Dental Admission Test (DAT)

Definition

The term Dental Admission Test refers to a computer-based examination used by dental schools as part of their admissions decision making process.  The DAT tests the applicant's knowledge of natural sciences as well as perceptual abilities, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning, with scores that range from one to 30.

Explanation

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is used by the admissions departments of university dental schools to identify prospective students.  The examination is administered electronically at test centers throughout the year.  Unofficial scores are available immediately following the completion of the test.  Official test results (electronic) are available three to four weeks following the examination; reports are delivered to schools identified on the application in that same timeframe.  Schools typically require students to take the DAT by December to be admitted to a program the following fall.

The test consists of the following four sections and students have approximately five hours to complete this multiple choice examination.

  • Natural Sciences:  includes areas such as biology, chemistry and organic chemistry (90 minutes, 100 questions).
  • Perceptual Abilities: includes areas such as apertures, view recognition, angle discrimination, paper folding, cube counting and 3-D form development (60 minutes, 90 questions).
  • Reading Comprehension: following the reading of three passages on scientific topics, questions then test the student's ability to read, comprehend and analyze information (60 minutes, 50 questions).
  • Quantitative Reasoning:  includes areas such as algebra, numeric calculations, probabilities and statistics, conversions, trigonometry and geometry (45 minutes, 40 questions).

Raw scores are converted to a scale that ranges from a low of one to a high of 30 points.  A score of 17 should be considered a national average.  Generally, a score of 18 or higher is required to gain entry into a dental program.  The test can be taken every 90 days; however, students that have taken the test three times must apply for permission to retake the test.

Related Terms

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