The DAT Demystified: Understanding The Dental Admissions Test And How To Prepare

Planning to soon enroll in dental schools to finish dental medicine graduate programs in the USA or Canada? In that case, passing the DAT examination is an essential part that will help students with the admission process to their dream dental schools. Dental Admission Test, or simply DAT, is an examination that will determine the readiness and knowledge of students who want to get admission to dental educational institutions.

What Is The Purpose Of DAT

The main purpose of the DAT is to test the knowledge and subject skills of the students who plan to apply for dental schools. This test will check if the candidates have the proficiency to enter and complete the dental medicine programs. As of now, the DAT exam is authorized by 66 dental schools in the USA and 10 dental schools in Canada as a part of the admission procedure.

What To Know About Sections And Allotted Time In The DAT Examination

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In DAT, there are 4 main sections: the survey of natural sciences, quantitative reasoning, perceptual ability, and reading comprehension. The total allotted time for this test is 4 hours and 15 minutes, and there will be a total of 280 MCQ questions.

  • Survey of Natural Sciences

In natural sciences, organic chemistry, biology, and general chemistry are included. The number of questions given from the survey of natural sciences will be 100, out of which 40 will be from biology, 30 from general chemistry, and the rest 30 from organic chemistry. For a survey of natural sciences, the given duration is 90 minutes.

In the quantitative reasoning section, several questions related to mathematics in numerical calculations, algebra, trigonometry, conversions, probability, etc., will be covered. A total of 40 questions will be given from the quantitative reading test. For the quantitative reading test, the given duration is 45 minutes.

In the perceptual ability section, questions related to paper folding, apertures, cube counting, view recognition, 3D form development, and angle discrimination will be given. A total of 90 questions will be covered from the perceptual ability test. For the perceptual ability test, the given duration is 60 minutes.

For the reading comprehension section, questions related to dental and basic sciences will be asked. A total of 50 questions will be covered from the reading comprehension test. For the reading comprehension test, the given duration is 60 minutes.

What To Know About DAT Scoring Format

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The American Dental Association (ADA) utilizes a specialized scoring system for the DAT examination. The exam scoring depends on the total number of right answers that are noted as standard scores instead of bare points. To put it simply, the total number of right answers will be turned into a standard score.

The standard scoring pattern varies from 1 to 30. It is to be noted that there is no certain qualifying score. However, a score of 17 to 19 normally symbolizes the median national performance. With standard scores, it is possible to compare the performance of applicants’ performance with one another.

One best thing about this exam is the lack of negative marking, which means no marks will be deducted in case of incorrect responses to the questions. The survey of the natural sciences section contains 3 sub-scores for organic chemistry, biology, and general chemistry. The average of these sub-scores will be used to get the student’s SNS score.

What To Know About DAT Retest

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It is important for the applicants to maintain at least a gap of 60 days or 2 months between each DAT examination. Students who have applied for this test 3 times or more must request authorization to retake it. For this, they must submit documentation of their latest dental school application.

In a year or 12-month duration, every candidate will have the chance to take this test about 4 times with a 60-day gap between each attempt. If the applicant used the 5th attempt as well, then he or she is eligible for retest only a single time every 12 months.

How To Prepare For DAT

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Having the right amount of preparation is vital for students in order to pass the Dental Admission Test and get into dental schools.

  • Understand The Exam Format

Before preparing for the DAT, students should know the format of the test. There will be 4 primary sections with 280 total MCQ questions. Applicants will be given 4 hours and 15 minutes for these 4 sections.

  • Know Your Strength And Weak Subjects

In DAT, natural sciences, quantitative reasoning, perceptual ability, and reading comprehension subjects with sub-topics will be covered. You should check out the detailed syllabus to understand which subjects you are lacking. Make sure to pay more attention to the subjects that you find more challenging

  • Acquire The Required Study Materials

After checking out the subjects, students should buy the required DAT study materials. Candidates can seek advice from their college professors or opt for online training courses.

Read the subjects thoroughly every day and spend some of your time revising them. It is important to start your preparation early so you can read and revise every topic covered in the DAT examination without panicking.

To get the real experience of the DAT examination, students should complete the practice tests and previous years’ exam papers by setting a time limit of 4 hours and 15 minutes. This way, students will be able to understand the type of questions that will be given. In addition to that, they will learn how to manage their time during the actual test.

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Bottom Line

The competition for dental schools is increasing, which is why tests like DAT help in filtering out the best students to get admission to dental academies. A wide range of subjects and sub-topics are covered in DAT, which will test the knowledge of the students. Applying for the exam early, acquiring the right study material, preparing thoroughly, and revising from time to time will help students clear this exam.