Thinking about taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)? Not sure where to start? That’s why we’ve compiled to most frequently asked questions we’ve received from students preparing for the DAT.
The MCAT is usually considered to be the more difficult test, due in large part to its length. The MCAT is a much longer test that requires students to work fairly quickly, which can be difficult for students who struggle with test anxiety or endurance.
A scaled score of 17 on each section will put you in the 50th percentile, which is considered the average DAT score. However, if you want a competitive score to help you get into higher ranked dental schools you will want to try to score above the 70th percentile range.
This will depend on the person, but there are two common answers: Some consider the chemistry section to be the most difficult because of the advanced material being tested. Others consider biology the most difficult because there is such a wide variety of material that you may encounter, which makes the preparation for this section difficult.
After your first assessment, you can retake the DAT after a 90-day waiting period. However, you can only take the DAT 3 times total unless you receive special permission from the American Dental Association (ADA).
Taking the DAT multiple times does not look bad at all. In fact, most experts recommend that you take it a second time if you believe you can improve your score. This can also be especially helpful for students with test anxiety as they will know more of what to expect the second time through.
Your raw score will be converted into a scaled score that ranges from 1 to 30, with 30 being the highest possible score.
Yes, this is a multiple-choice exam made up of four sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning.
A scaled score of 17 is the national average (give or take depending on the year). If you’re trying to decide what grade you should aim for, take a look at the average admissions score of the dental schools you are applying to. In some cases, it may be necessary to score higher if you want to be competitive.
Your score will be valid for 2 years.
Your scores will be sent to schools, ADEA AADSAS, and other addresses included on your application within 1-2 business days.
The DAT includes a Quantitative Reasoning section consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions. You will have 45 minutes to complete this section and an on-screen calculator will be available for this section only. Here’s a photo from the ADA of the actual calculator:
You do not need to take Biochemistry before taking the DAT, but you will need to take it at some point before you graduate.
Not at all! Just make sure that you give yourself enough time to study for the exam, take the test, and potentially do a retake before applications are due. It’s always better to be safe and give yourself as much time as possible, just in case.
Physics and calculus will not be tested on the DAT, but you will need to complete both courses to be admitted into most dental schools.
No, the only section you will have a calculator for is Quantitative Reasoning.
Yes, though if you just know the basic/intermediate concepts in geometry and trigonometry you should be fine.
The DAT consists of four sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry), Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning (trigonometry, geometry, probability & statistics, conversions, algebra). Here a breakdown of the administration schedule from the ADA.
It is highly suggested that you take both Orgo 1 and Orgo 2 before attempting this exam.
Yes. The first subtest you take during the Survey of Natural Sciences section is biology. You will be asked 40 questions related to anatomy/physiology, developmental biology, cell and molecular biology, and genetics.
July is not too late, but any time beyond that is pushing it if you’re planning to apply the same cycle. It’s mostly just important to schedule your exam for when you feel you will be the most prepared. However, keep in mind that it can be very helpful to give yourself enough time for a retake, just in case.
There is no perfect formula for doing well on this exam. However, there are a few tips that our experts suggest following to set yourself up for success:
1) Create a study schedule outlining what you will work on each day/week/month leading up to your exam so that you stay on track.
2) Create goals and rewards for yourself to stay motivated.
3) Take practice tests to see what areas you need to dedicate more time to and what areas you’re strong in.
4) Only use a few, high-quality study materials so you don’t get overwhelmed.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Study groups and tutoring programs can help keep you on track and ensure you make the most of your study time.
6) Take care of your physical and mental health. It’s easy to get sucked into a cramming loop. Make sure you’re eating right, sleeping enough, going outside, and socializing.
General chemistry and organic chemistry 1 & 2 will be on the DAT. However, you should check with the schools you’ll be applying to as many dental schools have requirements for admission as well.
The DAT consists of four sections and contains 280 multiple-choice questions. Remember, this is an endurance exam. Make sure you’re using practice exams during your prep to train yourself, just like you would for an actual marathon.
Make sure you are familiar with the four main sections and subjects that are required for each section. For example, in the Survey of the Natural Sciences, you will need to be familiar with biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry. For the Quantitative Reasoning section, you will need to be familiar with trigonometry, geometry, probability & statistics, conversions, and algebra.
All images used come from an ADA sponsored practice DAT exam.