule and take DAT prep courses. But first, it’s essential you understand what’s on the DAT.
If you’re unfamiliar with the format of the DAT, you may have lots of questions about how to study and what you’ll be tested on. Maybe you’re asking, “Is there physics on the DAT?”, “Does the DAT have a biochem section?”, or “Do I need to know anatomy for the DAT?” But don’t worry - all your DAT section questions are about to be answered!
While we’ll break down each DAT section in more depth below, this is the exam’s general format:
There are four main sections you’ll see on the DAT:
There will be 100 questions in this section divided into several subsections:
Out of these 100 questions, 40 focus on the following biology topics:
The DAT has 30 general chemistry questions on the following content:
This final subsection has 30 questions and is often regarded as the most difficult. It covers the following:
The perceptual ability section contains 90 questions. Unlike the other DAT sections, knowledge isn’t tested in this section. Instead, your spatial visualization skills are.
You’ll be expected to look at 2D representations of 3D items and interpret them correctly. These questions tend to be the most challenging for students. You’ll see the following types of questions in this section:
Also known as keyhole questions, these scenarios require you to look at a 3D object and choose which 2D shape choice would allow the perfect passage of this object. So, you must determine which answer the 3D object could be pushed through without difficulty.
You’ll be expected to determine one of the missing viewpoints of a 3D object. You’ll be given two out of three views of a 3D object; the front, end, and/or top views will be provided. You’ll be asked to determine the missing view.
You’ll be shown four angles and asked to order them from the smallest to the largest interior angle. The angles will be shown in different directions with different side lengths.
You’ll be given a 2D representation of the paper and instructions on how it’s folded. In the final instruction, a hole punch will be shown on part of the paper. You must determine where the hole punches would be if you unfolded the paper.
These DAT questions give you a 3D representation of several cubes stuck together. You will be asked to count how many cubes would have a specific number of exposed sides painted.
In these questions, the bottom of the cubes and the sides touching other cubes cannot be painted because they’re not exposed.
The 3D form development questions give you a 2D representation of a flat piece of paper with markings indicating where it would be folded to create a 3D object. You must choose the correct object that would be formed if you folded the paper.
The reading comprehension DAT section consists of 50 questions divided over three reading passages on scientific topics. However, students don’t need prior knowledge of these topics to complete these questions. You’re meant to focus on the arguments and evidence to analyze the text.
We hope you like math because you’ll be expected to answer 40 math questions on the DAT! These questions will cover:
Students are given a basic four-function calculator on their computer screen to complete these questions.
The DAT is scored using a scale score, meaning you aren’t given the number of questions you answered correctly or your percentile ranking. Instead, you’ll receive a score from 1 to 30 to reflect your performance.
The actual DAT testing time is four hours and twenty-five minutes in total. However, the total administration time is five hours and fifteen minutes. The DAT exam duration is broken down as follows:
This test schedule is important to keep in mind as you begin completing practice tests. You can recreate test conditions to reduce test anxiety and feel more comfortable with how long the DAT is!
Registering for the DAT costs $525. This fee is non-refundable, so it’s essential you pick the perfect test date!
Now that you know what the DAT is and what’s on it, you might be wondering how to register for the exam. DAT registration is simple and can be done in a few easy steps:
Once you have your DENTPIN, you can sign into your AMA account and begin the registration process. You’ll pay the $525 fee at this point.
Once you’ve paid your registration fee, you’ll receive an email confirmation that you’re eligible to take the DAT. You’ll receive an eligibility number needed for the next step.
Using Prometric, you’ll pick your test location and time. Ensure you select “American Dental Association.”
Once you’ve selected your state, you’ll specify that you want to apply for the Dental Admission Test, enter a city, postal code, or address closest to you, and pick your test center and time.
You’ll enter your eligibility number to complete your registration. After you confirm your details, you’ll be officially registered to take the DAT!
If you have any remaining questions, you can find your answers below!
The DAT exam is often compared to the MCAT and is thus reasonably challenging. It covers a large amount of subject matter and tests various skills. How hard the DAT is depends on your preparedness and proficiency in reading, science, and math.
You can expect to see biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry content on the DAT.
You may take up to four tests per year but must wait at least 60 days between tests. After the fifth attempt, you may only take the DAT once a year.
Most students find the perceptual ability test to be the hardest part of the DAT.
It’s recommended to take the DAT during the junior year of your pre-dental college program or the summer after it.
You’ll receive a copy of your unofficial scores at the testing center. Your official scores will be sent to schools approximately three to four weeks after your test date.
According to multiple sources and the ADA’s score distribution chart, no one has scored a 30 on the DA, although very few test-takers have scored 29.
Yes, there is a whole section with 40 questions dedicated solely to math!
There are 90 questions in the Perceptual Ability section of the DAT.
“DAT” stands for Dental Admission Test, according to the American Dental Association. However, according to the Canadian Dental Association, “DAT” stands for Dental Aptitude Test.
Now that you know the answer to “What is the DAT?”, you’re one step closer to actualizing your dream of becoming a dentist. Regardless of how far you are from taking the exam, ensure you know the breakdown of the DAT, material, and registration process. This will make your DAT experience as hassle-free as possible!